Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Gail Bates Legislative Update

Posted by David Keelan on Thursday, February 8, 2007

Greetings from Annapolis,

The 2007 Legislative Session continues to start slowly. Friday, February 9 is the House Bill Introduction Date, after which bills must go to the Rules Committee before being introduced. We should see a number of bills filed next week, although to-date we only have about 700 bills filed in House and Senate.

This week has been historic with the Governor’s State of the State address to the legislature and the quadrennial election of the State Treasurer by the Legislature. Both took place in Joint sessions of the Legislature with the Senate, other Constitutional Officers, Local Officials and special guests gathering in the House Chamber. For the State of the State, a Town Crier, dressed in Colonial costume ceremoniously announced the arrival of the Senate, Lt. Governor and Governor. The formality is impressive and reminds us that we are part of a lengthy history.

The Howard County Delegation continues to work on local legislation, with amendments being drafted for several bills. In addition, we will be holding a public hearing in Ellicott City on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 7pm in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building. The first part of the hearing will be for the following 5 late filed local bills:

Ho. Co. 16-07 – Howard County Board of Elections – Membership and Compensation

(increasing from 3 to 5 members)

Ho. Co. 17-07 Howard County – Collective Bargaining – Deputy Sheriffs

(Granting Collective Bargaining rights to certain deputy sheriffs)

Ho. Co. 18-07 Workers’ Compensation – Permanent Partial Disability – Howard County Deputy Sheriffs

(enhances workers’ compensation benefits)

Ho. Co. Howard County – Alcoholic Beverages – Beer Tasting

(allows beer tasting)

Ho. Co. 20-07 Howard County – Creation of a State Debt – Norbel School

($250,000 bond bill)

In addition, the public is invited to comment on any legislation or issues before the General Assembly. If you cannot be present, you can contact us by e-mail or snail mail to give your testimony.

I will be sponsoring three pieces of legislation this session. One expands the opportunity for local governments to provide property tax relief for homeowners 65-70 years old if they enacted local legislation to do the same for homeowners 70 or older. The other tax bill will allow portability of the homestead tax deduction (the 5% cap in Howard County) if they sell their homes and move to another residence within the County.

My other bill will allow drivers to identify up to three individuals to be notified if there is a traffic accident involving the driver. This has personal meaning for me, as my cousin’s son died in a traffic accident. Because he was married and his wife, who is considered next of kin, was also involved in the accident and taken to shock trauma, the parents were not officially notified. In his memory, the bill is named Andrew’s Law.

Just to let you know, my seatmate in District 9A, Delegate Warren Miller, will also be starting an e-newsletter to keep constituents informed of happenings in his Committee and the legislature. If you are interested in receiving these e-updates, please e-mail him at warren.miller@house.state.md.us

In addition, District 9A will be holding its annual Open House in Annapolis on Monday, February 19th, from 6 PM to 8 PM. Please save the date and look for an official e-invite next week!

Serving you in Annapolis,

Gail Bates

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2 Responses to “Gail Bates Legislative Update”

  1. Pamela Sabatiuk said

    I recently became aware of HB 448. I am a sole practitioner massage therapist and am writing to oppose this bill. Massage therapy is a health care service that most people pay out of pocket for. No other health care service is taxed so I feel that this would be an unjust tax. Also it would significantly impact my business negatively if I had to raise my rates to add a tax and then do the admin. work to pay the tax. Please do not pass this bill. Pamela Sabatiuk

  2. Pamela Sabatiuk said

    I am a massage therapist, a sole practitioner writing to oppose HB 448. Massage therapy is a health care service and I feel a sales tax would be an unjust tax and put an unnecessary burden on therapists and their clients. I feel this would negatively impact my business if I had to raise my rates to charge a tax and then admin. the payment of it. Thank you for your consideration. Pamela Sabatiuk

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