By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,
State Del. Michael J. Rogers (D-Md.-32), State Sen. Michael A. Jackson (D-Md.-27) and Del. Edith J. Patterson (D-Md.-28) were all honored at the Maryland Military Coalition’s (MMC) 2023 Legislator of the Year Award Luncheon at the Naval Academy Club on Nov. 1.
The MMC, an armed services advocacy organization, selected awardees by looking at veteran-related bills legislators sponsored, supported or passed during the 2023 Maryland General Assembly session.
“It’s an affair of the heart and I’m just honored to be able to continue serving veterans,” said Rogers, after accepting his Legislator of the Year award. “It’s always important to acknowledge good work when good work is done and often that serves as an inspiration to do even more. Certainly, I’ll continue to do the work. To whom much is given, much is required.”
Sen. Dawn Gile (D-Md.-33) and Del. Heather Bagnall (D-Md.-33C) were recognized for their work at the luncheon.
Rogers sponsored legislation that changed the military retirement income tax subtraction by increasing the maximum amount of military retirement income that can be exempted from Maryland income tax. He also sponsored a bill that requires the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs to bury a veteran’s spouse or dependent in a Maryland veterans’ cemetery without charge.
Rogers and Patterson each contributed to four of MMC’s legislative priorities in 2023. The MMC’s goals for 2024 include removing the age restriction on tax exemption and eliminating the taxes on armed service members’ retired pay.
“I feel very honored to have been selected,” said Patterson. “Keep presenting
] to us. We will certainly look at sponsoring and co-sponsoring them because that is what we’re here to do as legislators. We’re here to serve you because you serve us.”
The MMC recognized Patterson for sponsoring a bill that exempts family child care homes and centers from state registration and licensing requirements if they solely serve military children on a military base or federal property.
Rogers said he intends to advocate for a spousal employment bill in the next legislative session, which begins on Jan. 10 according to msa.maryland.gov.
“We’re looking to create some incentives to employ active duty spouses so that we can keep people in the state of Maryland, as opposed to going to Pennsylvania, Delaware or other surrounding states where it may be a bit more tax-friendly,” said Rogers.
Patterson said she will continue to support women veterans in the legislature as the president of the Women’s Legislators of Maryland.