Part of my job as an elected official is to make sure you have access to information and resources. That’s why I’m so pleased to be bringing you a series of “briefings” – online conversations where YOU can ask questions (either beforehand or via chat during the conversation) from experts and policy makers!
Check back often as I will add new ones every week. They generally take place MWF at 2:00 p.m.
Monday, April 13 – Conversation about supporting our art institutions and artists with three professional advocates and lawyers. See the link for more information and to RSVP here to get the zoom link: https://bit.ly/2xWQtEL
Wednesday, April 15 – Conversation with Virologist and co-discoverer of HIV, Dr. Robert Gallo. Dr. Gallo will provide his perspective and thoughts about COVID0-19 and next steps in diagnosis and treatment. See the link for more information and to RSVP here to get the zoom link: https://bit.ly/2JPNqRd
Thursday, April 16 – Conversation about Students with Special Needs with Alexandra Rosenblatt, Esq. and Annie McLaughlin, specialist. See the link for more information and to RSVP here: COMING SOON!
Friday, April 17at Noon– Conversation with Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz and BDC CEO Colin Tarbert about the state and city efforts and resources to help small businesses. See the link for more information and to RSVP here.
Monday, April 20 – Conversation about supporting our senior citizens and helping them access resources with AARP, Baltimore City Seniors Director, and more! See the link for more information and to RSVP here: COMING SOON!
What do you want to hear about? Drop me a line and let me know what would be helpful for you! firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone should refer to the MDH website dedicated to COVID-19 (health.maryland.gov/coronavirus).Case counts are updated every morning at 10 a.m. This will keep you informed about the number of cases being tested and the results, as well as up-to-date CDC guidance.
Marylanders are also advised to dial 2-1-1 to talk to experts about any questions or concerns related to COVID-19.
UPDATE FROM ANNAPOLIS: Due to coronavirus, the House of Delegates has adopted a “no receptions” rule effective this Friday, March 13th AND a “sponsor only” public hearing rule beginning next week. Citizens wishing to submit testimony may email written testimony to our office and we can upload it for them in advance of the committee hearing. My colleagues in the General Assembly and I have been in constant contact with the Maryland Department of Health, who put together this FAQ bulletin that I wanted to share with you.
The most up-to-date information about the novel coronavirus can be found at coronavirus.gov and on the Maryland Department of Health COVID-19 website.
UPDATE FROM BALTIMORE CITY: Mass gathering guidelines, effective immediately, ask event organizers to consider both the number of people attending the event, as well as specific features of the space the event is being held.
Large events (more than 250 people): Event organizers should consider canceling or postponing the event.
Medium events (100-250 people): Consider the following recommendations when determining event cancellation or postponement:
Size: Smaller is better. Smaller events can limit the spread of illnesses through communities.
Density: If the venue or setting doesn’t enable people to keep social distance (more than arm’s length of one another), the risk of spreading the virus increases. People should avoid crowded places where large numbers of people are within arm’s length of one another.
Small events (<100 people): Event organizers should urge anyone who is sick to not attend, encourage those who are at higher risk for serious illness to not attend, find ways to give people more physical space and reduce close contact as much as possible.
UPDATE FOR SCHOOLS: ALL SCHOOLS CLOSED Monday, March 16 – Friday March 27
UPDATE FOR BUSINESSES: Here are some resources that may be helpful to you –
The U.S. Department of Labor has developed some guidelines for how companies can prepare their workplace for COVID-19. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a COVID-19 website with information specifically for workers and employers. There is also information on issues relating to wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act available here.
The Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Labor and Industry enforces the Maryland Health Working Families Act, also known as safe and sick leave, which may be useful for employees who need to take off from work due to COVID-19. To learn more about the law, email email@example.com or call 410-767-235.
If a business experiences a temporary or permanent layoff, Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance’s Bulk Claim Services can open unemployment insurance claims for all affected employees. Businesses should contact a Claims Representative by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (410) 767-3252.
The Maryland Insurance Administration has also put together an FAQ addressing insurance-related questions about coronavirus.
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will provide low-interest loans to companies affected by the outbreak, and that he will ask Congress to increase funding for the SBA lending program to $50 billion.
The Governor and the legislature are working hard on emergency legislation and funding to address the virus. The Governor is staying in close touch with Vice President Pence, and federal leaders are continuing to develop plans to stimulate the U.S. economy and mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. State agencies including the Department of Commerce are prepared to fully serve our clients in the business community, even if we must work remotely. Maryland is still “Open for Business.”
Five Steps to Prepare for COVID-19
Infectious disease experts say most cases of COVID-19 are mild to moderate, like the common cold. But it can be more severe in older adults and people with chronic health conditions. There are simple steps you can take to help protect yourself and your family.
#1 – Make a plan – Create a plan for school, work and home.
Make a list of organizations that can help if you become sick.
Join a neighborhood website or social media page to stay updated on the latest news in your area.
Create a care plan for at risk family members, such as older people and people with chronic health conditions.
#2 – Prepare as you would for a winter storm
There is no need to buy large quantities of supplies. But, it’s good idea to pick up a few extra items each time you go to the market or pharmacy. That way, you’re prepared and can avoid crowds.
Pick up some extra foods like canned goods, dry pasta, and peanut butter.
Have soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, and fever reducers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen on hand.
#3 Get ready for possible changes in daily schedules
At school: Make plans to care for your children if schools are closed temporarily. Just like you would for snow days. Make plans for alternate after-school care in case they are closed temporarily.
At work: Ask to work from home or take leave if you or someone in your household gets sick, or if your child’s school is temporarily closed.
#4 – Stay informed
Stay connected on your state and local health department’s social media pages and websites for timely and accurate COVID-19 information.
Accurate and up-to-date information is available from the State Health Department at https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/Pages/Novel-coronavirus.aspx, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website and social media platform at www.coronavirus.gov
If you decide to attend a public event, practice good health habits:
Try to keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and others at the event.
Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, and kissing.
Wash hands often or use a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs and handrails.
#5 – Prevent the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19 Everyone should:
Stay home when you are sick.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before you eat.
Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue and discard in a closed container.
Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
For people who are sick:
If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines, such as acetaminophen.
Keep sick household members away from others.
Use soap and water, bleach and-water solution, or EPA-approved household products. You can make your own cleanser with a mixture of 1 cup of liquid unscented chlorine bleach in 5 gallons of water.
Avoid sharing personal items.
Anyone at high risk for complications should talk to their health care provider for more information.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. COVID-19 a new virus that hasn’t caused illness in humans before. Worldwide, COVID-19 has resulted in thousands of human infections, causing illness and in some cases death. Cases have spread to countries throughout the world, with more cases reported daily.
Has COVID-19 spread to the U.S.?
COVID-19 has spread to the United States and has caused some people to become ill, and in severe cases, deaths. While most of the confirmed cases have been from people who have traveled internationally to countries with a lot of cases of COVID-19, there has been some community spread reported in the U.S. “Community spread” means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
What is the risk to the public right now?
It is likely that at some point, widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the United States will occur. Experts expect that the coming weeks and months, we can expect to see more cases in the U.S. and worldwide. Community spread is how the common cold and flu are transmitted — meaning people catch it from each other while going about their daily lives. Reported community spread of COVID-19 in 2 parts of the U.S. raises the level of concern about the immediate threat for the affected communities.
Does anyone in Maryland have this new virus now?
Yes, Maryland currently has confirmed cases of COVID-19. On March 5, Gov. Hogan declared a state of emergency to further mobilize all available state resources. The declaration officially authorized and directed the MDH and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to ramp up coordination among all state and local agencies. The declaration also enables MDH and MEMA to fast-track coordination with our state and local health departments and emergency management teams.
Up-to-date information about testing and case counts in Maryland are available at health.maryland.gov/coronavirus. The page is updated daily.
Who is at risk right now? Currently, people are at risk who:
Recently traveled to geographic areas of concern
Have close, personal contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19
Care for people with COVID-19
How does COVID-19 spread?
COVID-19 is thought to be able to spread like the cold or flu through:
Coughing and sneezing, which creates respiratory droplets
Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
Touching an object or surface with the virus on it
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Shortness of breath
In more severe cases, pneumonia (infection in the lungs)
What should I do if I think I am sick with COVID-19?
If you have recently traveled to any geographic area of concern or were in contact with someone with COVID-19, and you become sick with fever, cough or have difficulty breathing, seek medical care right away. Follow these steps:
Call your doctor or emergency room before you go
Tell them about recent travel and close contacts (such as people in your household)
Wear a mask, if one is available
If someone has COVID-19, what will happen to them?
The vast majority of people recover from this infection. Most people will have mild or moderate
3 symptoms. Some people may be advised to recover at home and isolate themselves from others. These individuals should call their physicians or health care practitioners if their symptoms get worse.
Some COVID-19 infections can lead to serious illness, and in some cases death. If someone has a more serious illness from COVID-19, they may be admitted to the hospital. Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions have a greater risk for serious illness. Examples of pre-existing medical conditions are: cancer, diabetes, heart disease or other conditions impacting the immune system’s ability to fight germs.
Should I cancel plans to travel abroad?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is updating travel advisories as warranted. CDC has advised against nonessential travel to some geographic areas of concern. Those with underlying health conditions are advised to avoid nonessential travel to certain areas as well.
Visit the CDC travel advisory site to check on current travel warnings if you are planning a trip
Should I wear a face mask when I go out in public?
No. Face masks are not recommended for the general public, though masks can be useful in some settings — such as in a hospital or clinic waiting room — to prevent someone who has a
respiratory illness from spreading it to others.
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a facemask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
What can I do to protect myself and others?
Take everyday preventive steps that are always recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illnesses like colds and flu:
Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available
Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, your sleeve or your elbow
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using standard cleaning
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
If you are sick, stay home, except when seeking medical care
Is there a vaccine or medicine I can get for COVID-19?
Not yet, because COVID-19 is a new disease. However, many experts are at work developing one. As with any new vaccine, it must be tested to make certain it is safe and effective. It may take more than a year for a COVID-19 vaccine to become readily available. There is also no specific medicine currently available to cure COVID-19. However, people who have COVID-19 should seek medical care to help lessen the severity of their symptoms.
How can I be more prepared for COVID-19?
Have an adequate supply of nonprescriptive drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines
Check your regular prescription drugs to make sure you have an adequate supply; refill your prescriptions if needed
Have a thermometer, tissues and hand sanitizer in case you become ill and must stay at home to recover
Talk with family members and loved ones about how they would be cared for if they got sick and what will be needed to care for them at home
Have a two-week supply of water and food available at home
Is there anything else I should know?
Do not stigmatize people of any specific ethnicities or racial background. Viruses do not target people from specific populations, ethnicities or racial backgrounds.
Stay informed and seek information from reliable, official sources. Be wary of myths, rumors and misinformation circulating online and elsewhere. Health information shared through social media is frequently inaccurate, unless coming from an official, reliablesource such as the CDC, MDH or local health departments.
Are there additional resources available for specific groups?
The CDC provides current information about COVID-19 at www.cdc.gov.
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!).
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.
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.
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).
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!
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.
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 email@example.com. 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!
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?”
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!
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
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 Reportlast 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!
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.
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 email@example.com. 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!
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
Although we cannot police ourselves to a safe city, it is imperative that our police commissioner, the mayor’s office of criminal justice, and the state’s attorney all be working together to create a safer city.
After calling for a comprehensive plan for several years with no success, my colleagues and I on the General Assembly Budget Committees last session restricted some funding to these agencies contingent upon creation and adoption of a public safety plan.
The due date is today, and I am pleased that the plan was announced last week by the commissioner and we received a certified copies of the plan signed off on by all the relevant parties yesterday.
You can access the new public safety plan and the letter by all the officials be accessing the files below.