From Staff Reports
OAKLAND — Two bond bills, one for $190,000 for Christian Crossings and one for HART for Animals, were recently approved for drafting, according to Del. Wendell Beitzel.
Robert Huebner, representing the board of directors of Garrett Cooperative Ministry doing business as Christian Crossings Thrift Shop in Oakland, previously requested the bond bill to go toward a $1.1-million new facility. Christian Crossings has more than $1 million, half of which is cash from operations, and $500,000 from a grant, according to Huebner. They are in the process of constructing a 10,200-square-foot building that will replace a building that is more than 100 years old.
“The building that we are in now is inefficient and is not handicapped-accessible,” said Huebner during a prelegislative meeting. “We are badly in need of this.”
Christian Crossing Thrift Shop is a volunteer, not-for-profit organization that sells donated household items for nominal amounts.
Michael Pellet, president of HART for Animals, requested a $150,000 bond bill for a new shelter adoption center on Bumblebee Road. HART has raised $2.4 million and is working on completing Phase I of the adoption center, which consists of a boarding facility and will be complete in February, according to Pellet. In 2011, HART held its groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase of construction. Phase II, the adoption center wing, will be complete this summer.
The Garrett County delegation, which consists of Beitzel and Sen. George Edwards, met with a bill drafter from Legislative Services last week.
“The meeting consisted of discussion of the requests received from the county commissioners, members of the public and our own legislation agendas,” said Beitzel.
Some of the other bills approved for drafting include a definition of school vehicles; possession or transport of assault rifles and detachable magazines by Maryland residents; and possession of handguns for protection while bow hunting.
The unveiling of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s final $39.3 billion fiscal 2015 budget proposal has been the main discussion during the beginning of the 2014 session of the Maryland General Assembly, according to Beitzel.
“There are a lot of important items in the budget that are critical to Western Maryland,” said Beitzel.
The budget highlights educational funding in which O'Malley is investing a record $6.12 billion in K-12 education; $4.3 million in prekindergarten opportunities; and $289 million in school construction, according to Beitzel. Additionally, a record $8.9 billion is being allocated toward health care.