Legislative Session Begins January 14th

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Following a tumultuous election season which saw a reshuffling of the makeup of the state legislature and Governor’s mansion, union leaders are anticipating a challenging legislative session—especially for public school teachers and staff, as well as state employees—set to begin today, January 14th.

While Governor-elect Larry Hogan has been mum on specific legislation he wishes to pass and budget decisions he plans to make, most foresee possible cuts to education in key jurisdictions like Baltimore City, as well as a loosening of the restrictions placed on charter school management, as key legislative battles looming in Annapolis over the next 90 days.

Hogan ran on a platform of cutting taxes and reducing spending, although during the campaign he was very vague as to what specifically should be cut,” said AFT-Maryland Political Coordinator Todd Reynolds. “Many of his key advisors, though, have signaled a plan to pay for those tax cuts as well as making up future budget deficits by cutting from state agencies. Everything is on the table—from furloughs or layoffs, to long-term hiring freezes, to reductions in state payments to employee health insurance plans and retirement packages.”

Reynolds added that in order to counter those cuts to state employees and public school teachers, those same workers will need to make their voices heard in Annapolis during this legislative session.

Public Employees must come to Annapolis. They must let their representative know how much these cuts would hurt their families, as well as the children and the citizens of Maryland. The values we hold so dear—equitable public education for all, a state government that is effective and attentive to the needs of its citizens, fair compensation and due process rights for teachers and public employees in Maryland—are all on the line this session. We’ll lose them if we don’t speak up!”

In order to coordinate and amplify our voices in Annapolis, The AFT-Maryland is planning for its first Lobby Night at the Capitol for early February. For more information, please contact Todd Reynolds at treynolds@aftmd.org or 410-764-3030.

T.Reynolds, 1/14/15