Sen. Bill Ferguson and Delegates Clippinger, Lewis, and I submitted comments to the Kirwan Commission today, the day of its public hearing in Baltimore City. Download the comments HERE.
Friends & Neighbors,
And just like that, summer is over (unofficially at least) – and wow, was it a busy one for me and for many of you! Best of luck to all those moms and dads and grandparents sending their children off to school today – I hope it’s a great school year.
Today, Team 46 offers a framework and concrete ideas for moving forward to combat the crime plaguing our streets and to create safe and healthy neighborhoods. This is not the beginning of the conversation, and it’s certainly not the end: these are our thoughts after talking with many individuals engaged every day in this work – and we look forward to hearing your thoughts as well. We propose these ideas for the purpose of starting a discussion that government, civic, and business leaders must have now so that we can address violence and crime head-on.
Friends & Neighbors:
This past Tuesday started the one-year countdown to the next election, and I was thrilled to join my colleagues on Team 46 for our campaign kickoff event in Baltimore’s beautiful Visitor Center at the Inner Harbor.
I was delighted to stand with the other members of Team 46 – Bill Ferguson, Luke Clippinger, and Robbyn Lewis – on Tuesday night to kick off our campaign together! We are a great team, working together in Annapolis and in Baltimore for the people of District 46 and Baltimore, and so we are proud to be working together to ask for the votes of District 46 voters. The primary election is in one year – June 26, 2018! Our kickoff, held on a beautiful night in the Baltimore Visitor Center, brought together supporters from all over the district and Baltimore. It was wonderful to have so many people come out to show support – thank you!!
After a few days over 90 degrees, I think summer has arrived in Maryland!
My May was filled with community meetings and discussions of session, and June started off with an incredibly memorable day at Federal Hill Park for my third annual free Community Picnic in the Park. Breaking down invisible barriers between neighborhoods is a job I take seriously – my Community Picnic invites residents from all over the district (and City) to come together for an opportunity to learn about some great non-profits, meet elected officials, and enjoy some great food and good fun. This year’s picnic was hugely successful and very sunny! We held it across the harbor this year at Federal Hill Park, and welcomed nearly 350 adults and dozens of children for BBQ, ice cream, face painting, games, and camaraderie. We had numerous community organizations, like Creative Alliance, Downtown Sailing, League of Conservation Voters, and Civic Works, bring volunteers and information to share. And, we were joined by a variety of public servants – local and federal – including Rep. Sarbanes, Council President Jack Young, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Team 46, other delegates from around the state, and three democratic gubernatorial hopefuls!
2017 End of Session Report
After a demanding 90 days, the General Assembly’s 2017 legislative session has ended. From January 11th-April 10th, the General Assembly met to debate and pass bills that affect residents across the State, including the FY18 operating and capital budgets. I have continued to advocate for causes important to Baltimore, including more efficient and effective transportation, criminal justice reform, environmental issues, and support for Baltimore City and its schools. I am excited to share my third End of Session Report to keep you updated on my work in Annapolis this year. To download a PDF of this report, click here!
Last week was a big week for Team Lierman: while the City weathered the brief snow storm, the House of Delegates voted on (and passed!) five of my bills. District support has been key, so I didn’t want to wait for the newsletter to share the wonderful update and thank all of you and all the advocates who have helped us advance this far. These bills still need to pass the Senate – but even getting out the House before the crossover deadline on Monday is a huge first step.
The General Assembly doesn’t stop for the snow, and on Tuesday the House voted in favor of my bill to ensure Legal Aid staff at District Court self-help centers continue to have health insurance coverage. HB 991 passed with overwhelming and bipartisan support (138-2).
On Wednesday night, the House voted for HB 271 to repeal the farebox recovery mandate! Improving public transit has always been and will remain high on my priority list, and the farebox recovery mandate was an impediment to MTA providing better service. See the article here for more information about why the farebox recovery is such a problem. I am incredibly grateful to Get Maryland Moving, 1000 Friends of Maryland, the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, and other advocates helped educate delegates about the importance of this bill. Thanks to our work, HB 271 passed 85-50.
My colleagues also voted to provide more transitional support to ex-drug offenders by loosening our random limits on SNAP (food stamps) and temporary cash assistance eligibility. Under current Maryland law, individuals with felony drug convictions are ineligible for food and cash assistance during the first year after their conviction, while those convicted of fraud or violent crime remain fully eligible. My bill reforms the law to better align with the restorative justice model and ensures that drug offenders are not arbitrarily denied basic support during such a critical time in their lives. HB 860, which was amended to exclude repeat offenders, passed on Third Reading by a 83-52 vote.
On Thursday, the House considered HB 425, the bill to prohibit suspensions and expulsions of PreK to Second Graders. The practice of suspending and expelling children from prekindergarten through second grade has no place in Maryland schools. Imposing these harsh disciplinary measures on our youngest students is completely at odds with data on child development and feeds the school to prison pipeline. Since the bill’s inception, we’ve had the science on our side, widespread support on the ground, and tailored language that addressed every concern we heard. As a result, HB 425 passed without debate. Ninety of my colleagues joined me in voting green. Thanks to Disability Rights Maryland, the ACLU, ACY, and every parent, teacher and advocate who championed this cause!
On Saturday, the House passed a heavily-amended version of the Paystub Transparency Act of 2017 (HB 1143). My original version set a minimum standard for written notice provided upon hiring and required each paystub to report information about overtime, wage rates, and location. The bill saw many revisions, and ultimately passed with robust notice requirements but none of the paystub demands than I hoped for. But compromise is key, and the bill moves the needle one step forward.
The General Assembly had already passed HB 224, a bill that would help Maryland’s non-profits recruit AmeriCorps volunteers and the state to keep these great people in our state by waiving the 12-month residency requirement for in-state tuition at our public universities.
These five bills will now crossover to the Senate. Crossover is the process in which the House version of a bill is transmitted to the Senate (or vice versa) for consideration by the other chamber. A bill has to pass both houses of the General Assembly before it can be signed into law by the Governor. I now have six bills in the crossover stage, so please cross your fingers that they make it to Gov. Hogan’s desk! Until then, standby for my final report.