Team 46 Town Hall

We held our annual Team 46 Town Hall this weekend! We had great turnout from constituents, young and old, from many corners of the district.

Many people requested that we post the Power Point presentation we did online, as well as links to some of the resources we mentioned.

The Power Point is available HERE.

The Maryland General Assembly Website is available HERE.

The Preakness/Pimlico video is available HERE.

Look forward to seeing you in Annapolis or around the District soon!

Annapolis Update: Bill Hearings & Team 46 Town Hall

February 10, 2020

Friends and Neighbors,

Parents of grown children often tell me that the “days are long but the years are short.” Well, in Annapolis, the days are long but the weeks fly by! I am working every day on my own legislation, in my new Committee and leadership role on environmental, housing, land use and ethics bills, meeting with constituents and advocates about a variety of issues, participating in Women’s Caucus, Latino Caucus, and leading the Transit Caucus… and responding the mail I receive (190 emails this past weekend!).

I have introduced all the legislation I plan to work on this year, and you can review the bills I am working on at my webpage on the new General Assembly website: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Members/Details/lierman01/?activeTab=divLegislation. Over 300 bills have been assigned to my Committee – the Environment & Transportation Committee – so I will be in long Committee hearings over the next 6 weeks as we hear bills, discuss them, and vote on them. Below I share a few items of interest from the past two weeks!

Make sure you follow me on Facebook to keep up with me in real time and to see my weekly Friday roundups of the work we do each week: www.facebook.com/brookeliermanfordelegate

In Annapolis

Veto Overrides: On January 30th, working with the Senate, we override several of the Governor’s vetoes of bills that we had passed last session, including vetoes on bills that protect our oyster population, ensure Marylanders re-joining society after spending time in prison have a fair chance to get a job, removing bureaucratic hurdles that made it difficult for undocumented students to get in-state tuition at four-year universities, ensuring that political appointees are not deciding who gets a handgun, and ensuring public employees have a chance to bring their grievances.

State of the State 2020: The Governor delivered his State of the State address on February 5 at noon. While we do not always agree, it is a great event and an important opportunity to hear his perspective and think at a high level about the future of Maryland. You can read his address here: https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/02/05/2020-state-of-the-state-address/

Environment & Transportation Committee: You can find information about my Committee online here: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Committees/Details?cmte=ent. All assigned bills, as well as our meeting schedule, is online! We had many bills over the past two weeks, including a bill about reforming our toll payment process, helping to ensure that condominium owners have full information on their purchases, and more.

HB1 – Funding for School Buildings: This week the Appropriations Committee voted out HB1, the bill to provide additional capital funding for school districts around Maryland. Passing this bill would enable Baltimore City Public Schools to continue renovating and building new school buildings

Brooke’s Bills

Housing Opportunities Made Equal: I am proud this year to be carrying on the work of my predecessor Del. Steve Lafferty and my colleague Del. Maggie McIntosh and am the lead sponsor of the HOME Act, working on it with Sen. Will Smith (HB 231/SB530). This legislation has been introduced every year for at least a decade – but it is such a simple fix to a pernicious problem. It simply ensures that for all those Marylanders who receive government assistance in housing – veterans, low-income Marylanders, people with disabilities – that landlords may not deny them a rental unit simply because they wish to pay with a voucher. I am delighted to be working with great organizations like the Homeless Persons Representation Project and Public Justice Center and more on this legislation. I hope this is the year that we end discrimination based on one’s source of income!

The Transit Safety and Investment Act is another major bill and priority for me this year because it would address the systematic dismantling and underinvesting in transit in Central Maryland that the Hogan Administration has delivered. It is a simple but profoundly important bill: it requires MDOT to ensure that MTA has adequate capital resources to fund its state of good repair needs, which is about an additional $123m per year for the next 6 years. All of these needs and the costs are detailed in the first-ever MTA Capital Needs Inventory, available online here.

Investing in housing and mobility options are key to success for Maryland – these two bills are some of my top priorities this session. Look for more updates on Facebook and Twitter! And join me at Transit Caucus Night this Wednesday to get more involved! February 12, 2020 from 6-8PM in the House of Delegates. RSVP HERE / Facebook event here.

Coming up next…

I will continue preparing for the six hearings that I have in the next two weeks and working with individuals and groups to come support these pieces of legislation. These six bills focus on reducing plastic pollution (#BantheBag), strengthening our Public Information Act; funding community development programs in Baltimore and around the state; protecting juveniles’ civil rights; granting student athletes the right to use their name, image, and likeness; and enhancing environmental enforcement.

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!

In Baltimore

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. For more information on the Census, click HERE. To get involved or check out upcoming events related to the Census, click HERE.


To follow Maryland Census 2020 on Twitter and Facebook – Follow @MdCensus2020 and like @MdCensus2020 – to stay in touch with Maryland’s Census 2020 complete count efforts. Join the conversation by using hashtag #2020MDCensus on Facebook and on Twitter.

TEAM 46 Annual Town Hall

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

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In the News

MD Women Lead on Climate Change Resiliency: I was very proud to join four other women lawmakers in announcing a package of five climate resilience bills. My environmental transparency bill will empower normal citizens in the process of preparing for and combating the acute effects of our changing climate change. It’s great to be working with Senator Sarah Elfreth, Delegate Courtney Watson, and Senator Katie Fry Hester and more on legislation to prevent the worst effects of climate change in Maryland, support our communities, and ensure we are building resilient and healthy neighborhoods!

Strengthen our Public Information Act! The Baltimore Sun this week covered my proposed legislation to rectify the sorry state of public information requests and hold our state institutions more accountable. The Sun’s editorial board recommends my legislation.

The Path to Zero Waste is an initiative of several bills, including the Plastics & Packaging Reduction Act (the plastic bag ban), was in the news last week: WBAL reported on our goal to move Maryland toward zero waste. Our state relies on landfills and incinerators to dispose of our trash, and we need to be moving toward reducing plastic trash that we can’t recycle or compost and building out our capacity to compost (which is less expensive for local governments & can be a moneymaker).

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!

2020 General Assembly Session: Back in Session

January 10, 2020 | Volume VI 
Friends & Neighbors,  

Greetings! For my sixth session in Annapolis, I am pleased to continue sending emails every other week with details about what we are working on and how you can stay updated and involved.  If you have any questions or concerns, please email or call me! My legislative director, Dani DiPietro, and I can be reached at brooke.lierman@house.state.md.us or 410-841-3319. And please know you are always welcome to visit! I love seeing constituents, friends, and Marylanders who care about issues come to Annapolis to talk with me about their concerns or ideas.

For the second year, the Baltimore City Delegation is working with Visit Baltimore to sponsor “Charm City Creates,” a night celebrating Baltimore’s makers and chefs and artists in Annapolis. I have also been working with my colleagues on the Women’s Caucus to organize a commemorative event on the 100th Anniversary of Suffrage! All are welcome to this special event on January 29, but please make sure to register.
The 441st session of the Maryland General Assembly convened on Wednesday, January 8. Over the next 90 days, I will be working hard to pass legislation to help ensure Baltimore (and all of Maryland) is safe, healthy, green and thriving.

I have a comprehensive package of bills this session which primarily focus on public transit, the environment, civil rights, and public safety. You can read more about the bills I am sponsoring in my more recent blog post here

This Session, the Speaker appointed me to serve on the Environment and Transportation Committee, and will be the chair of the Land Use and Ethics Subcommittee. The “ENT” Committee as it’s called, has jurisdiction over many issues, including environment, transportation, ethics, housing, real property, land use, and local government issues. I’m excited to continue my work on transportation and environmental issues in a new leadership role! The Environment and Transportation Committee has not had any hearings yet.

We are all busy preparing and polishing our legislation so that it can be assigned to committee and. Please keep in mind that the public is invited to attend all committee hearings! You can view the Committee Schedule, which will be regularly updated, here. The general schedule is available here. You can look up my legislation and track its progress here.  

Keeping up with the Maryland General AssemblyThe Maryland General Assembly website has many great resources if you are interested in following our work over the next 90 days.  I will highlight just a few:The general schedule is available here.You can look up legislation and track its progress here.  Every bill introduced by the bill introduction deadline is guaranteed a hearing and before the hearing, a fiscal and policy note about the bill will be published.You can view the Committee Schedule, which will be regularly updated, here.
BROOKE’S BILLS
This year, I am excited to work on bills that will improve public transportation, fund programs to prevent violence, reduce plastic waste, increase access to affordable housing, and enhance the transparency of government agencies. And of course, although this list does not include the the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, I will be strongly supporting that legislation – and many other pieces of legislation that my colleagues are bringing! Although by no means a complete list, here are some of the major bills I will be introducing this year… 

Transit Safety & Investment ActA recently-released Capital Needs Inventory revealed that the Maryland Transit Administration is under-funded by $2bn over the next ten years – just to maintain current levels of operation.  This bill will provide additional annual capital funding to ensure that MTA is able to maintain its assets in a state of good repair and allow the agency to implement basic modernization to its outdated fleet of buses, trains, etc. This funding is imperative to sustain our public transit infrastructure and ensure safe transit for all riders.  

Violence Intervention and Prevention ProgramTwo years ago, I championed and passed the first program to prevent gun violence using evidence-based efforts. Although the Governor funded the program during its first year, he zeroed it out in FY20. This bill will require annual funding for the Violence Intervention & Prevention Program (VIPP) to fund local efforts around the state. Many of these programs are non-profit organizations with limited resources, but that do incredibly important work. This bill will provide the resources that these programs need to double down on the highest-crime neighborhoods, and expand into new neighborhoods. 

Plastics and Packaging Reduction ActPlastic waste litters our streets and waterways in Baltimore. It’s an eyesore and it also contributes to climate change. Despite popular belief, plastic bags can not go in your recycling bin and they are not biodegradable. This bill aims to reduce plastic trash by prohibiting stores from distributing plastic bags to consumers. It also encourages residents to use reusable shopping bags by requiring stores to charge .10 for paper bags. Finally, it establishes a “Single-Use Products Working Group” to study and make holistic recommendations on reducing plastic trash and single use containers in Maryland.  

The Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act (HOME Act)Housing discrimination is far too common, including discrimination based on source-of-income. Source of income can refer to income from veterans or disability payments or a public assistance program. Seventy percent of housing voucher recipients in Maryland are seniors, people with disabilities, or children. Currently, finding rental housing is challenging for voucher holders. Based on recent studies across the East Coast, up to 67% of landlords refused renters with housing vouchers. This bill prohibits discrimination based on a renter’s source of income, just as it is illegal to discriminate against a renter’s race, sex, religion, etc. Although many local jurisdictions have already passed their own version of this bill, it is important to ensure minimum standards are the same across the state.

 Strengthening Maryland’s Public Information Act (PIA)Maryland’s Public Information Act needs an update. Agencies can be overwhelmed with repetitive requests and members of the press and public are often denied information in a timely or cost-effective manner. And yet, there is no way to enforce the PIA provisions without resorting to the courts. The State’s PIA Ombudsman is issuing a report this month that will recommend changes to the law to strengthen it so that members of the public can have confidence that our government is being transparent in its decision-making. This bill is based on those recommendations and on the need for more proactive disclosure of information by our agencies.    If you have requested government records in the past, I want to hear from you! Please consider taking this short survey by clicking here.  Your input will help me craft legislation for an accountable and transparent PIA request process. 

The Jordan MacNair Safe & Fair Sports ActOur college student athletes are working hard to be champions for us – now it’s time for us to be champions for them. This year, I will be introducing a bill to allow college student athletes to retain the rights to their own name, image, and likeness. We cannot stop there though, because many of our students are facing true health and well-being challenges as well, including of course, the tragic loss of Jordan MacNair in 2018. This bill will also set up a permanent commission to oversee college student athlete well-being that will have the power to investigate any alleged wrongdoing. 

Supporting Maryland Arts InstitutionsI will be introducing two bills to support Maryland arts institutions, one focusing on capital funding and one on operating dollars. Both of these bills will provide important and ongoing sources of funds to ensure that our Maryland arts community can continue to thrive and grow!
DELEGATE SCHOLARSHIPSEach year, I am excited to award scholarships to students from the 46th District who are heading to college or graduate school in Maryland. (If you’re not sure if you reside in the 46th district, you can go to www.mdelect.net to check.) I’m pleased to say that my scholarship application is now open! Please find instructions and detailed information about applying for a scholarship through my office here, and the application to apply here. The scholarship application must be filled out completely and returned with all the required documentation (e.g. transcripts, letters of recommendation, a short essay, etc.) to my office by May 1, 2020. Funds will be applied to the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters.
There are a few local news sources that are handy to visit during the legislative session. In addition to coverage by some great reporters in the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun, these online publications offer news:
Maryland Matters: https://www.marylandmatters.org/
Maryland Reporter: https://marylandreporter.com/
Capital News Service: https://cnsmaryland.org/
Center Maryland: http://www.centermaryland.org/

I was briefly mentioned as a “Top Ten Legislator to Watch” this week in Maryland Matters, and I’m pleased that the Washington Post published a story today about efforts in Virginia and Maryland to allow student athletes to retain control of their name, image, and likeness.  

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 and my legislative director, Dani DiPietro, 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!

The 2020 Legislative Session Opens!

Today began the 441st session – and my 6th session – of the Maryland General Assembly!  Although the legislature only meets in Annapolis every year for 90 days, as your Delegate I work year-round to represent District 46.  But the next 90 days will be a sprint to pass a state budget and hundreds of pieces of legislation in Annapolis. This year, a big focus will be on education!

This year, I am excited to work on bills that will improve public transportation, fund programs to prevent violence, reduce plastic waste, increase access to affordable housing, and enhance the transparency of government agencies. Although by no means a complete list, here are some of the major bills I will be introducing this year (And of course, although this list does not include the the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, I will be strongly supporting that legislation – and many other pieces of legislation that my colleagues are bringing!).

 Transit Safety & Investment Act

A recently-released Capital Needs Inventory revealed that the Maryland Transit Administration is under-funded by $2bn over the next ten years – just to maintain current levels of operation.  This bill will provide additional annual capital funding to ensure that MTA is able to maintain its assets in a state of good repair and allow the agency to implement basic modernization to its outdated fleet of buses, trains, etc. This funding is imperative to sustain our public transit infrastructure and ensure safe transit for all riders.  

Violence Intervention and Prevention Program – Mandatory Funding

Two years ago, I championed and passed the first program to prevent gun violence using evidence-based efforts. Although the Governor funded the program during its first year, he zeroed it out in FY20. This bill will require annual funding for the Violence Intervention & Prevention Program (VIPP) to fund local efforts around the state. Many of these programs are non-profit organizations with limited resources, but that do incredibly important work. This bill will provide the resources that these programs need to double down on the highest-crime neighborhoods, and expand into new neighborhoods. 

Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act

Plastic waste litters our streets and waterways in Baltimore. It’s an eyesore and it also contributes to climate change. Despite popular belief, plastic bags can not go in your recycling bin and they are not biodegradable. This bill aims to reduce plastic trash by prohibiting stores from distributing plastic bags to consumers. It also encourages residents to use reusable shopping bags by requiring stores to charge .10 for paper bags. Finally, it establishes a “Single-Use Products Working Group” to study and make holistic recommendations on reducing plastic trash and single use containers in Maryland.  

The Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act (HOME Act)

Housing discrimination is far too common, including discrimination based on source-of-income. Source of income can refer to income from veterans or disability payments or a public assistance program. Seventy percent of housing voucher recipients in Maryland are seniors, people with disabilities, or children. Currently, finding rental housing is challenging for voucher holders. Based on recent studies across the East Coast, up to 67% of landlords refused renters with housing vouchers. This bill prohibits discrimination based on a renter’s source of income, just as it is illegal to discriminate against a renter’s race, sex, religion, etc. Although many local jurisdictions have already passed their own version of this bill, it is important to ensure minimum standards are the same across the state.  

Strengthening Maryland’s Public Information Act (PIA)

Maryland’s Public Information Act needs an update. Agencies can be overwhelmed with repetitive requests and members of the press and public are often denied information in a timely or cost-effective manner. And yet, there is no way to enforce the PIA provisions without resorting to the courts. The State’s PIA Ombudsman is issuing a report this month that will recommend changes to the law to strengthen it so that members of the public can have confidence that our government is being transparent in its decision-making. This bill is based on those recommendations and on the need for more proactive disclosure of information by our agencies.    If you have requested government records in the past, I want to hear from you! Please consider taking this short survey by clicking here.  Your input will help me craft legislation for an accountable and transparent PIA request process. 

The Jordan MacNair Safe & Fair Sports Act

Our college student athletes are working hard to be champions for us – now it’s time for us to be champions for them. This year, I will be introducing a bill to allow college student athletes to retain the rights to their own name, image, and likeness. We cannot stop there though, because many of our students are facing true health and well-being challenges as well, including of course, the tragic loss of Jordan MacNair in 2018. This bill will also set up a permanent commission to oversee college student athlete well-being that will have the power to investigate any alleged wrongdoing. 

Supporting Maryland Arts Institutions

I will be introducing two bills to support Maryland arts institutions, one focusing on capital funding and one on operating dollars. Both of these bills will provide important and ongoing sources of funds to ensure that our Maryland arts community can continue to thrive and grow!

Keeping up with the Maryland General Assembly

The Maryland General Assembly website has many great resources if you are interested in following our work over the next 90 days.  I will highlight just a few:

  • The general schedule is available here.
  • You can look up legislation and track its progress here.  Every bill introduced by the bill introduction deadline is guaranteed a hearing and before the hearing, a fiscal and policy note about the bill will be published.
  • You can view the Committee Schedule, which will be regularly updated, here.

It is an honor and a thrill to represent District 46 in the General Assembly and to speak up for Maryland residents and families! In the past five years, we have accomplished major legislative milestones – and I know this session we will continue that record. We will ensure government is working for Marylanders, creating opportunities for all, and breaking down barriers that prevent individuals from reaching their potential.  If you have any questions about bills that I am proposing or have ideas or thoughts – or just want to chat! – please keep in touch.

A Busy Baltimore Fall!

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As the countdown to the 2020 General Assembly session begins, my months are busy with legislative hearings, meetings with advocates, and community gatherings!

Earlier this month, I was thrilled to host a packed house for my Annual Women’s Breakfast! We had over 125 women from all over the city, state and region come together with fantastic remarks by our Party Chair Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and our House Speaker Adrienne Jones. It was inspiring to see so many amazing people dedicated to moving our state and City forward all in one place. I look forward to next year’s event! 

The biggest news from this fall of course is the election by the Senate Democrats of our own Senator, Bill Ferguson, as the next President of the Senate of Maryland! I am so proud of Bill and I know he will do a phenomenal job working with Speaker Jones to pass historic education funding and to push forward a wide array of bills to improve the lives of Marylanders. (Yay Team 46!)

Although we are not in session this fall, my weeks are full of hearings and meetings to prepare for the session and keep up with the work of our state government. I am on several Joint Committees that meet throughout the interim including:

The Joint Oversight Committee on Pensions: Every year we have a series of hearings on pension legislation that is needed. This year, we will also have a review of SB 946 from 2019, the bill addressing prescription drug benefits for state retirees. Our hearings on Tuesday, October 29th and Wednesday, November 20th with Maryland Budget Secretary David Brinkley have so far left me with more questions than answers. Our state workers deserve clarity when it comes to their prescription drug benefits.  You can read more about those hearings by clicking here.

Upcoming hearing date: Wednesday, December 4th (2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.)

House Study Group on Economic Stability:We reviewed the work that we have accomplished over the past 3 months, including site visits to meet with advocacy and direct service providers in Cumberland, Salisbury, Baltimore, and Montgomery County. 

Upcoming hearing date: Monday, December 9th (10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.) 

The Joint Committee to End Homelessness: On October 15th, we heard from the Montgomery County and Baltimore City on their homelessness plans, as well as from the Maryland Department of Housing. On October 30th, we presented our draft recommendations for affordable housing and homelessness services, and health and human services. We will continue to refine these recommendations. I am looking forward to bringing The HOME Act this year in coordination with Del. Maggie McIntosh and Del. Charles Sydnor and Senator Will Smith. The HOME Act outlaws discrimination against individuals who use any type of housing assistance voucher, including disabilities.

Mobility Hearing: Upon receiving constituent complaints about the worsening services  provided by MTA MobilityLink, I worked with the Appropriations Committee Chair to organize a hearing on the service on November 13th. We had a very well-attended hearing and heard from several organizations and riders, as well as from MDOT Secretary Rahn and MTA Administrator Quinn. During the hearing, we learned that MTA needs to add emergency backup service, needs additional capital funding for vehicles, and needs to implement increased accountability measures. I will continue to push for better mobility services. 

Baltimore City Delegation: I chair the Education Subcommittee of our City Delegation and on November 9th, we hosted a fantastic discussion about the Blueprint for Maryland, the Kirwan Commission, and City Schools.  It was great to see so many people who up care about working to ensure our kids have the resources they deserve! To learn more about the Blueprint and get involved in pushing for this once-in-a-generation legislation, check out this website or Strong Schools Maryland.

October and November have been full of visits with advocacy groups, non-profit organizations, and constituents!

Last weekend, led by Del. Robbyn Lewis, I was part of a group of legislators that met with zero waste advocates, environmental activists, and community leaders to discuss the pathway to zero waste in our city and our region.  We are making progress with the statewide styrofoam ban and the city wide plastic bag ban just passed by the City Council, but we have much more work to do!

I was pleased to attend the Maryland Convention of the National Federation of the Blind! I have the distinct honor of representing the National Federation of the Blind headquarters here in District 46, and I was wowed by the crowd of hundreds who are dedicated to advocating for civil rights (and equitable access to the ballot) for every blind Marylander!

I’ve also been working with members of the General Assembly to move forward with our new Transit Caucus – a group of legislators dedicated to advance a variety of mobility options for everyone around the state. More to come on that initiative!

Other great visits include visiting with parents at Lakeland Elementary and Middle School for a parent breakfast, joining community leaders and city officials in Cherry Hill for a code enforcement walk, hosting a constituent breakfast at Broadway Market, and attending the Maryland League of Conservation Voters annual celebration where I was recognized as a 2019 Legislator of the Year along with Sen. Cheryl Kagan, for our statewide styrofoam ban (the first in the country)!

You may have read about the recent Baltimore Sun article about the Public Information Act implementation at our state agencies. I’m working with and have been meeting with a variety of organizations to draft legislation to strengthen the PIA in Maryland. If you’ve had an experience requesting documents that you’d like to share with me, please complete this survey!

If you’d like me to visit with you or an organization you know, just reach out and let me know!  

I have several events over the next few months – I hope you’ll join me!

December Breakfast with Brooke
December 13th | 8:30am-9:30am
Cross Street Market, 1065 S Charles St
RSVP Here

Montgomery County Fundraiser with Congressman Jamie Raskin
December 15th | 4:00pm-5:30pm
Rockville, Maryland
RSVP Here

Back to Session Happy Hour – South Baltimore
January 4th, 2020 | 2:00pm-3:30pm
Checkerspot Brewing, 1399 S. Sharp Street
RSVP Here

Back to Session Happy Hour – Southeast Baltimore
January 6, 2020 | 6:00pm-7:30pm
Max’s Taphouse, 737 S. Broadway
RSVP Here

As always, I am here to serve you and all residents of District 46! If there is something that my legislative director, Dani DiPietro, or I can do to help, please email me at brooke.lierman@house.state.md.us. If you’d like me to attend your neighborhood meeting or any other event, please send us the information so we can add it to the calendar!

Keep in touch!

My best,

Brooke

Rest in Peace, Elijah Cummings

It was a particularly dark morning in Baltimore today, as we woke to the news that Congressman Elijah Cummings had passed away. He was the voice of moral clarity for our City, our state, and our country, and he was a truly kind and caring leader.  

My heart and prayers are with his wife, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, his children and grandchildren, and his incredible team of staff, who were truly part of his extended family. He was everything a public servant should be – his was the example we should all follow. Congressman Cummings believed in the power of government to improve people’s lives – and he did that, each and every day. 

I will always remember and be grateful for the ways and the times that Congressman Cummings touched my life, helped our communities, and fought for justice and opportunity. I will also remember the powerful example he set for all of us and for our children to do what is right and just, no matter what the cost… even if it means standing up to the President of the United States.  

As we move forward, we will work with him in our hearts as we endeavor to make the world a better place – a more just place – than we found it, for our children and future generations. Rest in Peace, Congressman. And thank you.  

“When we’re dancing with the angels, the question will be asked: in 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact?”

– Elijah Cummings

Fall Update: Join me at a hearing or event!

Friends & Neighbors- 

September was full of advocacy, travel, and milestones – and the rest of the fall will be full of legislative hearings and events around the district! 

Earlier this month I was excited to announce that the Speaker has appointed me to a leadership position on the Environment & Transportation Committee! After Delegate Steve Lafferty, a longtime Baltimore County Delegate, retired to work for County Executive Olszewski, there was room for a new Subcommittee Chair – and Speaker Jones asked me to fill it. I am excited for my new role in leading the Committee and championing bills related to the environment, environmental justice, transportation, housing, land use, ethics, and more! I will also continue in my other joint committee roles and continue as the Education Subcommittee Chair for the Baltimore City Delegation.

Today is October 1 – and that means new laws go into effect! In Maryland, most of the laws we pass go into effect on October 1 every year. Although the statewide styrofoam ban I championed this year does not go into effect until July 1, 2020, many other important laws do go into effect today, including the Maryland Bumpstock Ban and Same Day Voter Registration. Check out more of the bills going into effect here.

One bill that will not be going into effect is HB 1281 – the Bikeways Funding bill that I passed last year to ensure that the state continues (like every other state in the country) to provide help to local jurisdictions to fund bike and pedestrian projects. Unfortunately, Governor Hogan vetoed that bill. It’s my hope that we will override that veto early next year! 

It’s only because of your generosity and support that I am here to do this work – if you’d like to support me, you can contribute online here. Thank you!

Although we are not in session this fall, my weeks are full of hearings and meetings to prepare for session and keep up with the work of our state government! I am on several Joint Committees that meet throughout the interim including:

The Joint Oversight Committee on Pensions: Every year we have a series of hearings on pension legislation that is needed. This year, we will also have a review of SB 946 from 2019, the bill addressing prescription drug benefits for state retirees. I look forward to hearing more about what the Administration is doing to carry out this program – so far, the information has been confusing and inadequate. 

Upcoming hearing dates: 

  • Tuesday, October 29th (2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.),
  • Wednesday, November 20th (2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, December 4th (2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.)

The Joint Committee to End Homelessness: Our first hearing addressed topics including on a range of issues, including a presentation from Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake, who addressed the idea of zero-interest mortgages to help additional families achieve home ownership.

Upcoming hearing dates

  • Tuesday, October 15th (10:00 a.m.)
  • Wednesday, October 30th (1:00 p.m.)

The Joint Committee on Chesapeake & Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Areas: At our briefing this fall, we received a general overview of the Critical Areas Program, presented by the Commission for the Chesapeake Bay, including a discussion of how we balance efforts to expand solar panels while protecting the Chesapeake’s critical areas.  

Mobility Hearing: I will also be participating in a hearing on MTA’s MobilityLink Service. After constituents complained to my office about the worsening service provided by MTA MobilityLink, I worked with the Appropriations Committee Chair to organize a hearing on the service. The hearing will take place in Annapolis on November 13 at 1:00 p.m.

Baltimore City Delegation: I chair the Education Subcommittee of our City Delegation and we will be holding an information session about the Education Blueprint for Maryland (legislation based on the Kirwan Commission) in November. I’ll post more information when we have it on my Facebook page!

Come meet Speaker Adrienne A. Jones & Democratic Party Chair Maya Rockeymoore Cummings! 

Join me at my annual Women’s Breakfast! Every year I host a Women’s Breakfast at a great woman-owned restaurant in District 46. Generally we have over 100 women from all over Baltimore (and Central Maryland!) join or support this event to bring women together to hear from and learn from other women. I hope you will join me this year – or support the event if you can’t make it! 

You can RSVP here  

September was full of visits with advocacy groups, non-profit organizations, and meetings with Baltimoreans. I joined hundreds of city students to take part in the worldwide climate strike day. I was so inspired by the passion, focus and determination shown by these young people, and was proud to let them know that they are leaders in this movement. We must act on climate change now, and these young students are ready to help lead the charge. 

Earlier this month, I was honored to be a part of an Enoch Pratt Panel Discussion about being a woman in public office. I was joined by Councilwoman Shannon Sneed, Councilwoman Danielle McCray, Delegate Stephanie Smith and Kate Black, the author of Represent: The Woman’s Guide to Running for Office & and Changing the World. You can check out the full podcast of our discussion by clicking here.

In South Baltimore, I convened a meeting with MTA representatives and Brooklyn and Curtis Bay residents to discuss modifications to bus routes so residents can access a senior center and grocery store more easily. Adequate funding for transit matters: we may need additional busses and drivers to make this route work and when the Governor cuts MTA’s budget, real people – and businesses – lose out. Last Friday, I joined other City Delegates, Senators, and Councilmembers to attend the MDOT “Road Show” – the visit when Secretary Pete Rahn and the MDOT Agency heads come discuss the latest six-year capital budget with CIty officials. You can read here about how that went… 

Other great visits include a visit to the Lieber Institute for Brain Development (amazing research!), the Junior League of Baltimore, the Greater Baltimore Committee Transportation Committee, a meeting with workers at Spring Grove Hospital, and a meeting with ROCA to learn more about its work with young men in Baltimore. See a few photos from these events below. If you’d like me to visit with you or an organization you know, just reach out to schedule it! 

s always, I am here to serve the residents of District 46! If there is something that my legislative director, Dani DiPietro, or I can do to help, please email me at brooke.lierman@house.state.md.us. If you’d like me to attend your neighborhood meeting or any other event, please send us the information so we can add it to the calendar!

Keep in touch!

My best,

Brooke

PS: Keep an eye on my Facebook page or check out my website for two Breakfast with Brooke events this fall – one at Broadway Market and one at Cross Street Market.

Back to School 2019!

I took an email break for the month of August, but I did not take a break from work – read below to see all I have been up to.

Greetings on this first day of classes for our public school students! I dropped off my son Teddy this morning for his first day of first grade – I’m excited to see all he will learn this year and so grateful for the teachers and school leaders who will work with him!  

First things first: Public Schools. Today is the first day of school for most Maryland public school students, and you may have seen some of the back and forth between the General Assembly and Governor Hogan over the past month about education policy. I want to be clear here: passing a strong education reform and funding bill in 2020 is absolutely critical to the future success of Maryland. Multiple states – including Oregon and Texas – have passed massive new reform and funding bills. It’s our turn to act now. I hope the Governor will stop playing partisan politics and will work with the General Assembly to pass a strong bill next session. 

You may or may not be familiar with the Kirwan Commission, a state-level commission of Marylanders appointed by the Governor and Legislative Leaders, that has been meeting for the past few years and released this Interim Report last year. The Legislature passed the Education Blueprint based on this report last year, a bill to start implementing the Kirwan Commission reforms – it was a bipartisan bill that I was proud to vote for. But there is much more work to be done. 

As is so ably stated by a former State Superintendent in the Sun, Maryland’s school system is failing our state and failing our children. The Kirwan Commission asked the critical question, “what do we need to do to provide our kids a world-class education?” Their report is the answer. It is now up to all of us to ensure that we take the important step of passing once-in-a-generation legislation to create a school system that will empower our children and our grandchildren to succeed.

What do you think? Let me know why taking this survey on education! 

Back to school survey link 

My summer was full of visits with community associations, non-profit organizations and events, where I’ve discussed the work we did last session as well as listening to my constituents to help guide my 2020 legislative agenda.  Additionally, I have had the opportunity to attend several conferences and events to learn about best practices from across the country related to transportation, education, healthcare and much more! 

Last month, I spent a weekend in Nashville for the annual conference of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators and the National Conference of State Legislators. Over 5000 legislators were in attendance at NCSL this year. We spent several days strategizing, comparing notes, and discussing how to build a healthier future for our constituents. With the Environmental Legislators, I also discussed eliminating single-use plastics, moving to a cleaner energy economy, creating cleaner transportation options, and ensuring our diverse and low-income communities that have traditionally felt the brunt of pollution, are not only greened-up but also that they have equitable access to new clean technology like solar.

Here in Baltimore, I was proud to host the House of Delegates Economic Mobility Workgroup’s first listening session (along with Delegates Tony Bridges, Shelly Laskin Hettleman, Charles Sydnor & Steve Lafferty). We had many service providers and their clients meet us at the Center for Urban Families to discuss the barriers they encounter and strategies and successes they have had in overcoming barriers – in addition to challenges that still exist. I then attended additional listening sessions in Cambridge and in Cumberland. The bottom line: we have to change how we do things to empower Marylanders to thrive in today’s economy. Many Marylanders have been left behind and we must do more to ensure everyone has the opportunity to succeed.

A few other highlights from around Baltimore include the following-

  • I attended the Transportation & Climate Initiative forum at the University of Maryland to discuss challenges and opportunities for building a greener and cleaner transportation system that meets the needs of all communities 
  • I attended a community celebration at Riverside Pool to celebrate Splash City and the volunteers who worked so hard to remake this pool into a more vibrant & welcoming space! 
  • The new community organizers for the Cherry Hill CDC and the Greater Baybrook Alliance and I met to discuss how I can help support the efforts of these great groups! Later that week, I also met with faith leaders in Brooklyn to discuss the important work they are doing and what I can do to help. 
  • In responding to attacks on our immigrant brothers and sisters, I attended the Lights for Liberty event but also organized two “Know Your Rights” trainings – in Brooklyn and Lakeland – for our residents. Thanks to CASA for leading the trainings and to two schools for hosting the events! 
  • I had a great time speaking with students at the first ever Summer Institute organized by the John Hopkins Center on Gun Policy & Research. 
  • Last week, the Appropriations Committee toured several Baltimore City schools, including the Stadium School and Baltimore City College to see up close the damage that underfunding capital needs can do – including doors that don’t lock, schools with inadequate AC and heat, mold and damaged walls, and more. This is unacceptable and I am glad that the Speaker has agreed to make HB 1 in 2020 a bill to increase capital funding to schools around the state. 

September 4th @6:00 PM- Fells Point Al Fresco Night

September 4th @8:30PM- Fells Point Move Night (Films on the Pier)

September 5th @5PM- Trash Free at Monument City

September 6th-8th @9AM-10PM- Little Italy Madonnari Arts Festival

September 7th @12PM- 5th Annual Vino in Vouge at Harbor East

September 7th @1AM-6PM- Locust Point Festival 2019

September 11th @8:30PM- Fells Point Move Night (Films on the Pier)

September 14th @10AM- District 7 & 11 Clean-Up (co-hosted by Volunteering Untapped, Councilman Costello, and Councilman Pinkett)

September 16th @6:30 PM- Canton Canopy Public Meeting

September 21st @11AM- Pride of Baltimore II Welcome Home Celebration

September 28th @1PM-7PM- 3rd Annual Patterson Park Brew Fest

As always, I am here to serve the residents of District 46! If there is something that my legislative director, Dani DiPietro, or I can do to help, please email me at brooke.lierman@house.state.md.us. If you’d like me to attend your neighborhood meeting or any other event, please send us the information so we can add it to the calendar!

And please, take a moment to fill out the survey here to let me know your thoughts on education! 

Keep in touch!

My best,

Brooke

District 46 National Night Out Locations

August 6th, 2019 is National Night Out in Baltimore! This is a chance to for community members to meet with local law enforcement and partners. District 46 is part of the Baltimore Police Department’s Southeast and Southern Districts. Check out the locations and times for both districts below.

Southeast District Locations

  • Fells Point: 812 S Ann St 5:00pm-8:00pm
  • Patterson Park: 2301 E. Baltimore 6:30pm-8:30pm
  • Fells Prospect Community: 400 S Durham Street 6pm
  • St. Helena Ave: 6509 Colgate Ave 6pm-9pm
  • Upper Fellls Point Improvement: 300 South Chapel St 5pm-8pm
  • Upper Fells Point Improvement: 1804 Gough- 5pm-8pm
  • Upper Fells Point Improvement: 1901 E Pratt; and the 400 block of S Durham- 5pm-8pm
  • Hatton Senior Center: 2825 Fait Ave 12pm-2pm
  • John Booth Senior Center: 2801 East Baltimore St 12:15pm-1pm
  • Washington Hill: 1739 East Pratt Street 6pm-9pm
  • Douglas Homes: 1500 E. Lexington 6pm- 8pm
  • Bayview Community: 5900 E. Pratt St 6pm-8:30pm

Southern District

  • Lakeland Community: 2900 Wegworth Lane. 6pm-8pm
  • City of Refuge: 901 Pontiac Ave. 6pm-8pm
  • Ridgelys Delight: Conway Park. 6pm-9pm
  • Violetville: 1095 Josh Ave. 6pm-9pm
  • Cherry Hill: 600 Cherry Hill Road. 5pm-8pm