Showing posts with label Delegate Mike McDermott. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Delegate Mike McDermott. Show all posts

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Delegate McDermott Proposes Several Business-Friendly Bills”

Delegate McDermott Proposes Several Business-Friendly Bills for the 2014 Legislative Session

“Delegate McDermott Proposes Several Business-Friendly Bills”

ANNAPOLIS – Four bills proposed during the 2014 legislative session by Delegate Mike McDermott (R-Worcester & Wicomico) will create a more business-friendly environment for the state of Maryland. Delegate McDermott, who represents the Lower Eastern Shore, is sponsoring several legislative bills aimed at making Maryland work for business.

 “Maryland desperately needs legislation that will make it a more business friendly state.  Our current business environment does not allow it to adequately compete with our neighboring states,” Delegate McDermott said of his proposed bills. “These laws will help out not only big business, but also small business owners, contractors, electricians and the like.  We need to change the way we think about business in Maryland.”
McDermott’s “Truth in Permitting” bill restructures the way in which local government responds to proposed building and electrical permits. The current system in place doesn’t require the permit review board to specify why a particular permit was rejected, nor does it require the permit review board to review a permit within a “reasonable amount of time.” Delegate McDermott’s proposal will change this process and require the board to indicate exactly what is wrong with the proposed permit within a reasonable amount of time.
“There is a poor system in place today that often fails to tell a contractor what is wrong with their permit,” Delegate McDermott said. “This faulty process results in a back and forth between contractors and architects trying to identify the problem which is often omitted by those reviewing the permit. This adds to the time and money it takes business owners to have their permits approved often resulting in months of lost time.”
Additionally, House Bill 199, or the “Corporate Income Tax-Rate Reduction” bill, will reduce the corporate tax-rate from the current 8.25% to a lower 6%, helping corporations statewide. The reduction will give corporations in Maryland more breathing room, allowing them to operate more freely. It would provide a competitive response to surrounding states with lower rates and incentives.
Likewise, House Bill 26 will require agencies who are submitting regulations to also submit a fiscal impact statement. Currently, when an agency submits a regulation for review they do not have to assess the fiscal impact of that regulation.  The bill will make sure that before any regulations are passed, lawmakers and Marylanders alike have a chance at analyzing how the regulation will impact the economy as well as the state’s budget. The impact of this bill is far reaching and will affect farmers and other businesses across Maryland.
Delegate McDermott’s fourth bill aimed at aiding business will alter the penalty process presently regulated by the Department of Labor and Licensing Regulations (“DLLR”). Currently, the DLLR penalizes small businesses for “non-serious violations” without first giving them a warning. Delegate McDermott’s bill, though, will make sure that a warning is first given for non-serious violations before the DLLR can fine the business owner.
“Maryland needs to be a more business-friendly state and it can start with this legislative year,” Delegate McDermott said. “We have a real opportunity here to do what’s right, to compete with our neighboring states, and to make Maryland a more prosperous, inviting state in which to do business.”

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Field Notes ~ By Delegate Mike McDermott

Field Notes

Observations and Reflections on Legislative Activities
By Delegate Mike McDermott
Week 1: Jan. 7-10, 2014
Tuesday-Joint Republican Caucus Hearing
Republican Senators and Delegates heard overviews on several of the issues that we will need to address in the coming months. We heard from Travis Brown, the author of “How Money Walks”. He provided insight into how money and people are moving from state to state. Maryland is one of the states that are losing people and money at an alarming rate.

Al Redmer provided information on the problems associated with Maryland-Obamacare roll out and other issues that are causing folks to be without health insurance or unable to afford what is being offered. The situation in Maryland is a real mess and there is talk of closing down the program and turning people over to the federal government program which only further confuses folks.

Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation and Dr. Jack Smith from the Maryland Dept. of Education presented two differing sides on the Common Core rollout in our schools. This change of standards has caused quite a stir and left many with unanswered questions. I questioned Dr. Smith on a couple of items: Why was the program not phased in beginning with First Grade instead of requiring wholesale change even for those preparing to graduate? Why would Maryland (which lauds being “First” in the country in education) choose to move away from local controls which have been so effective in the past? Why should we adopt a program that gives partial credit on tests for wrong answers?
Dr. Smith’s answers: He does not know why the program was not phased in…this is the way it was presented (i.e.…if Maryland liberals want the money they have to dance for their supper). He feels adopting the new standards will keep us progressive in our education. Perhaps most interesting was his response to the kids receiving partial credit for wrong answers: He believes it is acceptable to give credit where a student has tried and showed some work product even if the final outcome was in error. To which I replied: “Doc, I do not want to drive over a Bay Bridge built by an engineer who got partial credit for a wrong math answer…how about you?”
We received an update from MACO President Rick Pollitt (Wicomico Executive) on Local and Regional Transportation Funding. Local governments continue to feel the pain of missing Transportation Funds that the state has failed to restore. Pollitt advised us how the group was looking for greater flexibility in local taxing authority as one means of covering these lost revenue. We agreed that the local tax burden for many counties was already maxed out and the citizens could not afford another back door tax to replace taxes they already pay for road projects. It is a grim picture, and, as I have stated many times, it represents a new normal for local government when it comes to returns of tax money from the state so long as these same folks are running the General Assembly and the Governor’s Mansion.
Congressman Andy Harris provided an update on federal activities and responded to several questions that were asked. Many focused on Obamacare and federal spending.
Wednesday-Opening of 2014 Session:
Opening Day begins at noon and is generally scripted ceremony along the lines of a spaghetti western. This year was slightly modified since the Republican Caucus decided to nominate Minority Leader Nick Kipke for Speaker of the House. Of course, the nomination was defeated on a voice vote. Following a scripted process, Busch was elected to continue as the Speaker of the House. No one could recall the last time the minority party nominated one of their own for the Speaker’s position.
Here is a list of my pre filed bills. Some have already been assigned hearing dates in January.
A curious side note occurred: Mayor Carl Anderton of Delmar, who is also the President of the Maryland Municipal League, was in attendance along with folks like Executive Rick Pollitt, who is President of the Maryland Association of Counties. It is common for elected guests such as Pollitt and Anderton to be allowed a special seat on the floor of the House during the Opening Day ceremonies. While Executive Pollitt had a seat, Anderton was told there was no seat available for him on the floor. There were well over 10-seats available. It made many of us ponder if there was any connection between this slight and the Mayor’s candidacy for the Delegate seat currently held by Norm Conway. If so, it would be an incredibly petty act on the part of leadership.
Thursday Morning Session:
No much to report. Some bills were on First Reader and assigned to committees.
Special Republican Caucus Meeting:
A meeting was called on Thursday morning to discuss the Democrat leadership plan to potentially expel Delegate Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arrundel) from the House. Dwyer explained the situation (Boating Accident/Subsequent DWI), apologized for his actions, and detailed his reclamation actions. He indicated his acceptance of the punishment outlined for him which included his expulsion from the Ways and Means Committee.
Delegate Dwyer is not the first member to ever have issues arise from drinking and driving and subsequent legal battles. There are some prominent members of the Democratic side of the House who have faced similar situations in the past.
Friday Morning Session:
Other than a few bills on First Reader, the only other action was the removal of Delegate Dwyer from his committee assignment while maintaining full House privileges. Dwyer took to the floor and apologized to the body bringing the wrong kind of attention to the House of Delegates. He also indicated his willingness to accept the actions taken by the House leadership and his committee removal. He asked for forgiveness from the membership. There were no further comments or actions requested or taken by the members.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Legislative Updates By Delegate Mike McDermott

How Not to Grow an Economy, Part 2
  • By  Delegate Mike McDermott

  • May. 14th, 2013

    When Pennies Become Dollars:
    How To Not Grow an Economy, Part 2
    When it comes to raising taxes, no one can minimize like a Maryland liberal. During the previous two regular sessions of the General Assembly, one can find unimpeachable evidence of how they sell a tax by the penny while beguiled Marylanders will pay a pound at the register. Consider these examples of their “bait and switch” mastery:
    The “Rain Tax” (HB-987) was tucked away in 2012 with an action date set for 10-counties on July 1st of this year. The lower shore local governments are not compelled to collect a Rain Tax from their people, though some jurisdictions are moving ahead with plans to do so. This tax is designed to pay for infrastructure improvements to address storm water management issues (many believe that this is what they pay Property Taxes for in the first place). This tax is being “marketed” as being only $20 to $50 per homeowner annually as they are assigned a flat rate no matter the size or scope of their property. The same rates do not apply for business property.

    Commercial properties, hospitals, churches, schools, etc. will be required to pay a tax rate based upon the square footage of impervious surface which they have on their respective properties. Sidewalks, driveways, and rooftops all count in figuring how much the owner, corporation, or congregation must pay. Suffice it to say, there will be no $20 bills for these properties. In fact, some of these commercial properties with their significant parking lots could easily find themselves paying in the $15,000 range and up. Just imagine the bill for a mall property!  What do you suppose a business owner or corporation with a tight bottom line  is going to do about paying this new tax? They will have little choice but to pass it on to their customers through higher costs at the register…yet they tell us it will “only cost a homeowner $20 per year!” That 20 bucks is the least of our worries.

    How about those “green” wind turbines off our coast? (SB-275)  Well, those same folks claim the new Electricity Tax will cost you less than “$2.00 per month”. What a deal! What they do not tell you is the Electricity Tax for business and commercial properties is going to be significant and will be in proportion to the amount of electricity utilized. It is so significant; the poultry growers were able to lobby hard to be exempted from most of this new burden, but not so for every other business entity in the state.

    Supermarkets are big consumers of electricity as are retail stores. Who is going to pay for the added expense that these business entities will be forced to absorb to pay for this boondoggle? It will be those same folks who were told, “You will pay less than $2.00 per month on your bill”. The folks that propose this nonsense appear to have zero conception of how a business actually operates, or perhaps they believe our business community is flush with cash and will simply take it out of their marginal profits. Well how about local government? Schools, government buildings, street lights, all will be subjected to these higher rates resulting in a direct pass through to the taxpayer. How’s that “$2.00” sounding now?
    These are the same people who just handed you a perpetual gasoline tax (HB-1515) which will increase like clockwork every July 1st and be forever linked to the consumer price index (CPI). So, when the cost of everything else goes up in your hard working life, the price of your misery at the pump will rise in proportion to the pain you experience everywhere else in your budget.  Don’t worry, if the CPI ever drops, the same legislators rejected any amendments to make the tax decrease in like manner. They also rejected the idea of some type of cap on this tax.
    Keeping this in perspective and doing the math, if they had established this same tax in 1992 linked to the CPI, Marylanders would be paying over $10.00 per gallon to fill their tanks. This adjustment would have been bad enough, but they have also added a new Sales Tax to the cost of fuel which will be phased in over the next four years. The net result will be an 80% increase in the Gasoline Taxes (currently at 24.5 cents per gallon).  Of course, this was sold to the public as “mere pennies” at the pump.
    So, what about the fact that 90% of the goods utilized on the Eastern Shore are trucked in overland? The cost of shipping goods always comes with the fuel cost factored into the overall price.

    Again I ask you, is there anyone who thinks that we will not be paying for increased cost of folks doing business with every purchase we make at a register? All of those “mere pennies” quickly add up to real dollars.
    As the government draws more money out of the economy through these new taxes and fees, taxpayers/consumers find themselves with fewer discretionary dollars. This always results in fewer dollars being put back into our local economy and every point of commerce suffers. When business slows, expansion is put on hold. When business suffers loss, people lose jobs.
    I am not sure where the disconnect lies with legislators who see nothing wrong with this tax and spend approach at governing, but I am quite sure the public is fully able to connect the dots. I was recently at a meeting of local business owners and entrepreneurs when a senator told them that what they could “conceive…the government would help them achieve”.  Sadly this was repeated so there was little doubt where he was coming from in his thoughts regarding the purpose and scope of government.
    The American dream is the recognition that if you can conceive an idea or a concept, your freedom and liberty will allow you to achieve it through personal dedication and the sweat of your own brow.  Liberty is the mortar that binds Conceiving and Achieving together. When our dreams become dependent upon the government to fulfill, we extinguish liberties flame and, along with it, the American Dream.


    Sunday, April 14, 2013

    Tuesday, March 5, 2013

    Legislative Updates By Delegate Mike McDermott

    Week 8 Field Notes Feb.25-Mar. 1, 2013
  • Observations and Reflections on Legislative Activities

  • Mar. 4th, 2013

    Week 8 Feb. 25-Mar. 1, 2013
    Monday Afternoon Hearing in Economic Matters:
    I presented
    HB-999 to the members of the Economic Matters Committee. The bill seeks some minor modifications of current liquor control laws governing only Worcester County and was requested by the Board of License Commissioners and the Worcester County Commissioners.Tuesday Judiciary Hearings:
    HB-698 would create a study of the feasibility for Ex-Offenders to be provided business development programs to promote entrepreneurships of the former inmates. Last year the bill required investing in the businesses of the former inmates, and this year it only seeks to study the issue.HB-909 would allow for the venue of a homicide scene to be the location where the body or parts of a body were recovered in instances where the establishment of a crime scene cannot be determined.HB-777 would allow Defendant Cash-Only Bail Bonds to be made by a private surety as opposed to only being made by the defendant.HB-933 would keep somebody charged with Human Trafficking saying, as a defense, that they did not know the age of the victim in the case.HB-943 would alter the crime of abducting a child under 16 years of age for the purposes of prostitution from a misdemeanor to a felony with a 10-20 year service. After reviewing the bill, it would seem better to simply eliminate this charge as a misdemeanor and simply allow a defendant to be charged with the general charge of Kidnapping which carries a 20-year sentence.HB-541 would allow for the state to issue a Certificate of Rehabilitation to an Ex-Offender who has successfully completed various established programs. The Certificate would provide a tangible way for our Division of Corrections to assert that an offender has been rehabilitated. It is thought that this may help former inmates become employable in many instances where before they were viewed with great skepticism.HB-787 would require a person be charged with Reckless Endangerment as a specific charge but it could not be considered a lesser charge for another offense unless specifically charged.HB-921 allows for victims of crimes to be provided a portion of the money earned by an inmate who is earning money while incarcerated.HB-1188 increases the age covered by the Human Trafficking statute from 18 to 21 years of age. It is believed this would aid in the prosecution of these crimes.HB-1112 would create a process for the release of an individual from custody for a person convicted but found Criminally Responsible. It would put the decision back before the Trial judge before a final disposition is rendered and a person released.HB-742 seeks to correct last year’s Citation bill which failed to capture a couple of misdemeanor charges which previously could be written via citation but now are not on the list. This bill corrects that omission.HB-891 would include Anne Arundel County to the list of counties who enhance penalties around the drug hot spot areas around a school zone.HB-1056 seeks to require sensitivity and awareness training for law enforcement personnel in Maryland to recognize the victims of human trafficking.HB-1018 seeks to create a task force to study the use of debt collectors through the office of a prosecutor to address “bad check” diversion programs. Some State’s Attorneys are utilizing these private services to assist in the collection of bad debts. The complaint was that this avoids due process.
    HB-1228 would create a commission to study the disproportionate justice impact on minorities.HB-887 would create a Search Warrant to obtain cell phone tracking information (commonly called “pinging” a location). The new technology is forcing law enforcement and the courts to examine the mechanism utilized when securing things such as cell phone records and locations. There would be an exemption for exigent circumstances where law enforcement needs to act with great speed.HB-854 would allow for the expungement of records for those persons who have been found “not criminally responsible” when the crimes are not of a violent nature. There may be some room for relief in these cases. I mentioned shielding of the records as opposed to expungement and this may be a starting point.HB-829 would require the Dept. of Corrections to adopt specific policies whereby pregnant detainees would not be shackled while they are receiving medical care relative to their pregnancy or while giving childbirth. We heard from witnesses how some of the procedures utilized by corrections staff have been overdone when it comes to securing an inmate under these circumstances. This needs to be weighed out between the issues surrounding public safety under these conditions and the bill appears to make these types of provisions.
    Wednesday Meeting of Gun Bill Work Group:
    We reviewed the amendments which had been applied to SB-281. Some represent significant modifications to the bill. The biggest changes are to the licensure process for the Handgun Qualification License which was amended to a 4 hour course at a cost of $50.00 (which does not include the cost of fingerprinting and background investigation). The Senate also added an additional feature requirement in order for a rifle to be considered an “Assault Weapon”.  They also altered the language to state that if a firearm was purchased in Maryland it would be considered to have been "registered" by the owner at the time of purchase. I will be reviewing the amendments and seeking to add additional changes and modifications to the bill as it moves through the House Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks.

    Wednesday Judiciary Committee Hearings:
    HB-626 would provide for increases in the salaries of the Register of Wills across the state. This is a standard review practice that adjusts wages on a periodic basis and would take effect in 2014.HB-942 seeks to tighten up the regulations governing medical records being protected from identity fraud.HB-658 would require the Register of Wills in every jurisdiction to submit a report to the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate JPR Committee. Since the issue is centered on one form, it seemed to have been worked out in the committee during deliberations.HB-1211 this is known as “Slayer’s Statute” and would prevent someone who murders another person from being able to profit from anything tied to those actions. We see this in cases involving the murder of one family member over another who may have been the person named in an estate. The idea that someone could profit in Maryland from the murder of another person is ludicrous, but we will need to pass this bill if it is to be the law in Maryland.HB-950 provides for increases in the salaries of the Clerk of Court positions across the state.  This is a standard review practice that adjusts wages on a periodic basis and would take effect in 2014.HB-837 would provide for the awarding of attorney’s fees and expenses in cases involving family farms when they prevail in suits filed for violations of environmental regulations impacting any waterway.HB-858 would modify the current Administration Law governing Estates and Trusts and the Inheritance Tax.
    Judiciary Committee Voting Session:
    Bills voted “Favorable” by the committee-
    HB-60, HB-152, HB-183, HB-250, HB-264, HB-278, HB-282,HB-311, HB-430,HB-476, HB-709, HB-719
    Thursday Morning Session:Bills Passed on Third Reader
    Of the bills passed this morning, one contains another Electric Tax/Fee that will be seen in every Maryland Consumers bill each month to continue funding the Environmental Trust Fund and various program areas. Once again, this was a “Sunset Bill” whose time had come and , of course, we renewed this tax on Marylanders without fail. These fees and taxes which the democrats often hide in plain sight are often sold to the body as being less onerous due to a “Sunset Provision” which promises to end the fee or tax collection at a date certain in the future. Sadly, the sun never sets on a tax or fee once instigated in Maryland. The same was true today with passage of HB-385.
    Thursday Judiciary Hearings:HB853 addresses Permanent Final Protective Orders and expands some of the provisions under such an Order when a 2nd Degree Assault charge is the subject of the Order.HB-792 allows the Washington County Sheriff to collect Child Support payments for inmates who are working while incarcerated. This is already allowed in many counties in Maryland and this would add Washington County to the list.HB-849 requires a different calculation for parents paying Child Support when multiple children are involved.HB-1099 seeks to craft legislative language to address reproductive rights when conception involves collaborative reproduction. It attempts to address intended parents versus the gestational rights of a surrogate in case there is a dispute.HB-715 addresses the issues surrounding the termination of parental rights in cases of rape.HB-1006 would create the ability to “shield” public access to certain non-violent misdemeanor criminal records from general public viewing. If it could be amended to require a 5-year span be applied before shielding could occur and some modifications can be made to the delineated crimes, this could be made to work.
    Friday Morning Session:
    Third Reader Bills Passed
    The House received several of the surviving members of the original Buffalo Soldiers, the 92nd Infantry Army Division composed of all black soldiers who distinguished themselves on numerous occasions and battlefields during WWII. It was an honor to see them on the floor of the House.
    Friday Joint Hearing of Judiciary and HGO Committees on Governor’s Gun Bill:
    The hearing concluded at close to 4:00 am on Saturday morning following nearly 16-hours of non-stop testimony. 1342 signed up to speak against the Governor’s Gun Control Bill while only 34 spoke up in favor of the bill.
    I wrote an update about 8-hours into the hearing not realizing I had just hit the halfway marker. There were some great points made during the hearing and we will be putting them together for distribution this week. In spite of the overwhelming presence on display against the bill, and the paltry number who showed up in support, many have their minds set and the road ahead is bound to be full of many disappointments for liberty minded Marylanders.