Annapolis Update: Picking Up the Pace

January 27, 2020 | Volume VI-2
Friends and Neighbors,  What a busy two weeks! Although we had some breathing time during the first few days of session, we are well underway now in the 2020 Legislative Session and the pace has been furious. Legislators have already filed more than 500 bills – with the deadline for filing still weeks away. My new Committee, Environment & Transportation, so far has the highest number of bills to review and we are starting our bill hearings this week. I expect to have some long days in Annapolis!

Last year I helped found the Transit Caucus in the Maryland General Assembly – this week we unveiled our website, our membership roster, and our priority legislation. Check out our website here: www.marylandtransitcaucus.org! With a Governor who is dedicated to expanding highways running our transportation budget, we felt it was time to organize around expanding non-car options as well. Personal mobility is key for economic prosperity and for social mobility. Check out the articles about our launch here (Daily Record), here (GG Washington) and here (WTOP/MD Matters)!
I have spent these first couple weeks focused focused on finalizing all of my bills, organizing the Transit Caucus, working with advocates, meeting with constituents, preparing for upcoming bill hearings, and getting to know my new committee (Environment and Transportation) and preparing to lead my new subcommittee (Land Use and Ethics)! The Environment and Transportation Committee has been meeting regularly since the start of session to receive briefings from various Departments and organizations, including the Maryland Department of Transportation, the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and more. In these briefings, the Committee receives updates on and asks questions about programs and projects related to infrastructure, energy, housing, animal welfare, the environment, and more… For more information on the Committees and the work we do, you can visit the MD General Assembly’s new website here: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/. (You can also track bills!) The Governor also unveiled his FY2021 budget last week, and the Department of Legislative Services gave their annual overview. To see a written synopsis, click here. I’ll provide an overview in my next biweekly newsletter.  
I have filed several bills that are now available for viewing online here. Several of my bills have hearing dates in the coming weeks – I will now be preparing for those hearings and readying individuals and groups to come support these pieces of legislation.  Brooke’s Bill Highlight – Supporting our Arts Organizations Over 25,248 full-time equivalent jobs in Maryland owe their creation to the arts sector in Maryland, along with $87.4 million in local and state revenue. The total economic activity generated by the arts sector in Maryland has been measured to be over $961 million per year. Undoubtedly, the arts sector in Maryland is prolific, an economic engine, and adds to the wealth of reasons to live in the State of Maryland – and in Baltimore, where we are so fortunate to have an abundance of museums, music, and arts organizations working with and in our communities every day. 

My first two hearings have to do with bills to support our arts communities in Maryland – one bill to support capital funding for arts organizations and create the Maryland Arts & Culture Capital Program (HB 127) and another to support operating funding (HB 127). Combined, these bills will support our small and large arts organizations now and in the years to come. The arts not only enrich our lives, they help our state economy and our communities thrive. It’s imperative that Maryland continue to support and invest in the arts!  All bill hearings are open to the public – if you are interested in attending a hearing or providing written support for any of my bills, please let me know!
The Baltimore Police Department has several policies open for public comment. Visit the website here to check them out and provide your feedback!  
Nominate an amazing Baltimore City Public School principal for the “Heart of the School Awards” through January 31! www.heartoftheschools.org/nominations  
Attend an upcoming Juvenile Justice Reform Council Listening Session! These are part of the result of the legislation that Del. Clippinger and I worked on last session. The next one is February 11, 2020. For more information or to register, click here.  

The Census! The 2020 Census count begins in April! We want to make sure that Everyone Counts. Accurate census numbers impact funding and representation for Baltimore. It is important that everyone participates in the Census.    

TEAM 46 Annual Town Hall
Saturday, February 22
National Federation of the Blind
11:30 a.m.
Please join us for our Annual Town Hall – this year on Saturday, February 22 from 11:30-1:00 p.m. at the National Federation of the Blind! Hope to see you then! Click HERE to RSVP 
Several of my bills and issues that I am working on got coverage in the news over the past two weeks! You can check out a few articles and videos below. 
The Transit Safety & Investment Act: One area blog noted that, “[t]ransportation just might be the most hot-button issue of the 2020 Maryland legislative session this side of education.” It noted my bill –  the Transit Safety & Investment Act – as one of the key items.  

The Washington Post noted my bill – The Jordan McNair Safe & Fair Play Act – in its discussion of the movement to support the rights of student athletes that is sweeping the nation, and the role the part that I will play in Maryland. 

Several news outlets have covered my bill with Sen. Augustine – the Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act. You can also listen to information about Maryland and Virginia bills to help end the scourge of plastic bags on NPR/WAMU here 

I am working with Attorney General Brian Frosh on a plan to stop suspending drivers’ licenses for unpaid fines and fees – it is counterproductive and leads to criminal sanctions for non-criminal behavior. The Sun covered our press conference last week – see the article HERE – and then editorialized that our bill is the right move. Check out the editorial here 

I am the new Chair of the Land Use & Ethics Subcommittee and Preservation Maryland asked me to share my thoughts on how we should grow Maryland and how historic preservation plays a role – here are my thoughts!  

Thank you for reading! Please keep in touch during session – and feel free to come visit! My phone number is 410-841-3319 and you can reach me at brooke.lierman@house.state.md.us

My best, Brooke  

PS: Know someone who isn’t getting my Annapolis newsletters? Encourage them to sign up at my website or to email me and I’ll add them to my list!