Senator Richard Colburn Weekly Legislative Report – January 30, 2009

“Senator Richard F. Colburn (R. Eastern Shore) reported on events that took place this week. Senator Colburn stated, “”On Thursday, January 29, at 12:00 noon, the Governor, who is halfway through his four year term, gave his third State of the State address. The address was a very uplifting and optimistic speech. His 2009 Legislative agenda includes the following:
· Improving public safety
· Strengthening the safety net for Maryland’s families and workforce
· Making college more affordable
· Addressing domestic violence and firearms
· Repealing the death penalty
· Addressing State Police surveillance
· Improvement of the Juvenile Justice System
· Smart, green and growing initiatives to address energy conservation
· Smart growth
· Restoration of the Chesapeake Bay

Governor O’Malley has at least temporarily postponed budget cuts in hopes that up to $3.5 billion in Federal funds will be allotted to Maryland over the next two years. Monies from a Federal stimulus package could possibly cut back the number of workers (700) that the Governor plans to lay off. Without the stimulus bill, Governor O’Malley had planned to have $54 million in cuts for the Board of Public Works, $66 million in cuts to local jurisdictions that would include reductions in state aid to public schools, community colleges, health departments and local police. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer is “”all but certain the stimulus funds will pass the House of Representatives.”” Senator Barbara Mikulski is “”confident that approximately $2.5 billion in operating assistance over the next two years and $1 billion in infrastructure spending are possible.”” She said that she and the Governor are working very hard on a package to have ready for the President to sign by February 16. Many Congressional Republicans would like to see the federal funds used for infrastructure projects and not government operations. I do not believe that you should base the bulk of budgeting decisions on getting federal bailout money with plans to continue spending more and more of our money while ignoring the fiscal crisis that we are in. This puts off for two or three years budget problems which should be addressed now.
If/when Maryland receives up to $3.5 billion of federal funds from the House version, the distribution would be as follows: (from the office of Rep. Steny H. Hoyer)
· Balancing the state budget – $1.1 billion
· Medicaid – $650 million
· Special education and Title 1 – $406 million
· School construction – $191 million
· Tax Cuts – 2 million families to receive $500 (ind.) or $1,000 (family) tax cut
· Unemployment insurance – 242,000 workers to receive additional $25 per week and 40,000 to receive an extension of benefits
And of course with the State of the State, Governor O’Malley’s Office of Capital Budgeting and Department of Budget and Management has officially published the FY 2010 Capital Budget. The following has been proposed for FY 2010 for Mid-Shore Projects:

CAROLINE COUNTY
Colonel Richardson High School $4,900,000
Ridgely WWTP Upgrade 1,500,000
Federalsburg WWTP – Bio. Nutrient Removal 685,000
Federalsburg Maple Ave, South Main St.
inflow and infiltration correction 300,000

Federalsburg – Water Main Improvements 160,000

Goldsboro Children’s Playground and Picnic
Area 158,000

Chambers Park 81,000

Ridgely Railroad Building 75,000

Aging Schools Program 50,074

Caroline County – Boat Ramp Facility Maintenance 50,000

Denton Library – Renovation 50,000

Martinak State Park – Replacement Pier 50,000

Program Open Space Grants 32,559

DORCHESTER COUNTY

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park –
Visitor Center 13,393,000

New Dorchester School of Technology 3,500,000

North Dorchester Middle School 1,469,000

Cambridge – Combined Sewer Overflow Project 600,000

Cambridge WWTP – Enhanced Nutrient Removal 550,000

Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery Columbaria
Installations 466,000

Susquehanna Point, Madison, and Woolford
Sewer Collection System Installation 300,000

Cambridge Marine Terminal – Replace Marine
Railway 275,000

Riverfront Park 162,000

Elliott Island and Chapel Cover Boat Ramps –
Navigation Improvements 100,000

Langralls Creek – Boat Ramp and Channel
Dredging 100,000

Dorchester Countywide – Boat Ramp and
Dock Maintenance 50,000

Town of East New Market – Tennis Courts 40,000

Aging Schools Program 38,292

Program Open Space Grants 28,018

Neck District Volunteer Fire Company – New
Fire/Rescue Boat 21,000

TALBOT COUNTY

Easton Elementary School 436,000

Talbot County/Martingham Utilities Cooperative – WWTP
Improvements 100,000

Waylands Park 69,000

Talbot County Public Landing Maintenance 50,000

Program Open Space Grants 47,681

Aging Schools Program 38,292

Oak Creek Landing – Boat Ramp Rehabilitation 25,000

Oxford Boat Ramp Repair 25,000

Oxford Ferry Dock – Transient Boating Dock Repair 25,000

Mulberry Street Bulkhead Replacement 8,000

WICOMICO COUNTY

Salisbury University – New Perdue School of Business 42,298,000

Salisbury Armory – Addition and Renovation 15,501,000

J.M. Bennett High School 6,200,000

Salisbury – New Elevated Water Tower 2,918,000

Delmar WWTP – Biological Nutrient Removal 1,300,000

Deer’s Head Center – New Kidney Dialysis Unit 608,000

Salisbury Main Library – Site Acquisition 375,000

Salisbury – Wicomico Senior Center 200,000

Aging Schools Program 106,627

Program Open Space Grants 87,441

Nanticoke Harbor Jetty Replacement 50,000

Wicomico County Boating Area – Maintenance and
Repair 50,000
Fruitland Playground 35,000

Pittsville Library – Replacement 20,000

Senator Richard F. Colburn (R. Eastern Shore) reports the events that will take place next week. Senator Colburn stated, “”During the first two weeks of this year’s session, over 350 Senate bills have been introduced and about 300 House bills. Tuesday, January 27 was the Senate and House bill request guarantee date, meaning that if a legislator got his or her bill request in by that deadline, they would be guaranteed that the bill would be drafted and prepared for introduction by the introduction deadline of February 6 (Senate) and February 13 (House). I recently filed fifteen bills and I will briefly describe six of them:
Senate Bill 322 (Corrections – First Degree Murder – Minimum Sentence) would require that a person convicted of murder in the first degree serve a minimum term of 25 years before being eligible for parole consideration. Most Marylanders believe that a life sentence should mean life in prison. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Maryland.
Senate Bill 323 (Criminal Law – Misrepresentation or False Statement as to age – Driver’s License Suspension) would provide for a driver’s license suspension for alcoholic beverage violations and alter the period of a driver’s license suspension for alcoholic beverage violations.
Senate Bill 325 (Election Law – Special Election to Fill Vacancy in the Office of United States Senator) would alter the process for filling a vacancy in the office of United States Senator by requiring the Governor to call for a Special Election.
Senate Bill 326 (Election Law – General Election to Fill Vacancy in the Office of United States Senator) would alter the process to fill a vacancy in the office of United States Senator and would specify that the individual the Governor appoints to fill the vacancy serves only for a specific period of time until a successor is elected during the next Congressional Election.
Senate Bill 327 (Election Law – Runoff Election) would provide that a candidate may not be nominated for or elected to a Congressional office in the State of Maryland unless the candidate receives a majority of the votes cast in the election. It requires that a runoff election be held if no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast in an election.
Senate Bill 333 (Dorchester County – Alcoholic Beverages Act of 2009) would allow for the Board of License Commissioners to issue a Class B caterer’s license and specify the privileges and requirements the person who will hold the license must meet. It would also authorize the Board of License Commissioners to issue a beer or wine sampling to certain groups and specify the conditions and terms to receive the license. It would exempt the municipalities of Cambridge and Secretary from the 300′ buffer and authorize the county inspector to serve summonses. Finally, this bill would increase the annual compensation for the Board of License Commissioners.

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