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Votes

Bronrott Begins Second Term

Safety, revenue issues top Bronrott’s concerns.

William Bronrott (D) will be representing the 16th district in the House of Delegates. The 47-year-old from Bethesda has been in the House since 1999.

Bronrott takes a pragmatic view of the state’s budget.

“It comes down to continuing to make sure that our budget will help to improve the quality of our lives,” Bronrott said. He stressed several items important to Montgomery County residents such as schools, public safety, transportation, and a strong economy.

While he hopes the economy will begin to strengthen he recognizes future difficulties. “We’re going to have to make some tough choices,” Bronrott said.

Bronrott predicts that there will be some tax increases in this session. “We will see an increase in the gas tax,” Bronrott said. He is not sure how much the increase will be, but says revenue generated from any increase in the gas tax should be used to fund transportation projects.

He also plans to sponsor an increase on the alcohol tax. The tax on distilled spirits has not increased since 1955 and the tax on beer and wine has not increased since 1972, Bronrott said. “I think it’s a great testament to the undue influence of the alcohol industry,” he said.

Some of the other legislation he plans to sponsor deals with different facets of drunk driving. Bronrott is working on bill which would increase penalties for those caught with a blood alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit, and those who refuse to take breath tests.

Bronrott also hopes to curtail certain kinds of leniency that judges sometimes use for drunk drivers. One is the use of “Probation Before Judgment” (PBJ). This program allows judges to give probation to first-offense drunk drivers before they are actually deemed guilty. If the driver then goes for a certain amount of time, sometimes as little as five years, their record is wiped clean.

“I could get a PBJ, then get another one in five years. I think that’s wrong,” Bronrott said.

Transportation is another of his concerns. With regard to the ICC, “I support the environmental impact study going forward. My vision has been a parkway-like limited access road which uses innovative engineering to reduce environmental harm,” Bronrott said.

He also favors the Purple Line and other elements of expanded public transit.

Also in the transportation area is a plan to help catch speeders. “I plan to support a bill that would give all local jurisdictions the authority to use photo-enforcement,” Bronrott said. Local jurisdictions in Maryland currently use photo enforcement to catch vehicles that run red lights.

Bronrott has recently been appointed to the House Environmental Matters Committee. “I’ll be dealing with a wide range of environmental issues,” Bronrott said. He named topics such as energy efficiency, and the health of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay as two of his major priorities, along with smart growth.

“I’ve always had a strong belief that we need to build livable, walkable, sustainable communities,” he said.

As an outgrowth of his desire for walkable communities, He plans to introduce a bill which would make walking the official state exercise of Maryland. Considering the increase in obesity among Americans, he believes it is important to encourage exercise.

“I see it as a public health initiative,” said Bronrott, a pedestrian safety advocate.