The weeks and weekends are packed these days! It was a beautiful weekend in Baltimore (although we did get about 10 minutes of snow on Sunday), and I was thrilled to join my colleagues, thousands of Baltimoreans, and many great student speakers at the March for Our Lives in Baltimore on Saturday. We are less than 2 weeks away from the end of session on April 9 and every day is more full of hearings, voting, and floor speeches than the last. Yesterday we passed the FY19 operating budget of the State of Maryland, and I’m going to share a few highlights of that below, as well as an update on some gun and gun violence prevention bills working their way through the Assembly.
March for Our Lives + Gun Laws – I was delighted to join the rest of Team 46 and thousands of Baltimoreans at the March for Our Lives in Baltimore this past weekend. I brought my four-month old daughter – it was her first march! I pledged to continue doing my best to implement gun safety laws and violence prevention measures. Four bills that have passed the House are:
HB888 – The bumpstock ban – this bill prohibits owning/using a bumpstock in Maryland.
HB1302 – The “red flag” law – this bill creates an extreme risk prevention order and creates a process where a court may prohibit a person from accessing a firearm for a short duration if s/he poses a risk to him/herself or others.
HB1646 – This bill disqualifies a person charged with a domestically-related crime from owning or possessing a regulated firearm. It passed the House and is currently in the Senate.
HB432 – The Public Safety & Violence Prevention Act of 2018 – This is my bill to (1) create the Violence Intervention & Prevention Program to fund evidence-based strategies to prevent gun violence, and (2) to fund multiple programs in Baltimore like LEAD, Outward Bound’s BPD-teenager program, the strategic decision support centers in the Western & Eastern district, State Police firearm trafficking work, and the State’s Attorney’s witness relocation program. It has passed the House and is awaiting a vote in the Senate. (Its provisions have also been amended onto SB122.)
A few other bills that District 46 constituents have emailed me about…
HB518 would have repealed restrictions on serving, brewing, and selling beer by a Class 5 brewery license holder or a Class 7 micro-brewery license holder. This bill did not make it out of committee.
HB1415 establishes several pilot programs from recommendations from the Kirwan Commission. As a lead co-sponsor of this bill, I was happy to be able to contribute one large section of the bill to create a funded pilot program for school districts to apply for Title 1 schools to partner with reading intervention specialists to provide support for struggling readers and students. Many schools in District 46 already benefit from these programs – including Commodore John Rogers and John Ruhrah – and this funding will help expand the program.
HB736 prohibits pharmacy benefits managers from prohibiting a pharmacy or pharmacist from providing a beneficiary with information regarding the retail price of a prescription drug or the amount of the cost share for a prescription drug for which the beneficiary is responsible. This bill successfully passed through the House.
HB1342 is the Women’s Caucus Sexual Harassment prevention bill. It establishes several requirements and procedures relating to sexual harassment in the Maryland State Legislature. It allows any entity to file a complaint with the State Ethics Commission that a lobbyist has sexually harassed a legislator, or a legislator has harassed a lobbyist. It also requires a code of conduct relating to sexual harassment and retaliation actions that will be taken against individuals who violate the code of conduct. This bill passed the House, 138-0.
Knott Commission: Yesterday we spent a great deal of time debating the “Knott Commission” bill that overhauls how Maryland spends capital dollars on school construction. I’m thrilled that we have passed this very important bill.
Brooke’s Budget Work: Appropriations Committee
FY19 Budget Bill and the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) (SB 185 & SB 187) – Yesterday, we passed the FY19 operating budget for the state of Maryland and it is now law. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, the budget bill and its companion BRFA bill represent a huge amount of the work that I do every year.
The budget we passed is balanced, fair, and funds priorities like tax relief, gun violence prevention, funding for community service providers, for schools, and to combat the opioid epidemic.
Some key accomplishments of this year’s budget include:
- $6.5 billion in support for K-12 schools across the state, and dedicates $200 million to support the future costs of implementing the recommendations of the Kirwan Commission, while also setting aside $11.4 million this year to implement the initial recommendations
- Maintaining full funding for Medicaid, including a 3% increase in the Medicaid rate for care provided to Marylanders with disabilities
- Restoring over $100 million in funding for legislative priorities that the governor had proposed cutting, including funds for after school and summer programming and funding for the Next Generation Scholars program
- Expanding funding to fight the State’s opioid epidemic
- $40 million for school safety, including both capital costs and for operating work
- Maintaining a general fund balance of $237 million for emergencies
In each Annapolis Dispatch I discuss a couple of the bills that I am sponsoring this year. For past editions of this newsletter, see www.brookelierman.com. To see any of these bills or others, visit the General Assembly site: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov.
I am working on and following a number of bills – some of which I am the lead sponsor on and some of which I have worked closely with others on. Some of these bills include:
HB 432 – Discussed above! The Public Safety & Violence Prevention Act of 2018.
HB 372 – The Maryland Metro Funding Act. This bill provides dedicated capital funding for WMATA, but through an amendment I helped to author, also provides increased operating and capital support for MTA and requires a capital needs assessment and new transit plan. This bill should be voted on in the Senate Committee today.
HB 420 – Scholarship bill for Maryland DREAMers – this bill is in the Senate awaiting a vote!
HB 1217 – Splash Pads! – this bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate. It will ensure that Baltimore City has the flexibility to build splash pads in our public parks!
HB 1139 – Truck Traffic Enforcement – this bill is awaiting a vote in the House E&T Committee. I’m hopeful we can get it moving this week.
HB 535 – The Maryland Complete Streets Incentive Program – this bill to create a grant program to encourage local governments to adopt complete programs passed the House. We have the Senate hearing next week.
HB 1292 – My bill to outlaw law enforcement officers from engaging in sexual acts with people in their custody had some press coverage. Check it out here: http://wypr.org/post/