Mathias pleased with ‘17 sessionLegislative priorities met; senator focuses on next year’s goals, bills, projects
(April 14, 2017) From helping to make the shore’s pitch to bring the Triton program to Wallops Island to securing a commitment to not overturn Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order on school start dates to achieving the longtime priority of installing POW/MIA flags at state buildings, Sen. Jim Mathias’ session was one of ups, downs and deferred success.
Mathias said he never stopped working during the 90-day session, and has already started working on bills for next year, when the assembly reconvenes on Jan. 10.
“It was a heavy workload, representing a spectrum of needs,” he said.
Mathias was part of the effort to secure funding for the third phase of the Ocean City Convention Center expansion, the Lower Shore Clinic and the Believe in Tomorrow House by the Sea, plus he was able to increase the live carry loads for poultry transportation — limiting the number of trips needed to transport birds to the processing centers and the associated emissions.
Mathias saw an inequity in the copayment amounts for certain types of mammograms and was able to level them out through legislation.
He said he was able to secure a commitment from his colleagues that they would not try to overturn Gov. Hogan’s order to start Maryland Public Schools after Labor Day, a measure popular on the lower shore but less so in other areas of the state.
“There was an immediate reaction from advocates to overturn the order. I was able to resist those efforts, because it’s a big deal for our economy and our families,” he said.
After several attempts, he was able to get POW/MIA flags stationed at state-owned buildings.
“The safety in the United States is hard fought for, and some of those who fought never come home. We enjoy our freedom of expression, even if we don’t agree all of the time or most of the time — but we can do so because of their sacrifice,” he said.
The best part of the time spent in Annapolis, Mathias said, is the maturing relationships he’s fostered since arriving as a delegate in 2006 to finish the term of Del. K. Bennett Bozman.
“It’s been the best session I’ve had. I reached out to friends, the governor’s office and the leadership, and it’s gratifying to have these kinds of relationships,” he said. “It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked.”