It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve you. I am proud to be your conservative voice of reason in Annapolis.
Let me remind you of some major changes in election law. The Maryland gubernatorial primary has been moved to June 24, with early voting at key locations starting Thursday, June 12, through Thursday, June 19, from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. If you need to vote by absentee ballot, your request must be received by the Board of Elections by Tuesday, June 17, if you want your ballot mailed or faxed. If you want to download an absentee ballot from the State's website, you may do that until Friday, June 20. The general election will be held Nov. 4.
Now for a wrap-up of the 2014 Maryland General Assembly. The Republican Caucus did bring the issue of legislator pay raises to a floor vote. Forty six members of the Republican Caucus and two Democrats voted to debate the pay increase, but that motion was blocked by the overwhelming majority, who allowed the pay raise to go forward. I am proud to say that I voted to stop the increase. If there is a good side to it for the taxpayer, it is that the major part of the increase will go directly into the state pension fund to help backfill some of the money that the Governor stole from the pension fund to balance the budget.
I voted against the state operating budget because it increases spending over $10 billion from the administration's first budget in 2007 (that's a 37 percent increase over 8 years), and is $2 billion higher than last year. The Governor is continuing his policy of irresponsibly growing our state's debt.
The General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to support what is known as the "Bathroom Bill," which will allow men or women to use restroom and shower facilities of the opposite sex, if they feel at the time to be of the opposite sex. This, despite the fact that their genitalia does not match the sign on the door. I just can't think of a nice way to describe such stupidity. As crazy as this sounds, they insist that there will be protections for those people who are victims of the predators who will now be going into the restrooms – as if that makes it OK. Needless to say, I voted against it.
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They have passed a school construction prevailing wage bill that will drive up the cost of new school construction. They passed a higher minimum wage, which even the federal government says will cause Maryland jobs to be lost and business to leave the state, thus making it even harder for young people to enter the workforce.
The state has admitted that, after wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on Maryland's version of Obamacare, they are scrapping it and contracting with the company that did Connecticut's Obamacare website. So, "if at first you don't succeed, spend more money on a new way to fail."
Now to issues that many people hoped to see some positive changes in. Restoration of Second Amendment rights – no action taken. Stopping or modifying Common Core at the state level – no action. Repealing or reducing the rain tax – no action.
While I do not support speed cameras, the state has taken some action to cut down on the corruption in those programs. In Harford County, part of which is in the 7th District, we have passed legislation to put vocational training back as a priority in our high schools – because college is not the only path to a good career. While the state is constantly passing regulations they claim are important, even if only one life is saved, we have managed to pass legislation that can save a countless number of lives – mandatory CPR training for high school graduation. Most of us thought that it was already mandatory, but it turned out not to be the case.
It would take too long to list the bad bills we did block this year, and even longer to talk about the good bills which were killed in committee. Such was another long, hard-fought session in Annapolis.
Del. Rick Impallaria
District 7, Harford-Baltimore counties