Much like the 93rd Academy Awards that aired last month, Maryland’s 2021 legislative session was horrible to watch and produced some startling results. Police “reform” legislation eliminated both the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights and immigration detention centers for illegal aliens in Maryland, and a permanent absentee-ballot voter list was created. The Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit were expanded to allow illegal immigrants to have access to these taxpayer-funded credits.
As Del. Haven Shoemaker put it in a recent column penned for the Carroll County Times, “Never in the history of the Maryland General Assembly has there been a more ultra-progressive, woke, leftist imprimatur placed on the lives and culture of Marylanders than what we just experienced in Annapolis.”
Despite all of the terrible legislation that was passed, Carroll County’s legislators were able to deliver some victories that are Oscar-worthy.
For the “Best Capital Funding” award, Carroll County’s Delegation deserves some praise for bringing home money for the following local projects: $9,463,000 for the construction of Carroll County’s new Career and Technology Center; $1,500,000 to Carroll County Government for local parks and playground improvements; $1,200,000 for an HVAC system replacement at the Way Station Behavioral Health Center; $1,000,000 for the Carroll County Public Safety Training Center; $756,000 for Carroll Hospital Center’s Surgical Peri-Operative and Post-Anesthesia Care Project; $200,000 for the Hampstead War Memorial Park revitalization; $145,000 for accessibility improvements to the Morgan Run Trout Stream; and $50,825 for renovations to the New Windsor Town Park.
Carroll’s delegation should also be considered for the “Best Local Bond Initiatives” award for securing the following funding: $175,000 for the Hampstead Volunteer Fire Department; $120,000 for the Carroll County Youth Services Bureau; and $25,000 for Freedom Elementary School’s new playground.
“We are all excited to bring back needed dollars for our education, public safety and health systems and these important local projects all over the county,” said Del. April Rose in the delegation’s press release.
Unlike viewers who were shocked to see the “Best Actor” award go to Anthony Hopkins, nobody should be surprised to learn that Sen. Justin Ready’s “Jordan McNair Safe and Fair Play Act” passed and will now become law. According to Ready, “the Bill establishes a right for student-athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL) and requires Maryland’s University System to adopt and implement guidelines related to the physical and mental health and academic well-being of student athletes.” I have never understood why the NCAA was able to deny student athletes the right to earn money via their NIL and this bill helped change that for collegiate athletes in Maryland.
Similar to the actors and crew behind Oscar night’s big winner, “Nomadland,” Del. Shoemaker had success getting HB815 through both houses of the General Assembly this year, which fixed the law reducing the transfer state agricultural land transfer tax passed in 2019 by allowing folks who paid the tax under a contract of sale dated prior to July 1, 2019, to retroactively seek a refund of any excess tax paid.
This year’s Oscars made history by not ending the night with the award for Best Picture, for the first time since 1972. Del. Susan Krebs also made history with the passage of House Bill (HB) 990. As a result of her Bill, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (soon to be the Maryland Department of Emergency Management) will come out from under the Maryland’s Military Department and be established as its own department of the Executive Branch of State government with a secretary appointed by the governor.
The morning after the Academy Awards ceremony, many critics argued that several films, actors, and filmmakers were snubbed. Nobody can say that Carroll’s Board of County Commissioners were snubbed during the 2021 session. Carroll’s delegation got HB1131 passed, which “gives the Commissioners the ability to issue up to $48,450,000 in general obligation bonds for the acquisition, construction, improvement or renovation of public buildings, facilities, and public works projects” as stated in Shoemaker’s legislative newsletter.
This year’s Oscars was a huge ratings loser with only 10.4 million viewers tuning in, making it the least-viewed Academy Awards telecast on record in the United States. Carroll County’s delegation however, secured some big wins down in Annapolis this year despite the odds, getting multiple bills passed and making sure that millions of state dollars were brought home to fund local projects and organizations. However, our Delegation members probably feel like Benicio del Toro who won Best Supporting Actor in 2000 for “Traffic,” “I won and I get to scream and jump a little. But I got to go back to work tomorrow.”
Christopher Tomlinson, third vice chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, writes from Melrose. Find him on Facebook at ColumnistChrisTomlinson or email him at CCTtomlinson@gmail.com.