End of Session Letter from the Speaker Pro Tem

by: Adrienne Jones Special to the AFRO
/ /
0
96

The 2017 Maryland General Assembly Session came to a close at midnight, April 10. It was a very busy, but very productive session. It has been my continued honor to serve as one of your delegates representing the citizens of the 10th Legislative District in Baltimore County, and in my role as Speaker Pro Tem of the Maryland House of Delegates.

Adrienne Jones

In Annapolis, I serve on the House Appropriations Committee, Chair the Capital Budget Subcommittee, and Chair the Education and Economic Development Subcommittee. As Chair of the of the Capital Budget Subcommittee, I had the task of crafting a $1.065 Billion Capital Budget. It is a budget that maintained Maryland’s “Triple A” Bond Rating, and will continue to create jobs for the State. Public school construction was once again a priority. The budget provides $342 million in funds for school construction across Maryland. The General Assembly produced a budget that balanced the State’s Operating Budget for the next fiscal year while protecting priorities such as K-12 education, public safety, public health, and economic development.

K-12 Education/ Higher Education

  • Budget fully funds Maryland public schools with $6.4 billion for FY 2018, a record amount.
  • $1.6 billion in funding for colleges, universities, and community colleges for the roughly 300,000 students who attend a Maryland higher education institution.
  • In-state higher education tuition is capped at 2% for next year.
  • Education accountability plan (Protect Our Schools Act of 2017) requires any educational accountability program to include at least three school quality indicators instead of solely focusing on student test scores.
  • The Governor cut all funding from the Teacher Induction, Retention, and Advancement Pilot Program, which provides stipends to teachers in poorer schools. $4 million for FY 2018 was restored and full funding for FY 2019 was restored.

Economic Development

  • Transfer $4 million to the Maryland Venture Fund which would improve the likelihood of venture investment funds to Maryland companies.
  • $3.1 million to enhance the Neighborhood Business Development Program. These funds would be used for grants and loans to fund community-based economic development activities in revitalization areas designated by local governments, including food desert projects.

Public Health

  • Total health care funding increases, including over $10 billion in funding for 1.4 million Medicaid enrollees.
  • $16.5 million increase in dedicated funding responding to the opioid epidemic.
  • Establishment of at least 10 crisis treatment centers that provide individuals who are in a substance use disorder crisis with access to clinical staff.
  • Heroin and Opioid addiction and prevention policy to be established for instruction at each grade band level (3-4, 6-8, and 9-12).
  • 2% increase for most social service providers in the state.
  • Restores full funding to the Prince George’s County Regional Medical Center’s operating budget.
  • Community mental health services will be provided to the uninsured through the Senior Prescription Drug Assistance Program Fund.
  • Banning of Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking) in Maryland which ensures that drinking water resources will remain safe and releases of methane and well blowouts do not occur.
  • Up to $60 million in revenue bond proceeds and funds for the Bay Restoration Fund for biological nutrient removal upgrades of wastewater treatment plants.

Capital Budget

  • S1.065 billion capital budget.
  • $342 million authorized for public school construction; $42,911,000 of which has been authorized for Baltimore County.
  • $2.5 million allocated for the preservation and maintenance of community parks and playgrounds.
  • $57.55 million allocated for the Community College Facility Grant Program.
  • $4 million allocated for the Rural Legacy Program which provides funding to preserve large, contiguous tracts of land and to enhance natural resource, agricultural, forestry and environmental protection while supporting a sustainable land base for natural resource based industries.
  • $2 million authorized for the Medstar Franklin Square Hospital project.
  • $500,000 authorized for the Maryland State Fairgrounds.
  • $18.8 million for a new Catonsville District Court building.
  • Towson University allocated $26 million for their Science Facility as well as $300,000 for an athletic turf field for their stadium.
  • UMBC allocated $40.2 million for the construction of the new Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building.
  • Franklin High School infrastructure improvements. $250,000 grant provided to Baltimore County Board of Education to complete renovations.

If you would like additional information on the Fiscal 2018 budget, or other legislation that passed this session, including bills that I have sponsored/co-sponsored, please go to the Maryland General Assembly website at mgaleg.maryland.gov. Click on the Legislator tab, and then click my name, and then click Session Legislation.

NO COMMENTS