Author: Brooke Lierman

Annapolis Update #3: Legislation Deadlines

In February, we celebrate Black History Month and take time to learn about and commemorate the important and often-overlooked contributions of African Americans. This week marks the 101st birthday of one of the most important and influential Marylanders of all time – Frederick Douglass. Although his exact birthdate was unknown, he chose to celebrate February 14 as the date of his birth. A new biography has recently been released to complement his own writings and past biographies. Douglass not only escaped slavery and was one of the greatest orators and abolitionists of his day, he also attended the Seneca Falls Convention and spoke out in favor of women’s suffrage. He was an exceptional American – who lived for a time in District 46 – from whom we still have much to learn.

Find the book locally at Pyewacket Books or Greedy Reads – both in Fell’s Point!

We are now more than 30 days into the 90-day legislative session and the bill deadline has passed for both chambers – that means that if any more bills are filed, they require special permission to have a hearing. The final bill I filed last week was to increase funding for bike infrastructure around the state through MDOT’s Bikeways Program. This statewide program helps create and maintain trails around the state, from adding bikeshares near Grosvenor Metro to installing bike routes in Ocean City to designing bike lanes on Eutaw Street in Baltimore City. The program could do much more though, and as recent studies highlight, the bulk of those riding bikes cannot afford cars and depend on bikes to access work.

We have had thousands of Marylanders come to Annapolis to testify on bills, join for a rally, or simply come about a bill they care about. We had hundreds of Baltimore residents come last Monday for Baltimore Night in Annapolis – it was great to see our Youth Commission there!

In Annapolis

I am thrilled to announce that we have formed a Public Transit Caucus in the General Assembly. For several years, my colleagues Dels. Marc Korman and Erek Barron led a workgroup on WMATA. This year, we have expanded it into a new Caucus – with both Delegates and Senators – to learn about and discuss the challenges and opportunities facing public transit in our state. We meet weekly on Fridays at noon in Room 170 of the House Office Building and the public is welcome to join for the presentations. This past Friday we had an overview of MTA and next week we’ll learn more about Southern Maryland’s transportation needs and the work of the WMATA Inspector General. I’m excited to be leading this endeavour with Dels. Korman, Barron, Fraser-Hidalgo and Senators Augustine and Beidle.


I was appointed by House Speaker Michael Busch to the new House of Delegates Study Group on Economic Stability in Maryland. This working group will explore pathways to opportunity for all Marylanders and be led by Del. Steve Lafferty. We must do better as a state to combat poverty by creating opportunities and breaking down barriers. Our study group meets on Monday afternoons to review challenges and discuss solutions.

Appropriations Committee

I spend much of my time each week in budget briefings and hearings. Here are a couple highlights from the past two weeks – 

On February 5th, my subcommittee held a hearing to review the budget of the Public Service Commission (PSC). I had many questions about third-party retail suppliers offering variable rate contracts that end up costing Maryland consumers more in the long run. Some of these providers are targeting low-income neighborhoods and the salesmen sometimes get paid based on how many plans they sell. Maryland consumers overpaid for energy by more than $55 million in 2017! Our Public Service Commission is currently not equipped to adequately  is not curtailing bad actors and intervention is needed. This is an issue many of us are following and we will be meeting with the PSC and suppliers and advocates for consumers more in the coming year to determine next steps. Click here to learn more about third party energy supply. You can see the hearing here.

On Friday, we held a thorough budget hearing with the Secretary of Transportation, Pete Rahn, to receive an overview of the Department of Transportation. Although we will have more hearings with the individual modes – MTA, MVA, etc. – it was an important hearing to highlight some of the failures to invest in transit and expose some of their disingenuous scoring of potential transportation projects. For the first time in my time, we also had a robust showing from the public – folks from Southern Maryland, Baltimore City and County, and business and environmental and bicycle leaders who also came to present compelling testimony about the lack of investment in transit. We face huge transportation challenges in our state with very limited dedicated resources. To see the hearing, visit here.
You can see all the budget overviews online here and watch videos of the proceedings by clicking the camera icon next to each Department’s budget briefing date – http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmbgtnfiscal.aspx?pid=bnfpage&stab=06&id=sk001_tab06&tab=subject4

Brooke’s Bills

I spend a lot of time working on budget issues and focusing on Baltimore City, but I also introduce statewide legislation. If my legislation this year could be summed up in one phrase, it would be “standing up for the little guy (or gal).” I have a bill to help right the balance of power between college student athletes and Universities (read about it here), a bill to provide funding for students with Title IX claims against assailants (HB 633), funding for the Thrive by Three infant care coordination program (HB 520), legislation to help victims of domestic violence access family law attorneys even if they can’t afford to pay (HB 665), a bill ending unfair drivers license suspensions on people who cannot afford to pay court fees (HB 1267)… and a bill to require local jurisdictions to (finally!) make plans on how to build adequate affordable housing for their residents (HB 1045)… not to mention my environmental bills and my ranked choice voting bill. I’m also working hard through the budget process to ensure Baltimore City is receiving needed public safety and violence prevention dollars and will be continuing to push for a strong Kirwan Commission bill, also setting aside funding to implement the program. I have a robust package of legislation and I’m looking forward to continuing to present it to the Committees this session.

If you have any questions about these bills or any other, please be in touch!

In Baltimore

Apply to be a Neighborhood Liaison to Assist the Consent Decree Monitoring Team Implementing the Consent Decree well and thoroughly over the next few years is a hugely important issue. The Monitoring Team that acts as the Judge’s oversight arm is seeking individuals to serve as neighborhood liaisons to keep folks updated and take feedback. Each Neighborhood Liaison is paid $20 per hour, up to a total of fifteen (15) hours per month and $25 monthly for travel expenses. Please consider applying to get involved in this important work!

Applications are Open for Delegate Scholarships! Scholarship applications are now available for District 46 constituents.  There are separate steps for Returning Applicants and New Applicants and applications must be submitted by May 1, 2019. Read more and download the application here.

Less Waste, Better Baltimore. Get involved in the Less Waste, Better Baltimore Plan. DPW needs your help as it conducts a master planning effort to identify options for improving solid waste diversion, recycling, and disposal in the City.


Join us!

Join me and Senator Ferguson and Delegates Clippinger and Lewis for ourAnnual Town Hall on February 23 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the National Federation of the Blind in South Baltimore.
RSVP here to let us know you’re coming!


In the News

  • Debate over Post-Labor Day school year start continues as Democrats try to give local school boards back their traditional authority that was taken by the Governor several years ago through executive order.
  • Johns Hopkins University has submitted its bill to create private police force. What do you think?
  • The Washington Post covered one of my bills that would require additional local input before creating toll roads – read here.
  • I made my debut in the Post’s sports section with an article about my bill to protect college student athletes – see here.
  • A new report from the Urban Institute shows how African American neighborhoods in Baltimore are continuing to face disinvestment compared to white neighborhoods

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

My best,

Brooke

2019 Session: Back in Annapolis

Greetings! Welcome to the fifth edition of my biweekly newsletter from Annapolis! Every other Monday, I’ll send news and updates on what we are working on. You can also follow me on Facebook to see additional information between newsletters!

On Wednesday, the first day of the General Assembly Session, I was sworn in for my Second Term in the Maryland House of Delegates. It was an exciting day, and I loved having my husband and kids with me. Thank you to all of you who have supported me and continue to support me – entering the House Chamber and doing this work is the honor of my life. I am also very excited to be joined by so many great new legislators this year, including many women and America’s very first Nepali-American legislator. Our House of Delegates is diverse in so many ways – age, gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation – and we are continuing to become more and more reflective of the Marylanders we serve. I am so proud to be a part of it!

In Annapolis

This term, I will continue to serve on the Appropriations Committee and have been named the Vice Chair of the Transportation & Environment Subcommittee and Pensions Subcommittee.  I’m excited to continue my work on transportation and environmental issues in a leadership role!

Our full Committee has already held a hearing – on the status of the Hogan Administration’s proposed public-private partnership (P3) to add privately-managed toll lanes around 495 and 270. Although the traffic around the Beltway and 270 is incredible (truly awful), I am not convinced that adding toll lanes like those in Northern Virginia will actually solve the problem. In addition to being unaffordable for many people, adding more lanes does not solve traffic congestion (just as in baseball, if you build it, they will come…). Like any transportation project, the Executive Branch has the authority to move ahead with a P3 without the Legislature’s approval, but I am very concerned about the long-term costs about this idea and project (not just to our state taxpayers but also to our environment).

The Appropriations Committee and/or Subcommittees meet every day of the week – our schedule can be found HERE. If you’d ever like to come visit and see a budget hearing, please let me know – we’d love to have you! Every single Maryland resident has the right to come down and share their thoughts at our budget briefings.

Brooke’s Bills

I am going to have a robust plate of legislation this session – from #RankedChoiceVoting to the Styrofoam ban to community development and Opportunity Zones to ensuring civil representation for victims of violence. Every week I will highlight just a couple bills I am working on. The first two bills I have filed this session are my two local initiatives (meaning they only affect Baltimore City) –

Ranked Choice Voting/Open Primaries: The Baltimore Sun Editorial Board declared last week that they “love love love” my bill to allow Baltimore City to change how elections are held by allowing either Ranked Choice Voting or Open Primaries (in which the top-two people advance from one primary election to the general). Our system of voting in America is largely broken, but many cities and even two states – California and Maine – now use different ways of voting that allow for citizens to express their true preferences and for our elected officials to be more representative of the people they serve. Learn more about Ranked Choice Voting here.

Stopping Dangerous Truck Traffic: With the completion of the Panama Canal upgrade in 2016, Baltimore City’s containerized truck traffic increased nearly 10%. Although the work at our Port is vital to our area and economy, there is not need for this truck traffic to impede quality of life and safety on neighborhood streets. The deployment of the City’s height monitoring cameras is useful, but for those truck drivers who insist on flouting the law and drive from out of state, state law makes it difficult to enforce the penalty they receive. My bill allows for additional enforcement when truck drivers get tickets, which would ensure that rogue drivers are not endangering residents, pedestrians, bikers, and more.

In Baltimore

Although I drive back and forth to Annapolis, my days are long during the legislative session and I’m largely unavailable for evening events in the district. However, on Friday night I made sure to leave early enough for the kickoff of the Harbor West Collaborative, a new community development organization partnership among the neighborhoods of Westport, Lakeland, Mt. Winans, and St. Paul. It is exciting to see this new collaboration take shape and I look forward to partnering with them to create safe, green, and thriving communities!

Yard 56 in Bayview has achieved the status of first development project in Baltimore to receive investment from an Opportunity Zone Fund. Yard 56 will transform an old he East Baltimore manufacturing site by alleviating pre-existing environmental concerns while bringing fresh food and health care services to the area. The revitalization will also benefit Baltimoreans without displacing any residents.

In the News

In addition to the editorial support for the Ranked Choice Voting bill linked above, you can see the full story about it here.

Take a look at the Baltimore Sun’s analysis of the opening of the 2019 Legislative Session here and WYPR’s coverage here.

In case you missed some of the coverage about Mayor Pugh’s pick to lead the BPD, this piece has good information about Michael Harrison and his time in New Orleans. Although the process was unnecessarily long and nontransparent, I am looking forward to meeting Superintendent Harrison and am optimistic about him and his dedication to implementing the consent decree while also supporting our public safety needs.

The Afro recently highlighted one of the two brand new schools in Cherry Hill, and published an excellent article by my Senate colleague, Cory McCray about legislation that the state must pass to help make changes at BPD.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

There are so many ways to honor Dr. King and the work he did, and one way is to participate in a service project. To find one near you, visit this link: https://www.nationalservice.gov/serve-your-community/mlk-day-service. The Martin Luther King, Jr. parade in Baltimore will be next Monday! For more information, visit here. https://mlkday.baltimorecity.gov/mlk

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 and my legislative aide, Kim Shiloh, at brooke.lierman@house.state.md.us.

Every Election is Essential

Early Voting is October 25 – November 1 at selected location, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Election Day is November 6, 2018 – Polls are open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

For more information on voting, visit the State Board’s website: https://elections.maryland.gov/

Happy fall! The chill in the air and the costumes in the stores indicate only one thing (at least to me!): it’s almost time to VOTE! And VOTE is something I hope you will do.

The past two months have been so busy  – I’ve attended public safety discussions, guest lectured at college courses and met new medical students, met with advocates to discuss public transportation, community development, abating truck traffic, developing more open space, supporting our institutions like the South Baltimore Learning Center, and I’ve been speaking with bill drafters about legislation for next session (not to mention two meetings of the Joint Cmte to End Homelessness in Annapolis!).  I’ve also spent some time on the weekends outside of the City – knocking on doors around the state talking to voters to make sure they know that we have exceptional State Senate, House, and local candidates running in their district. It is so important that we elect great Democrats from every corner of Maryland so we can ensure we have an effective General Assembly, making positive changes that benefit all Marylanders at a time when our President is doing just the opposite.

Here in Maryland, early voting starts TOMORROW! Early voting is an easy way to make sure you can find time to cast your ballot in this important election. There are two early voting polls in District 46 – the Southeast Anchor Library and Patapsco Elementary School – but you can go to any of the 7 sites in Baltimore.

Make a plan today to Vote Early  so you don’t miss your chance! 

Thursday, October 25 – Thursday, November 1

10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Not registered? No problem. You can register to vote during early voting – but only during early voting! Check your registration here.

There are two constitutional amendments on the ballot! I hope you’ll vote YES on Question 1 to create a lockbox and ensure that all revenue from casinos go to education and YES on Question 2 to amend our Maryland Constitution to allow voter registration on Election Day!

I need you to vote – but I also need you to help me spread the word: remind your neighbors to vote and check in to make sure they have! And, if you can, help spread the word in Baltimore during the final weeks of the campaign and on Election Day!

Please click here to sign up to volunteer in Baltimore City or here to donate.

See you at the doors or at the early voting locations! Thank you for all you do to help build a better Baltimore and a better Maryland!

 

Women’s Breakfast for Brooke with Special Guests

It’s time for the annual event where 100+ women come together to meet each other to network, learn about organizations doing work, hear from great speakers and support Brooke!

Save the Date or register now for the 2018 Women’s Breakfast!

October 17, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. at Teavolve Cafe

This year’s special guests include Ben Jealous and Susie Turnbull. We’ll also be joined by many great women who are running for office here in Maryland and are hoping to flip seats from #RedtoBlue or to hold on to a seat and keep it blue.

RSVP HERE TODAY!

If you have questions or would like to let us know you’re coming but not donating online, email sophia@brookelierman.com.

Thank You!

The results are in and I am both excited and honored that the voters of District 46 have elected me as one of the Democratic nominees to the House of Delegates!

We do have two Republican challengers and nothing is assured, but I am excited about this win and so incredibly grateful to voters for giving me their stamp of approval for the word I did during my first term and saying they want me to continue! Thank you!

District 46 – Vote for up to 3

Results by County (53 of 53 election day precincts reported)

Name Party Early Voting Election Day Absentee / Provisional Total Percentage
Luke Clippinger
Democratic 1,345 5,242 120 6,707 23.5%
Robbyn Lewis
Democratic 1,346 5,072 112 6,530 22.9%
Brooke Elizabeth Lierman
Democratic 1,643 6,483 141 8,267 29.0%
Nate Loewentheil
Democratic 725 3,233 67 4,025 14.1%
Dea Thomas
Democratic 562 2,372 38 2,972 10.4%

Election Day in Maryland

Tomorrow – Tuesday, June 26 – is Election Day in Maryland! Polls open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. I hope you will take the time to vote (if you haven’t already) and encourage a few friends to vote as well! Find your polling place here.  I hope you will vote for all of Team46 – Senator Bill Ferguson, and Delegates Luke Clippinger, Robbyn Lewis and me, Brooke Lierman.

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#FamiliesBelongTogether

Although our country faces many challenges, right now we are facing an extreme and urgent situation as we confront and demand an end to President Trump’s horrific new policy of separating children and parents as they seek asylum in our country.  Since May 5, more than two thousand children have been separated from their mothers and fathers and placed in the custody of the government. To say that I am outraged, incensed, and heartbroken by this new practice does not do it justice. There are no words to express the devastation that is being wrought on these migrant families or on our country itself. Indeed, every day the situation grows worse as the number of children increases, the resources are not in place to properly care for them, and their health and well-being is permanently damaged. This policy – enacted unilaterally by President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, and DHS Secretary Nielsen – is a national and moral outrage. It is shameful.

This Administration’s family-separation policy is unnecessary, immoral, cruel, and contrary to the aspirations of our country. This type of policy has been practiced in the past by slaveholders, Nazis, and morally repugnant governments. It is not a policy that any moral society should countenance. As a state legislator, a parent, and a human being, I will continue to speak up and out against this policy and encourage all Marylanders to do so as well. Our Governor and all our federal elected officials should continue to raise their voices and do all they can to end this horrific policy. Children are not a negotiating tool. I hope that our President, Attorney General, and DHS Secretary will stop this policy and that DHS and other federal employees will actively resist implementing this policy.

Don’t understand what’s happening? Read here.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: There are things we can do – and there will be more – so I have created this entry and will continue to update it and add to it as a resource to be shared. Please send me your links, updates, and ideas to add to it as well: brooke@brookelierman.com.

UPDATED AS OF 6/20/18 at 9:30 A.M.

From Maryland or elsewhere: 
  • Join the “Families Belong Together Rally” on June 30th in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere. Distributed actions will be planned across the country and you can find more information here: https://act.moveon.org/event/families-belong-together/search/?.
  • Call our Senators – demand ask them to stop Homeland Security from separating children from their parents at the border
  • Sign and share this petition – This administration has shown signs that it will bend to public pressure. That tells us that if enough of us raise our voices, we can help end family separation.
  • DONATE to organizations doing great work on family separation and immigration – in Texas, nationally, and in Maryland: 
    • Al Otro Lado: https://alotrolado.org/
    • RAICES: https://www.raicestexas.org/
    • CLINIC:  https://cliniclegal.org/
    • Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley:  http://www.catholiccharitiesrgv.org/Home.aspx
    • CASA de Maryland: https://wearecasa.org/
Check out Moms Rising’s Suggestions for Action here.
If you’re in Texas or are willing to travel to Texas:
  • Join the “Families Belong Together Rally” on June 28th in Brownsville, Texas –  South Texas is ground zero for this administration’s inhuman practice of family separation. Federal courts in South Texas have been prosecuting people en mass (up to 60 at a time), which has led to mass family separations. Join ACLU, Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network, NWDA, United We Dream and more at a rally in front of the Brownsville Federal Court demanding an end to family separation. (RSVP Here and Share on Facebook). We will have buses leaving from Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Laredo – sign up sheets to come!
  • Volunteer at Sacred Heart Church – Sacred Heart Church is working around the clock to help migrants who have been provisionally cleared and released by Border Protection with temporary papers a future court date (and an ankle monitor in tow). After being processed they are dropped off at the McAllen bus terminal where they wait before leaving to their next destination. The church picks up people from the bus terminal, brings them to their welcome center, and offers them their first warm meal, a bath, a change of clothes, hygiene products, a call home, and assistance with translating their paper work and travel itinerary. They need volunteers to help assist and prepare items for families.
  • Join NETA to deliver food/water to asylum seekers stuck at ports of entry or donate to them here – People currently showing at ports of entry seeking asylum are being  denied that right. When they arrive, officers tells them that the port of entry is at capacity and that they’re not processing asylum applicants. This back-log has created long lines of people (+50) who have essentially been living on the bridge, patiently waiting their turn. They’ve been sleeping on the hard concrete floors and have been enduring the Texas heat that reaches up to 110 degrees. Some have been there anywhere from 5 to 17 days, and they arrive with nothing. Join NETA to take these individuals food, water, and other necessities.
  • Be a Volunteer Attorney with ProBar or donate to them here – ProBar, the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project. This is a project of the American Bar Association, and they are currently supporting over 1,000 ‘unaccompanied children’ in detention centers. They’re also working hard to reconnect these children with their parents. They’re looking for volunteer attorneys who could help with these children prepare for credible fear interviews (will take several days to a week), and in the longer term help with assistance for bond cases (some of this work could be remote, but would have to be periodically present). I’ve created the google doc above to try to help them identify volunteer attorneys. If you’re unable to volunteer, you could donate here.
  • Help Texas Civil Rights Project take declarations from families or donate to them here – Everyday, TCRP is taking declarations from families and need help with intake efforts in Brownsville, Laredo, El Paso and Alpine. They’re able to train people and organize legal intakes in these cities. They also need help in McAllen with interviewing families. Note — Volunteers are required to speak Spanish, Mam, Q’eqchi’ or K’iche’ and have paralegal or legal assistance experience.

2018 Mail: Progress Report

I ran four years ago because I knew that Baltimore City needed strong champions advocating for our families and communities at the state level. We face huge challenges in Baltimore, but we’ve also made important progress over the past four years. My latest mail piece hits mailboxes this weekend and highlights some of the policies I’ve enacted and championed during my first term.

Check it out here.

 

Being a Mom & a Delegate

On this cloudy Mother’s Day, I felt fortunate to be able to spend a couple hours doorknocking with my 5-year-old son, Teddy, in our neighborhood. We had fun knocking on doors, talking to our neighbors, and Teddy was a good sport when I showed him how to shake someone’s hand.

I take being a State Delegate very seriously because I see how fast Teddy and his baby sister Eliza are growing up and I know our kids don’t have a minute to spare – every policy I push, every bill I sponsor, every community I work with – it is all to make sure that our kids have the chance to fulfill their potential.

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2018 Spring Newsletter

Spring has finally made its way to Baltimore – just in time for doorknocking everyday! If you live in District 46, keep an eye out for me and other members of Team 46 as we continue to knock on doors and talk to constituents!  And – mark your calendars now for my Picnic on Sunday, June 3rd –

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