Protecting Marylanders

Posted Mar 14, 2019

Angel Families get their say

Angel Families Urge Protection of Maryland Citizens
Delegate Szeliga Presents Keep Our Communities Safe Act of 2018

(Annapolis) - Joined by survivors of citizens killed by illegal immigrants, Delegate Kathy Szeliga presented the Keep Our Communities Safe Act of 2019 to the House Judiciary Committee.

Delegate Szeliga was joined by Angel Widow Marla Wolff and Angel Mother Arlene Cohen. Angel Families is a national organization of relatives of victims killed by illegal immigrants.

Marla’s husband, Carlos Wolff, was killed in a car accident on I-270 involving Garza Palacios. Palacios had a previous citation for negligent driving, was here illegally, and yet only was given a $280 citation for this accident involving two deaths. Marla is left a widow to raise and their two children. As they heal, Wolff said she plans to turn her attention to pushing lawmakers to tighten laws which could result in tougher penalties in cases such as Garza Palacios in the future.

“We don’t want anyone else to go through these horrific losses,” Wolff said.

Law enforcement officials supporting the legislation include Harford County Sheriff Gahler, Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, and Cecil County Sheriff Scott Adams.

“In practice, this legislation is an effective means to enhance local public safety in every Maryland jurisdiction,” said Sheriff Jenkins. “It simply prevents convicted criminals being released into the public to commit more crimes, which are often more serious and violent offenses against our law abiding citizens.”

“Common sense, polling, and law enforcement tell us that every law enforcement agency in Maryland should work with ICE when it comes to criminal illegal aliens.” Delegate Szeliga said. “Public safety is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it’s a people issue. We should stop increasing the number of Angel Families and keep our communities safe by passing HB 817.”

School Start Date

The majority of Marylanders like starting school after Labor Day. However, the Teacher’s Union does not. Teachers, students, parents, grandparents, universally we all want school to start the Tuesday after Labor Day. This week, the Teacher’s Union pushed through a bill to repeal the post-Labor Day start; an executive order Governor Hogan instituted a few years ago.

Governor Hogan has indicated he may petition this bill to the ballot for citizens to vote on. Knowing this, the House included in the bill the ballot language to be used if the bill was successfully petitioned. It is highly unusual for ballot language to be written on a bill like this. Typically, the Secretary of State writes the language you would see on your ballot in 2020.

It seems clear the Teacher’s Union and its cronies in the General Assembly are trying to rig the ballot language and confuse the issue. But I am confident voters will be smart enough to know how to vote to have Maryland public schools to start after Labor Day.

Minority Leadership Issues Statement on Post-Labor Day Start

Annapolis, MD: House Minority Leader Nic Kipke and House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga released the following statement regarding the passage of SB 128, legislation that will repeal Governor Hogan’s Executive Order requiring post-Labor Day school start dates.

“This body has a history of supporting a post-Labor Day school start dates, albeit under a Democratic Governor,” said House Minority Leader Nic Kipke. “Then suddenly, after an election and three years after Governor Hogan’s Executive Order was signed, there is an emergent need to repeal this policy under the guise of local control. Given the number of bills in the House that bypass the locals to set education policy, this excuse is laughable.”

The legislation also prescribes ballot language should the bill be petitioned to referendum.

“Post-Labor Day school start dates have been widely favored by a vast majority of Marylanders”, said Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga. “With this bill, the House is not only bypassing the will of the citizens of Maryland, but it is also rigging the system by writing the ballot question itself. If the House has so little confidence in the citizens’ support for this bill that it needs to rig the ballot question, why are we passing this bill in the first place?”

Maryland budget passing the House

The chief constitutionally mandated responsibility of the Maryland legislature is to pass a balanced budget. The governor introduces the budget, the legislature can generally only cut that proposal. Maryland is unique in that process because there was a point in time that the state legislature was irresponsible with the budget.

This year, Governor Hogan introduced a budget that was balanced. There was a “write down” in the revenues for the current budget year. That means that less money is coming into Annapolis than the current budget was counting on. Instead of making some minor cuts in the current budget year, the liberal leadership in Annapolis took the opportunity to reorganize part of Governor Hogan’s budget and created another budget tool called the BRFA, Budget Reconciliation and Finance Act. They are putting a down payment on the planned increase in education funding this year and next year of $1 billion. There is no funding source for this, it will be paid for by reorganizing and taking money out of some rainy day funds being held for an anticipated downturn in the economy.

The pressures on future years for the Maryland budget are huge. The proposed $4 billion for education spending, increase in the minimum wage, pay raises for state employees and current spending of monies reserved for an economic downturn put Maryland in a huge structural deficit going forward. On the current path, by 2025, require each household in Maryland to pay an additional $7,270 per year in taxes. This is simply not affordable.

Universally, we all support quality education in Maryland. The current plans by the liberal leadership in Annapolis does not include an adequate amount of oversight of the spending. The Office of Education Accountability the Governor created last fall faces cuts of three positions under the current budget proposals. Without adequate oversight, it would be irresponsible to commit this level of funding to our public schools.

The budget must pass the House of Delegates and go to the Senate. The Senate will work on it next week and a final version of the budget and BRFA will be available before April 1st. You can count on me to continue to fight for you and your family’s priorities and tax dollars.


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