“I want to extend my thanks and gratitude to the Montgomery County Senate and House delegation members for their extraordinary work during this year’s General Assembly session,” said County Executive Elrich. “Under the leadership of delegation chairs Senator Kramer and Delegate Korman, the efforts of the 32-member delegation resulted in $287 million of new State capital investments that will be directed to projects located within the County. This is in addition to the $1.2 billion in State aid to support Montgomery County Public Schools, our libraries and our public safety efforts. John F. Kennedy was quoted as saying, ‘The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.’ This is exactly what the Maryland General Assembly did this year with its historic State budget surpluses that were fueled by Federal spending to support the U.S. economy through the pandemic.”
Highlights of significant legislation passed that were priorities for Montgomery County:
- Climate Solutions Now Act (SB528) – Provides a wholesale change in the State’s approach to climate change by setting ambitious goals for carbon reduction and reducing emissions from transportation and buildings. It takes bold steps to correct environmental injustices and approach infrastructure from a holistic standpoint while enabling the State government to lead by example. The legislation also incorporates some of the County’s policies that are in the Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) legislation pending before the County Council
- Ban on Ghost Guns (SB387/HB425) – Thanks to the leadership of Attorney General Brian Frosh, Senator Susan Lee, Delegate Lesley Lopez, Senator Will Smith, and Delegate David Moon, the State is now leading the nation in banning ghost guns – or untraceable guns made from kits purchased online – from the State. Montgomery County has had several instances of ghost gun usage in criminal incidents. The County strongly supported this legislation
- Abortion Care Access Act (HB937) – The right to an abortion is under attack from some of the highest levels of Federal government and around the country. Montgomery County and Maryland have led the country in protecting a woman’s right to an abortion. This legislation, sponsored by Delegate Ariana Kelly, furthers access to health care providers who can safely provide women with increased options should they need access
- Family and Medical Leave (SB275) – The country lags behind the rest of the world in ensuring paid leave to take care of a newborn child, a family member dealing with an illness, an aging parent or other needs. Legislation enacted this year will put Maryland on a path that will allow employees to access paid leave insurance.
- Maryland Makerspace Initiative Program (SB453) – Makerspace programs allow for a new generation to discover a new passion, industry and career. Makerspaces allow for people to use industrial tools, including metal/welding, woodworking, digital fabrication, sewing, electronics, 3D printing and digital media, to use for all ages. The legislation will provide studio space to entrepreneurs, small businesses, nonprofits and artists. This is a valuable opportunity for Montgomery County and the funding will bring these to fruition.
- Progress on a More Just, Equitable and Progressive Policy on Cannabis (HB1 and HB837) – The war on cannabis has been a failure, and there is a need to do better in all aspects of policy—from business development to criminal justice. Passage of this legislation will enable voters to ratify the choice to legalize cannabis—which County Executive Elrich encourage all voters to do. The legislation passed will create a more equitable and fair system. Some details still need to be worked out next year, but this is a monumental step for the State.
- Expanded Right to Collective Bargaining and Protections for Prevailing Wage (HB580; HB90; HB374; SB1/HB145; SB259/HB611) – As a longtime supporter of Organized Labor, County Executive Elrich supported the legislation that expands the right to collective bargaining, expands the applicability of prevailing wage and ensures accountability for prevailing wages. Workers are at their best when they are well paid and are on equal negotiating level with management. These bills will help level the playing field
- $120 million for transportation, including funding for the County’s new bus rapid transit system (BRT), zero emissions buses, the Bethesda South Metro station entrance and a new north entrance at the White Flint Metro Station. Funding also was provided for a new bike trail and pedestrian investments. An amendment to legislation supporting new investments in sports facilities around the State will result in a multi-year commitment of State funding to support the continued development of the County’s BRT system.
- $59 million for public K-16 education. This includes several major Montgomery College projects and funding for Montgomery County Public Schools (which does not reflect any allocations from the $420 million in “Built to Learn” funds earmarked for County schools).
- $35 million for parks and playgrounds.
- $20 million for health facilities, including full funding of the County’s new Restoration Center that will provide behavioral health services for those in crisis.
- $16 million for the White Flint redevelopment project that will help support a national epicenter of computationally enabled life sciences research.