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The 2019 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly is now in its final month in Annapolis. These final weeks will be the busiest as legislators like myself are spending hours in both committee and on the Senate or House floors debating and voting on hundreds of bills from mundane to higher profile.

Some of the bigger issues left outstanding are dealing with the future of K-12 Education funding and the findings of the “Kirwan Commission.”

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Kirwan lays out a vast array of policy prescriptions to modernize and supply more funding to our education system — although I am seeing more piling on of regulations and mandates on local systems as opposed to wholesale reforms. Unfortunately, the commission is asking the General Assembly and Governor Hogan to make huge down-payments on new funding — without identifying funding sources or new formulas for how funding will be allocated.

Updating the funding formula and models was the main job that the Kirwan Commission was tasked with over two years ago but they still have not supplied that information.

I want to have a school system that puts our children on the right path to success but have a lot of concerns that this is going to be used to try to dramatically raise taxes on hard-working Marylanders — who, even after some positive tax and fee relief under Gov. Hogan, are still suffering under the seventh-highest combined tax burden in the country.

We have the resources to properly and fairly fund a nimble, versatile education system — it’s a question of setting realistic priorities.

Moving to my legislative priorities, I’ve written before about Laura & Reid’s Law, legislation I’m proposing to allow for prosecution when someone knowingly murders a fetus before viability (24 weeks gestation).

As it stands, 34 states in the country, including California, have fetal homicide laws that protect pregnant women and their offspring. We are working on amendments to the legislation to enhance the penalties issued for assaults on pregnant women; which, tragically, has become a major problem in our state. This bill is all about justice for victims of violent crime and their families.

We have also seen a significant amount of legislation that is aimed at further and dramatically restricting the rights of law abiding gun owners in the name of “gun safety.”

The bills propose making it harder for law-abiding citizens to purchase hunting rifles (which are statistically almost never used in crimes).

I’m very thankful to be serving as your State Senator. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me anytime.

The writer is a State Senator representing District 5 – Carroll County.

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