Carroll delegates happy with 2017 legislative session

The 2017 General Assembly legislative session ended Tuesday at midnight, leaving members of the local delegation happy with the way things ended in Annapolis.

State Sen. Justin Ready, R-District 5, called the session a win for Carroll County, highlighting the funding the delegation was able to secure for the county's school system.


"This is probably the most successful, I know it's the most successful session we've had in over a decade," Ready said.

The delegation was able to get funding for Carroll County Public Schools and Carroll Community College, as well as approximately $1.6 million for the Carroll County Public Safety Training Center, which is used by law enforcement and first responders for training, Ready said in a press release.

"Carroll County, this year, was a big winner," Ready said.

Del. Susan Krebs, R-District 5, helped sponsor the bill that provided the funding for CCPS. The bill will provide $1.6 million for schools this year, with a projected $1.4 million and $1.6 million for the following years, Krebs said.

The bill was meant to help adjust for declining enrollment. The additional funding allows school systems in counties like Carroll, which are facing budget issues due to enrollment, to adjust for less money, she said.

The school funding was also a highlight of the session for Dels. Haven Shoemaker, R-District 5, and April Rose, R-District 5. Krebs, Ready and Rose also highlighted additional funding for the community college as a win during the session.

Krebs said the community college will likely see approximately $430,000 in additional operating money.

Rose said she also was happy that there will be funding for the state's Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-Tech, program.

Rose also sponsored a bill that would have made learning a computer language fulfill the language requirement in high school. While the bill ultimately failed, the committee that handled the bill said it was something they would look into further, she said.

One of the defeated bills that was celebrated by Ready, Rose and Shoemaker was the "sanctuary state" bill that would have restricted the ability for law enforcement to communicate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

But while that bill failed, Ready said there was an atmosphere of bashing Republican President Donald Trump and Gov. Larry Hogan during the session by Democrat-controlled legislature.

"The disappointment of this session, I think, was the partisan tone," Ready said.

Rose was disappointed that the General Assembly passed a bill that allowed the Maryland attorney general to sue the federal government. Of the bills she disliked, that one irritated her the most, she said.

Like Ready, Rose said she noticed the Democrats seems to be more focused on national policy and Trump, which made the session interesting.


"There was a lot of what I call 'Trump derangement,'" she said.

For Rose, the session ended on an exciting note as well, she said. The session had about seven minutes to close when the house floor attempted to discuss a medical marijuana bill. The Republicans demanded a roll call and, through the measure, were able to run out the clock on the bill, Rose said.

The fight for the medical cannabis bill did not die with the 2017 session, however. The Legislative Black Caucus is calling for a special session to address the bill, which legislators say will look at the lack of diversity in the medical marijuana business.

"So that was a pretty wild ending to an interesting session," she said.