Legislative leadership and a panoply of county officials decorated the hallways and testimony table in Annapolis on January 23, as House Bill 1 – the Speaker’s “Built to Learn Act” – was heard in the Appropriations Committee. The far-reaching bill leverages casino revenues for revenue bonds, providing a short-term infusion of over $2 billion to school construction projects. County leaders voiced their support – Strong State Funding for School Construction has been a recurring MACo Initiative in recent years.
After Speaker Jones introduced the bill, eight of the top local officials formed a panel of solidarity to share their reasons for supporting the bill. Anne Arundel Executive Steuart Pittman, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Baltimore City Mayor Jack Young, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks all joined in on the united front. “Whether you are in a rural county, an urban county or a suburban county that’s growing, children deserve a decent room – warm, modern – to go to school,” stated County Executive Glassman. County Executive Pittman stated that it tells him that “we’re all on the right track in understanding that our residents really do care about the future, the future does matter, and that people want to invest in our future and out kids.”
Social Media coverage of the much-watched hearing was thorough and positive: