The start of the 2020 Maryland General Assembly is roughly four months away, but the leaders of this year’s state delegation are already eyeing some possible areas for legislation.
Sen. Michael Hough (R-District 4) and Del. Carol Krimm (D-District 3A) are focused on topics including school construction, crime and regenerative agriculture.
Hough said he’s focused on legislation that would increase penalties associated with crimes related to gang violence and gun use.
“I think this session, there’s got to be something done to address gangs and some of the violent stuff with firearms,” Hough said. “I know in the Frederick region we’re shielded by some of the violence, but in Baltimore, it’s incredible. ... There’s a lot of violence in our state.”
Krimm pointed to one topic right away when asked about priorities for the upcoming session: school construction.
She said the General Assembly’s appropriations committee is doing site visits of various schools statewide to assess need, and praised the county’s efforts regarding school construction.
She also, however, said she has met with some of the agricultural community to discuss regenerative farming. Krimm isn’t sure what legislation might come from those talks, but wants to see how the delegation can incentivize that type of agriculture.
Regenerative farming focuses on regenerating the land’s topsoil and focusing on no-till farming, composting areas and animal integration, among several other factors.
“It helps the farmers but it also is an environmental aspect to have healthy soils,” Krimm said. “Farmers have done so much to improve the health of the [Chesapeake Bay]. This continues their commitment to having healthy soils and cleaning up the bay.”
Roger Wilson, government affairs and public policy director in County Executive Jan Gardner’s office and a city of Frederick alderman, is acting as a liaison between the County Council, Gardner and the state delegation in terms of prioritizing county priorities for next year’s General Assembly.
Council members will submit those priorities to Wilson by Oct. 1, he said. A town hall with Gardner will be held Oct. 9, and she will deliver a packet of priorities given that public comment and the council’s recommendations by Nov. 14, Wilson added.
Wilson said Gardner and staff don’t have any concrete recommendations for the delegation yet, as they are still researching possible topics.
Once the session starts, it’s imperative that the council, Gardner and state delegation stay in close contact, Wilson said.
“One of the key benefits of charter government is the county executive has a loud voice,” he said. “And the General Assembly, the delegation gives a lot of attention to the county executive’s position on any potential legislation that has been advocated for.”