–Sixth District Del. Ric Metzgar previews the upcoming 2024 Legislative Session and outlines his agenda for the 90-day session.-
On December 14th, Delegate Ric Metzgar attended the Chesapeake Gateway Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast at Potomac Pizza in Middle River to give an overview of the 2024 Session of the Maryland General Assembly which begins in January and outlined some of the bills that he will propose during the 90 Day Session that runs through April.
As the 446th Session of the Maryland General Assembly begins, Delegate Metzgar expects Transportation to be a major focus of this year’s Session.
He sits on the House Appropriations Committee Transportation and the Environment Subcommittee. The Committee had a few Zoom Meetings to discuss toll increases, proposed mileage tax, Electric Vehicle Tax, etc. to deal with the Structural Deficit in the Transportation Budget. He doesn’t understand how former Governor Larry Hogan leaves office with a budget surplus and now into the second year of his Administration Governor Wes Moore has a deficit. The Delegate emphasized that he will not vote for any tax increases!
Governor Hogan vetoed the Red Line which then was too costly. Now several years later, Governor Moore wants to bring it back at a higher price tag. The Delegate said we learned from past experiences that when the Light Rail was extended to Hunt Valley; crime increased in northern Baltimore County. If the Red Line goes through, will crime also increase in Eastern Baltimore County?
Speaking of the Light Rail, the Delegate doesn’t understand how the entire Light Rail system can be shut down due to maintenance issues. He was in the automotive business for over 25 years, and most people understand the need for preventative maintenance to keep cars running properly. Thank goodness this was corrected in two weeks.
Another budget issue is the Kirwan Commission and the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future which is a multi-year unfunded education mandate which was to be shared by the State, counties, and Baltimore City. Subdivisions are trying to figure out how to pay for their portions of the costs.
Juvenile Crime will also be a hot topic for the upcoming Session. We have seen an increase in carjackings in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and surrounding counties. This issue must be addressed immediately.
Delegate Metzgar has a few bills that he will introduce this Session. No Plea Agreements for Crimes of Violence. A person commits a crime and receives a 20 Year Sentence. He/she plea bargains for 10 Years and gets out of prison in less than 2 Years for good behavior. If he/she gets out of prison and commits another crime, no matter how heinous, then there is no room for plea bargain. He/she will have to serve out the remainder of his/her original sentence.
He will introduce the Inmate Job Training Bill. This bill would enroll inmates who commit light crimes into an apprentice program to learn a trade such as carpentry, plumbing, electricity, roofing, etc. while earning $15.00 an hour which is now minimum wage and diminution credits while working an eight hour day rebuilding Baltimore. I have always been a proponent of teaching trades which are no longer being taught in schools.
This money would be placed into a personal account with a debit card. Thirty days prior to their release, the inmates would earn a certificate and have some money saved on their debit card. Upon their release, they would use this money to start a new life with job skills to become productive members of society.
He will introduce the Heartbeat Bill which allows the health care provider to allow the mother the option of listening to the heartbeat of the baby before deciding on an abortion.
Many constituents have contacted him about safety concerns. He has submitted a bill for a Baltimore County Pilot Program for LED Lighted Red Stop Signs around certain areas of Baltimore County which are used in other states.
His house is on the corner of four-way stop signs. When he sits on his porch, he cannot tell you how many cars slow down going through the stop sign without stopping or drive past the stop sign altogether. He has also submitted a bill for speed cameras on Interstate Highways such as I-695, I-95, I-495, I-83, I-97, I-70, etc. to control speeding.
Recently, he attended a conference in Washington, DC. One of things he learned was that some states have chaplains in schools. Chaplains serve in hospitals, military, and other public funded intuitions. In addition to school counselors and school resource officers, some schools have chaplains at the school for students to talk about things that they do not feel comfortable talking to another school official.
Studies show that school chaplains improve school safety, respect for authority, motivation, and teacher retention and decrease bullying, discipline problems, alcohol/drug use, and report violence at school and home.
Delegate Metzgar is looking forward to the 2024 Session of the Maryland General Assembly. As he has said before, when he casts a vote on the House Floor, he is not just voting for the people in the 6th Legislative District but for 6 million Marylanders.
This is a responsibility that he doesn’t take lightly that was entrusted to him by the voters of Eastern Baltimore County. He is very honored to have this trust.