Recap: Legislative Affairs Member Meeting, January 6, 2014 - Montgomery County Council President Craig Rice

Posted Date: 
January 7, 2014

January 6, 2014
Guest Speaker: Montgomery County Council President Craig Rice

Legislative Affairs Committee Chair, Tom McElroy, welcomed MCCC members and Montgomery County Council President, Craig Rice to the meeting. The meeting began with a brief General Assembly legislative session preview from John Stierhoff, Partner, Venable LLP. Tom McElroy and Ilaya Hopkins, Vice President of Public Affairs, MCCC spoke about the Chamber’s top priorities for the upcoming legislative session and distributed the MCCC 2014 Legislative Agenda.

Improving the business climate in Montgomery County is Craig Rice’s top priority in his term as President of the Council, which began in December. He has a number of initiatives, including changing the procurement process, to focus on Montgomery County businesses and helping them grow. Rice is also working closely with County Executive Leggett to change the fee structure for getting permits in Montgomery County. He said Montgomery County should operate more quickly and less expensively.

Other top priorities include education and the environment. In partnership with the Superintendent and school board, Rice will push for additional State funding for school construction in Montgomery County to help relieve overcrowding in schools. Rice will also support policies that promote the Agricultural Reserve to ensure that the county continues to have access to local fresh foods.

Gigi Godwin, President & CEO, MCCC said Montgomery County wants to attract high-tech companies, but the energy tax is placing additional burden on the industry. Rice said he plans to propose a significant reduction of the energy tax this year.

A member asked Rice to discuss his reaction to the proposals from the night time economy task force. Rice said there is a lot of growth that can happen in Montgomery County’s night time economy. However, the first step is for regulations, such as noise ordinances and alcohol regulations, to allow for this growth.  

As he concluded the discussion, Council President Rice stressed his open door policy and stated that he looks forward to working with members of the business community in the coming year.

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