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Senator Addie Eckardt, District 37 Weekly Wrap-Up February 7, 2020

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Senator Addie Eckardt, District 37 Weekly Wrap-Up February 7, 2020

Senator Addie Eckardt, District 37
Weekly Wrap-Up
February 7, 2020
 
This week, I had the opportunity to attend the Sister States of Maryland Reception. Thank you to all who came from our 21 partnerships in 18 countries!

State of the State
This week, Governor Hogan delivered his State of the State address with four legislative priorities. We will focus on keeping our retirees in Maryland through tax relief, addressing the violent crime in Baltimore City, accountability in education reform, and reforming our redistricting process in preparation of the 2020 Census. 

Sports Betting
Senate Bill 4: Gaming - Sports Betting was heard in the Budget and Taxation Committee. I am a member of the sports betting work group and we have examined proposals for the expansion of sports betting in Maryland.

Specifically, we have looked at allowing casinos to engage in sports betting operations. These efforts may be accompanied by mobile apps for smartphones. We have also looked at allowing sports betting at our racetracks and fairgrounds. We will continue to review the scope of sports betting operations within Maryland to ensure the most revenue. Ultimately, however, the revenues from sports gambling will be used to offset the cost of the Kirwan Commission.


Tobacco Legislation
The Budget and Taxation Committee heard Senate Bill 3, which levies a tax on cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and other smoking devices. This bill attempts to curb the use of tobacco products by our youth. Smoking and the addictiveness of nicotine have been shown to be extremely damaging to developing brains.
There are concerns that the bill may prevent access to nicotine cessation devices to those attempting to quit tobacco use. These devices are an important tool in decreasing and eliminating tobacco use.
The bill, as introduced, impacts our local cigar shops and convenient stores. We will continue to look at efforts to prevent tobacco use by minors, while supporting our local businesses. 

Budget and Taxation Committee Hearings
This week the Budget and Taxation Committee heard Governor Hogan’s retirement legislation, which eases tax burdens on our retired population.
We continue to examine the fiscal year 2021 budget and work to balance fiscal responsibility and funding the State’s most important projects. As introduced, the budget will end fiscal year 2021 with $1.2 billion in our rainy day fund. 

Grant Awards
Four projects in our area were awarded grants by the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture (MCAAHC) and the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT). These grants assist in the acquisition, construction, and improvement of sites related to African American heritage. The awards are as follows:
  • Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Cambridge ($100,000)
  • Zion United Methodist Church, Federalsburg ($100,000)
  • Asbury M.E. Church, Easton ($100,000)
  • Fruitland Community Center, Fruitland ($44,000)

Upcoming Bill Hearings
Many of the bills I introduced have been given hearing dates in the Senate. If you have any questions about a particular bill please reach out to my office or visit the General Assembly website at http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/.
  • 2/11- SB 337 Splash Pads - Lifeguards
  • 2/11- SB 495 Bay Restoration Fund – Use of Funds – Municipal Wastewater Facilities
  • 2/12- SB 387 Housing - Community Development Program Act - Funding
  • 2/13- SB 576 Health Occupations - Nurse Practitioners - Certifications of Competency and Incapacity
  • 2/18- SB 541 Mental Health - Involuntary Admissions - Procedures
  • 2/25- SB 667 Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - Municipal Electric Utilities
  • 2/25- SB 678 Natural Resources - Reclassification of Oyster Sanctuaries - Authorization
  • 2/25- SB 790 Information Technology - Communications Lines - Installation
  • 2/26- SB 788 Income Tax - Credit for Community-Based Faculty Clinicians
  • 2/28- SB 100 Dorchester County - Alcoholic Beverages - Class C Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
  • 3/4 - SB 312 Talbot County - Sunday Hunting - Deer Bow Hunting Season
  • 3/4- SB 500 Talbot County - Turkey and Deer Hunting - Sundays


from
Senator Addie Eckardt, District 37
Weekly Wrap-Up
February 7, 2020
 
This week, I had the opportunity to attend the Sister States of Maryland Reception. Thank you to all who came from our 21 partnerships in 18 countries!

State of the State
This week, Governor Hogan delivered his State of the State address with four legislative priorities. We will focus on keeping our retirees in Maryland through tax relief, addressing the violent crime in Baltimore City, accountability in education reform, and reforming our redistricting process in preparation of the 2020 Census. 

Sports Betting
Senate Bill 4: Gaming - Sports Betting was heard in the Budget and Taxation Committee. I am a member of the sports betting work group and we have examined proposals for the expansion of sports betting in Maryland.

Specifically, we have looked at allowing casinos to engage in sports betting operations. These efforts may be accompanied by mobile apps for smartphones. We have also looked at allowing sports betting at our racetracks and fairgrounds. We will continue to review the scope of sports betting operations within Maryland to ensure the most revenue. Ultimately, however, the revenues from sports gambling will be used to offset the cost of the Kirwan Commission.


Tobacco Legislation
The Budget and Taxation Committee heard Senate Bill 3, which levies a tax on cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and other smoking devices. This bill attempts to curb the use of tobacco products by our youth. Smoking and the addictiveness of nicotine have been shown to be extremely damaging to developing brains.
There are concerns that the bill may prevent access to nicotine cessation devices to those attempting to quit tobacco use. These devices are an important tool in decreasing and eliminating tobacco use.
The bill, as introduced, impacts our local cigar shops and convenient stores. We will continue to look at efforts to prevent tobacco use by minors, while supporting our local businesses. 

Budget and Taxation Committee Hearings
This week the Budget and Taxation Committee heard Governor Hogan’s retirement legislation, which eases tax burdens on our retired population.
We continue to examine the fiscal year 2021 budget and work to balance fiscal responsibility and funding the State’s most important projects. As introduced, the budget will end fiscal year 2021 with $1.2 billion in our rainy day fund. 

Grant Awards
Four projects in our area were awarded grants by the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture (MCAAHC) and the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT). These grants assist in the acquisition, construction, and improvement of sites related to African American heritage. The awards are as follows:
  • Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Cambridge ($100,000)
  • Zion United Methodist Church, Federalsburg ($100,000)
  • Asbury M.E. Church, Easton ($100,000)
  • Fruitland Community Center, Fruitland ($44,000)

Upcoming Bill Hearings
Many of the bills I introduced have been given hearing dates in the Senate. If you have any questions about a particular bill please reach out to my office or visit the General Assembly website at http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/.
  • 2/11- SB 337 Splash Pads - Lifeguards
  • 2/11- SB 495 Bay Restoration Fund – Use of Funds – Municipal Wastewater Facilities
  • 2/12- SB 387 Housing - Community Development Program Act - Funding
  • 2/13- SB 576 Health Occupations - Nurse Practitioners - Certifications of Competency and Incapacity
  • 2/18- SB 541 Mental Health - Involuntary Admissions - Procedures
  • 2/25- SB 667 Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - Municipal Electric Utilities
  • 2/25- SB 678 Natural Resources - Reclassification of Oyster Sanctuaries - Authorization
  • 2/25- SB 790 Information Technology - Communications Lines - Installation
  • 2/26- SB 788 Income Tax - Credit for Community-Based Faculty Clinicians
  • 2/28- SB 100 Dorchester County - Alcoholic Beverages - Class C Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
  • 3/4 - SB 312 Talbot County - Sunday Hunting - Deer Bow Hunting Season
  • 3/4- SB 500 Talbot County - Turkey and Deer Hunting - Sundays
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