Red Maryland Post-Session Survey: Brett Wilson
What is your top legislative achievement for the 2017 General Assembly Session?
For each of my three sessions, the top legislative achievement has been working with Governor Hogan to prevent new taxes and new fees while moving toward a structurally stable budget in Maryland. This year, we also were successful in reducing the tax burden on retired military members and first responders. Our goal, of course, is to lower the tax burden on all Marylanders but the majority makes that unrealistic at present.
What are some of your other legislative achievements for the 2017 General Assembly Session?
Personally, I was able to help primary and co-sponsor legislation to pass that will continue making life harder on child abusers and molesters. It is an ill in society that we can never tolerate. Additionally, I served on a workgroup that ultimately led to the failure of the sanctuary legislation and on a workgroup that led to successful passage of legislation to further our effort to break the opioid addiction epidemic without the severe funding mandates contained in the bills as filed.
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What is your top legislative disappointment for the 2017 General Assembly Session?
I am most disappointed at the willingness of the House to give away the legislative authority granted to us by the Maryland Constitution. First, we gave plenary power to the Attorney General (I believe unconstitutionally) along with mandated funding for additional attorneys even though the Attorney General does not even fill the positions that already exist. Second, we allowed the Maryland courts, through rule making, to legislate on the issues of pretrial services and bail which likely lead to decrease public safety and increased public expense. In both instances, we failed as a legislative body.
We asked before Session about your top legislative priorities for 2017. How do you feel about your efforts to achieve those priorities?
Overall, I believe it was the best of my three sessions. Even with the failures noted above, and the passage of some other bills that set bad public policy like increased business regulation, on the whole we were successful putting off the road kill bill and preventing Maryland from becoming a sanctuary state. With the number of indictments and investigations that came to light this session, we should also highlight the passage of the Governor’s ethics legislation, even though the majority did water it down to some extent.
Please explain your vote on House Bill 631.
I did vote for HB631. The final version was much limited in scope from the bill that was filed. It does not affect patent protected drugs, which is vital if we want companies to continue to research new medicines. It does not affect drugs that already face market competition and it is limited to drugs with 3 or less producers. Finally, my district has many who live on a fixed income. I will not be blind to their needs, especially where legislation is tailored to potential problems in a market and not try to control the market as a whole.
Will you be running for re-election in 2018? Why or why not?
Yes, I plan to run in 2018. As we work toward a veto proof minority in either the House or the Senate, it is important that we hold onto such gains as we made on election day 2014. Moreover, I have always stated that I have no intention to be a “lifer” in Annapolis, but that one term alone does not permit sufficient time to affect real change