Republican Solutions in Annapolis
Republican House Caucus: Legislative Package
Ann Guthrie Hingston
Republicans in the Maryland General Assembly face a new Democrat Governor and super majorities in the House and Senate. Nevertheless, they are busy promoting a legislative package that provides credible legislative solutions to the problems Marylanders are experiencing with rising crime, failing education, housing and economic competitiveness.
In the State Senate of 47 members, the Republican caucus of 13 Senators is led by Minority Leader Steve Hershey (D36: Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Kent & Cecil Counties) and Minority Whip Justin Ready (D5: Carroll & Frederick Counties).
Republicans in the Maryland House are led by Minority Leader Jason C. Buckel (D1B: Allegany County) and House Minority Whip Jesse T. Pippy (D4: Frederick County). Their caucus is comprised of 39 Republicans in a chamber of 141 members. Recently they announced the following legislative package:
Crime: Safety of citizens is fundamental and Marylanders can only succeed if they feel safe from violent criminals and those who endanger our communities. Violent crime is on the rise in nearly every community in Maryland. Some legislation introduced by Republicans are:
No Bail for Violent Offenders Act of 2023 (HB 736) to prohibit bail for an individual charged with a crime of violence if the individual has pending charges for a prior crime of violence.
Juvenile Gun Offenses Accountability Act of 2023 (HB 753) to close some dangerous loopholes in our legal system that endanger our children and communities. The bill will allow the appropriate prosecution of juveniles under 13 who commit gun crimes.
Gun Theft Felony Act (HB 750) to make theft of a firearm a felony with For years the Republican Caucus has tried to close this loophole in Maryland law despite Maryland having some of the most restrictive gun laws in the United States.
Education: Every year, Maryland makes historic investments in education, but still there are children trapped in failing schools that cannot meet their needs. Republicans have introduced legislation to help them.
Right to Learn Act of 2023 (HB 737) to provide families with alternative opportunities to get the education they need. The bill codifies the BOOST scholarship program that allows low-income students to attend approved private and parochial schools across the state. The bill also establishes Education Savings Accounts for families with children trapped in failing schools.
School Safety Enhancement Act (HB 738) will double local funding for school resource officers so children can learn in a safe environment.
The Truancy Reduction Act (HB739) which will count students four times a year ensuring that schools are appropriately funded based on actual enrollment. Students need to be present in their classrooms to learn, and school funding is tied to enrollment. Currently, students are only counted once a year for enrollment purposes and, too often, students who are present on the first day of school eventually stop showing up. This bill will help schools identify and locate missing students so they are not “left behind.”
State’s Economy: Maryland’s economy must grow in order to provide the employment opportunities and revenue we need to best serve our citizens. Government must help, not hinder, business and economic growth. Maryland currently ranks 46th in the nation in terms of its business tax burden. We also have one of the highest corporate tax rates in our region and it must change if Maryland is to improve our regional economic competitiveness.
The Economic Competitiveness Act of 2023 (HB 741) will reduce Maryland’s corporate income tax rate over the next five years.
Military Pension Tax Freedom Act (HB 767) takes an important step in this process by eliminating income tax on all military pensions. To retain our retirees we must lessen their tax burden.
Affordable Housing Act of 2023 (HB 766) will eliminate the state’s transfer tax on home purchases of $350,000 and under, saving lower and middle-income homebuyers up to $1,750. We must also eliminate some of the barriers to homeownership by removing unnecessary taxes and fees.
Affordable Emissions Standards Act of 2023 (HB 487) would decouple Maryland from California’s vehicle emissions standards which bans the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles in a few years. This standard is a truly radical and foolish idea. Our environmental regulations should be more tailored to Maryland’s needs and not based on the adoption of policies from California – a state more than ten times our size and nearly 3,000 miles away.
The General Assembly is in session only until April 9. We urge you to join with us in supporting these and other important bills. To locate your State representatives: https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Members/District If you are able to do more, please contact us.
Ann Guthrie Hingston is a Member of the Montgomery County Maryland Republican Central Committee and the Chair of Republicans in Legislative District 16. She can be reached at [email protected]