Day 47 – COVID-19

This afternoon, Governor Hogan announced several measures intended to address the Coronavirus outbreak.  You can read about these actions in this press release from the Governor’s Office: https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/03/12/governor-hogan-announces-major-actions-to-protect-public-health-limit-spread-of-covid-19-pandemic/.

Today, Senator Bailey welcomed students from St. Mary’s County to Annapolis.  A group from the St. Mary’s County Association of Student Councils visited the State House to attend a Senate floor session and visit with Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford.  The Senator was also able to speak with the students, who were from Margaret Brent Middle School, Leonardtown High School, and Chopticon High School, to discuss issues being considered during the 2020 Legislative Session.

Senator Bailey also had his final Senate bill hearing of the 2020 Session.  Senate Bill 1061 – St. Mary’s County – Transfer Tax – Sunset Extension, was requested by the St. Mary’s County Board of Commissioners and extends the sunset date for St. Mary’s County’s transfer tax.  Under current law, the transfer tax will sunset on July 1, 2020.  Senate Bill 1061 would extend that date to October 1, 2024.  Failure to extend this sunset would cost the county in excess of $6 million in revenue that currently goes to the County’s annual capital improvement program.

Also today, the Operating Budget passed the Senate unanimously.  The General Assembly is obligated by the Maryland State Constitution each year to pass a balanced budget.  The budget passed by the Senate limits growth in spending to 0.6% and produces a structural surplus.  It also does not reduce funding for the University System of Maryland at Southern Maryland as was proposed during the session and opposed by Senator Bailey.  The Senator was proud to vote for this fiscally responsible budget.

The Kirwan legislation is also moving forward in the Senate.  The bill passed out of committee last night with significant amendments that improve the bill.  There will continue to be discussions on this legislation before it receives a final Senate vote.