Members Making News February 10th-16th

A collection of media coverage of our Caucus members this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • To watch a video of Delegate Rick Impallaria discuss how his bill, HB 760, will help make schools a safer place by allowing certain school employees to carry firearms on school grounds, please click here to be redirected to this video and article.

 

 

 

House Republicans Issue Statement on the Failure of Paid Sick Leave Delay

18565931 – a stamp with text “rejected”. white background.

House Minority Leader Nic Kipke and House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga issued the following statement regarding the failure of legislation that would delay the implementation of Paid Sick Leave. Senate Bill 304 – Maryland Healthy Working Families Act – Delay of Effective Date would have delayed the implementation until July 1, giving businesses time to navigate the complex and confusing policy passed when the legislature overrode Governor Hogan’s veto in January. The legislation was killed in the Economic Matters Committee earlier today, with a vote of 12-11.
“While it comes as no surprise this bill was voted down, it is still very frustrating,” said House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga. “There was no will to move this bill in the House, where political gain seems more important than doing the right thing for the job-creating businesses in our state.”

“I am very disappointed this bill did not move forward,” said House Minority Leader Nic Kipke. “But, there is still time and opportunity for the General Assembly to provide paid leave to workers without clobbering small businesses over the head. Governor Hogan’s Paid Leave Compromise Act is still on the table. I hope my colleagues will give this compromise the serious consideration it deserves and do what is best for the businesses in Maryland and the hard-working citizens they employ.”

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Republican Leaders Applaud Decision to Drop Charges Against 2nd Amendment Activists

2nd Amendment Arrest

Annapolis – House Minority Leader Nic Kipke and House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga today applauded the dropping of charges against two 2nd Amendment activists who were arrested in front of the State House on Monday night. Kevin and Jeff Hulbert, members of The Patriot Picket, an organization that supports 2nd Amendment rights and stage peaceful protests during the legislative session, were arrested during a protest Monday night. The charges against them were dropped today.

“This arrest never should have happened,” said House Minority Leader Nic Kipke. “Citizens have a sacred right to free speech which applies everywhere but especially at the Maryland State House. These gentlemen have been coming to Annapolis to lawfully express their views for years. I am relieved the charges against these gentlemen have been dropped and want to thank Governor Larry Hogan, Speaker Mike Busch, and State’s Attorney Wes Adams who I believe all shared my concerns about this unacceptable incident. The Capitol Police do a fantastic and not often easy job; I look forward to working with them to ensure something like this never happens again to anyone lawfully expressing their First Amendment rights.”

“Unimpeded political speech is a cornerstone of our democracy and a sacred right held by all Americans,” said House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga. “While I am glad to see the charges dropped, this arrest never should have happened. I hope this incident serves as a learning opportunity for the Capitol Police and they can, in the future, strike the appropriate balance and protect the public without impeding on free speech. Otherwise, this arrest could have people thinking twice before they come to Annapolis to express their views. That would be a travesty.”

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House Republican Caucus Unanimously Re-Elects Kipke and Szeliga

nic-and-kathy-photo-17Annapolis – House Republicans today unanimously re-elected Delegate Nic Kipke and Delegate Kathy Szeliga to serve as House Minority Leader and House Minority Whip.

Delegates Kipke and Szeliga have served in these leadership rolls since 2013.

“I am honored to have the continued support of my colleagues,” said Kipke. “We are so fortunate to have such a fantastic group of leaders in our Caucus with diverse backgrounds, careers, and experiences. They all work tremendously hard to better the lives of those they represent. I am grateful for their confidence and for the opportunity to serve with them. We have a great task ahead of us as we work with Governor Hogan to bring common sense back to Annapolis.”

“The coming legislative session looks to be a contentious one,” said Delegate Kathy Szeliga. “The Democratic majority is furious that Governor Hogan is so popular and they’re focused on ignoring their own constituents by undermining the good work he has done for our state. Our members are ready to help Governor Hogan fight for common-sense solutions to the challenges our state faces.”

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House Republicans Fight Against Automatic Pay Increases

The subject of automatic pay increases has become more heated as the 2014 Legislative Session comes to a close. Since the start of the session, House Republicans have attempted to force a vote to block automatic pay increases, but have been twice thwarted by the Democratic Majority who has buried the resolutions in the House Rules Committee. A letter was also sent to House Speaker Mike Busch in February protesting the increases. (Click here to read it.)

The above video shows highlights from the floor debate led by Delegate Cathy Vitale (Anne Arundel), Delegate Herb McMillan (Anne Arundel) and Delegate Kelly Schulz (Frederick) where House Republicans attempted to force a floor vote on the pay increases. They were defeated 48-87. Below is a copy of the official voting record. The “yea” votes for were a floor vote on the pay increases, the “nay” votes were against the vote, so effectively a “nay” vote was a vote for a pay increase.

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With time in the Session running out, it grows more unlikely that those resolutions will be heard and voted on; and if nothing is done, the pay increase will automatically go into effect.

House Republicans oppose these pay increases because the job of a legislator is supposed to be a part-time job. It’s a job you take for the honor of serving the public, not for a salary. Maryland has a citizen legislature and being a Delegate or Senator was never designed to be full-time employment. This pay increase becomes even more hypocritical as we learned last month that Maryland lost nearly 10,000 jobs in February. The legislators that want to give themselves a raise are the same legislators that raised taxes, tolls and fees more than 80 times over the last 7 years and continue to promote policies that are costing Maryland much-needed jobs as citizens have to work even harder to make this state their home. 

House Republicans Present Plan for Maryland’s Fiscal Future

Annapolis, Md. – Today, House Republicans announced their alternative budget plan in response to the O’Malley/Brown Administration’s FY2015 budget proposal that raises overall spending by more than $2 billion over last year. This represents a cumulative spending increase of $10.6 billion since they took office in 2007.

2014 Budget Growth (2)“Despite more than 80 tax, fee and toll increases since 2007, the O’Malley/Brown Administration relies on broken promises and one-time fixes to balance the budget,” said Delegate Gail Bates (Howard). “This is poor management. We cannot steal from the pensions of our hardworking state employees or codify ‘one time fixes’ like hijacking county highway user revenues to fund more wasteful and mismanaged programs.”

“Continuing on this misguided path is irresponsible and ties our hands in the future,” said Delegate Andrew Serafini (Washington). “We will be forced to choose between two bad options: more taxes or deep cuts. What major programs will we have to cut or what taxes will we have to raise because we cannot exercise fiscal discipline today?”

The House Republican alternative budget proposal limits spending growth to just 1% over last year, restores the contribution to the state pension fund, and leaves a fund balance to cushion against possible revenue shortfalls later this year.

“We believe our budget proposal protects the promises made by our state,” said Delegate Tony McConkey (Anne Arundel). “The Republican budget plan fully funds pensions and reduces the fiscal cliff facing Maryland by responsibly restraining spending in next year’s budget.”