Periodic Update: Banning the sale of animals from puppy mills

Periodic Update: Banning the sale of animals from puppy mills
(Updated 7/5/18)

- By Del. Eric Bromwell (D-8) -

Governor Hogan signed a bill into law that prohibits retail pet stores from selling puppies and kittens born in "puppy mills." Every year, 500,000 puppies are born in puppy mills and sold in pet stores. Indeed, 99 percent of puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. These lucrative and legal enterprises have been around since the early 1960s and can earn their owners more than $300,000 annually.

Puppy mills confine about 1 million breeder dogs in tiny, cramped cages, breeding them about twice a year. These defenseless animals are burned out by the time they're five years old. Then, they are killed by the puppy mills.

Pet stores in Maryland are already subject to strict regulations. They have to be transparent about the breeders from which they buy. They cannot buy from breeders who have gotten a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) citation in the past two years. However, it should be noted that a two-year investigation into the USDA, which licenses breeders, found that the USDA is allowing breeders with the worst possible infractions to stay in the business of breeding. Unfortunately, when a breeder is USDA-licensed, people think that's a federal stamp of approval. That is not always the case.

Despite existing state regulations, Governor Hogan signed into law a bill that takes an additional step to emphasize that pet stores cannot get their for-sale puppies from puppy mills. California is the only other state with a similar law.

Anyone who has ever known the unconditional love and loyalty of a dog is horrified by the cruel conditions these defenseless animals are forced to endure at puppy mills. The fact that these puppy mills are lucrative businesses is abhorrent.

A few years ago, a documentary about puppy mills aired on television. I saw it, and those images of the torture and euthanasia of helpless animals has never left my mind. Such blatant cruelty should never be tolerated. I, like the millions of dog and cat lovers in the nation, am appalled at the torturous life to which these animals are subjected. There should be laws to protect these animals who are helpless to help themselves. I am happy to say that the new state law, which becomes effective in January 2020, takes strong action to prohibit the sale of dogs bred in puppy mills from being sold in retail pet stores in the state.

Please do not hesitate to contact me on this or any other issue of concern to you. As always, I encourage and welcome your input. read more

America's 242nd birthday - Happy birthday, America!

America's 242nd birthday - Happy birthday, America!
(Updated 7/3/18)

- By Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R-6) -

In the American tradition, we will happily celebrate our nation's 242nd birthday with parades, cookouts, picnics and fireworks. For two and a half centuries, we have defied the odds to become the longest-lasting democracy in the world. During all the celebrating the significance of this important holiday often escapes us.

Just think about how 56 brave men, representing 13 colonies, signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, believing they might have signed their own death warrants. These men stood up against England, the most powerful nation in the world at that time, against repressive and excessive taxation.

No one ever believed a ragtag army of volunteers could win a war against England. To the amazement of the world, the 13 colonies won the war and their independence from England.

Everything about the birth of our nation defied the odds. This was a time in history when nations and colonies lives under the rule of kings. Even England's King George III questioned how the United States of America could survive without monarchical rule.

On July 4, 1776, the Congress approved the Declaration Of Independence. The first celebration of the Declaration took place on July 8, 1776, with shouts of jubilation and shots of gunfire.

By the early 1800s, the tradition of parades picnics and fireworks were established as the way to celebrate America's birthday. The signing of the Declaration of Independence marked the official birth of the indomitable American spirit. It is that spirit that has made us a world power. And it is that spirit that makes us believe there is nothing we cannot overcome.

Through the growing pains of our nation, he have fought among ourselves in a civil war. Yet, we came together as one nation after the war. We have faced economic depression, where the unemployment rate was 25 percent. Yet, we survived and grew stronger. Throughout our history we have united and pulled together as a people and we believed in ourselves. World War II was an effort in which everyone engaged. Kids collected scrap, grew Victory Gardens and saved in school to buy Victory Bonds. Women worked in armaments manufacturing plants and volunteered in dozens of ways for the war effort. Families stretched food coupons and did without a huge number of consumer goods. And men and women fought and died to protect our freedom.

I believe that spirit which enables us to pull together as one people is as strong as ever, and I believe we will use it. On this Fourth of July, I hope that during the celebrations we remember the true significance of this holiday as the birth of the indomitable American spirit. Happy Birthday America! read more

Message from the Councilwoman

Message from the Councilwoman
(Updated 6/8/18)

- By Councilwoman Cathy Bevins (D-6) -

On May 24, the Baltimore County Council passed the $3.285 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2019. The budget was passed by a unanimous vote of the County Council after holding several public hearings with the various county departments and agencies during the month of May.

I am proud to report that the budget is balanced and does not raise property or income taxes for Baltimore County residents. Spending is within the guidelines established by the Spending Affordability Committee and the county will retain its triple AAA bond rating which will allow the county to borrow funds at the lowest interest rates for projects such as school construction and infrastructure improvements.

This budget prioritizes two issues that are important to me and I know are important to you as well: public education and public safety. The FY 2019 budget includes $1.7 billion for public education. This represents an increase of nearly $6.2 million over the FY 2018 budget. The budget also exceeds the required maintenance of effort funding for Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) by $26.6 million to provide $8 million for 23 new school counselors, 22 social workers, 18 psychologists and 19 School Resource Officers.

The BCPS Six-Year Capital Program totals $835.5 million for construction and renovation projects. Many schools in the Sixth District are the recipients of these funds for enhancements and improvements. Overlea High School will receive $800,000 for artificial turf fields. These fields will not only be an asset to the athletics at Overlea High School but the entire Overlea-Fullerton community as well. Red House Run Elementary School is slated to receive a 214-seat addition for the 2021 school year and funds are allocated for a roof replacement at Orems Elementary and a chiller replacement at McCormick Elementary.

The FY 2019 budget also makes a substantial investment in the safety of our citizens. The Baltimore County Police Department’s budget is $224 million, an increase of $1.7 million over last year’s budget. The Police Department budget includes $300,000 for a new animal abuse team to investigate complaints of animal cruelty, abuse and neglect. There is also a $65,000 increase over the 2018 budget to combat the opioid crisis by investing in naloxone, which curbs the effect of overdoses.

The FY 2019 budget is robust and sends a strong message on the priorities of county government. Our schools are funded, our police have the resources they need to fight crime and the county remains a national example of sound fiscal management. Baltimore County remains a great place to live, work and play. read more

Councilwoman Cathy Bevins attends reception on progress at Greenleigh

Councilwoman Cathy Bevins attends reception on progress at Greenleigh
Councilwoman Cathy Bevins (center) with executive board members of the Essex-Middle River Civic Council.
(Updated 6/8/18)

- By Councilwoman Cathy Bevins (D-6) -

On Wednesday, June 6, I joined local officials and business leaders to celebrate the progress of the Greenleigh development on RT. 43 in Middle River. I was joined by County Executive Don Mohler, Jill Kamenetz and various community members, including the executive board of the Essex-Middle River Civic Council.

Since day one in office I have supported the expansion and revitalization of Route 43. Greenleigh is truly the hidden gem of Baltimore County; in the few years since this project began, thousands of quality high-paying jobs have been created and many new businesses and residents have decided to call Middle River home. Where else do you have nationally recognized companies such as Stanley Black and Decker, Mary Sue Candies and Breakthru Beverage all in the same development?

I led the effort on the Baltimore County Council to pass legislation establishing the MD 43 Overlay District in 2013 to allow the zoning necessary to make Greenleigh a reality. I was able to bring the community together with the developers to make sure everyone, from the county government to the community, was involved.

This is the way the process is supposed to work - a partnership between the community, the county and the developer to create a great project - and that is what happened here at Greenleigh.

Greenleigh at Crossroads is a $750 million mixed-use project covering 250 acres along Maryland Route 43. Connecting White Marsh to Middle River, Route 43 was envisioned as the road to opportunity. Modeled after the Maple Lawn development in Howard County, this mixed-use community of upscale and first-class offices, shops, homes and a hotel will be home to 10,000 jobs and many new residents while providing $15 million a year in revenue to Baltimore County when completed. read more

Governor Hogan signs Education Transparency Act into law

Governor Hogan signs Education Transparency Act into law
HB 76 was sponsored by Del. Robin Grammer, a Republican who represents the Sixth legislative district (Dundalk, Essex and parts of Rosedale).
(Updated 5/14/18)

- By Del. Robin Grammer (R-6) -

The current Board of Education has a reputation for working in secrecy by shielding the votes of its members. The policies adopted by the Board of Education have a direct and significant impact on the everyday lives of students, parents, school staff and communities. The board has voted on school boundary changes, funding, schedule adjustments and weather policies without the public knowing how each member voted.

This year I sponsored HB 76, the Education Transparency Act, which requires the board of education to take roll call votes on policy votes and post those votes online for consumption of the public. The goal of this bill was to reform the current Board of Education process and enforce transparency. Although there were attempts to kill the bill in the legislature, we were able to rally public support behind the issue.

I am happy to report that Governor Larry Hogan has signed the bill into law. It is a shame that we have to micro-manage local authoritative bodies to enforce transparency. Thanks to everyone who helped make this bill a reality. I look forward to working with all of you toward better education policy and a more accountable Board of Education! read more

Councilman Marks, volunteers celebrate renovated Kingsville Park

Councilman Marks, volunteers celebrate renovated Kingsville Park
(Updated 5/13/18)

- By Councilman David Marks (R-5) -


On Saturday, May 12, I joined the Kingsville Recreation Council in celebrating the completion of Phase 1 of improvements to Kingsville Park.

Funding for the project was secured after meeting with Kingsville leaders such as Bill Paulshock, Joe Salvo and Joe Mills, president of the council.

Under the leadership of Joe Mills and his outstanding volunteers, the Kingsville Recreation Council has become one of the most active programs in northeastern Baltimore County. The park improvements, along with the new fire station and elementary school renovations, add to the terrific quality of life here in Kingsville.

The funding improved drainage at the 22-acre site, renovated the upper fields and increased accessibility for disabled patrons. Phase 2 will involve improvements to the lower fields.

"As a longtime recreation council volunteer, I know these improvements are critical for the growing and active program in Kingsville," commented Bill Paulshock, who alerted Marks to the problem in 2014.

"I would like to thank Councilman Marks for constantly communicating with me and with other leaders of the Kingsville Recreation Council,"  added Scott Cantner, softball commissioner and vice president. "The improvements definitely help with our activities and add to the enjoyment and utility of these fields." read more

Rumor control regarding Franklin Square

Rumor control regarding Franklin Square
(Updated 5/10/18)

- By Del. Ric Metzgar (R-6) -

The children of our community are important to our future. The recent protest of Franklin Square Medical Center’s decision questions the hospital’s commitment to pediatrics. I have had the opportunity to speak to representatives at Franklin Square and they assure me that they remain committed to providing emergency care to children and that the Department of Pediatrics will remain open.

Although they no longer have a pediatric inpatient unit, they will continue to provide other pediatric services including the new NICU, the behavioral health program for adolescents and community pediatric primary care practices. I realize that our healthcare system is undergoing great change. We must work together to find solutions so that we have accessible and affordable healthcare.

I, Delegate Ric Metzgar, will continue to work with Medstar Franklin Square to resolve this issue. read more

Pat McDonough: I was right about Verletta White!

Pat McDonough: I was right about Verletta White!
(Updated 5/7/18)

- By Del. Pat McDonough (R-7), candidate for Baltimore County Executive -


All of the other candidates for Baltimore County Executive, including Al Redmer, said they would try and work with Verletta White as the permanent Baltimore County Public Schools superintendent. I was the only candidate who refused to work with White because of her ethics problems, close association to former Superintendent Dallas Dance and support of common core and the STAT program.

It appears my courage to stand up to the business as usual attitude of other politicians has prevailed once again! The State Superintendent of Education has refused to validate Verletta White as Baltimore County Superintendent. I, as Baltimore County Executive, may not need to work with a clone of Dallas Dance.

I proclaimed loudly that the newly elected school board should choose the next school superintendent in December, after a professional search. It looks like I was right again! Standing alone, working for the people, as I did when I convicted Dallas Dance of an ethics charge three years ago that led to his eventual prosecution and incarceration.

Pat McDonough for Baltimore County Executive, Put People First, Change Now Or Never! For more information call us at 410-238-0025. read more

The Average Joes

The Average Joes
(Updated 4/30/18)

- By Joe Norman, candidate for delegate (R-8) -

This past weekend Delegate Eric Bromwell, a lifelong politician, dismissed myself and some of the other candidates running against him as "just a bunch of Average Joes." This kind of elitist attitude is reprehensible and unacceptable. It is even more outrageous when it comes from an elected official.

I am running for a seat in the House of Delegates because I am sick and tired of politics as usual in the State of Maryland. I am running because we need more Average Joes in Annapolis who will champion common-sense legislation instead of making politically motivated backroom deals. I am running because we need public servants who will look out for the "average" families of Baltimore County, not ones who belittle us.

Delegate Bromwell thinks that Average Joes have no business in Annapolis; I think that he is dead wrong. I am proud to be an Average Joe, and I hope to earn the right to serve the thousands of other hardworking, “average” families of Parkville, Perry Hall, White Marsh, Rosedale, Overlea, Carney, Fullerton and Nottingham as a delegate in Annapolis.

Joe Norman is a husband, father, small business owner and community volunteer. He is also a candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates, District 8. read more

Reaction to demolition of abandoned properties in Baltimore City

Reaction to demolition of abandoned properties in Baltimore City
(Updated 4/30/18)

- By Del. Rick Impallaria (R-7) -

Unfortunately, Baltimore is a failing city. The murder rate is astronomical, crime is out of control and the city is blighted beyond recognition. I read an article in Sunday’s edition of the Baltimore Sun entitled “Demolition Effort is Never-Ending Battle”. It describes the challenges Baltimore City is facing concerning the demolition of vacant and dilapidated buildings. In 2010 officials counted 16,800 vacant buildings in Baltimore. After eight years and tens of millions of dollars, there are still 16,500 vacant buildings in the city.

Excuses can be made for anything. Eventually, however, personal responsibility needs to be taken. The facts are simple: people are fleeing Baltimore City for safety, good schools and opportunity. Additionally, the number of Section Eight vouchers in Baltimore City has decreased while the number of vouchers in Baltimore County has increased. Individuals living off Section Eight can’t be blamed for moving out of the city and into the county. You couldn’t pay me to live in Baltimore City. But their migration is affecting the fabric of the county. Many are bringing drugs, crime and violence to our otherwise safe communities.

While the narrative continues to focus on Baltimore City, it is long overdue that we consider Baltimore County. We should place taxpayers ahead of tax-takers. Baltimore is already a lost cause. It is insane to continually do the same thing over and over, time and time again expecting a different outcome. Baltimore has been under Democratic control for as long as I can remember and look at where it has gotten them. The worst part is, the city continues to look to state aid as a way of bettering itself. That’s a nice way of saying the rest of the state needs to subsidize Baltimore City’s shortcomings and failures. To that I say, enough is enough.

Baltimore County needs to focus on protecting itself from Baltimore City. The drugs and violence which Baltimore City has failed to control have made their way into Baltimore County. Instead of standing idly by, we need to speak out and actively work to fight the city’s numerous negative influences. Baltimore City’s failures belong to them and them alone. We need to prevent Baltimore County from following in their footsteps. People moved out of the city and into the county for noble reasons. They wanted safe neighborhoods, good schools and a sense of community. They chose to build their lives and live in an area that espouses their family values. Now, those values and that sense of community are under assault, placing us at a crossroads.

With that said, I am committed to protecting the people of Baltimore and Harford counties from the ravages of Baltimore City. There comes a point in time when the gates of charity have to close. The hardworking men and women of our counties should not continue to see their tax dollars exploited by reckless city management. Baltimore City’s failures and shortcomings belong to Baltimore City. They got what they voted for. We need to stop subsidizing bad behavior. We need to focus on bettering and saving ourselves, not on fixing the unfixable. Additionally, we need to follow other states' leads by drug testing individuals receiving Section Eight vouchers and welfare dollars. read more

Councilman David Marks endorsed by Teachers Association of Baltimore County

Councilman David Marks endorsed by Teachers Association of Baltimore County
(Updated 4/16/18)

- By Councilman David Marks (R-5) -


The Teachers Association of Baltimore County, which represents more than 8,000 educators, has announced their endorsement of me for County Council. It is the second consecutive election in which I have been endorsed this by this organization.

I am proud to accept the endorsement of this organization, and I thank them for their support. As a graduate of Baltimore County Public Schools and a parent of kids in our public schools, I value the hard work of our educators and will always work to strengthen our schools.

Since elected to the County Council, I have worked with parents and other education stakeholders to have every public school air conditioned in the Fifth District. Three Towson schools have been renovated, and three new schools are under construction or budgeted for the northeast.

During the next term, my goal is to address the high school overcrowding issue and work with the new Board of Education to deal with issues such as school safety and discipline. It is paramount that we continue to improve academic excellence and ensure our parents have trust in their school system. read more

Country Club Estates project fits with revitalization vision

Country Club Estates project fits with revitalization vision
(Updated 3/29/18)

- By Councilman Todd Crandell (R-7) -

Nowhere else in Baltimore County will you see the damage caused by massive job losses except in the Seventh District. Over the last 30 years, we have been devastated by the demise of our industrial and manufacturing job base and we saw what most of us have never seen - blighted neighborhoods, vacant commercial property, a decline in property values and, subsequently, a lack of community involvement and pride.

I believe I was elected in 2014 because I was the candidate who not only expressed what had led to our painful situation, but also offered a practical vision on how to reverse the downward spiral and revitalize a community of over 100,000 people. If you have heard me speak, you know that our vision has three components: re-create the job base, increase the quality of the housing stock and re-energize the commercial corridors.

We take every opportunity to execute on that vision. We are very proud of passing Bill 86-15 which spurred job creation at Tradepoint Atlantic. We are equally as proud of recently passed Resolution 23-18, which approved the review by county agencies of the proposed development at Sparrows Point Country Club, to be known as Country Club Estates.

The opportunity for a one-of-a-kind, high-end waterfront/golf course/marina/country club community in Dundalk is one we, as a district, simply cannot pass up. Once built, there will be nothing like it in Baltimore County, or even the State of Maryland. The project completely fits within our revitalization vision.

Discussed for more than 10 years, the project at Sparrows Point Country Club came about through a partnership between the privately owned club and a successful developer. The council resolution approving the review of the project was necessary only to include the construction of upscale single-family homes, priced around $500,000 or more, in the project. All other zoning was in place for the proposed townhomes and waterfront villas.

As Resolution 23-18 is a Planned Unit Development, or PUD, we could, by statute, derive a community benefit. The adjacent communities, both by shared boundaries and by school district, were consulted and a list of capital projects, some for new community amenities and some to pay homage to our rich history, were negotiated.

We are clearly a district on the rise. Both public and private investment in the Seventh District are occurring at unprecedented levels and opportunities like Tradepoint Atlantic and Sparrows Point Country Club are being captured. We all share a vision for a prosperous, dynamic community and it is happening right before our eyes. read more

Redmer seeks to address infrastructure, indifference as county executive

Redmer seeks to address infrastructure, indifference as county executive
(Updated 3/26/18)

- By Al Redmer, candidate for Baltimore County Executive -

As I drive to work in the morning from my home in Middle River through eastern Baltimore County, I’m struck daily by the conditions of some neighborhoods that simply wouldn’t be tolerated in other zip codes. Similarly, when I travel the county speaking with teachers, firefighters, police officers and other government employees, I hear a common complaint. These employees don’t feel that their concerns are being heard or that they have the resources they need to do their jobs well. Both of these observations smack of indifference and are among the many reasons I decided to run for Baltimore County Executive.

I’ve often said that if you know the right person or can sign the right check, you can get things done - and get them done quickly - in Baltimore County. And while well-connected folks have no difficulty getting their own nests feathered, if you don’t know the right person or you can’t sign the right check, you go to the back of a very long and very unresponsive line.

For years, county government has failed to make appropriate investments in infrastructure, maintenance, technology and more. Schools are crumbling before our eyes while students contend with freezing classrooms in winter and sweltering ones in summer. Some neighborhoods are being overtaken by enormous long-tailed rats, others by swarms of pesky midge insects. Violent crime is climbing at an alarming rate. Roadsides become trash repositories, calls go unanswered, residents’ concerns ignored.

Despite these failures and other, equally serious issues in Baltimore County, there is no long-term plan to address them or to hold county leadership accountable for getting these problems solved.

Every year, the county budget process is a scramble for discretionary dollars. Remarkably, there is no multi-year budget and, therefore, no hope that if your priority can’t be addressed in this year’s budget, it surely will be in the next. This has led to a feeling across the county, both by employees and residents, that no one is listening and no one cares.

That is where I depart from the status-quo as I seek the county’s top elected office. Throughout my career in both the public and private sectors, I have built a reputation as a guy who can bring people together, set a tone and create a productive culture focused on accountability and results. I have been involved in my community since I was 15 years old, as a volunteer firefighter, an umpire for the Perry Hall and White Marsh recreation councils, a member of my church council and a representative on countless boards and committees. I served eight years as president of the Perry Hall Improvement Association, 13 years in the House of Delegates - including two years as Republican Leader - and two terms as Maryland Insurance Commissioner. I have run private businesses, both large and small, and built two of my own companies from scratch. In fact, I have been told that I have more executive-level leadership experience in both the public and private sectors than any current candidate or recent Baltimore County Executive.

As your next county executive, I want to set a new vision for what our county can truly achieve. I’ve lived in Baltimore County my entire life, was educated in our public school system, raised my family here and built my career here. There are so many wonderful things to love about Baltimore County; no one could ever claim that it is not a wonderful place in which to live, work and raise a family. But the status-quo we’ve come to accept from our county leadership is no longer good enough. We can - and we must - do better.

Under a Redmer administration, there will be a new culture in Baltimore County government, one where all communities have equal access to government and can expect prompt, responsive service. We will put an end to the cronyism, the good-old-boy, sweetheart deals and the neglect. We are going to clean up our schools and neighborhoods; clean up the crime, the rats and the midges. And we are going to set a new culture in county government - one in which we measure ourselves not by our rhetoric, but by our actions and our results.

Alfred Redmer, Jr., is commissioner of the Maryland Insurance Administration and former Minority Leader of the Maryland House of Delegates. He is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Baltimore County Executive. read more

Councilman Marks to introduce legislation providing more review of county executive’s legal settlements

Councilman Marks to introduce legislation providing more review of county executive’s legal settlements
(Updated 2/14/18)

- By Councilman David Marks (R-5) -


I have decided to introduce legislation that provides greater scrutiny to settlements negotiated by the Baltimore County Executive.

Over the past several years, the Kamenetz administration has negotiated legal agreements that bind taxpayers to millions of dollars. These include settlements from employee lawsuits, as well as a $30 million agreement that advances affordable housing goals.

The county charter gives the county executive broad power over many governmental decisions; as an example, the County Council can only cut from - not add to - the proposed budget. I believe, however, that we need more scrutiny of these legal agreements that commit the county to hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions of dollars in future obligations.

For that reason, I will introduce legislation that would require the county attorney to provide periodic reports of significant litigation to the County Council. It would also require notification to the council of a proposed settlement of any significant litigation, and would allow a council member to object to a proposed settlement and have the matter placed on a council agenda for a vote.

The bill also provides a definition of the terms “significant litigation” and “settlement” and provides for a notification process.

I believe this is simple "good government" - taxpayers and their elected representatives should have far greater scrutiny of the settlements negotiated by the county executive and his senior staff.​ read more