2024 Maryland General Assembly ‘Most Challenging’

That’s according to one Frederick County Legislator.

Senator Karen Lewis Young  (Photo from Maryland General Assembly)

Frederick, Md (KM) It was one of the most challenging sessions she  has seen in the ten years in serving  as a state lawmaker. That assessment of the recently-completed 2024 Maryland General Assembly comes from Frederick County State Senator Karen Lewis Young, who cites two reasons. . “We came in facing a $761-million budget deficit. And the second reason is there were way, way, way too many  bills,” she says.

Despite the large number of bills, Senator Lewis Young says several pieces of legislation passed. One measure would require realtors to inform potential home buyers if the property they want to purchase is within a mile for a superfund site. If it is, the buyer has five days to rescind the agreement to buy the home. “Last year, it was a local bill This year it was a statewide bill because there are 23 superfund sites in the state,” she says.

The impetus for this bill came from plans to construct homes  near Fort Detrick’s Area B where biological and chemical wastes were dumped in past years. The development would located off of Fort Detrick property.

Another bill that passed was  the Love for Lochlin’s Law which is named for a five-year-old Frederick boy who died in 2020 because he was not diagnosed and treated for sepsis. “And now with the passage of this bill, all emergency rooms as well as urgent care facilities,  must follow some very standardized protocols  so they can identify sepsis early,” says Senator Lewis Young.

Sepsis results when the body releases chemicals to fight microorganisms, bacteria and viruses which can lead to inflammation of the body. It can result in organs such as the kidneys shutting down and respiration stops. This condition can eventually lead to death.

There was a third delegation bill that Senator Lewis Young fought for which would set up a truancy reduction court tin Frederick County. She said truancy has been a problem in the county which has grown since the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is a wonderful collaborative program between the public school system, the court system that really encourages and motivates young people to stay in school, but it’s not punitive,” she says.

Senator Lewis Young points out that many  young people who lack a high school diploma will find it very difficult to succeed in life.

Local legislators were able to bring back $24-million in state funding for local projects which Senator Lewis Young says will “serve our community well.”  Some of those projects include “the Frederick Scott Key American Legion will get money to repair their roof and their elevator. AARCH–the African-American Historical Society–will get some capital money. The 7th Street Fountain, traffic calming.”

But there were some bills that didn’t make it out of the General Assembly, and Senator Lewis Young says many will be back next year. “I want to look at combined reporting again because large corporations like Wal Mart and Target Burger King and McDonald’s aren’t paying state taxes, And they do in about 30 other states,” she says.

Lewis Young says she will start early in filing bills for the 2025 session. “Those bills  that didn’t move this year developing a plan of action and vetting  with all stakeholders earlier this year,” she says.

Also, Senator Lewis Young says she  will get her staff to come up with a report called “Lessons Learned” so legislators can do a better job next year.

By Kevin McManus