January 07, 2020 Baltimore County
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 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.