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Olszewski Administration will also pursue public health, environmental legislation this session

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski will again make the fight for school construction and education funding as the top priorities of his legislative agenda for the upcoming 2020 General Assembly session. The push for education funding will be part of a robust, legislative agenda that also includes public safety initiatives, environmental efforts and measures related to public health.

“We need to secure the critical investments in our schools, our neighborhoods, and our communities that will make a difference for both this generation and the next,” Olszewski said. “Our legislative agenda this year is focused on expanding upon the progress we have already made in order to build a better Baltimore County for all with stronger, more vibrant, and more sustainable communities for years to come.”

"Baltimore County's residents want and deserve strong, safe, and growing communities — and that's exactly what this agenda is about. We're committed to working together to bring results for the people of Baltimore County,"  said Baltimore County Delegation Chair, Delegate Pat Young.

The Olszewski Administration’s 2020 legislative agenda includes:

Investing in our Schools and Classrooms
Baltimore County has funded $242 million in shovel-ready school construction projects. These projects cannot move forward without increased State investment and additional needs remain, including several Baltimore County high schools.

Building on his efforts in the 2019 session, County Executive Olszewski will continue to lead the fight for passage of the Built to Learn Act.

Investing in our Educators and Students
Baltimore County invested over $900 million in public education in FY2020, more than $35 million more than required under Maryland’s Maintenance of Effort law. This is a record investment – but we must continue to do more to ensure every student graduates ready for college or a career.

Recognizing the support Baltimore County has already put forward, County Executive Olszewski will work with legislators to enact the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission.

Enhancing Regional Public Safety Initiatives
The Baltimore County Police Department works with neighboring jurisdictions to target violent crime through the Warrant Apprehension Task Force and Regional Auto-theft Task Force. Both programs are successful but under-resourced.

Baltimore County will propose a State-funded matching grant program for inter-jurisdictional law enforcement initiatives.

Creating Innovative Solutions to the Opioid Crisis
Baltimore County had the second highest number of opioid-related deaths in Maryland in 2018. In partnership with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, County Executive Olszewski convened a workgroup, which recommended the creation of a “Hub and Spoke” treatment model similar to a system used with great success in Vermont.

Baltimore County will propose a State-funded pilot program which follows this model, integrating substance abuse treatment with general healthcare and wellness services.

Protecting Those Who Serve Us
Maryland’s “move over” law currently offers insufficient protection for our first responders and work crews. More than 3,500 people have been injured and 46 people have been killed in work zone crashes across Maryland from 2014-2018 according to SHA. Virginia recently addressed this issue by passing a law to treat a move-over infraction as reckless driving, with a maximum fine of $2,500.

Baltimore County will propose that the State enact a statewide provision similar to Virginia’s, to better protect those who serve us.

Improving County Parks & Playgrounds
The State’s Community Parks and Playground Program restores existing parks and also creates new park and green space systems – but the two Maryland counties without municipalities, including Baltimore County -- are currently excluded from participation in the program.

Baltimore County will explore efforts to expand the program’s eligibility requirements so residents can better benefit from Maryland’s ongoing investment in parks and green space.

Protecting Our Waterways
Toxic chemicals can contaminate local water supplies, costing millions of dollars and taking years to clean up. The chemicals perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) in firefighting foams have been linked to the contamination of water sources and cancerous diseases, and several states have sued chemical manufacturers.

Baltimore County will propose a statewide ban on the use of these chemicals in firefighting foams for training purposes.

Addressing Illegal Truck Traffic
Large trucks often travel on unauthorized roads to avoid tolls or to save time, and local communities suffer as a consequence. Technology offers an efficient mechanism to curb this practice.

Baltimore County will propose enabling State legislation to install traffic cameras that will monitor streets for unauthorized truck traffic. Violators will pay fines for straying from authorized truck routes, significantly reducing illegal truck traffic in County neighborhoods and improving quality of life for affected residents.

Revitalizing our Communities
In 2018, Maryland created a Community Development Program Fund to provide financial assistance to community development projects.

Baltimore County will ask the State to invest $5 million annually into the fund to aid jurisdictions as they help to create vibrant communities.


Olszewski Response to the Built to Learn Act

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today issued the following statement in response to the announcement of the Built to Learn Act:

“I have proudly led the fight for additional state school construction funding to provide our children and educators with the school facilities they deserve.

Thanks to leadership of Speaker Adrienne Jones and the Baltimore County delegation, we saw real progress last year as the House passed the Build to Learn Act.

I applaud Speaker Jones, Senate President Miller, and Senator Ferguson for taking up our fight, and I am confident that they will get the job done this year for communities across Maryland.”


Schools Earned $18,000 in Environmental Literacy Grants and Technology Prizes

Some 5,000 students and community volunteers have made Baltimore County a cleaner and greener place by participating in this year’s Team Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge. County Executive Johnny Olszewski, BCPS Superintendent Verletta White and Debbie Phelps, Executive Director of the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools, announced this morning that 17 County public schools were winners in this program, which resulted in 242 litter clean-ups that collected 2,400 bags of trash around the County this school year.

The Clean Green 15 winners.

At an awards ceremony yesterday morning at Chesapeake Terrace Elementary School in Edgemere, County Executive Olszewski encouraged the audience of students and faculty to think about where litter ends up. “The wind and rain washes litter into the storm drains, which lead to our streams and eventually to the Chesapeake Bay,” he said. “Litter not only looks bad in our neighborhoods, it also pollutes our waterways—and that’s harmful to wildlife, fishermen, boaters and our environment.”

“The Clean Green 15 Challenge is a hands-on, simple way for our students to protect the environment as they express pride in their schools and their communities,” said BCPS Interim Superintendent Verletta White.

Clean Green 15 Results

Tons of Litter Collected, Thousands of Grant Dollars Distributed to Schools

The County Executive high-fiving students.

The 2018 to 2019 school year program resulted in 242 clean-ups conducted by 4,955 volunteers who picked up 2,394 bags of litter and debris. The number of participating BCPS schools nearly doubled this year to include 37 schools. In addition to litter, Clean Green 15 volunteers collected many tons of bulk trash items from parks, streambanks, schoolyards and other locations around Baltimore County for a total estimated weight of 31,837 pounds. Clean-ups were conducted by school groups as well as community-based volunteers.

Through this program, BCPS schools and their community supporters conducted quick 15-minute litter clean-ups, competing from last May through this April to see which school communities could log the most clean-ups. The program is open to any group, including school-based groups, places of worship, youth groups, civic or community groups, scout troops, sport teams, businesses or other organizations that wish to help clean up their community. Groups are asked to report their clean-ups on the BCPS website and designate a school to receive credit.

Winning Schools for Year 2018 to 2019

As a result of this year’s Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge, the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools awarded grants to 11 top winning schools to fund school-based instructional projects emphasizing the theme of environmental literacy. Examples could include installing a reading or rain garden, planting trees, diverting downspouts or environmental education projects. Six schools won Honorable Mention awards and received a Samsung Galaxy device.

Award Prize School
Grand Prize $3,000 grant Reisterstown Elementary School
High Schools First Prize $2,000 grant Dulaney High School
High Schools Second Prize $1,500 grant Western School of Technology and Environmental Science
High Schools Third Prize $1,000 grant Hereford High School
Middle Schools First Prize $2,000 grant General John Stricker Middle School
Middle Schools Second Prize $1,500 grant Ridgely Middle School
Middle Schools Third Prize $1,000 grant Loch Raven Academy
Elementary Schools First Prize $2,000 grant Chesapeake Terrace Elementary School
Elementary Schools Second Prize $1,500 grant Bear Creek Elementary School
Elementary Schools Third Prize $1,000 grant Grange Elementary School
Special School Prize $1,500 grant Battle Monument School
Honorable Mention Samsung Galaxy
device
Charlesmont Elementary School
Honorable Mention Samsung Galaxy
device
Fullerton Elementary School
Honorable Mention Samsung Galaxy
device
Lansdowne Elementary School
Honorable Mention Samsung Galaxy
device
Milbrook Elementary School
Honorable Mention Samsung Galaxy
device
Perry Hall Middle School
Honorable Mention Samsung Galaxy
device
Pleasant Plains Elementary School

Clean Green 15 is Underway for Next Year

In addition to awarding prizes to the winning schools from this year, officials also kicked off the Team BCPS Clean Green 15 Litter Challenge for the next school year, with groups eligible to log clean-ups from May 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020, for consideration in next year’s awards.

This is the sixth year for the challenge, which is a collaboration between Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Baltimore County Public Schools and the Education Foundation of Baltimore County. This year’s sponsors include BGE and the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017