Updates:


April 28, 2014 Legislative Wrap-Up


Date: 
Monday, April 28, 2014


Dear Friends:
The 2014 legislative session wrapped up on April 7, and it was an honor to serve the constituents of district 15 in debating and voting on several important pieces of legislation. If you have any issues or concerns affecting you, the district, Montgomery County, or the state of Maryland, please feel free to contact my office at 301-858-3186 or by email at David.Fraser.Hidalgo@house.state.md.us
Several important pieces of legislation passed through the Maryland General Assembly this year:
 
Maryland Minimum Wage Act of 2014 - I was a co-sponsor of this bill, which calls for a four-year phased-in increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. This will assist thousands of Maryland residents and puts Maryland at a level more consistent with other states.
 
Pre-kindergarten Expansion Act - This is the first step in expanding Maryland’s public pre-kindergarten program to provide full-day public pre-kindergarten for all four-year-olds in the state. The 2015 budget includes $4.3 million to fund the program, which is expected to support half-day or full-day pre-kindergarten programs for roughly 1,600 children. I voted YES for this bill.
 
Environmental Matters - As a member of the Environmental Matters Committee, I participated in debate and voting on several important pieces of legislation concerning the environment. I voted to keep the stormwater fees, which are necessary to clean up our waterways and protect the Chesapeake Bay. I also co-sponsored several pieces of legislation to uphold our environmental stewardship in Maryland.
 
Transporation Matters - As a member of the Land Use and Transportation subcommittee in the Montgomery County House Delegation, I was involved in spirited discussions about decreasing the safety zone for archery hunting from 150 yards to 50 yards. A compromise of 100 yards was passed into law.
 
Fairness for All Marylanders Act - This legislation prohibits discrimination against transgender Marylanders in the areas of employment, housing, credit and public accommodations by adding “gender identity” to existing anti-discrimination laws based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and other characteristics. I was a co-sponsor of this bill, which is about securing basic civil rights and fair treatment. Montgomery County has had local ordinances that prohibit discrimination for transgender citizens since 2007.
 
Renewable Energy Generation Facilities -  I was lead sponsor of this legislation in the House, which was cross-filed in the Senate. The bill would authorize a landowner to generate electricity with a facility utilizing a renewable energy source. This bill would support a clean economy to reach renewable clean energy goals of 20 percent by 2020 while assisting farming communities with needed income.
 
Industrial Hemp Study - I sponsored this legislation, which provided for a six-month study by the Maryland Department of Agriculture on the feasibility and marketability of industrial hemp for development in the state of Maryland.  Hemp is the fibrous stalk portion of the plant; it has not been cultivated in the U.S. since the 1950s, when it was used to produce canvas, clothing, soaps, and other products. In February, President Obama signed the Agricultural Act of 2014, which paved the way for state departments of agriculture to undertake research and pilot programs. The bill was voted favorably in the House and went to a hearing in the Senate.
 
Possession of Marijuana as a Civil Offense.- Thousands of arrests that have been made for minor marijuana possession have done nothing to keep us safer.  They have distracted police from their real job of preventing and solving violent crime and ensured that a generation of young people are hindered by arrest records that will follow them the rest of their lives.  Maryland deserves better, and I supported the passage of this bill to make possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana a civil offense.
 
FY2015 Budget -
Maryland retains its AAA bond rating, one of only 10 states that can claim this designation. The $39 billion state budget was passed in the final days of session, and some of the projects the capital budget will fund are creation and maintenance of jobs, provide money for school construction, environmental protection programs, affordable housing programs, and shovel-ready local bond bill projects.  Locally, I worked with my district 15 colleagues to obtain funding for three projects in our district totaling $325,000.
 
Your input and feedback on issues that affect our communities in district 15 are important to me! Please feel free to contact me by phone or email.
Sincerely,
Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo
 
 
Tags: 
minimum wageFairness for all marylanders actcivil rightsRenewable energyindustrial hemp studypossession of marijunna2015 budget




April 1, 2014 Legislative Updates


Date: 
Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Dear Friends:

The 2014 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly is set to adjourn on April 7. There is still legislation that has yet to be acted on. If there are any bills that interest you, please contact me at David.Fraser.Hidalgo@house.state.md.us or phone: 301-858-3186.
 
 
 
 
House of Delegates Scholarship
I am continuing to collect applications for the Delegate Scholarship Program  for the 2014-2015 academic year . Please call my office or email me and I will send you an application and instructions on how to apply. The deadline to apply is April 21. Email:  David.Fraser.Hidalgo@house.state.md.us or phone: 301-858-3186.
Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo






March 19, 2014 Legislative Update


Date: 
Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Dear Friends:
I appreciate having your input and opinions in order to inform my work in the legislature and look forward to hearing from you. A significant portion of my work in Annapolis is constituent services, so if you have any questions, need help with a particular issue of concern, or wish to discuss a particular piece of legislation, please feel free to contact me at my Annapolis office at 301-858-3186 or by email: David.Fraser.Hidalgo@house.state.md.us.
 
 
Crossover Bills
Monday, March 17, was "crossover" in the Maryland General Assembly. Bills are introduced in either the House of Delegates or the Senate chamber. Once they have been debated and favorably voted through three readings, they "cross over" to the opposing chamber for consideration. Bills that have been introduced in either chamber but have not crossed over to the opposing chamber by crossover date will have more difficulty getting passed in the 2014 legislative session.
 
Education
HB297, Prekindergarten Expansion Act, expands pre-kindergarten opportunities to a wider net of families in Maryland through a grant to provide funding to public and private kindergarten programs. Both this bill and the Senate version passed third readings.
Business
HB14, the Small Business Reserve Program (SBRP)--Procurements by Designated Procurement Units. intends to increase the number of procurements state agencies make to small businesses who are in SBRP so they can achieve a goal of 10% of their procurement dollars awarded to small businesses. This should result in more contracts to small businesses, primarily minority-owned companies.
HB295, the Maryland Minimum Wage Act, increases the state's minimum wage in increments from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour over a three-year period. The House bill passed and is now in the Senate Finance/Budget/Taxation committee for a hearing on March 26.
Health
HB881, Medical Marijuana,  expands the registration of distribution of medical marijuana from solely academic medical centers to include certified physicians, also. The House voted for it on Monday, and it is now in the Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee.
 
Environment
My bill, HB 861 Agriculture-Easements-Renewable Energy Generation Facilities, passed a third reading on Monday and will be scheduled for a hearing in the Senate.
 
House of Delegates Scholarship
I am continuing to collect applications for the Delegate Scholarship Program  for the 2014-2015 academic year . Please call my office or email me and I will send you an application and instructions on how to apply. The deadline to apply is April 21. Email:  David.Fraser.Hidalgo@house.state.md.us or phone: 301-858-3186.
Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo




March 14, 2014 Annapolis: Legislative Update


Date: 
Friday, March 14, 2014


Dear Friends:
My AED video bill was voted favorably in the House and heads to the Senate for review. A second bill I sponsored on renewable energy has been voted favorably in the Environmental Matters Committee. Here's a rundown on these two bills:
HB 316 Training Video on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Automated External Defibrillators This bill requires all county boards of education to post a training video on the use of AEDs. Sudden cardiac arrest is an issue of great public concern among children and adolescents, especially for athletes, and quick response can save lives. This bill is submitted in honor of Simon, a three-month-old baby who died of SCA, and is a step toward addressing this important issue.
HB 861 Agriculture-Easements-Renewable Energy Generation Facilities This bill offers a landowner who has been granted an easement from the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation to use up to 5% of the land for green, clean  energy generation facilities, including wind turbines. For example, this bill would enable a project for 40 wind turbines, which can produce 100MW of power to serve approximately 30,000 homes. The bill provides income for farmers and helps reach Maryland's clean energy goal of 20% clean energy by 2020.
To see all the legislation I have introduced or co-sponsored, click here.
House of Delegates Scholarship
I am pleased to be able to offer scholarships for the 2014-2015 academic year . Please call my office or email me and I will send you an application and instructions on how to apply. The deadline to apply is April 21. Email:  David.Fraser.Hidalgo@house.state.md.us or phone: 301-858-3186.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at my Annapolis office at 301-858-3186 or by email: David.Fraser.Hidalgo@house.state.md.us.
Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo
Tags: 
Automated External DefibrillatorsCPReducationscholarshipRenewable energyenvironmentalagriculturepreservationfarmersclean energywind turbinedefibrillatorsMaryland agricultural land preservation foundation





February 14, 2014 Annapolis - Legislative Update


Date: 
Friday, February 14, 2014


Dear Friends:
Welcome to my periodic updates on what is happening in the 2014 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly. As the newest Montgomery County delegate (District 15),  I am honored to represent my constituents and welcome your input, thoughts, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me at 301-858-3186 or by email at David.Fraser.Hidalgo@house.state.md.us.
I have been busy introducing legislation of my own as well as co-sponsoring bills with my esteemed colleagues on important issues. I also sit on the Environmental Matters Committee, which hears legislation on issues affecting our natural resources, agriculture, transportation, housing and property, and other matters.
 As the session progresses, watch for these issues to generate some heated discussion:
HB 187—Minimum Wage Act. This legislation proposes to raise the wage in Maryland to a level more consistent with other states and local initiatives. Twenty-one states already have a minimum wage rate above $7.25. This bill calls for an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016.
HB 879 and HB 880--Marijuana decriminalization. These two pieces of legislation in particular propose to legalize possession of small amounts marijuana in Maryland. There will be strong opinions on both sides of the debate.
HB 97 and HB 50—Stormwater fee repeal legislation. These bills propose to repeal provisions of the stormwater fee enacted in 2012, which require a county that is subject to a federal permit to establish an annual stormwater remediation fee and a local watershed protection and restoration fund. Both of these bills will be heard later this month in my committee.
My legislation in 2014—
I introduced several bills in my inaugural session and hope to garner support for them. If you would like to provide written testimony on any of these issues below, please email me or call my office (301-858-3186). The hearing date for all of them is tentatively scheduled for February 19. HB 861--Easements for renewable energy generation facilities provides for a landowner who has applied to purchase an easement under the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation to use the land subject to the easement for renewable energy generation facilities, including wind turbines. The facility can occupy no more than five percent or five acres of the land, whichever is less, and cannot interfere with the agricultural use of the land. This bill will provide sources of income for farmers and help meet Maryland’s electricity demands and renewable energy goals.
HB 316—Training video on cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillators. This bill that I introduced proposes that the State Board of Education post a short training video (obtained at no charge) about hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on its website. It also requires county boards of education to publicize the video. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is an issue of great public concern among children and adolescents, especially for athletes, and there is increasing support for programs that support rapid response and resuscitation, which can save lives. This bill is submitted in honor of Simon, a three-month-old baby who died of SCA, and is a step toward addressing this grave issue.
HB 860—Baiting deer restrictions, which prohibits anyone from using food, salt, or other mineral-based bait for the purpose of attracting deer except for lawful deer-hunting or population control activities authorized by the Department of Natural Resources. The overpopulation of deer is an increasing hazard to public health and safety. Maryland’s deer population last year was 223,000, and there have been an average of 32,000 deer-vehicle collisions each of the last five years. Maryland ranks #14 in deer-vehicle collisions.  This preventive measure would discourage anyone who is not lawfully engaged in deer hunting activities from feeding them.
Co-sponsorship—
HB 1191—Labeling requirements for genetically engineered foods. This bill, which I co-sponsored, requires a manufacturer of foods that are entirely or partially produced with genetic modifications to display a label indicating this. A hearing date has not been set yet.
To see all the legislation I have introduced or co-sponsored, click here.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at my Annapolis office at 301-858-3186 or by email: David.Fraser.Hidalgo@house..
Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo



March 10, 2014 Annapolis - Legislative Update


Date: 
Monday, March 10, 2014


Dear Friends:
As we dig out from yet another snowstorm, I receive daily updates from representatives at    our utilities about issues affecting Montgomery County. Please notify us if you have an outage or you have any  questions or  issues from either Pepco or Potomac Energy so we can work on your behalf.  Our office is here to assist you. I can be reached at 301-858-3186 or by email at David.Fraser.Hidalgo@house.state.md.us.
House of Delegates Scholarship
I am pleased to be able to offer scholarships for the 2014-2015 academic year to residents of district 15 who are enrolled in or planning to enroll in a two-year or four-year Maryland college, university, or private career school as a part-time or full-time degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate student.  The deadline to apply is April 21. If you are interested in applying, please email me at David.Fraser.Hidalgo@house.state.md.us or call my office: 301-858-3186.
Maryland Prepaid College Plan "Whistle Stop Tour" Comes to Montgomery County
 
During the month of March, the College Savings Plans of Maryland will be traveling across the state to help answer questions about the only two Section 529 plans that offer a Maryland state income deduction. This is an opportunity for parents, grandparents, and friends to talk with agency staff, have all of their questions answered in person, and even get help completing Prepaid College Trust enrollment on the spot! In Montgomery County they will be at this location:
March 25, 4:00pm -- Montgomery College, Rockville Campus
South Campus Instruction Building Room SB005, 52 Manakee Street
College Savings Plan of MD Whistle Stop Tour
Legislative Updates
 


HB861 (left) Presenting my bill on renewable energy generation facility easements to the Environmental Matters Committee on February 19.
HB 1323 —Supplemental Public School Construction Matching Fund Program. Many of our schools in Montgomery County are overcrowded, and we need money for school construction. This bill will provide for a matching resources program, and I am signed on as a co-sponsor to help move this initiative forward.  Investing in our children's education is one of the most important things we can do. The hearing for this bill will be on March 6.  Join the Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teachers Associations for a rally on Thursday, March 6, at 6pm in Annapolis. www.mccpta.org/State.html
HB1191—Labeling Requirements for Genetically Engineered Food. This bill requires foods that are produced with genetic engineering to display a label indicating this. I am a co-sponsor of this proposal, which will have a hearing in the Health and Government Operations Committee on March 11.
HB 879 and HB 880--Marijuana decriminalization bills are still stirring debate. The hearings on these bills will be held on March 13 in the Judiciary Committee. There will be strong opinions on both sides.
HB1122—Shale Gas Drilling Safety Act. This bill prohibits the state from issuing a permit for shale drilling until certain requirements are met, such as a review period and studies. As a co-sponsor of this bill, I share the concerns of constituents about hydraulic fracturing practices and will be involved with this and other similar legislation in hearings in the Environmental Matters committee.
HB295 and HB187—Minimum Wage bills.  Both of these House bills advocate for raising the minimum wage in step increases over three years.  As of now, HB295 is under consideration, with some amendments. The House will vote on March 5.
 
HB1265—Fairness for All Marylanders Act. This bill, which I co-sponsored, prohibits discrimination based on gender identity with regard to public accommodations, housing, and employment. The hearing in Health and Government Operations is March 5. In November 2007, the Montgomery County Council amended the County Code to include gender identity as a covered basis under county law prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, cable television services, and taxicab services. The bill will address this in the rest of the state.
To see all the legislation I have introduced or co-sponsored, click here:
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at my Annapolis office at 301-858-3186 or by email: David.Fraser.Hidalgo@house.state.md.us.
Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo
Tags: 
School constructionminimum wageshales gasdrillingPepcoPotomac Energycollege saving plansMarijuana decriminalization

Maryland State Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo