Red Maryland Post-Session Survey: Neil Parrott

What is your top legislative achievement for the 2017 General Assembly Session?

Working with other legislators to stop SB 835/HB 1362. These bills would have made Maryland a “sanctuary” state for illegal aliens, put us in defiance of Federal law, and complicated the relationship between local police forces and federal immigration agents.

What are some of your other legislative achievements for the 2017 General Assembly Session?

This session I introduced and passed three traffic bills. Two of them are common-sense bills that make it less restrictive for drivers. the first allows buses and other vehicles to not have to stop at a railroad crossing when the tracks are not ever used and the crossing is posted “Exempt.” The second allows motorists to cross the solid white line on the right side in order to go around a vehicle that is waiting to turn left on a two-lane roadway where each lane is separated by a double-yellow line.

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The third bill is Bryer’s Law, named after 5-year old Bryer Hendricks who died as a result of a car crash with an uninsured motorist driving on a suspended license from West Virginia. The bill fixes a loophole in Maryland law where Marylander’s could be fined and jailed for not driving with car insurance, but out-of-state drivers did not abide by the same requirement. This lack of consistency put Marylander’s at risk and resulted in justice not being served consistently.

What is your top legislative disappointment for the 2017 General Assembly Session?

The passage of HB 978 which shields failing schools. This bill was vetoed by Governor Hogan, but the veto was overridden. This bill has two main parts. It dictates factors and percentages that must be used to evaluate schools making it much more difficult for a school to be a failing school. It also protects failing schools and school boards from any state-funded competition. The bill indicates that, “After a 3-year period…that if student outcomes have not improved….and intervention is necessary, the Department shall collaborate with the county board in determining the appropriate intervention strategy subject to existing collective bargaining agreements between the county board and the exclusive bargaining representative.”

The bill goes on to specify that the State Board may not use public funds to help these students by utilizing private schools, charter schools, state run schools, or even contracting with a for-profit company for help within the failing school. Rather than give students real hope like we have seen be successful all across the nation, this bill traps students without providing any alternatives or allowing any kind of competition. Instead of actually helping the situation, the bill even indicates that a failing school could create a school-year calendar beyond 180 days to trap kids in the failing school for an even longer period of time.

The most troubling aspect of this bill is that it traps children in failing schools. With HB 978, students will be trapped in failing schools for three years before the State and local school districts are permitted to intervene. The pattern of forcing children to languish in failing schools year after year, while the powerful teachers union works to protect bad schools by putting up smoke screens like HB 978, hurts children and harms our society. I voted against this bill.

We asked before Session about your top legislative priorities for 2017. How do you feel about your efforts to achieve those priorities?

I was very happy with the effort that my staff and I made to pass positive legislation this session and to work with other legislators to stop harmful legislation. This was a busy session as I introduced and worked on 20 common-sense bills, the most I have ever done. While I do not place value on simply “getting bills passed,” I work hard in Annapolis to make positive changes that will help the families in our state.

Please explain your vote on House Bill 631.

I voted against the bill both times it came to the floor of the House of Delegates. I believe that putting price controls on a product leads to several unintended consequences and is not wise policy making. The effects of price controls often lead to extended shortages of a product, less incentive to innovate in order to create better products, and sustained higher prices in the long run. The higher prices result from less product being offered to the public since companies will have to work to be conservative in their manufacturing so that they don’t take losses on their sales.

Will you be running for re-election in 2018? Why or why not?

I have not announced yet

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