Public Policy Committee
The Maryland General Assembly is in full swing. Important legislation is being considered and will need our attention.
Shall we meet once a week, perhaps on Saturdays, to review legislation that will be heard during the next week.
On Thursdays, a list of committee hearings is published. That may be a good day to travel to
Annapolisto pick up the list as well as visit elected officials about certain issues.
The Pubic Policy Committee should review issues presented to the General Assembly and write or present position papers when feasible.
Monday nights are also a good time to visit elected officials to meet, greet and present issues.
I am thinking that once a week, positions and statements should be written and placed on the GBBCC website.
It is important that more people be recruited to follow legislation, develop testimony and papers to be presented and find experts or highly knowledgeable people to research bills and testify before committees.
Please review the plans and let me know how you would like to be involved.
Chair, Public Policy Committee
Alcohol-tax advocates roll out supporters, including wine store owner
By Ann Marimow
Advocates for increasing the state's alcohol tax are turning up the pressure on lawmakers in Annapolis this week. On Monday, the coalition behind the "dime a drink" proposal got the backing of the owner of a popular Baltimore wine store. And hundreds of mental health advocates from Montgomery and Prince George's counties will descend on the capital to rally for the tax increase on Tuesday.
David Wells, who owns the Wine Source in Baltimore, said at a news conference Monday that he is "confident that this increase will not hurt my business." He added: "It is time for our industry to do its fair share to reduce the deaths and societal problems caused by the misuse of our product."
Maryland's alcohol tax -- among the lowest in the nation -- has not been raised on beer or wine since 1972; the excise tax on spirits was last raised in 1955. More than 70 lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors to legislation that would raise an estimated $215 million to help pay for health programs.
To Vinny DeMarco, left, president of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative, Wells's endorsement undermines the argument from the alcohol industry that the proposal "would be bad for the economy or jobs."
"The discussion has changed from whether there is going to be an alcohol tax increase to how much of an increase," DeMarco said.
On the key House Ways and Means Committee, for instance, nine members have signed on to the bill. At least three others, according to DeMarco, have said they support raising the alcohol tax, though not necessarily the plan to dedicate the revenue to health programs.
The measure faces opposition from the powerful alcohol industry and in the Senate. Even before the session began last month, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), who has pushed for an increase in the gas tax, called the magnitude of the dime-a-drink plan "insanity personified."
The budget blueprint Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) released last month does not raise taxes. But the governor has said that everyone should keep an "open mind" about ways to close the state's budget shortfall.
2013 General Session
The following legislative priorities passed in the 2013 general session:
Chapters 66/67 Senate Bill 400/House Bill 496)
No Representation without Population Act
This bill will require that incarcerated individuals should be counted at the last known residence before incarceration instead of the location of their incarceration for the decennial census.
Chapter 229 (Senate Bill 130)
Procurement-Minority Business Enterprise-Reciprocal Certification
This bill requires the Board of Public Works to adopt regulations to recognize and accommodate minority business enterprises that receive certification from the U.S. Small Business Administration or a county government in the state of Maryland.
Chapter 231 (Senate Bill 131)
State Procurement- Minority Business Enterprise-Electronic Certification Process
This bill requires the Board of Public Works to adopt regulations to include provisions that will allow a business seeking certification as a minority business enterprise to complete the application through an electronic process.
Chapter 309 (Senate Bill 523)
Credit Card Blacklisting Prevention Act
This bill prohibits a person from including or enforcing a provision of a consumer credit contract that will trigger a default, an acceleration of payment, an increase of interest rate or reduce the credit rate, without written permission from the consumer.
Chapter 398 (House Bill 209)
General Obligation Bonds for Capital Projects-Required Reports
This bill requires any hospital or institution of higher education that receives at least $500,000 to complete a capital project to submit a report to the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs regarding the extent to which any part of the funds will be used with a minority-owned business.
Chapter 514 (Senate Bill 2/House Bill 222)
Task force on Minority Business Enterprise Program and Equity Investment Capital
This bill establishes a Task Force on the Minority Business Enterprise Program and Equity Investment Capital to review the State’s economic development strategies and the extent to which those strategies encourage investment in MBEs.
(Legislators in the State of Maryland)
Thursday, January 17th in Annapolis from :00p.m. to :00 p.m.
6 Bladen Street, Rm 000
Annapolis, MD 21401
ALL ARE INVITED!!!