The Montgomery County Council met Tuesday for its first session of 2013. Notable outcomes from the meeting include:
Council Introduces Resolution To Promote Tighter Gun Restrictions
The Montgomery County Council introduced a resolution Tuesday urging Gov. Martin O'Malley and state lawmakers to tighten restrictions on gun and ammunition sales.
The resolution, Germantown Patch reported, asks state leaders to:
- Establish a protocol for requiring mental health providers to notify gun permit issuers of anyone involuntarily committed to a mental institution, or found to be a danger to themselves or others due to mental illness
- Ban armor-piercing bullets, all forms of assault weapons and magazines with a capacity of more than 10 rounds; and close the “gun show” loophole.
- Lift the restrictions Congress has placed on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives preventing it from sharing its gun database with local law enforcement
- Increase mandatory penalties for criminals convicted of carrying and using firearms in the commission of a violent crime.
"The proposals, introduced by Council President Nancy Navarro (D-East County), mirror many of the laws that Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and others in the state legislature will attempt to pass during the General Assembly" since the county lacks authority to regulate the sale or possession of firearms under state law, BethesdaNow.com reported.
A vote on whether to adopt the resolution, and then send it to Maryland and federal legislators, is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 22.
Plans For Projects Tied To Purple Line Delayed
Citing a lack of state construction funding, County Executive Isiah Leggett announced Tuesday the postponement of several county projects tied to the Purple Line light rail, The Washington Examiner reported.
The proposed south entrance to the Bethesda Metro station — which would allow riders to transfer between the Purple Line's Bethesda terminus and the Metro — and funding for the Capital Crescent Trail — the popular path that would have to be reconstructed if the Purple Line is built — were delayed, according to the report.
There is no timeframe as to when funding for the $2.5 billion Purple Line might be available, as the state currently has none of the money it needs to build the line, according to the report.
"If the [state legislature] doesn't act and if the Transportation Trust Fund remains broke, then the likelihood there will be a Purple Line is slim," Councilman George Levanthal said, according to the report.
County Executive Denies School Board Request For Budget Increase
Proposed funding increases for Montgomery County Public Schools that would speed up improvements of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems was denied Tuesday by Leggett, The Gazette reported.
"Citing fiscal restraints, Leggett said he did not recommend amendments to the county’s 2013-2018 Capital Improvement Program that would add $14.2 million to the school system’s already approved $1.35 billion capital plan," according to the report.
Superintendent Joshua Starr, school board President Christopher S. Barclay and Steve Augustino, co-chair of the Capital Improvement Program committee for the Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations, all supported the supplemental funding and were disappointed by Leggett's recommendation to the Council, according to the report.
Of the proposed budget increase, $11.5 million was slated for HVAC systems, $2.5 million for building parts such as fire alarms, public address systems, water and sewer systems, floors, ceilings, windows and doors, and $220,000 for boundary and capacity studies for schools.