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.”


Delegate Flanagan Delivers Lincoln Day Address

On Monday, February 12th, Delegate Bob Flanagan delivered the annual Lincoln Day Address to the Maryland House of Delegates.

Mr. Speaker, My fellow colleagues, honored guests, my friends, it is an honor to be invited to offer my thoughts on President Lincoln.

Trust is an essential element to our democracy and we have many customs in this house to encourage unity and trust. We all swear or affirm the same oath before taking office. We recite the pledge of allegiance every day.

This evening we had ceremony to show our support the victims of domestic violence. We have honored Martin Luther King with a speech from our friend from Prince Georges County and were encouraged to read Dr. King’s letter from the Birmingham jail. We have listened to Taylor Branch and been encouraged to engage in conversations about race.

During February, I have appreciate very much, members of the Black Caucus describing historic achievements of our fellow Americans. In doing these things we remind ourselves that there is more that unites us than divides us.

My goal tonight is to honor the memory of President Lincoln and in doing so, explain how he is relevant to the issues of governance that now face us.

In preparing for tonight I have paid close attention to Lincoln Second Inaugural speech delivered a forty days before he was assassinated and a speech by Fredrick Douglas honoring Lincoln 11 years after his assassination.

With the passage of over a century and a half, it is hard to grasp the intense day to day emotions surrounding his time as President. For example, Fredrick Douglas describes a night in January 1863, with 3000 people waiting anxiously for news that  “Lincoln was true to his word” in signing the Emancipation Proclamation. There was an outburst of joy and thanksgiving.  It was a never to be forgotten night for those who were alive at that time. That was the exciting moment that Lincoln made the civil war a war of abolition.

In our time we have new problems but the issue of trust in a Democracy is enduring.  Our ability to govern ourselves is today threatened by a lack of trust. Under present circumstances is helpful to remember and honor the memory of President Abraham Lincoln, as man who personifies trust in our system of government.

Lincoln came to office facing an immediate and overwhelming challenge. He had no obvious experience or preparation. As commander in chief he was responsible to lead an army and navy that were not prepared. The most capable general went South to fight for his state of Virginia.

Few men in public office have been more fiercely and systematically criticized.  He was attacked by his avowed allies and friends. He was attacked by abolitionist and slave holders. He was attacked by those who wanted peace at any price and those who wanted war fought with greater vigor. He was attacked for NOT making the war an abolition war. He was attacked for making the war an abolition war.  The attacks were personal and demeaning. He was attacked even when he was grief stricken from the death of his child in the first year of his presidency and his wife was paralyzed with grief. The pressure was relentless.

Both sides expected an easy and quick victory. Neither side got one. Over 620,000 men died in service. No president has been so profoundly tested by war. South Carolina was already in rebellion with four other states when Fort Sumter was attacked on April 12, 1861.  Lincoln had been in office for 39 days.  By comparison, Wilson was in his second term of office, FDR was in his third term before war was declared. Each one of those Presidents had his administration in place and had time to plan his course of conduct. In order to unify the nation, FDR had Pearl Harbor, Wilson had German U-boats sinking unarmed passenger boats. Lincoln had nothing comparable to rally public opinion.

I don’t think you can exaggerate how potentially disorienting and confusing his position was. How did Lincoln keep his bearings? How did he persevere?

In explaining what guided Lincoln, Fredrick Douglas refers to Article II of the U.S. Constitution, that prescribes the Presidential oath. Lincoln solemnly swore, “to the best of [his] Ability, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Fredrick Douglas tells us, “Abraham Lincoln was clear in his duty and had an oath in heaven. He calmly and bravely heard the voices of doubt and fear all around him; but he had an oath in heaven and was not power on earth to make this honest [man] evade or violate that sacred oath.”

In this chamber we know how important it is to be true to your word. So did Lincoln. The solemn promise he made in becoming President became a bedrock principle by which he could test his decisions.

The Emancipation Proclamation was based on the principle that emancipation was a means to win the war and preserve the union. But staying true to his oath and winning a war to quell a rebellion was not what earned him a place in our hearts.  To win our hearts, he had to do both, win the war and end slavery.

The election of 1864 was essential to that transformation. General George McClellan, the Democratic nominee was prepared to negotiate a peace without a victory and without abolishing slavery. It stands out as amazing in the history of recorded time that the United States conducted a fair and free election in the midst of an all-out Civil War.  That was a display of trust.

Fredrick Douglas says that Lincoln had trust in himself and the people. He knew the American people better than they knew themselves. His reelection was by no means certain BUT it turned out to be an expression of national resolve to see the war to the end and abolish slavery.

His second inaugural was an opportunity. First, to express unconditional resolve to achieve a military victory that preserved the union and abolished slavery and second; to offer his reflections on the deeper moral significance of the war. He focused on the justice and righteousness of a war of abolition.

Lincoln noted that both sides had been disappointed in failing to gain a quick and easy victory. Neither side expected a war of such magnitude or duration.  Each looked for an easier triumph and a result less fundamental and astounding. Instead, God’s plan was a long and bloody war with astounding and fundamental results.

Lincoln called slavery an offense against God and that it was now God’s will that it should end. He declared that God had given the war to both the North and the South as “the woe due for the offense”. Praying for peace he expressed the resolve of his second term in office, saying: If God wills the [war] to continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword,… so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

Abraham Lincoln began his Presidency, guided by a virtue that was second nature to him “keeping you word”, being loyal to his oath to preserve and protect the constitution. Suffering the tremendous pressures of his presidency, he came to embrace a spiritual mission to effectuate God’s plan for justice.

Foreseeing an end of war, Lincoln prayed for healing saying “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right”. He encouraged us to cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Taylor Branch told us that when the civil rights movement had no political clout, no discernible assets, Martin Luther King prevailed by invoking our American tradition of patriotic and religious virtues. Lincoln bent the arc of that tradition towards greater justice. When Martin Luther King delivered his “I have a dream” speech he chose to assemble his march and stand in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Think about the last few words of our daily pledge: “to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all”. President Lincoln is the President who ensured that we remained one nation, indivisible. He provided us the opportunity to pursue more liberty and justice for all.

Both Lincoln and Martin Luther King call upon the better angels of our nature.   Both were servant leaders and martyrs who made mighty additions to our tradition of civic and religious virtues.

We have the privilege to work in this historic chamber.  We have the opportunity to add to the best traditions of American Democracy, to earn the people’s trust in our government, to promote healing and to do the hard work of settling our differences in a democratic process without violence or malice.

Every day when we recite the pledge let’s remember our shared aspiration of liberty and justice for all. Like Lincoln and Martin Luther King let us do our best to be the people’s servants.

May God Bless the people of Maryland and United States.

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.”


Members Making News – February 3rd-9th

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








    • For more comments from Delegate Impallaria as well as from Delegates Haven Shoemaker and April Rose about this issue, please click here to be redirected to this article.















    • For more comments from Delegate Afzali about this issue, please click here to be redirected to this article.







Members Making News – January 27-February 2

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


  • On Wednesday, Governor Larry Hogan gave his annual “State of the State” address to report on the positive growth Maryland has undergone since he came into office four years ago.
    • For reaction to the Governor’s Address from Delegates Neil Parrott and Mike McKay as well as Delegates William Wivell and Paul Corderman, please click here to be redirected.
    • For additional reactions to the Governor’s “State of the State” address from Delegates Johnny Mautz and Mary Beth Carozza, please click here to be redirected to this article.
    • For additional comments from Delegate Paul Corderman about the “State of the State” address as well as his response to Democrats saying that the address was a campaign speech, click here to be redirected.
    • In a piece for The Washington Post, Delegate Kathy Szeliga applauded the Governor’s efforts in making Maryland better. To be redirected to that article for more responses to the Governor’s “State of the State” address, please click here.
    • To read additional responses from Delegates Susan Krebs, Haven Shoemaker, and April Rose; please click here to be redirected to this article.




  • After the death of a woman in Carroll County caused a stir when her husband did not call 911 while the pair were walking back from a party in a blizzard on January 24th, 2016 there has been talk of creating law to address the issue of “duty rescue,” which Maryland currently has no laws for. Commenting on the issue, Delegate Haven Shoemaker said it was an “intriguing concept,” while adding that he would not be surprised if a bill eventually came about involving duty rescue given the current opioid epidemic currently effecting Marylanders across the state. To read more about the concept of duty rescue, click here to be redirected.










  • For additional comments by Delegates April Rose, Haven Shoemaker, and Susan Krebs in regards to an amendment on this bill, click here to be redirected to this article.








House Minority Leadership Issues Statement on Governor Hogan’s State of the State Address

House Minority Leader Nic Kipke and Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga today issued the following statement regarding Governor Hogan’s State of the State Address:

“It is amazing how far Maryland has come over the last four years,” said House Minority Leader Nic Kipke. “When Governor Hogan was elected, Marylanders were suffering under the high-tax legacy of the O’Malley/Brown Administration. After more than forty tax, toll, and fee increases our citizens were struggling to make ends meet. But look at where we are now; our state has transformed! The conversation has turned from tax hikes to tax cuts and Maryland is stronger than it has been in decades. Our citizens are optimistic with the direction of our state.”

“The accomplishments of the Hogan Administration cannot be overstated,” said House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga. “But, there is still more to do. Governor Hogan has introduced a robust legislative agenda to lower taxes, protect our communities, and provide a quality education to our children regardless of their zip code. It is the job of the General Assembly to come together in a bipartisan fashion to continue changing Maryland for the better.”


Members Making News January 20-26

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




  • In response the Washington County Delegation planning to introduce legislation addressing temporary liquor licenses as well as other various liquor issues, Delegate Neil Parrott spoke about issues of introducing legislation that would revise the penalties of individuals who sell alcohol to minors. Delegate Parrott said that one issue was that new legislation would give penalties to those who actually sold alcohol to minors while the other issue was to figure out a way to prevent the liquor board from penalizing the license holder who employed an individual accused of selling alcohol to a minor until/if the employee is convicted of the crime. To read more about what kind of liquor legislation Washington County lawmakers are planning to introduce this Session, click here for more.







  • Delegate Johnny Mautz wrote a piece for the Dorchester Star detailing four bills he has introduced so far this Session. The bills, Income Tax Credit – Venison Donation – Feed the Hungry Organizations (HB0007), Talbot County Board of Education-Start Date of Term for Members (HB0156), Education – Commemoration – Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 (HB0313), and Motor Vehicle Registration – Exception for Golf Carts – Town of Vienna (HB0330) seek to address issues in both Talbot County and throughout the state. Delegate Mautz also took time to talk about the federal tax reform and it’s impact on the state, saying that “I anticipate that discussions over adjusting our state tax code will continue throughout the session and encourage everyone to monitor for reports of any new proposals.” To read Delegate Mautz’s full article, please click here to be redirected. And to for a video of Delegate Mautz speaking of HB0313, please click here to watch.