2022 Legislative Session - March 12, 2022
We have wrapped up a busy week in Annapolis. This week the House of Delegates began holding Monday evening Sessions again. That puts us back into the full regular meeting schedule. We have bout 4 ½ weeks left of the 2022 Session
HB 588 Land Use – Agritourism – Definition is a great bill that resulted from the ignited interest in “returning to nature” mindset many are experiencing. People are enjoying parks and spending time outdoors. They are also looking for different and less expensive vacation options that allow them to explore nature and introduce their families to farm settings.
The bill will enable local jurisdictions to add camping to the Agritourism definition which will provide an additional source of funding for farmers, increase tourism and spending to rural areas, and introduce more people to farm life. It is really a win for everyone.
I am excited because this is my second bill to pass out of the House and head for the Senate. Both HB588 and HB195 (Marine Contractor’s License Bill) were cross-filed in the Senate and those versions have passed out of the Senate to the House of Delegates. Therefore, these two bills will only receive a vote in the Senate.
BILLS OF INTEREST
HB425 Public Safety – Untraceable Firearms passed the House yesterday (94-41) along party lines with none of the amendments proposed by Republicans adopted. The bill bans the sale of ghost guns beginning June 1, 2022 and possession of ghost guns beginning January 1, 2023.
The cross-file, SB387, passed out of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee with several changes which push back the possession deadline date, address duplications for serial numbers, require data be kept on previous unserialized guns, clarify if there is intention to possess illegal firearm, and allow for possession of anodized aluminum blocks for hobbyists.
Due to the difference in these versions, we can expect to see more changes as each bill crosses to the opposite chamber.
Discussions are underway to suspend the state’s motor vehicle gas tax for 30 days. This will save nearly 37 cents-per-gallon. I am excited for this to happen and would like to see this tax flattened. That is why I have co-sponsored Delegate Matt Morgan’s bill to repeal the gas taxes consumer price adjustment which causes the gas tax to increase yearly based on inflation, HB144.
CALVERT SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH
Calvert County Board of Education is currently searching for a new Superintendent to replace Dr. Daniel Curry, who is retiring. This week they announced the finalists in their search. Constituents have inquired about the process the Board of Education (BOE) has taken for this selection.
Since I was asked by the BOE to participate in the process as a stakeholder, I have been able to answer some of these questions and provide information on the extensive search conducted. However, I do not have answers for constituents regarding how many people applied for the position and the process used to narrow the list. My office contacted the BOE to ask these questions.
To my disbelief, the BOE indicated that information on the superintendent search would not be shared with the public. This process should be transparent to the public so that no hint of misconduct can be insinuated. This does not mean that private information should be shared about candidates, but the public should be cognizant of selection process. I urge the BOE to reconsider this decision.
Have a great weekend and don’t forget to turn your clock forward tonight!