Prince George’s Legislators Unveil 2016 Priorities

A November 16, 2015, Washington Post article reported that members of the Prince George’s County Delegation have announced their priorities for the 2016 Session, including a County tax on plastic bags, school system reporting and oversight, assisting nonprofits who cannot meet the County’s minimum wage law, and changing the amount and cost of County-issued liquor licenses.  From the article:

A bag tax? Delegation Chair Jay Walker (D-Prince George’s) will once again introduce a bill that will give Prince George’s government the authority to impose a 5-cent tax on retail stores that provide disposable bags. Similar bills failed to emerge from committee last year and a statewide bill, proposed by county lawmakers, died in 2012 by one vote.

School finances: During County Executive Rushern L. Baker’s (D) campaign to raise property taxes for schools last spring, opponents dominated the debate with concerns about the school system’s finances. Del. Geraldine Valentino-Smith (D) is proposing that CEO Kevin Maxwell be required to report regularly to the General Assembly about financial management practices cited in a scathing 2014 audit by the state.

School inspector general: Del. Alonzo Washington (D) is tacking on more school accountability measures with a proposed bill to establish an inspector general’s office responsible for investigating and examining complaints about the public schools. …

County supplement for nonprofits: Del. Dereck E. Davis (D)…has signed on as a sponsor for a bill attempting to address an unintended consequence of the county’s raising of the minimum wage. A council of Prince George’s nonprofit organizations working with residents with intellectual disabilities says they cannot afford the county’s minimum wage scale, which exceeds the state’s. Negotiations with county leaders failed, and nonprofit leaders are asking the delegation to force county government to reimburse them for millions of dollars to make up the difference and keep their operations running.