Projects and Initiatives
The Montgomery County Council passed legislation proposed by Hans that creates a Child Care Policy Officer and research team, charged with developing a strategic plan to improve child care services in the County. Hans hopes that the successful passage of this legislation will be a turning point in our drive to get to universal early care. At times over the years, Montgomery County has been a national leader in developing innovative ideas to support child care service delivery. With focused leadership and a process for bringing together stakeholders, we can once again break new ground.
As Chair of the Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Liquor Control, Hans led a comprehensive effort to review the county’s Department of Liquor Control and propose reforms. His proposal to partially privatize the department has earned support from restaurants, labor, and the County Council, and may yet be enacted in the state legislature.
Working with bike community groups, the county DOT and MNCPPC, Hans and his tream organized the first Great MoCo Bike Summit in 2014, where many important policy issues were discussed, including the need for separated bike lanes and Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy Area infrastructure funding that Hans proposed and his colleagues on the Council have supported. The 2016 Great MoCo Bike Summit took place on June 19. Stay tuned for more details on the next summit by signing up for Hans Riemer’s email list (bottom right corner).
The EITC is proven to be one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in the country, and Montgomery County has one of the few local EITC supplements in the U.S. After the EITC was cut during the Great Recession, Hans introduced legislation to restore the program fully. Passing the legislation was a hard-fought battle, but it was worth it as the EITC has continued to grow even during tough budget years, ensuring additional support for the poorest working families as they struggle with our high cost of living. Hans is also working ongoing with financial empowerment organizations to help workers file taxes and claim the EITC, since about 20% of eligible workers nationally do not claim their EITC refunds.
Hans loves trees, and he wants to ensure that Montgomery County will always have the precious tree coverage that makes our county a great place to live. To advance that vision, Hans authored legislation to create a tree planting campaign, and worked with County Executive Leggett to launch the 100,000 Trees Campaign in 2014, which is now TreeMontgomery. You may request a tree on your property here!
Hans is working hard to reform the taxi cab industry so that this important transportation service can compete with Uber and other on-demand services under a new business model that is both fair to workers and technologically adept. Hans authored Bill 55-14, Taxicabs – Centralized Electronic Dispatch System, which would require the County Department of Transportation to implement a centralized electronic taxicab dispatch system, and ensure that taxi drivers are treated fairly by establishing a driver-owned co-op with facilitated dues payment .
Montgomery County has a new partnership with the Washington, D.C.-based tech incubator 1776, which Hans proposed and his colleagus as well as the County Executive enthusiastically embraced. County officials intend for the partnership to significantly expand the County’s innovation program in order to modernize County services as well as foster regional entrepreneurship networks that will strengthen the local economy. The county is also moving ahead to finalize a “comprehensive economic strategy,” which Hans proposed in legislation co-sponsored by Councilmember Berliner.
The Montgomery County Council enacted Hans’ bill that aims to better prepare the County for bounce back from major snow events by creating a Sidewalk Snow Removal Plan. Hans first introduced the bill in April 2014, with support from Councilmember Nancy Navarro, after a particularly long and snowy winter that led to some sidewalks remaining buried in snow for long stretches at a time. With greater focus on the need for people to walk after snow events, the County is making great progress on this crucial mobility issue.
To be competitive for creative-class workers as well as empty-nesters, Montgomery County must be able to offer the new urban quality of life that those residents are seeking. To advance this issue, Hans requested the County Executive to establish the Nighttime Economy Task Force, which examined policies, resources and amenities that impact Montgomery County’s nightlife offerings. The task force led to the passage of numerous pieces of legislation in the Maryland state legislature as well as the County Council, all of which make it easier for restaurant and entertainment-oriented businesses to thrive in Montgomery County.
“Placemaking” is an approach to enhancing the character of an area in order to improve our quality of life. At Hans’ request, Councilmember Riemer’s office, the Montgomery County Planning Department, and the Silver Spring Urban District together hosted a series of mini design workshops focused on placemaking strategies for Downtown Silver Spring — and effort that will hopefully become a new model for community engagement and planning county wide.
Hans wants to keep Montgomery County’s infrastructure competitive. Information on the Internet circulates over fiber-optic broadband networks, which power everything from our personal communications to the latest advances in medical technology. As essential infrastructure, broadband networks support innovation and economic development right here in Montgomery County. This is why the power of these networks must form a key plank in Montgomery County’s economic development strategy, as Hans has outlined in his proposal for a Digital Infrastructure Strategic Plan and his white paper, Moving Montgomery Forward with Gigabit Speed Networks.
Seeking to modernize Montgomery County’s approach to technology and data, Hans authored and passed the Open Data act of 2012. This law has profoundly impacted how Montgomery County shares information. The effective implementation of the law’s vision by the executive branch has positioned Montgomery County at the forefront of local governments in America. See for example Montgomery County’s dataMontgomery, budgetMontgomery, spendingMontgomery, and other landmark achievements. An additional provision of the law required the Executive Branch to publish all public information act requests and responses, a first for any local government in the U.S. and a model for transparency policy nationally.
The process for building new housing and commercial space is heavily impacted by County government, state government, and outside agencies such as WSSC, Pepco, and others. Hans wants that process to work well so that communities can get the benefit of the quality development that they envision in master plans, and so that the business community will see our community as less risky for investment. Hans is leading the council’s ongoing efforts to reform the development process by instituting metric systems for accountability, reorganizing bureaucracy, and requiring regular reporting.
Hans is an unshakeable advocate for both the Purple Line and the Corridor Cities Transitway, routes that will expand transit in our region with high quality, rapid service. Hans also recognizes that Metro needs to get a lot better, and he has been a leading voice to prioritize Metro services, successfully making Metro a higher priority for the county in its requests for state funding, including specifically advocating to eliminate the turn-backs on the Red Line in Montgomery County as well as taking all trains to 8 cars instead of 6. Hans has also championed bus service in the county, successfully adding 5 buses to the capital purchase program in FY16. Hans also proposed that the county and state develop a “person throughput” policy framework that would enable the county to establish “lane priority” for buses at intersections and on roads, so that the bus can become a more valuable and efficient alternative and help slow the growth of auto traffic. This policy is under development now. A strong supporter of the “Transit Corridors Master Plan,” Hans continues to push the county to think about realistic implementations of more effective bus service.