We didn’t have the biggest crowd on a Thanksgiving week, but Delegate Christopher Adams made his points during the final scheduled WCRC meeting of 2015.
Adams was down the agenda this time, as we chose to do our usual opening routine with the exception of me giving the treasurer’s report for the absent Deb Okerblom. We slotted the Central Committee report first, which meant Mark McIver could detail the “huge success” of the Lincoln Day Dinner.
McIver chalked up the success to a couple factors: good profit from the silent auction and the use of several database lists – and 150 hand-written personal invitations – to target our advertising.
Briefly going over the state convention, McIver detailed how we heard from the three leading Republican U.S. Senate candidates. Ann Suthowski chimed in that Muir Boda was mentioned twice during the convention for his success and Mark Edney did a good job explaining the succession by-laws amendment. The Salisbury University College Republicans were also mentioned as part of the state CR report for co-hosting the Lincoln Day Dinner.
McIver also announced he would host a joint club and Central Committee Christmas Party next month.
Finally, we heard from Delegate Adams. He was pleased to see the change in government in Salisbury, which he said has more sway than he does locally.
Adams noted that with $20 trillion in debt, it was likely the GOP would win this year’s election. He suggested they make cuts to the “fourth branch,” as cost-saving measures.
In Maryland, Adams continued, the Augustine Commission determined that federal spending accounted for 25% of the state’s GDP, so government cuts would affect Maryland disproportionately. The state needed to develop an “entrepreneurial ecosystem,” he added.
Most of Chris’s message dealt with legislation he was introducing to allow counties to opt out of sprinkler system requirements once again. It’s something they’ve been asking for, Adams added, but they were up against a powerful firefighter lobby. Adams noted he had a meeting slated with the state!s deputy fire marshal.
Yet the $5 to $7 per square foot cost for a small, affordable home was one that couldn’t be added to the value. Mandates like this are putting new homes out of reach for young families,
He explained that the 2012 International Residential Code had this mandate, but prior to last year counties were allowed to opt out. Taking back local control “has to be a grassroots effort,” said Adams, and it requires action on a local level.
Adams was asked if many new home builders voluntarily put in sprinklers, but few did. He added that some states prohibit the mandate, including several neighboring states.
Mark McIver noted that the state was “taking away the American Dream…it’s bankrupting the younger generation.”
Adams was also asked about sprinker systems affect insurance rates. He believe they made little difference in the rates, because alleviating the fire risk was balanced against the leaking and water damage potential.
Finally, Adams was asked about last year’s bill, introduced by Delegate Jeff Ghrist, to address this. He noted it was late-filed, so it never got a hearing. His bill is pre-filed.
Christopher concluded by announcing he has a unique fundraiser at the OC Hilton December 12 and 13. You would get 2 nights’ stay and lunch with special guest Bob Ehrlich for one price.
Since we had a number of other state legislators in attendance, we got brief updates.
Carl Anderton spoke with Delaware officials, trying to get their perspective on agricultural issues. He also has a fundraiser coming up at the Delmar VFW on December 3.
Johnny Mautz believed “this year will be different than last year” in the General Assembly, with “a lot of activity.” Federal campaigns will drive some of that activity, so it would be up to Eastern Shore Republicans to kill bad bills as they could.
Addie Eckardt thought it would get “testy,” with pressure to spend our new-found surplus on items that were cut from last year’s budget. The idea was not to let ourselves get splintered, she concluded.
All in all, it was a nice little pre-session update – and timely, since we won’t meet again until after the session starts in January. To be exact, the WCRC will reconvene on January 25, 2016.