Thursday, February 16, 2017

Addie Eckardt Weekly Update


Senate Bill 343 - Bay Restoration Eligible Costs - Expansion passed the Senate!
Congratulation to the Murphy family's Double Trouble Farm for being the first Maryland poultry operation to install cutting-edge technology that converts poultry litter to energy!

Governor Larry Hogan toured the Eastern Shore announcing state funding for Lower Eastern Shore initiatives! The Governor announced state funding for Lower Eastern Shore Initiatives. These initiatives include Salisbury’s Downtown Revitalization Plan, improvements for the Smith Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, and construction at West Salisbury Elementary School and Parkside High School.

The Governor, Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder, and others toured the Murphy family’s Double Trouble Farm. Double Trouble Farm is the first Maryland poultry operation to install cutting-edge technology that convert poultry litter to energy.  Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc., a national ranked company headquartered in Ireland, were awarded an animal waste technology grant from the Maryland Department of Agriculture to help the Murphy family’s farm with innovative projects. The Maryland’s Animal Waste Technology Fund is a grant program that provides funding to companies that demonstrate innovative technologies. This project is a small scale of future opportunities that maintain a signification industry in Maryland while improving our water quality for the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries.
Happy to welcome members of the Eastern Shore Boards of Education at MABE Day (Maryland Association of Boards of Educators) in Annapolis!
Dorchester County has requested the following pieces of legislation
  • Senate Bill 621 – Dorchester County – Alcoholic Beverages – Class A Supermarket License - SB 621 would authorize the Board of License Commissioners of Dorchester County to allow for the sale of alcoholic beverages in supermarkets in the County. The Board of License Commissioners in Dorchester County will be authorized to issue either Class A beer or Class A beer and wine license to supermarkets that meet the code. The sale of alcoholic beverages in designated supermarkets would be sold in enclosed areas within the stores. The issuance of these types of licenses to supermarkets will enhance local economy in Dorchester County. Currently, Dorchester County is competing with Talbot County, as Talbot County remains the only county to allow for the sale of alcoholic beverages in supermarkets. The passage of SB 621 will promote the growth of local businesses and supermarkets. SB 621 will heard in the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on February 24, 2017.
  • Senate Bill 956 – Dorchester County Board of Education – Nonprofessional Personnel Appointment – Advice and Consent -  SB 956 requires the Dorchester County Superintendent of Schools to appoint specified clerical and nonprofessional personnel with the advice and consent of the Dorchester County Board of Education. Since the elected Dorchester County Board of Education members have fiscal responsibility and control of the public school system budget, the local board wishes to participate in the hiring process of specified personnel. This bill will be presented in the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on February 22, 2017.
  • Senate Bill 957 – Counties and Municipalities – Land Bank Authorities - SB 957 would help establish a land bank authority for local municipalities and counties. As a response to the growing number of vacant and abandoned homes within Dorchester County, the establishment of a land bank would help the local government convert these liabilities into assets. This bill will be in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on March 8, 2017.
  • Senate Bill 1033 - Residential Property - Vacant and Abandoned Property - Expedited Foreclosure - Finally, SB 1033 would also help the blighted and vacant housing concern in Dorchester County. This bill would require the circuit court to act on petitions for vacant or abandoned properties under specified circumstances. SB 1033 will be a critical component in the development and redevelopment efforts in Dorchester County. This proposed legislation will be scheduled a hearing within the Senate Rules Committee soon.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office with your thoughts and opinions on these bills.
Affordable Care Act 

Proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be determined this year. The legislature is currently discussing concerns and impacts on Maryland. Maryland has historically developed a cost effective system of care before the ACA and will adapt with changes as this occurs. The legislature in the past put in various elements of the ACA including guaranteed issue and continuous coverage until age 26.

Maryland is the only state in the nation that, for 40 years, has had a Medicare Waiver – the All-Payer system whereby all hospitals, in the state, are reimbursed, the same, regardless of whether the individual has Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance. There are no public and private hospitals in Maryland. Through the Maryland Health Service Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) Maryland receives more federal money because the cost of care in hospitals is maintained below the national average. The waiver was renegotiated recently in anticipation of providing expanded primary care to all citizens and an agreement was reached allowing Maryland to continue receiving those federal funds so long as costs continued to decrease below the national average. The increased costs have been incurred through hospital emergency rooms because those without insurance, by federal law, must be treated in the ER’s and the hospitals have paid for those services (uncompensated care).

Communities can develop proposals to provide health care to special populations who have used the ER to establish innovative approaches for access to care to get people enrolled in health insurance or to obtain Medical Assistance. Many communities, including the Mid-Shore counties, have done so and there has been an increase in access to care, all of which is good news.

Last week, the Eastern Shore Delegation welcomed James White, Executive Director of the Maryland Port Administration. Mr. White provided the Delegation with a quick update on the Port of Baltimore. Recently, the Port of Baltimore was named most productive port in the nation for the third consecutive time. Baltimore remains the largest port for imported sugar in the United States and ranks 9th in overall foreign cargo value. The port has tremendous economic impacts on the State of Maryland as it generates approximately 33,920 jobs. As it relates to the Eastern Shore, a number of importers and exporters on the Shore use the Port of Baltimore to help their businesses. For example, the Chesapeake Equipment Realerevival Brewing Company, Maryland Plastics Inc., and M&M Refrigeration are companies within the Mid-Shore that utilize the Port.

The Delegation also heard presentations from Chris Garvey, President and CEO of the Associated Builders & Contractors of the Chesapeake Shores Chapter. Mr. Garvey presented the need for construction workers and to end the stigma for Career and Technical Education. As the construction industry is rapidly growing, school systems need to promote the opportunity for work force training.


Anonymous said...

"Congratulation to the Murphy family's Double Trouble Farm for being the first Maryland poultry operation to install cutting-edge technology that converts poultry litter to energy!"


Anonymous said...

no mention of allowing the ag to sue if he doesnt like what trump does?