Senate Advances Major Blueprint Investment

And other legislative updates in this week’s Up the Street

THIS WEEK IN ANNAPOLIS

Midterm Rush Finds Enough Budget Surplus For One Money To Benefit Master Plan

With the March 21 deadline for bills to pass to the opposite chamber, the push is underway to act on legislation that is still in its original chamber. The House and Senate are doubling the number of daily sessions and adding weekend sessions to advance their top priorities. The annual budget is one of the main things to move before the deadline.

As the Board of Revenue Estimates projects a general fund surplus of $7.5 billion for fiscal years 22 and 23, lawmakers see an opportunity to make one-time spending for a variety of programs, including the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. . This week, the Senate approved the budget that emerged from the Senate Committee on Budget and Taxation with amendments that capitalize on excess funding. According to the Senate proposal, the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund should receive an additional $800 million, $98 million is used to fill the transportation fund since the gas tax will be waived for 30 days, and $700 million are intended to pay for capital projects. and freeing up bond capacity, among the proposed uses. The Blueprint’s funding action is an important step in pursuing funding for later years of the education plan and ensures that all students in all schools will continue to benefit from the expanded programs and staffing levels promised by the Blueprint.

The Senate committee also added a requirement for the governor to include a forecast of how the proposed budget will affect the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund in future budgets, just as it forecasts for the general fund, trust fund for transport and higher education.

the The Committee on Budget and Taxation on Monday reserved another $350 million for the tax breaks we were talking about. Even taking into account contributions to the Rainy Day fund, new spending and tax relief proposals, there would still be about $800 million in surplus funds. “The opportunity for further action is there,” said B&T committee chairman Guy Guzzone (D-Howard).

The money is clearly available to achieve salary legislation and Education Support Professionals (ESP) task forces, House Bill 1349/Senate Bill 831, which the MSEA is defending for this session. In the short term, the legislation would award support staff bonuses of $500 in FY23 and FY24, and for long-term progress, it would establish a task force to explore the best ways to to improve the salaries of support staff, as well as to study the best ways to retain and attract individuals to the professions. The task force’s recommendations would be forwarded to the General Assembly for consideration of future legislation. MSEA would have a seat on the working group. Click here to contact your legislators and urge them to support this legislation to increase ESP wages.

The proposal raised last week to eliminate the gas tax for 30 days was swiftly passed unanimously this week in identical bills, Senate Bill 1010 and House Bill 1486, in their respective rooms. The bills have passed through the opposing chambers and are about to pass. Legislation now goes to the governor, whose signature can enact it immediately. He presented a supplementary budget on Thursday that explained the loss of about $100 million in revenue due to the lifting of the gas tax. The law eliminates the requirement for gas stations to remit the 36 cents per gallon tax to the comptroller’s office for 30 days, creating the expectation that consumers would see this relief in lower gasoline prices at the pump.

MSEA pushes anti-discrimination legislation

On Thursday, the House moved House Bill 850 on a second readers’ vote, which would ban all state-funded schools from discriminating on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, religion, sex, age, national origin , marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. On Friday, the bill passed the House in its third reader’s vote. There is no codified language prohibiting such discrimination in non-public schools that receive specific public funding. This bill would prohibit schools from denying enrollment to a prospective student, expelling a current student, denying privileges or discriminating against any person, requiring schools to provide reasonable accommodation, and require schools to print a non-discrimination statement for their student. manuals. The House of Delegates has passed this bill several times over the past few years, and the MSEA is working hard with Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins (D-Montgomery) and Sen. Cory McCray (D-Baltimore City), as well as partners of the Disability Rights Maryland, ACLU and FreeState Justice coalition to ensure it passes the Senate and becomes law.

During the second readers’ debate on Thursday, delegate Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore and Harford counties) attempted to amend the bill with language reflecting Florida’s highly controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The amendment, which was overwhelmingly defeated, attempted to completely subvert the intent of the bill and sparked an intense backlash in the House.

Tax relief advances on union dues in the house

Under House Bill 172, sponsored by Delegate Eric Luedtke (D-Montgomery), union dues could be counted as an income tax subtraction modification. The bill passed the House on second reading and is now going through third reading and a final vote in the House before going to the Senate for consideration.

NEWS AND NOTES

Election results for state council teacher representative expected next month

Voting ended March 13 to elect a teacher to the State Board of Education (SBOE). Results will be released April 11 by the Maryland State Department of Education.. The term runs from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2026. Three years ago, the MSEA fought to create a board seat for an active teacher. Outgoing board member Rachel McCusker served the initial two-year term and she received the unanimous endorsement of the MSEA Board of Directors in this election.

Federal funding hits decades-old record, but Congress cuts Biden proposals

As part of the federal education funding for fiscal year 22 (which runs through September 30), President Biden signed into law $76.4 billion in appropriations on Tuesday. This marks the largest increase in federal education programs in a decade. Congress scrapped a $20 billion stock grant proposal that would have supported school desegregation and boosted total Title I spending to more than $37 billion. Congress also cut Biden’s proposed increase in IDEA funding for students with disabilities. He asked for $15.54 billion and Congress allocated $13.34 billion.

2022 CAMPAIGN

Court orders postponement of primary elections to July 19

With the boundaries of state and congressional legislative districts constantly shifting due to litigation, the Maryland Court of Appeals Ordered June 28 Primary Moved to July 19. Early voting will now take place July 7-14. The deadline for submitting applications has also been moved from March 22 to April 15, and April 21 is the deadline for challenging a candidate’s residency. A trial for motions against the state’s legislative map is scheduled to begin March 23. The special magistrate in this case intends to submit his report to the Court of Appeal, which has jurisdiction, in early April. A case involving the Congressional District Map is pending in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.

Approvals in AG, Governor, Comptroller races

Democratic candidate for governor Tom Perez has been endorsed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) locals 500 and 32BJ, representing 30,000 workers in Maryland.

In the race for attorney general, Democrat Katie Curran O’Malley received endorsements from delegates Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City) and Regina Boyce (D-Baltimore City). In the race for controllers, Democrat Tim Adams announced endorsements of a slate of Democratic officials including Of the. Darryl Barnes (D-Prince George’s), Chairman of the Black Legislative Caucus, Prince George’s County Council Speaker Calvin Hawkins, and Baltimore City Council Speaker Nick Mosby.

Andrew B. Reiter