May 20, 2018
Politics & Opinion
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This Year’s Legislation Affecting Pasadena

Bryan Simonaire
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January 23, 2018

The 2018 legislative session looks to be a contentious and partisan spectacle during this election year; however, I am committed to put aside the partisan posturing and work to help the people of Maryland.

Reduce Taxes

First and highly important is that we work with Governor Larry Hogan to pass legislation to lower Maryland taxes. This is imperative as the tax reductions in Washington, D.C., actually will have the opposite effect on the high-taxed state of Maryland. Without any action on our part, Marylanders will now pay hundreds of millions of dollars extra in taxes this upcoming year.

I am confident that we will successfully revise our tax code so Marylanders are not penalized with higher taxes!

As far as some of my legislation that I am proposing this year, the bills can be grouped into these categories: helping our military/veterans, election integrity and local issues. I am working on other bills, but this will give you a good idea of the type of legislation I am championing.

Veterans

Veteran suicides have become a huge issue in our state, and we have relied on the federal government to provide data on this issue. The latest data shows that 100 Maryland veterans commit suicide annually. It is hard to track if we are making progress with our new initiatives since the federal government data is three to four years old. Therefore, I am submitting legislation to locally collect and report veteran suicide information in Maryland. This data will be available yearly.

On another note, the Maryland Veterans Service Animal Program requires a few tweaks after its implementation last year. I am happy to report that we raised more than $10,000 last fall and are hoping this year to help several veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and associated suicide.

I am also enhancing the program I instituted to provide free hunting and fishing licenses to nonprofits that are helping wounded military members through donations. This legislation will add a provision to include a donation to the program when purchasing the license online. This will facilitate donations, and more wounded military members will be served.

The last veterans bill deals with helping surviving spouses of veterans. My legislation will allow these surviving spouses to have a designation placed on their driver’s license as veterans do. This will allow them to access many military family discounts easily, but more importantly, it will allow their information to be given to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The department will be able to communicate the benefits and services available for spouses of deceased veterans and update them on any new information.

Election Integrity

I have several bills dealing with an audit that showed the State Board of Elections was susceptible to wide-scale voter fraud and the potential of invalidating legitimate voters due to someone else’s fraudulent actions. I have proposed requiring more identifying information for those requesting absentee ballots online and protecting voters when someone fraudulently uses their name to vote.

My other election bills deal with the growing cybersecurity issues surrounding the computerization of our elections, along with providing more accountability and transparency of our chief election officer.

Local Issues

Pasadena has been hit hard, as other parts of Maryland, with hit-and-run cases that have cut short too many lives. Three years ago, I introduced and passed a Yellow Alert notification program to help get these dangerous people off the roads. Unfortunately, a lack of training, dissemination of information and use of social media has limited the progress of the program. Therefore, this year I will alter the program to require training, the use of social media and other features to quickly get the information out to the public when a hit-and-run case occurs. It is a tragic situation that needs our immediate action.

The last legislation deals with providing local capital projects to improve our quality of life. There have been several requests for projects and I have submitted them to the General Assembly. We are waiting to have public hearings on the merits of the projects and prioritize them.

If you are interested in providing a letter of support for one or more of these initiatives, or if you have questions about the details, call my office at 410-841-3658.


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