Saturday, May 11, 2013

TIME MACHINE ... This Sunday's Preview

1913.. Grand Jury's action brings conclusion to case in the mysterious death of a young Salisbury office worker; 1990.. State funds approved for new Beretta plant in Pocomoke City; 1941.. Hundreds of Eastern Shore farm families experience delay in obtaining electricity; 1930.. Passengers escape burning bus at Pocomoke City stop; 1885.. An unexpected arrival.

Although you may not find these items in a history book, they are a part of our local history and you can read more about it this Sunday right here at The Pocomoke Public Eye! 

Do you have a local memory to share with PPE readers.. such as a big snow storm, a favorite school teacher, a local happening, something of interest your parents or grandparents told you about? It can be just a line or two, or more if you wish. Send to and watch for it on a future TIME MACHINE posting! 

"Drums On The Pocomoke" ~ May 18th and 19th

20th Annual "Drums on the Pocomoke"
  Pocomoke Cypress Park
Pocomoke City, Maryland

 Saturday, May 18

Sunday, May 19, 2013
The park opens to the public at 10:00 am and closes at 5:00 pm each day with the
 Grand Entry at noon.
More information to be posted soon!

Statewide Gun Turn-In Day Is TODAY

Pocomoke City, MD - The Pocomoke City Police Department is partnering with Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler in the inaugural statewide gun turn-in day to provide residents an opportunity to safely dispose of unwanted firearms.

 Officers from the Pocomoke City Police Department will be on hand at the
Pocomoke City Police Department
 1500 Market Street
Pocomoke City, Maryland
8:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Saturday, May 11, 2013
to accept handguns, rifles and shotguns for safe disposal.
No personal identification is required and no advance appointment is necessary.
Any type of firearm will be accepted and it need not be in working order. Individuals turning in guns should transport and handle them safely, making sure they are unloaded, and follow any instructions given by the law enforcement officer upon arrival at the gun turn-in location.
Once surrendered, the firearm will/may e processed through law enforcement databases to determine if it has been reported stolen or flagged as being a firearm used in the commission of a crime.



APPRECIATION WEEKEND ! At The Delmarva Discovery Center

Friday, May 10, 2013

Current Member of the Baltimore City Police Dept. and Wife Arrested For Prostitution and Human Trafficking


(Linthicum, MD) - The Maryland State Police Child Recovery Unit arrested a 31 year-old man and a 19-year old woman from Baltimore last night on criminal charges including prostitution and human trafficking.

The accused are identified as Lamin Manneh, 31, and Marissa Braun, 19, both of the 2400 block of Marbourne Avenue in Baltimore. After consultation with the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney, Manneh was charged with human trafficking and prostitution. Braun was charged with one count of prostitution.

Both individuals were processed at the Glen Burnie Barrack and transported to the District Court Commissioner in Glen Burnie for an initial appearance.

Yesterday, the Maryland State Police Child Recovery Unit was working their normal pro-active child prostitution/human trafficking operation. They located a young looking female posting on an internet “escort” website.  

Members of the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, working in conjunction with the Child Recovery Unit, arranged to meet the female in a Baltimore area hotel where Braun was subsequently identified. After Braun was in police custody, it was revealed she had been working for her alleged husband, Manneh. Police located Manneh in the parking lot of the same hotel. Manneh was interviewed by police and subsequently placed under arrest. 

During the initial encounter with Manneh, police learned he was a current member of the Baltimore City Police Department. Manneh will be suspended without pay and subject to an internal affairs investigation by the Baltimore City Police Department.

The Child Recovery Unit working this operation is comprised of Maryland State Police, an FBI Special Agent and a Baltimore County Detective. Troopers from the Glen Burnie Barrack also assisted at the scene.

The Maryland State Police Child Recovery Unit works in conjunction with the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force. The Child Exploitation Task Force is comprised of police agencies from around the state. Its primary mission is to identify and locate child victims of Human Trafficking. The Task Force works cooperatively with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and non governmental agencies to provide resources to combat these crimes. Additionally, the Task Force works to educate law enforcement and the public to recognize the signs of human trafficking violations.

Maryland State Police

Boston Bombing Suspect Buried In Virginia

DOSWELL, Va. (WAVY) - Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body has been interred at a Muslim cemetery in Doswell, according to the Boston Globe.

The Boston Globe says Tsarnaev’s remains are at Al-Barzakh Cemetery in Doswell.

"The burial was coordinated by a Virginia woman who saw news reports about the protest outside the Worcester funeral home, where it had languished for nearly a week, and decided to help," the Globe is reporting. "She said [Friday] that she had reached out to the Islamic Society of Greater Richmond and asked if they could help facilitate the burial. The society then secured a burial plot in the cemetery and coordinated the body’s transfer Wednesday night."


Maryland Governor Wants To 'Root Out Corruption' and Tackle Gangs Behind Bars

Governor wants to 'root out corruption' and tackle gangs behind bars; Republicans say outside look is needed...

Gov. Martin O'Malley said Thursday that he would expand the use of technology to block cell phone calls in Maryland corrections facilities, part of a set of reforms designed to "root out corruption" after a federal indictment alleged widespread gang activity at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

O'Malley also called for a review of whether enhanced workplace protections for corrections officers helped dishonest workers stay on the job, and said polygraph tests would continue to be administered to jail employees.

The announcement came as state Republican leaders criticized his response to the alleged corruption and called for an independent audit of jails and prisons.

The statements continued a political back-and-forth that has followed the indictment of 13 officers and a dozen alleged Black Guerrilla Family gang members in a scheme to smuggle drugs, cellphones and other contraband into the jail, a state-run facility.

"We have zero tolerance for corruption," O'Malley said in a statement. "When members of murder networks are behind bars, the public has every right to expect that they will be prevented from committing further crimes."

It was the Democratic governor's most substantive response to the federal indictment, which has become a potentially embarrassing national story at a time when O'Malley is considering a presidential run.

House Republicans in Annapolis said O'Malley had missed opportunities to act before the scandal broke and has been slow to move after the allegations became public. He initially called the indictment "a positive development" that showed that law enforcement could tackle corruption.

Del. Nicholaus R. Kipke, the newly elected House minority leader, said he's glad to see the governor taking action now.

"We're glad that he's stepping up and we urge him to take personal responsibility as the chief executive of this state to reform corrections, and he will find bipartisan support among members of the legislature to fix this problem," the Anne Arundel County Republican said.

Also Thursday, two inmates charged in the case appeared in court and pleaded not guilty.

Second Graders Suspended for Pretending Pencils Were Guns

Suspension prompts hundreds of calls to school

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - The chairman of the Suffolk school board supports revisiting the weapons policy, after two second graders were suspended for pretending pencils were guns last week.

Christopher Marshall, 7, of Suffolk was suspended Friday for violating the school weapons policy. The student he was playing with, also a 7-year-old boy, was also suspended for two days. 
"I was happy to be back," said Wendy Marshall, as he arrived home Wednesday, his first day back to school.

And, while he seemed to be in good spirits, Christopher's mother, Wendy Marshall, says the night before he was worried sick.

"He said he was a little nervous," said Wendy Marshall. "His stomach was hurting and my husband and I reassured him, 'You have nothing to worry about. You did nothing wrong. You're not in trouble.'"

The discipline referral states he and another student pointed their pencils at each other and made gun noises. When he was home Monday, Christopher showed cameras exactly what he did, saying he was pretending to be a Marine, like his father.

"A pencil is a weapon when it is pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made," said Bethanne Bradshaw, a spokesperson for Suffolk Public Schools.

School officials are standing their ground, despite hundreds of emails and calls to their offices.

Bradshaw says the phone rang 75 times every hour on Tuesday, the day after first aired Christopher's story. Almost every caller was critical of Christopher's suspension.
"The community support has been marvelous," said Wendy Marshall. "I want to thank everyone."

While the suspension has changed how Christopher will act at school, Wendy Marshall says, at home, he can still be a kid.

"We're still going to play guns and hang out in the backyard," she said. "We're still going to have our Nerf wars and do everything we did before."

The weapons "look alike" policy will be on the school board agenda Thursday. At least two school board members - the chairman and vice chairman - want to revisit it the policy. It only takes four votes to make that happen. 


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Female Suspect Arrested For Early Morning Stabbing In Ocean City

OCPD Arrest Female Suspect for Early Morning Stabbing

On May 9, 2013, at approximately 3:50 a.m. Ocean City Police and Paramedics responded to 508 Robin Drive, in reference to a stabbing.
Officers arrived at the scene and located the victim, who had obvious injuries to her neck and shoulders.  In addition, officers located the suspect in Unit #35.

During the investigation police learned the victim, whose name is not being released, and the suspect who has been identified as:  Sharon Lee Ward, 47, of Ocean City, became involved in an argument. 

During the argument and struggle, Ward attacked the victim with a kitchen knife stabbing her multiple times in the neck.  The victim was able to flee the unit and with the assistance of neighbors, contacted the police.

The victim was treated by Ocean City Fire Department paramedics for stab wounds to the neck. The victim was transported to Peninsula Regional Medical Center for treatment. Ward was treated for minor injuries and transported to Atlantic General Hospital where she was later released to the OCPD.

During the investigation police learned the victim and the suspect were living together and that there was a Maryland Court Final Domestic Protective Order prohibiting Ward from having any contact with the victim.

Police have recovered the weapon believed to be used in the attack at the crime scene.  Ward was arrested and taken to the Ocean City Public Safety Building and has been charged with:
  • 1st Degree Assault
  • 2nd Degree Assault
  • Weapon Openly with The Intent to Injure
  • Reckless Endangerment
  • Violation of a Protective Order
At the time of this release Ward is being held by the OCPD awaiting an initial appearance before a Maryland District Court Commissioner.

Ocean City Police Department

Two More Suspects Arrested and Charged In April 11 Stabbing In OC

Christopher Alexander Jones
OCPD Has Charged Two Additional Suspects Related to Stabbing from April 11

This week Ocean City Police Detectives have charged two additional suspects related to a stabbing incident that occurred on April 11, 2013, at 28th Street and Coastal Highway.

Darian La Mar Waters

The primary suspect previously identified as Brandon Maurice Hudson had been charged with 1st and 2ndDegree Assault.  During the investigation police identified two other suspects involved in the incident as: Christopher Alexander Jones, 38, of Salisbury, Maryland and Darian La Mar Waters, 25, of Snow Hill, Maryland.

Jones has been charged with 2 counts of 2nd degree assault and Waters has been charged with 1 count  of 2nd  degree assault .

Brandon Maurice Hudsom
previously arrested

The two suspects will appear at a later date in Ocean City District Court in reference to these new charges.

Ocean City Police Department

Hogan Blasts Brown in Eastern Shore Speech

Hogan Blasts Brown in Eastern Shore Speech

Speaking to Kent County Republicans, at a packed room in Chestertown last night, Change Maryland Chairman Larry Hogan directly took aim at  Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, who is announcing his candidacy for governor tomorrow.

“The O’Malley-Brown Administration has a failed record of lost businesses, lost jobs, higher spending, record tax increases and broken promises,” Hogan said.  “After a 30% increase in spending and 40 consecutive O’Malley-Brown tax increases, struggling Maryland families and small businesses simply cannot afford another four years of O’Malley- Brown, tax and spend policies.”  

The O’Malley-Brown Administration has enacted the largest tax increases in state history. Yesterday Change Maryland released their latest economic impact report which detailed the 40 consecutive O’Malley-Brown tax increases passed since 2007.  The analysis in the Change Maryland study showed that these new taxes will cost a staggering cumulative total of $20 billion by the end of the next four-year term in 2018.
Brown plans to announce his candidacy for governor tomorrow. O’Malley is backing Brown as the heir apparent to the state’s top office. The Lt. Governor has stated his desire to continue the record “investments” in state government – code for continued increases in spending and taxes.

“The prospect of another four years of these policies will have a devastating effect on our state economy – increasing taxpayer exodus, and continuing the loss of businesses and jobs fleeing to other states,” said Hogan.
Over the past two years, Change Maryland and their  founder and Chairman, Larry Hogan have been frequent critics of the O’Malley-Brown economic record. Often seen as a leading voice of opposition to O’Malley's policy, they have increasingly been talking about the Lt. Governor as well, since he expressed his desire to continue his boss's political legacy.

Change Maryland is the largest and fastest growing non-partisan, grassroots movement in the state, with nearly 40,000 members. Their primary mission is to bring fiscal restraint and common sense to Annapolis. The founder and Chairman, Larry Hogan is also the founder, President and CEO of the Hogan Companies, leaders in economic development, who have been responsible for bringing hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs to Maryland. Hogan is also a former State Cabinet Secretary.


The Pocomoke City Police Department Now on Facebook

In order for the community to stay up to date on community events and special alerts the Pocomoke City Police Department has created a facebook page.

Simply go to  the   POCOMOKE CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT facebook page and click "like".

For those who follow Twitter, you can find the department there also.  @PocomokePolice

A Duty to Serve, an Honor to Protect


(BALTIMORE, MD) – The Wicomico County man who held a state trooper inside his car while he tried to flee a traffic stop has been charged in connection with the incident.

The suspect is identified as Harry F. Wyatt-Swift, 23, of Salisbury, Md. He is charged with attempted first degree murder, attempted second degree murder, first and second degree assault, second degree assault on a law enforcement officer, reckless endangerment, false imprisonment, an obstructing/hindering a police officer.

State Police Homicide Unit investigators served the warrant on Wyatt-Swift yesterday afternoon at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he is undergoing treatment for at least one gunshot wound and for injuries sustained when he subsequently ran into a utility
pole guide wire and his car overturned. A court commissioner was at the hospital and conducted an initial appearance proceeding after the warrant was served. Wyatt-Swift was ordered held without bond and remanded to the custody of the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center. 

He will remain under guard by a security detail during his hospital stay, which is expected to last at least the next several days.

Wyatt-Swift was stopped by a state trooper from the Salisbury Barrack shortly before 1:30 a.m. on May 7, 2013, near Salisbury, for speeding and suspected DUI. When he attempted to flee the stop, the trooper reached in the vehicle to get the keys. The investigation indicates Wyatt-Swift grabbed the trooper’s arm and drove off, with the trooper hanging out the driver’s side window. After repeated commands to stop were ignored, the trooper was in fear for his life and shot Wyatt-Swift. The suspect released the trooper and drove on until he struck the guide wire and overturned. 

He was taken into custody when he surrendered to police after a brief search. 

Maryland State Police

TIME MACHINE ... This Sunday's Preview.

1913.. Grand Jury's action brings conclusion to case in the mysterious death of a young Salisbury office worker; 1990.. State funds approved for new Beretta plant in Pocomoke City; 1941.. Hundreds of Eastern Shore farm families experience delay in obtaining electricity; 1930.. Passengers escape burning bus at Pocomoke City stop; 1885.. An unexpected arrival.

Although you may not find these items in a history book, they are a part of our local history and you can read more about it this Sunday right here at The Pocomoke Public Eye! 

Do you have a local memory to share with PPE readers.. such as a big snow storm, a favorite school teacher, a local happening, something of interest your parents or grandparents told you about? It can be just a line or two, or more if you wish. Send to and watch for it on a future TIME MACHINE posting! 

Northampton County Circuit Court Cases

Circuit Court of  Northampton County
Monday, May 6, 2013
The following cases were heard in Northampton County Circuit Court:
Antonio Lamont Robinson of Smyrna Delaware was sentenced to 10 years with all but 4 years suspended, drivers license suspended and supervised probation pending good behavior for 10 years. Robinson was convicted of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. It was his second offense.
Darion Baines of Painter pleaded guilty to 2 counts of malicious wounding. Sentencing was continued pending the preparation of a presentence report.
Jonathan Chase Melzer of Ash, NC pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute ecstasy; possession of bath salts with the intent to distribute; possession of psilocybin with the intent to distribute; possession with the intent to distribute LSD and possession of marijuana. The case was continued for a presentence report.
Calvin Young of Painter pleaded guilty to two counts of larceny and Joseph Lamont Hines of Birdsnest pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine. Both cases were continued pending preparation of a presentence report.

40 O’Malley-Brown Tax Hikes Will Cost $20 Billion by 2018

40 O’Malley-Brown Tax Hikes Will Cost $20 Billion by 2018

Annapolis - Change Maryland released today stunning new figures on the tax impact that is accruing to Marylander's since 2007.  In two separate reports released today, Change Maryland documents the cumulative impact to 2014 and the one projected to 2018, the latest year for which there are official government estimates.

From 2007 to 2018, Marylander's will have paid nearly $20 billion in additional taxes and fees stemming from 40 separate O’Malley-Brown increases - an amount which is over and above the tax burden as it existed before 2007 and assumes no additional levies are enacted.

"Nobody expected the total impact to be this staggering, not even me," said Change Maryland founder and Chairman Larry Hogan. "Struggling Maryland families and small businesses simply cannot afford another four years of an O'Malley-Brown tax and spend binge."

Governor Martin O'Malley is backing Lt. Governor Anthony Brown as the heir apparent to the state's top office upon the expiration of his term in 2015. The Lt. Governor has stated a need to continue record "investments" in state government - code word for increasing taxes.

"The prospect of another four years of these policies will have a devastating effect on the productive components of the economy -  increasing tax flight, continuing the small business exodus and large corporate headquarters relocating to other states," added Hogan.

Since 2007, nearly 31,000 Marylander's fled to other states, the highest in the region, 6500 small businesses have left or shut down, the second-highest in the region, and just three Fortune 500 companies remain in the state.  This is a sharp contrast to 24 large corporate headquarters in Virginia and 23 in Pennsylvania.

The cumulative tax impact from 2007 to 2014 - the eight years of the O'Malley Administration  - is $9.5 billion.  The dramatic spike of the cumulative tax burden, an over two-fold increase in four years, is due to the phasing in of the gasoline tax and related transportation levies.  Additionally, the massive sales, corporate income and sales tax increases from 2007 are recurring revenue generators that, combined with subsequent revenue measures, increase the size and scope of government beyond anything ever witnessed in Maryland history.

"This is not just an argument about big government," said Hogan.  "It's about a government that is on auto-pilot to grow exponentially, beyond anything any of us have ever seen in our lifetimes and that comes directly at the expense of the private sector economy that we desperately need to diversify our employment base."

Previously, Change Maryland released a report that updated tax and fee increases following the 2013 session, which brought the total to 37 increases that remove $3.1 billion annually over and above the existing tax burden.  These latest reports adds new fees for gun purchases, enacted in 2013, and two newly-discovered measures buried in omnibus legislation and not subject to normal legislative procedures.

Change Maryland is the largest and fastest growing citizens organization in the state, made up of nearly 40,000 people. Its tax reports are derived from official government revenue estimates.

Background (attached)

Cumulative 2007-2014
Tax Fee v.5.2.13_CUM_OM
Cumulative 2007-2018
Tax Fee v.5.2.13_CUM_OM-Brown

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pocomoke City Police Department ~ Arrest Report

Pocomoke Police Department
Arrest Report
April 1 to April 30, 2013

04-01-2013 Chad Collins, age 30 of Pocomoke was arrested on an Outstanding Warrant for Harassment and Telephone misuse.
04-04-2013 William Warfield, age 44 of Pocomoke was arrested on a Warrant for DUI, Driving Suspended and Driving without a License.
04-05-2013 Jacolby Roberts, age 22 of Pocomoke was arrested for CDS Possession – Marijuana, CDS Distribution - Marijuana, CDS Distribution on School Property.
04-05-2013 Bryan Sturgis, age 30 of Pocomoke was arrested CDS Distribution –Marijuana, CDS Possession – Marijuana, CDS Distribution on School Property and Failure to Obey.
04-06-2013 Desmond Corbin, age 34 of Pocomoke was arrested for Assault 2nd Degree.
04-08-2013 Shazella Chacaram, age 27 of Pocomoke was arrested for Theft less than $100.
04-08-2013 Terrica Copes, age 30 of Pocomoke was arrested for Theft less than $100.
04-10-2013 Robert Wise, age 23 of Pocomoke was arrested on a Warrant for Theft less than a $1,000.
04-11-2013 Ryan Hilton, age 21 of New Church, VA was arrested for CDS Possession-Marijuana.
04-12-2013 Arthur Hemmeian, age 61 of Salisbury, MD was arrested on a Warrant for Trespass.

04-13-2013 Brandon Selby, age 27 of Princess Anne, MD was arrested for Theft less than $100.
04-14-2013 Latasha Renee Blake, age 28 of Pocomoke was arrested on an Outstanding Warrant for Disorderly.

04-15-2013 Trae Rantz, age 18 of Oak Hall, VA was arrested for Theft Scheme $500 + and Malicious Destruction.
04-15-2013 Kenneth Gilfoyle, age 49 of Chincoteague, VA was arrested for Failure to Stop after an Accident.
04-19-2013 Cynthia Dawkins, age 46 of Cheriton, VA was arrested for Theft Less Than $10,000.
04-19-2013 Amanda Daisey, age 26 of Chincoteague, VA was arrested for numerous traffic violations.
04-19-2013 Gerri Fitch, age 33 of Pocomoke was arrested on an Outstanding Warrant for CDS Possession.
04-19-2013 Vincent Wood, age 75 of Cheriton, VA was arrested for Theft less than $10,000.
04-20-2013 Raneeka Lankford, age 20 of Horntown, VA was arrested for Theft less than $100.
04-24-2013 Patrick Richard, age 19 of Pocomoke was arrested for Theft less than $500.
04-25-2013 Jerrren Hinmon, age 23 of Pocomoke was arrested for Possession CDS Paraphernalia.
04-25-2013 David Lewis, age 29 of Pocomoke was arrested for Child Neglect.
04-25-2013 Tajmahal Sanders, age 26 of Pocomoke was arrested for Child Neglect.
04-26-2013 Chad Collins, age 30 of Pocomoke was arrested for CDS Possession not Marijuana.
04-27-2013 Zelaya Vilma Maraz, age 50 of Saxis, VA was arrested for Theft less than $100.
04-30-2013 Patrick Stevenson, age 41 of Snow Hill was arrested for Theft less than $100.
Twelve (12) additional arrests were made for various traffic violations.

Kelvin D. Sewell, Chief
Pocomoke City Police Department

Crabtown Cruisers ~ 19th Annual Car and Truck Show

Crabtown Cruisers
19th Annual Car and Truck Show
American Legion Post #93
2017 Bypass Road
Pocomoke City, MD.
Saturday,  May 11, 2013
1pm - 3pm

Delmarva Discovery Center ~ Appreciation Weekend

2013 Summer Camp

Convenient and affordable activities for your children during the summer months
 For more information call 410-632-2144.

Legislative Updates By Delegate Mike McDermott

May. 6th, 2013

Maryland’s Legislative Business Impact for 2013

“How Not to Grow an Economy

by Delegate Mike McDermott


As a result of the actions taken by the Maryland General Assembly during the 2013 Regular Session, we will continue to be a state that is  “unfriendly to business”. Our Corporate Tax rates remain the highest in the region and our layers of government process insure that we continue to be slow to respond and costly for business start ups.

This year we saw the passage of Off Shore Wind (SB-275) and the Electric Tax subsidy that comes with the package. It seems insignificant to talk about a monthly consumer fee of $2.00 or less, but that rate can and will rise. The additional cost of power to our business community will be much greater and will insure that we will be less competitive while our consumers foot the bill with every item they purchase along with the additional costs of local government (paid by every taxpayer). It is tragic to see the state jump through hoops to craft this type of subsidy for unproven energy while, at the same time, enact a moratorium on accessing Natural Gas deposits in Marcellus Shale. Maryland could be energy independent sporting tens of thousands of new jobs with zero tax increases or subsidies. Instead, we allow political correctness to dictate our energy policy, and, in particular, our energy portfolio. Silliness costs money and jobs.
Maryland remains at the point of the spear when it comes to the implementation of Obama Care. SB-274 was passed this year and will have a significant impact in particular on small business and our health care providers. The expansion and costs going forward are significant and should give pause to any prudent business person. I strongly encourage you to read this bill and pay particular attention to the Fiscal Impact Statement provided by the Department of Legislative Services. You will see why the vast majority of states are not moving forward with the implementation.
In another blow to business, we added a Sales Tax to gasoline (HB-1515) and established an automatic tax increase mechanism for the current Gasoline Excise Tax already in place (24.5 cents per gallon). The Sales Tax will rise every year for 4-years and the Excise Tax is linked to the Consumer Price Index and will rise every July 1st beginning this year. Mass Transit will be the big beneficiaries of this tax and local governments will continue to suffer the loss of Highway User Revenues. With the additional Toll increases going into effect at the same time, areas like the Eastern Shore, dependent upon goods being trucked in, will see these transportation costs passed onto them at the register. Everything will cost more money.
Although many of us warned people of the coming “Rain Tax” (HB-987) as passed in the 2012 Regular Session, many jurisdictions will be under the mandate as of July 1st and will be required to collect this new tax. Most residential properties will pay a flat rate through their property taxes, but Maryland businesses, churches, hospitals, etc. will be taxed based upon the amount of impervious surfaces they have on their respective property. Any surface area that obstructs water from entering the ground directly will be taxed based upon square footage in most jurisdictions (think of large warehouses and parking lots). Once again, consumers will be footing the bill.

All of these additional taxes, fees, and regulations add up to significant money for any business owner. There were also efforts to raise the Minimum Wage in our state which often results in tightening of belts and the loss of entrance level jobs. No doubt we will see those bills again in the future. The passage of the governor’s Gun Safety Act (SB-281) has essentially outlawed many firearms currently being produced in Maryland. Those manufacturers offer significant employment and most of them are in the process of relocating their companies to other states. Not only will our state not be any safer as a result of this bill’s passage, but we will now suffer the loss of tens of millions in revenue not easily replaced.

There were a few legislative efforts that are noteworthy for the potential positive outcome which may result. We also have a new Secretary of the Department of Business and Economic Development, Dominick Murray, who seems to understand the problem with the state’s position and has expressed a determination to streamline the process. One of the biggest obstacles to our business and economic growth is the failure of state agencies to work together on issues simultaneously to cut the time associated expenses companies and entrepreneurs need so desperately when they are starting or expanding an enterprise in Maryland.

As a result of many complaints I have received from business owners who have been subjected to random inspections and significant fines by the state for minor violations, I introduced HB- 104. The bill would have provided a much-needed grace period to small businesses found in violation of state regulations, giving them time to comply before being unfairly fined.  In response to the bill following the Committee Hearing in House Economic Matters, the Secretary of Labor and Licensing issued a letter establishing that his department would “only give warnings to businesses for first time offenses of minor violations of code.”  This public policy announcement is a big win for Marylanders, and I intend to hold the department to their word.
One thing you learn quickly from Annapolis is to be concerned about any “Study” or “Work Group” established by the members through legislation..  It is not uncommon for a host of regulations and other barriers to business to come from these groups.. Therefore, let me provide you with a couple of the approved “studies” that will take place over the next year upon which future legislation may be based in 2014:
SB-1068 establishes the Commission to Study the Regulation of Payroll. One of their chief missions is to determine the feasibility and cost of establishing State licensure or  registration of payroll service companies, including requiring qualifying examinations and the potential benefits of licensure or registration.
SB-916 establishing the Task Force to Study Licensing and Continuing Education Requirements for Electricians.  Their principle task will be to “review appropriate approaches for the licensure of electricians at the State and local level to protect citizens and provide for efficiency of electrical services across county lines.”

If you have an interest in these areas, please reach out to my office and we will make sure you have a good contact with an individual who will be serving on the Study Group. This is the best place to insure that you stay on top of any new proposals before they advance to proposed legislation.

There always seem to be new layers of regulations and permitting that are brought forward every year affecting various business sectors. This year was no different. Here are a couple of fields that will be impacted:
SB-280 Landscape Architects – License Renewal – Continuing Professional Competency Requirement.  This bill will adopt regulations to require a licensee to demonstrate continuing professional competency by completing a certain number of hours of professional development activities as a condition of renewal of a license to practice  landscape architecture.
HB-347 Professional Engineers – Firm Permits. This bill will alter the permitting requirements for engineering firms and creates a significant process through which future firms are to be permitted. It alters current practices of business and establishes fines for violations.

There were a couple of bills that sought to improve the business environment.
SB-273 Veterans Full Employment Act of 2013. This bill will require certain state licensing units and boards to give credit to certain former service members for relevant military training, education, and experience in connection with the issuance of certain occupational and professional licenses, certificates, and registrations. While many private organizations are working with our veterans to this end, it is good to see our state take this position as well.
SB-65 Workers’ Compensation–Claim Processing–Electronic Delivery of Decisions. This legislation will allow for certain decisions to be communicated through electronic means to the affected parties. It should speed up the process and reduce paperwork.

There are many bills which would have been problematic for business which did not pass through their assigned committee or failed in one of the two chambers. Most of them are sponsored by the Chairman of the sitting committee and that means we have probably not seen the last of them by far. If a bill is successful in one chamber, you will most likely see it again with a renewed effort in the coming session. I have provided links for a more indepth look at each piece of proposed legislation.
SB-576 Community Cleanup and Greening Act of 2013 (Bag Tax)-Chairman Bill

SB-554 Business Occupations and Professions - Private Process Service - Licensing and Certification-Chairman Bill

SB-528 Business Regulation - Shark Fin Soup - Prohibition on Sale or Consumption

SB-78 Maryland Home Improvement Commission - Guaranty Fund – Claims-Chairman Bill

SB-77 State Board of Plumbing - Continuing Professional Competency - Master Plumbers and Master Natural Gas Fitters-Chairman Bill

SB-57 State Board of Individual Tax Preparers - Prohibited Acts - Civil Penalty-Chairman Bill

SB-827 Streamlined Tax Administration Act of 2013 (Creation of a new Division of Business Regulation and Taxation within DLLR)

SB-469 Business Relief and Tax Fairness Act of 2013 (Combined Reporting)

HB-122 Commercial Law - Automotive Repair Facilities - Tire Repairs (Tire Removal)

HB-595 Workers' Compensation - Retaliation by Employer – Prohibition-Chairman Bill

SB-1062 Condominiums and Homeowners Associations - Attorney's Fees

SB-1059 Landlord and Tenant - Application Fees - Prospective Tenants Who Receive Housing Assistance

SB-179 Architects, Landscape Architects, and Professional Land Surveyors - Firm Permits-Chairman Bill

SB-794 Real Property - Regulation of Common Ownership Community Managers

SB-725 Business Regulation - Junk Dealers and Scrap Metal Processors - Holding Period for Junk and Scrap Metal

It is also important to recognize the legislators who were honored by Maryland Businesses for Responsive Government (MBRG) for outstanding contributions and consistently pro-business voting records. I was proud to be on this list for another year along with some of my colleagues on the Eastern Shore:   Receiving awards during a recent ceremony in Annapolis were Delegates Steve Hershey, R-36-Queen Anne's; Jay Jacobs, R-36-Kent; Charles Otto, R-38A, Somerset; and Del. Mike McDermott, R- 38-B Worcester. All of us received 100% ratings from the past several legislative sessions when it came to votes impacting Maryland business.
I strongly encourage you to stay informed on the various bills impacting our state in each session. I provide regular updates during the interim and my weekly “Field Notes” on activities happening during any Session of Maryland’s General Assembly. You can sign up and review any of my press releases or postings at along with receiving Twitter and Facebook updates.