What did Kathy Klausmeier omit from her legislative wrapup?

Sen. Klausmeier’s 2011 Session Wrap Up is below.

One of the things she left out: her support of same sex marriage. I’m not making any comment on that matter now other than to say you can bet it will be something rarely mentioned in District 8, even if she supports it in votes in future sessions.


2011 Session Wrap Up

The 428th Maryland General Assembly Session adjourned at midnight on April 12th. It continues to be an honor and privilege to represent District 8 in Annapolis. If you have any questions about any issue facing the state or if you have a state problem that you think I may be able to help you with, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

With the session now adjourned, I will be out in the community attending meetings and events. I hope to see you around town!

Office of Senator Kathy Klausmeier

103 James Senate Office Building, Annapolis, MD 21401 410-841-3620 410-841-3085 (fax)

District: 4100 Walter Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21236 410-256-1353 (office)


or look me up on face book and become a fan


The Budget

The budget is the clearest expression of our priorities as a state. I voted for a balanced budget that protects our tremendous investment in public education and critical government services for some of the most vulnerable Marylanders.

Funding Education

Maryland schools have been ranked #1 in the nation for the last three years, which is why it is critical to protect the state’s investment in our classrooms. Public education continues to represent 40% of the state’s general fund budget. We continued to invest in school construction this year, investing over $300 million in Maryland schools. The Baltimore County Delegation is proud to be bringing $539 Million home to our schools in direct state aid.

Direct state funding for Baltimore County Public Libraries this year is $5.7 Million

We protected our over one billion investment in our public colleges and universities, which will prevent drastic tuition increases.

Baltimore County School Issues

In recent months there have several high-profile news items regarding the Baltimore County Board of Education and its leadership. The issues of concern have included controversies over the hiring of a new Deputy Superintendent and subsequent requests for information about this hire and concerns regarding the policy pertaining the use of school buildings for events such as craft fairs, also known as “Rule 1300″. These concerns have brought to the forefront an issue that has been discussed among the Baltimore County General Assembly Delegation for several years; how should the membership of the Baltimore County Board of Education be selected? To take a hard look at this question, as the newly elected Chair of the Baltimore County Senate Delegation, I sponsored legislation that creates a Task Force on the Membership and Operation of the Baltimore County Board of Education. This task force, made up of members of the House and Senate and appointees of both the County Executive and County Council along with representative of the state association of Boards of Education will study all the possible ways the board can be chosen and report back with recommendations on how the General Assembly should proceed with legislation regarding this issue.


States around the nation are struggling with the costs of pensions and retiree healthcare. Maryland is not immune from this national trend. Pension costs doubled over the past five years, and they are projected to quadruple over the next decade. We worked hard to put our pension system on the path to sustainability. Many states are taking harsh steps, including eliminating defined benefit pensions and gutting retiree healthcare. We chose to defend a defined benefit system, to protect our retirees’ existing benefits, and to ask our employees to contribute slightly more to their retirement, in order to put our pension system on a path to sustainability that is fair to employees, retirees and taxpayers. Through our actions and reforms, we will be reinvesting up to $300 million a year in our pension system to ensure that the pension promises we are making to our teachers and our employees are promises we can keep.

Beginning July 1, state employees and teachers will contribute 7 percent of their salaries, up from 5 percent, to the plan. Cost-of-living increases will be capped at 2.5 percent, while the multiplier used to calculate the amount of money retirees receive will be reduced from 1.8 percent to 1.5 percent for new employees. Further, annual cost-of-living adjustments for retirees will be based on the performance of the retirement plan’s investments. The targeted rate of return is 7.75 percent. If the actual return rate falls below that goal, retirees will receive a 1 percent COLA, and if investments exceed the 7.75 percent rate of return, the COLA will be 2.5 percent. Retirement eligibility will now be determined by the ‘Rule of 90′. Any employee that wishes to retire before the age of 65, his/her age and years of service must add to 90.

Creating Jobs and Building Infrastructure

This year’s capital budget includes $925 million for road repairs, library and hospital construction, schools construction, and other projects that improve our quality of life and create jobs in the state’s construction industry. The Baltimore County Delegation is proud to be bringing $1.2 Million home to our communities.

Protecting Maryland’s Children

Maryland’s Child Protective Services received 14,000 reports of neglect in 2010. They confirmed over 4,000 cases, yet, under Maryland law, prosecutors could not act on any of these cases until a child suffered a physical injury or death. While our primary goal is to address child neglect through education and social services, there are cases where neglect requires criminal prosecution. Through legislation which I supported we gave our prosecutors better tools to protect our most vulnerable children by making child neglect a crime. Maryland has some of the nation’s toughest laws against child sexual predators. We continued to lead on this issue this year, closing loopholes in the definition of sexual abuse, making sure that those who solicit sex of a minor in a sting must register as sex offenders, and tightening up reporting requirements for juveniles.

Direct Shipment of Wine

The General Assembly has passed a bill that I supported to allow wineries to ship up to 18 cases per year to Maryland residents. The new law will take effect July 1, placing Maryland in the company of 37 other states and the District of Columbia. With near unanimous support, the bill represents a compromise among the alcohol industry, wineries and consumer groups. While wineries may ship to Maryland homes after paying a $200 annual fee, retailers-including wine of the month clubs-may not ship to Marylanders. Retailer shipping is only permissible in about a dozen states at this time.

In-State Tuition for Illegal Immigrants

I voted against legislation granting in-state college tuition to students who reside in Maryland but are not legally living in the United States. The bill, which passed both chambers, stipulates that students attend a Maryland high school for at least three years and initially attend a community college in the same jurisdiction as their high school before qualifying for in-state tuition at a four-year public college or university.

The Governor’s Wind Energy Proposal
I sit on the Senate Finance committee which has under its purview issues relating to utilities in Maryland, including electricity. This session, the Governor made a proposal to increase Maryland’s wind energy production by requiring the PSC to order the State’s electric companies to enter into a long-term power purchase agreement with offshore wind generators. Although I have long supported increasing Maryland’s renewable energy portfolio, after much debate in the Finance committee, my colleagues and I still had too many concerns regarding the cost to ratepayers and the reliability of the Governor’s legislation. As a result, we did not pass this proposal and we shall be studying the issue of wind power extensively before next year’s session.

Protecting the Health of the Bay

The health of the Bay is critical to the future health of Maryland’s environment and economy. Two of the major causes of the failing health of the Bay are phosphorus and nitrogen runoff from the use of fertilizer. These chemicals can deplete the amount of oxygen in the Bay and cause a rise in the acidity levels, causing major damage. This year, I supported legislation which will set a maximum limit for the amount of these chemicals to be contained in certain fertilizers, and require fertilizers to be properly labeled so consumers know what they are purchasing.

I have served on the Maryland Aquaculture Coordinating Council and its predecessor for much of my time in the General Assembly. This year I worked with the Governor’s office as a sponsor of legislation that expedites the permitting process, and improves the promotion and general operation of Maryland’s Aquaculture programs. This legislation will encourage more people to start aquaculture projects, help Maryland be a leader in shellfish production and increase our ability to harness the properties of shellfish as a filter to strengthen our efforts in improving the Bay.

Maryland State Senator Kathy Klausmeier representing District 8 - Baltimore County

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