This year, a collection of landlord/tenant bills have been introduced. Ten bills have passed out of the House and two from the Senate. Due to the pandemic, a freeze on evictions was put in place. Additionally, the courts have been closed and then partially reopened for rent court complaints. Almost all of the focus has been on renter’s rights and almost none on the unintended effects on property owners.
Some of these bills will dramatically shift the tenant/landlord relationship. House Bill 1312 would allow tenants to use income losses resulting from an emergency as an eviction defense for three to six months after the emergency occurs. Forbidding evictions without finding a way to help tenants pay their rent is unjust and even immoral.
The government should not shift the burden of paying the rent to the private property owner. The property owner still has to pay a mortgage, property taxes, registration fees to the state and county, insurance, water bills, and more. Without rental income, the property owners end up defaulting on their mortgage and other bills while the renter gets to stay in the home for free.
There has been a considerable amount of money put into programs by the state and federal government to help renters pay their rent. This pandemic has put many people’s finances in severe jeopardy. I hope these programs actually deliver help to the right people.
I am working to ensure that the General Assembly does not pass bills in a knee-jerk reaction to the current global pandemic. We must help both renters and property owners in a short-term reaction to the unintended consequences of the pandemic without creating permanent programs or laws that end up destroying affordable housing in the future, as well as private property rights.
House Bill 317 – Greenhouse Gases
Clearly, the graphic above is humorous satire. After posting it on social media, it is clear that I triggered some liberals as they actually think conservatives are dumb enough to think it’s real. Seriously?? Naming a position a Cow Fart Czar and ending the ad with Call 1-800-STOP-COW-FARTS-NOW is supposed to make you LOL.
Feel free to share the post on FB if you also think it’s funny! Click here: https://www.facebook.com/kathy.szeliga
But seriously, House Bill 317 will actually create a state job that pays $86,600 per year. The sustainable food coordinator is charged with studying the food eaten in prisons, colleges, and hospitals and figure out how to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from those foods.
In the midst of a pandemic, we should not be passing bills like this. And when life returns to normal, I still would not support a bill like this. The government should not be forcing vegan eating on captive audiences like prisoners, students, and hospital patients. The advocates for the bill have just that objective in mind.
Delegate Nic Kipke brought up a good point during this bill’s hearing (which you can watch here), that the methodology for selecting “green” foods is flawed. For instance- is buying tofu from thousands of miles away actually better for the environment than buying beef locally?
Updates on Immigration
There is an ongoing crisis happening at our southern border, and we should all be paying attention to it. As NBC News reported, migrants testing positive for COVID-19 have been sent from Texas to other states, including Maryland. With unclear rules and directives from our federal government right now, this isn’t a surprise.
If President Biden is serious about immigration reform, he would first secure the border then decide what to do with those who are illegally in the U.S. It is dishonest to talk about immigration reform without first securing the border.
Illegal immigrants often use publicly provided health care and education that is paid for by state and local governments. Small businesses will bear the tax burden to meet the increasing costs of these programs. A commitment to securing the border is a necessary first step to any meaningful discussions. The impact of illegal and legal immigration on state budgets is enormous.
A primary duty of government is to provide equal justice under the law. The example of people from Mexico who have applied to legally immigrate to the United States of America wait about 21 years to get a legal green card. Placing people who have disrespected our laws by coming here illegally ahead of those who want to play by our laws is unjust. Legally immigrating includes a health assessment and full vaccinations, a criminal background check to keep gang members and criminals out of our country, and some other requirements like an “attachment to the principles and ideals of the US Constitution.”
President Biden and congress should work on REAL immigration reform that secures the borders and improves the work visa programs. Without those essential first steps, the talk is just pandering to special interest groups and trying to secure future voters.
Remember to wash your hands, follow local and state safety protocols, and practice social distancing. Thanks for your interest in the important issues facing Maryland today. Please be sure to follow me on my social media using the links below for the most up-to-date information.
God bless you and your family!
Delegate Kathy Szeliga