Lt. Governor Brown Applauds Governor O'Malley, General Assembly on Session's Success
Brown says 2009 Session among most challenging and most successful in recent memory
ANNAPOLIS, MD (April 15, 2009) – Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown applauded Governor Martin O’Malley and the members of the Maryland General Assembly for the successful completion of the 2009 Maryland Legislative Session. Brown thanked the governor, House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller for passing substantive legislation and a balanced budget that protects the progress that has been made in the last three years and puts Families First.
“This session was perhaps the most difficult I’ve seen in my 11 years in Annapolis. The national economic downturn threatened a great deal of our progress and has hit working families the hardest,” Lt. Governor Brown said. “But, because of Governor O’Malley’s leadership and the partnership we’ve forged with the General Assembly, we were able to protect our progress, fight for Maryland’s hardworking families and put Maryland in a position to pull out of this downturn more quickly than other states.”
Brown worked closely with O’Malley throughout the legislative session to pass the administration’s priorities and protect the investments in public education, higher education, public safety and public health contained in the Governor’s FY10 budget. Brown specifically focused on bills to take firearms away from domestic abusers, bills that support our veterans and military families, and bills to aid Maryland’s preparations for BRAC.
“Considering the fiscal challenges we faced, this year’s session was perhaps the most successful in recent memory,” Brown added. “We took great strides to make our state safer by fighting back against domestic violence and we went a long way to expand and enhance our support for veterans and military families. I am personally honored that Governor O’Malley entrusted me with such important work and am proud that every bill I identified to my staff in January as a priority passed with overwhelming support.”
Brown led the administration’s efforts to pass stricter laws to remove firearms from abusers. Brown testified in favor of the administration’s two domestic violence bills and assembled two panels of law enforcement officials, victims and other stakeholders to share their perspectives with lawmakers. Both bills passed and will be signed into law by Governor O’Malley next month. Brown, who was among the “winners” mentioned in the Baltimore Sun’s post-session legislative rundown, also worked with members of the House and Senate to defeat misguided efforts that would have allowed victims of domestic violence to more easily obtain a firearm. Last summer, Brown’s cousin, Cathy, was killed at her home in Montgomery Village by her estranged boyfriend.
Brown’s 25 years of military service and his tour of duty in Iraq make him more aware of issues affecting veterans and military families. In 2008, he led the administration’s efforts to pass one of the nation’s most comprehensive veterans legislative packages. This year, Brown led the effort to expand the Veterans Behavioral Health Program to all veterans. Only veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were eligible under the original legislation. In addition, Brown worked closely with Delegate Anne Kaiser and Senator John Astle to pass legislation that would allow Maryland to join the Interstate Compact on Education Opportunity for Military Children. The Compact eases the transition into new schools for children of military families.
Working with the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Brown led efforts to pass legislation that will help families moving to Maryland because of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) transition more easily. The legislation amends the waiver of examination provisions of licensing statutes that govern stationary engineers, plumbers, gas fitters and HVACR contractors. The changes in the law would be in effect for a three year period, ending in 2012, for individuals in the named occupations moving their residence from Virginia or New Jersey to Maryland.
In addition, Brown worked to protect critical funding for priorities in the FY10 budget, including:
- $267.3 million for community college operating funds;
- $87.5 million for capital projects at Maryland’s community colleges, including $18.1 million to construct the New Center for Health Studies at Prince George’s Community College;
- $5 million for the National Children’s Museum at National Harbor in Prince George’s County;
- $2.8 million for the Veterans Behavioral Health Program;
- $1 million for the BRAC Higher Education Fund;
- $750,000 for the Iraq/Afghanistan Veterans Scholarship Fund; and
- $300,000 for the Veterans Business Loan program.
Brown, the first person to ever be elected Lt. Governor directly from the House of Delegates, leads the O’Malley-Brown administration’s efforts on domestic violence, higher education, economic development, health care, veterans affairs and BRAC.