Focus will be budget initiatives and animal cruelty
Annapolis, MD (January 11, 2011) - County Executive John R. Leopold today announced priorities for the Maryland General Assembly session, which include preventing further cuts to local aid, increasing transparency in the education budget and creating tougher penalties for animal cruelty.
"While keeping our fiscal house in order and minimizing state reductions to local funding are clearly the most important priorities, we are also interested in reforming the Board of Education budget process and implementing tougher penalties to prevent future tragedies toward animals," County Executive Leopold said. "I look forward to working with our delegation to protect the interests of our citizens and fight for the legislation citizens want from their elected officials."
County Executive Leopold supports the following initiatives:
- Mandate a County Council public hearing and affirmative vote to approve any Board of Education request to transfer funds between major budget categories
- Require the Board of Education to provide the Executive and County Council with information detailing program implications, with supporting detail and analysis, for budget increases, the number and costs associated with school-based non-instructional personnel and year-over-year changes in budgets for instructional supplies and materials, additional equipment and replacement equipment. Separately these items are already in State law individually in Cecil, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
- Increase the penalty for "inflicting unnecessary suffering or pain on an animal" (excluding hunting) from 90 days to 6 months imprisonment, and increasing the fine from $1,000 to $2,500. Create a new offense of committing the same crime with a handgun, rifle or dangerous weapon with a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment and a $5,000 fines.
- Make Charter Schools exempt from paying property taxes, and create a revolving loan fund for charter school construction projects.