Vote Rebecca Smondrowski for District 2 Board of Education

Today I was proud to vote for my friend, Rebecca Smondrowski, for the Montgomery County Board of Education. She was first elected in 2012 and has proved to be a tremendous asset to our public school system and Montgomery County in general. She is a tireless public servant and one of the most accessible and responsive elected officials I have ever worked with. Before seeking office she was deeply involved in the PTA and understands the needs of our students first hand. She has a child who is an MCPS student and another who is an MCPS graduate. As a parent with a child in MCPS myself, and another who starts next year, this is very important to me. Please join me in casting a vote for Rebecca Smondrowski!

I don’t usual make appeals like this, but I am concerned about this election. Rebecca’s opponent, Brandon Rippeon, unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for Congress in District 6 in 2012, and has been endorsed by the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee in this race. Mr. Rippeon does not have children or a background in education, supports school choice instead of children attending their local schools, and has inexplicable policy proposals such as making the study of Latin a mandatory requirement for all students. Rebecca Smondrowski is doing an excellent job and is vested in our school system. Let’s keep Rebecca on board!

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee does not endorse in non-partisan elections, so this puts my friend Rebecca at a disadvantage. Our school board is nonpartisan and should remain that way, but the Republican Party has decided to weigh in and make it partisan. Let’s make sure that we keep the school board working for everyone instead of creating a foothold for the GOP’s right-wing agenda for Montgomery County.

Visit http://www.rebeccaonboard.org/ to learn more about Rebecca, and why our students and schools need to keep her on the board of education. Thanks for your time, and happy voting!

Sincerely,

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Join Chairman Kumar Barve on November 15th at Growler’s Brew Pub for a Reception in Support of Delegate Shane Robinson

Friends,

It’s that time of year again for my annual celebration at Growler’s Brew Pub. Please save the date for Tuesday, November 15th!

I am proud to represent District 39 and Montgomery County. I hope I can count on your support as we continue our mission for sustainability in our environment and our communities.

To R.S.V.P, or for more information, please contact Justin Garcia at (410) 547-8884 or justin@martinlauer.com.

Click here to contribute.

Click here for a printable invitation.

Sincerely,
Shane Robinson
Montgomery County House Delegation Chair

11-15-16 event invitation

Cownose Rays in Trouble

Every year, schools of cownose rays enter the Chesapeake Bay around the month of May, and pay a visit to our waterways for the purpose of mCownose Rayating and giving birth to pups. This is an especially vulnerable time for this species as they are characterized by late maturity (an average of 7 years), 11 month gestation periods, and only single pup births. Alarmingly, in recent years the cow nose ray has been scapegoated for low oyster populations and several fishing and bow hunting competitions have begun in the Chesapeake in order to decrease their numbers. Even though oysters are sometimes consumed by cow nose rays, they are not a significant food source.

Male and female cownose rays are indistinguishable at the water’s surface so there is no way for bowfishers to tell which they are targeting. Many pregnant females are killed, each essentially resulting in the loss of two members of this slow-to-reproduce species.. The rays are impaled, beaten, and thrown into a pile to suffocate. Later their bodies are dumped back into the water.

I encourage you to join the effort to stop these bowfishing contests. Click HERE for a link to a petition asking Governor Hogan and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to protect the rays. Please join the urgent effort to stop this cruel and ecologically reckless animal abuse.

Sincerely,

Shane

1. http://www.chesapeakebay.noaa.gov/fisheries-hot-topics/cownose-rays-what-effect-are-they-having
2. http://www.chesapeakebay.net/channel_files/23141/cnr_workshop_report_final_1-29-16.pdf
3. http://fishfeel.org/wp-content/uploads/DNRCalledOn_StopImminentBrutalAttacksonCownoseRays2.pdf
4. http://fishfeel.org/wp-content/uploads/FishFeel-Shark_lettertoDNR.pdf

Johns Hopkins University Ends Live Animal Use In Surgical Training

     “Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine announced Wednesday that it has abandoned the use of live pigs to train students, joining all but one other U.S. medical school in forgoing a practice that’s long been criticized by animal rights activists who consider it unnecessary in the age of computer simulation.” -Baltimore Sun, Wednesday May 18, 2016 (click Here for a link to the article)

Recently, the Baltimore Sun reported that Johns Hopkins Medical School would discontinue its use of live animals in surgical training. This news not only struck a chord with me as an advocate for animal rights, but also as a legislator, who has taken on this very issue in the General Assembly. Although, as a medical school, there are few in our country that measure up to the excellent training provided by Johns Hopkins, in this one area, they have lagged behind.

As of this year, they were one of only two schools in the entire country which were continuing to use live animals (specifically pigs) in this way. Every other institution opting, instead, to switch to more sophisticated simulators in their training. In the past two legislative sessions, I proposed bills to help end this practice at Hopkins. Although, these bills did not pass, they proved successful in bringing this issue to public attention, and applying the necessary pressure to affect the change.

While advocating for these bills this past session, I was strongly encouraged by many constituents who wrote to my office in support of this legislation. I would like to thank them now, as well as Senator Currie who cross filed this bill in the Senate, and organizations such as the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the Humane Society, the ASPCA, and Maryland Votes for Animals. It was our combined efforts that helped end this practice. I am also grateful to Johns Hopkins for taking this opportunity to update an antiquated method of training in favor of a more modern, and humane technique. Johns Hopkins remains the best medical school in the world, and now it will be even better.

Sincerely,
Shane

Vote for Chris Van Hollen for Senate on Tuesday

As you know, I’m supporting Chris Van Hollen in his bid to replace Sen. Barbara Mikulski who is retiring, because Chris wants to do something, not be something. I hope you are too! He has been an unquestionably effective Congressman and will continue to get things done as Maryland’s next Senator. The Washington Post called him “A talented successor for Maryland’s Barbara Mikulski,” and he has been endorsed by leading progressive activists, organizations, and elected officials throughout the state.

I urge you to vote this Tuesday, April 26th and vote Chris Van Hollen for Senate. Click this link to find out where you vote here in Montgomery County. Polls are open 7am – 8pm.

This election is close, and your vote will matter. Please be sure to vote and join me in voting Chris Van Hollen for Senate.

Sincerely,

Shane

Join Us on December 15th!

Dear Friends,

I wanted to remind you about my upcoming reception on the evening of Tuesday, December 15th at Growler’s in Gaithersburg.

This legislative session it was my privilege to work for Montgomery County as House Delegation Chair. With your ongoing support, I will continue working hard for District 39 and all of Montgomery County.

I hope you’ll be able to join me on December 15th.

To RSVP or for questions, please contact Katherine at (410) 547-8884 orkatherine@martinlauer.com. You can also contribute online here.

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely,

Shane

Montgomery County Delegation Announces 2015 Session Accomplishments for the County

The Montgomery County Delegation

The Montgomery County Delegation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 14, 2015

ANNAPOLIS – The 32-member Montgomery County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly today announced its 2015 legislative accomplishments for Montgomery County.

Differences over how to reconcile the State’s operating budget dominated conversations during the 90 Day session, with some spending programs level funded and others reduced or eliminated to help create a balanced budget. Overall, State aid directed to Montgomery County will increase by about $14 million, from $715 million to $729 million. Nearly all of this increase is attributed to mandated State funding to support the costs of delivering public K-12 education services in the County’s growing school system.

An additional $17.7 million would have been included in these numbers had the Legislature’s plan to restore full funding for the Geographic Cost of Index (GCEI) been realized before the Session adjourned. The GCEI was included as part of the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act which was enacted in 2002 to help offset the costs of providing education services in higher cost subdivisions. The GCEI is a critical source of funds for the County’s school system, which struggles to keep up with burgeoning enrollment growth and shifting student demographics. If the Governor does not restore full funding for the GCEI this year, legislation passed in the closing hours of the Session will mandate full funding for the program in future years.

On the capital side, the State Delegation obtained passage of a targeted supplemental public school construction grant program that directs additional State capital funds to high growth subdivisions and those utilizing significant numbers of portable classrooms. Based on that criteria and the Delegation’s successful advocacy of advancing funding for the program, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) will be able to access about $6 million in
additional State capital funds this year and into the future. Although final public school construction allocations will not be finalized before May, the Delegation hopes that MCPS will receive at least $46 million this year to help address its critical school capacity issues.

In addition to this major win for the County, the Delegation secured funding for every capital project included on the County’s 2015 Session Priorities list. State capital funds were appropriated for two County libraries, several hospitals located in the County, the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, the Music Center at Strathmore, Montgomery College, the Universities at Shady Grove, the Montgomery County Pre-Release Center, and the Avery Road Treatment Center. The Delegation also directed $2.3 million in State capital grant funding for smaller community projects that support the arts, recreation, and social services.

On the economic development front, a package of bills codifying recommendations of the Maryland Economic Development and Business Climate Commission (“Augustine Commission”) was strongly supported by House and Senate Leadership and the Montgomery County Delegation. These proposals are all geared toward spurring additional economic growth throughout the State while capitalizing on existing assets. One of Maryland’s greatest assets is its high quality public higher education system. Both the operating and capital budgets reflect significant State investment to ensure that our colleges remain affordable, on the cutting edge, and have the physical plants to meet demands.

The State Legislature also took up several tax issues that are important to Montgomery County. Language was included in the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act to help local governments and the State in the event the U.S. Supreme Court rules against the State in Wynne v. Comptroller. While taxpayers will receive their refunds as soon as returns are processed, the reimbursement to the State for the local share of taxes will be spread over three years. In addition, the language clarifies that moving forward, the State tax liability must be exhausted before credits are taken against county and municipal income taxes.

Also, a State income tax break for retired military personnel (including the Public Health Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Coast and Geodetic Survey) was doubled for military retirees over the age of 65. Eligible retirees will be able to subtract an additional $5,000 when determining their taxable income.

Turning to health and human services issues, efforts were made to restore cuts that would hurt vulnerable residents and impair the County Department of Health and Human Services’ ability to provide safety net services. Unfortunately, the Session ended without these funds being secured. The Governor could make appropriations to restore funding for core public health, heroin outpatient treatment, community first choice waiver, adult daycare centers, and maternity benefits and family planning. Additional appropriations could be made to the Developmental
Disabilities Administration for crisis resolution services, provider rates, and contracts for community services.

The General Assembly tackled a number of high-profile issues in the public safety arena. Increasing the public’s trust between police departments and Maryland communities was of paramount importance in the adoption of legislation on law enforcement officers’ use of bodyworn cameras (BWC) as well as changes to existing state law on asset forfeiture procedures. Well-structured BWC programs have been shown to have a positive effect on the overall number of use-of-force incidents by police, reduced complaints of officer misconduct, decreased lawsuits, better documentation of crime scenes, and overall improved relations between police and civilians.

Responding to recent unfavorable national news reports on asset forfeiture programs, the Delegation worked to approve several changes to State law on seizure and forfeiture of property in connection with drug-related crimes and other criminal activity. Law enforcement agencies will be subjected to additional reporting requirements that affirm the value of the program’s use against criminal enterprises while addressing potential police abuse of asset forfeiture laws by increasing transparency in the level of seizure and forfeiture activity in the State.

On human trafficking, the Delegation continued to press for legislation that protects the victims of this coercive and violent criminal activity. A measure was adopted to establish a workgroup to study safe harbor policies for youth victims of human trafficking. Public and private sector programs will be evaluated to reveal gaps in services, and data will be collected on the number of youth victims in each jurisdiction in the State. In addition, the Delegation advocated for successful legislation to assert an affirmative defense of duress if the individual committed a
criminal act as a result of being a human trafficking victim.

Improving transportation options and relieving congestion in the D.C. region are always front and center issues for the Montgomery Delegation. This year, the Delegation successfully worked toward the adoption of a bill requiring MDOT to study the utilization of bus, rail and subway systems under WMATA’s jurisdiction every five years. Funding for Maryland’s portion of WMATA is the State’s responsibility and understanding capacity and growth issues is
essential.

This year the Legislature addressed ridesharing operations, such as Uber and Lyft. There will now be clear authority for ridesharing operations to be conducted in Maryland, with oversight provided by the Public Service Commission. The legislation clarifies new rules that will apply addressing insurance, background checks, and other requirements for ridesharing operations.

Several high profile environmental issues also dominated the attention of Delegation members serving on the General Assembly’s environmental committees this year. The controversial stormwater charge mandate that was imposed in 2012 was removed by the General Assembly. In exchange, the legislation increases reporting requirements and strengthens accountability to ensure compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for stormwater remediation.

For several years, opponents to the contentious natural gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing have sought a ban. Voicing continued concern about potential risks to the environment, several Delegation members co-sponsored successful legislation to prevent permits for fracking until October 1, 2017.

The Delegation supported legislation to increase the annual percentage requirements for solar resources to help meet the State’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard. Despite these efforts, the General Assembly did not increase the requirements this year. The bill did serve to spur awareness and conversation on this emerging issue.

The 2015 Session opened with over 60 new legislators — five of whom were elected from Montgomery County — and a new governor. The accomplishments and work conducted in this first year of the term will likely lay the groundwork for the remaining three years.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Melanie Wenger, 240-888-0308 (Montgomery County Office of Intergovernmental Relations)

Sara Hartman, 301-858-3018 (Montgomery County Delegation Administrator)

Montgomery County Delegation website: www.montgomerycountydelegation.com

Montgomery County’s Priorities for the 2015 Session

As the Chair of the Montgomery County House Delegation, Montgomery County’s Priorities are my priorities. Below is a list of the County’s priorities. You can also find them on the Montgomery County Office of Intergovernmental Relations website.

Montgomery County’s Priorities for the 2015 Session

  1. Public School Construction
    Montgomery County continues to seek supplementary funding from the State to address critical capacity needs across the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). Today’s enrollment of 154,230 is expected to grow to more than 165,300 by 2020. Between 2007 and
    2020, enrollment will have increased by more than 27,600 – more growth than that of Anne Arundel, Howard, Frederick, and Baltimore Counties combined. This enrollment growth, coupled with maintenance needs in older schools, is placing enormous pressures on MCPS
    facilities. Montgomery County continues to provide substantial financial support for its school construction program; but, it cannot keep pace. In order to break the logjam of projects, the State needs to provide the County with a steady source of funds over and above
    the amounts it has traditionally allocated for MCPS school construction projects. (See Attachment 1 for listing of MCPS projects).
  2. Transportation
    The State must be a full partner in investing in Montgomery County’s transportation infrastructure to create transportation capacity necessary for reducing congestion and supporting job creation objectives. The Purple Line and Corridor Cities Transitway remain at the top of the County’s long list of priority transportation projects. (See Attachment 2 for listing of transportation priorities).
  3. Montgomery County Businesses
    Montgomery County must establish an active partnership with the State to unlock the County’s potential as a leader in biotech, cybersecurity, and health IT supported by a diverse economic base, state-of-the-art transit and digital networks, a ready and able workforce, and a business-friendly regulatory and tax climate.
  4. Health Care
    Because the State actively embraced the Affordable Care Act, 55,000 residents of Montgomery County that were previously uninsured now have access to quality health and behavioral health services. The County is also working on improving health access, building networks, and being innovative. The State must continue to support full implementation of the law in order for the County to maintain this momentum.
  5. Other Capital Projects
    • Libraries – $1.5 million to help underwrite the costs of capital maintenance projects at Aspen Hill (Rockville), Davis (Bethesda), and Little Falls (Bethesda)
    • National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence – $2 million to complete renovations
    • Music Center at Strathmore – $833,000 to help underwrite capital improvement costs
    • Avery Road Treatment Center – $140,000 to complete the planning phase for full replacement of this substance abuse treatment and detox facility serving suburban Maryland counties
    • Montgomery College, Germantown Campus – $15.4 million to renovate the Science and Applied Studies building
    • Universities at Shady Grove – $6 million to complete design of the Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Educational Facility. The $20 million parking garage funded by Montgomery County to help support the new facility is under construction.

2014 Annapolis Report

Hard copies of  the 2014 Annapolis Report will be mailed to voters shortly. In the meantime, you can read the electronic version here.

End of Session Letter

Dear Neighbor,

I write to you from Annapolis, following the close of the 2014 Legislative session; proud of the work the State Legislature has accomplished this year. We increased the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour; banned discrimination based on gender identity; passed a balanced budget that maintains essential public services; decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana; and continued to work on cleaning up one of Maryland’s greatest assets and treasures—the Chesapeake Bay. Indeed, it has been a productive session.

 Here are a few of our accomplishments this year:

  • SB 212 – Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014
    Currently, it is illegal to discriminate in public accommodations, labor and employment, and housing on the basis of race, sex, age, creed, color, religion, national origin, marital status, disability, and sexual orientation. This bill, which has been the law in Montgomery County for several years already, simply adds gender identity to the list. The passage of this bill was very important for the advancement of civil rights and I was proud to vote in favor of it.

  • HB 297 – Prekindergarten Expansion Act of 2014
    This bill is the beginning of what I hope will become a universal Pre-K program for all Marylanders. While only $4.3 million was allocated, it will provide grants for 1,600 students and is a good foundation for future expansion of the program.

  • HB 296 – Natural Resources – Wildlands – Designation of New Wildlands
    On the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act which was signed into law by President Johnson, Maryland has decided to expand its own wildlands by over 20,000 acres. I was proud to be the second sponsor of this important piece of legislation.

  • SB 364 – Criminal Law – Possession of Marijuana – Civil Offense
    Assuming that Governor O’Malley signs SB 364 into law, then beginning on October 1, 2014 possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana will no longer be considered a criminal offense, but instead a civil penalty. This will ensure that many nonviolent offenders will stay out of prison and not have their lives ruined by simply possessing marijuana in small amounts. Please keep in mind that possession of any amount of marijuana will remain illegal.

  • HB 295 – Maryland Minimum Wage Act of 2014
    Maryland’s minimum wage will increase incrementally to $10.10 per hour by 2018. While I would have preferred that we link Maryland’s minimum wage to the state’s living wage (currently $13.20 in Montgomery County), this bill is certainly an improvement over the current rate of $7.25.

  • HB 73 – Civil Actions – Personal Injury or Death Caused by a Dog – Rebuttable Presumption
    This bill is important because it removes landlord liability and breed specific standards for dogs, but it makes each owner strictly liable for their dogs. Many of you wrote to me on this issue and I welcome your thoughts on the legislation that we ultimately passed.

 Several of my bills were also successful, including two bills that will help the Chesapeake Bay Trust continue to support projects that benefit the health of the Bay, as well as a bill that will help improve the air quality in relocatable classrooms.

This legislative session was the fourth session in what has been a very successful term for the people of Maryland. Over the course of the last three years we have passed marriage equality; abolished the death penalty; passed the Dream Act; tightened our gun control laws; improved access to voting; implemented a medical marijuana pilot program; increased funding for developmental disabilities; implemented a program to deal with stormwater pollution; incentivized the construction of a major offshore wind energy project; and promoted smarter local planning and zoning policies to curb pollution into the Chesapeake Bay and coastal waterways.

In looking at our State’s recent accomplishments I can’t help but remain especially honored to be a Maryland delegate.

Sincerely,

sig

 

 

P.S. – Please continue to contact me in the interim with any ideas, concerns, or issues you may have: Shane.Robinson@house.state.md.us; (301)-337-7284.

P.P.S. – The Primary Election is earlier this year than in most years. This year the Primary Election is Tuesday, June 24th.

By Authority: Friends of Shane Robinson; Mary Robinson, Treasurer.