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
Montgomery County Fundraiser with Congressman Jamie Raskin
December 15th | 4:00pm-5:30pm
Back to Session Happy Hour – South Baltimore
January 4th, 2020 | 2:00pm-3:30pm
Checkerspot Brewing, 1399 S. Sharp Street
Back to Session Happy Hour – Southeast Baltimore
January 6, 2020 | 6:00pm-7:30pm
Max’s Taphouse, 737 S. Broadway
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 protected]. 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!