legislation to strengthen district 30
I was the primary sponsor of nine bills that reflect the priorities of our community that I heard from many of you throughout the campaign, town halls, and surveys. Eight of those nine bills were passed by both chambers of the General Assembly and are on their way to the Governor’s desk.
In addition to these nine bills, I am working with colleagues from both parties on the following critical issues: restoring prescription drug coverage to state retirees; protecting forests and investing in renewable energy jobs to help stem the tide of climate change; and working on common-sense gun safety legislation to reduce violence in our communities. To see the complete list of bills I am sponsoring or co-sponsoring, you can follow the link here.
Through my role on the Senate’s Budget & Taxation Committee, I’ll also have a front-row seat in implementing the first of the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations to create not just the best public school system in the nation, but the best in the world.
Senate bill 99: Agritourism
This bipartisan bill enables Anne Arundel County to update permitting requirements in order to help local farmers tap into agritourism opportunities, diversify their revenues, and stimulate the local economy. The bill received the support of the Anne Arundel Delegation. We also met with the Anne Arundel County Fire Marshall and representatives from the Anne Arundel County Council to work through fire and life safety concerns. Once SB99 passes the Senate and House and is singed by the Governor, the County Council will then take up the issue and determine adequate safety permitting requirements for farms.
Status: Passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House with a bipartisan vote. The bill was signed into law by the Governor and goes into effect on October 1, 2019.
Senate bill 156: mandatory appropriations to the city of annapolis
Sponsored in the House by Speaker Mike Busch and Delegate Alice Cain, this bill requires the State to increase its Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) to the City of Annapolis to $750,000 a year to help pay for the essential fire and police services provided to the State House complex.
Status: Passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House. Speaker Busch’s House bill also passed both chambers. Both bills became law without the Governor’s signature and goes into effect July 1, 2019. The funding will be made available to the City in Fiscal Year 2021 (July, 2020).
Senate Bill 396: Higher Education – Legal Representation Fund for Title IX Proceedings
This bill would provide funds to pay for modest attorney’s fees for victims of sexual assault on college campuses.
Status: Passed the Senate with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and has been sent to the Governor for his signature.
Senate joint resolution 2 – Freedom of the Press Day
The bill seeks to honor of the victims of The Capital Gazette shooting by declaring June 28th “Freedom of the Press Day” in Maryland.
Status: Passed unanimously in the Senate and the House, signed by the Governor, and goes into effect immediately.
Senate Bill 505: Environmental Violations – Reporting Requirements
This would require the Maryland Department of the Environment to collect and publish user-friendly data on environmental violations such as sediment erosion and critical area violation cases. Read more about the bill here from our South River Riverkeeper, Jesse Iliff. 2018 was the rainiest year on record, and is critical that sediment erosion violations are being properly tracked and easily accessible so we can better understand if there is more we need to do to solve this problem. SB 505 requires the jurisdictions with delegated authority to enforce sediment and erosion control laws to submit an annual report to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) by January 1 of each year. MDE would then be required to post this information online, as well as report it to the General Assembly and Governor.
Status: Passed the Senate and the House and will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.
Senate Bill 506: Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services – Needs Assessment
Seeks to fund a needs assessment study of the current mental health and substance use disorder treatment options available, breaking down what we have and what we need by adult, adolescent, inpatient, outpatient, quality of care, type of insurance accepted, and geography. Our goal is simple: to study what exists and what we need to build to successfully combat the mental health and substance use disorder crisis that plagues so many Maryland families.
Status: Unfortunately, the bill did not come up for a vote in the Senate Finance Committee. I will reintroduce the bill next year.
Senate Bill 569: Public Safety: Rape Testing Kit Grant Fund
The State would provide a modest grant fund to help municipalities and counties test rape evidence kits. According to the National Institute of Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, approximately one in five women and one in seventy-one men have experienced a completed or attempted rape. Despite the prevalence of this crime, the vast majority of perpetrators are never arrested or prosecuted. Testing rape evidence kits is critical to standing up for victims and keeping our communities safe.
Status: Passed unanimously in the Senate and House and will now be sent to the Governor for his signature. The Fiscal Year 2020 budget includes $3.5 million for the Fund.
Senate Bill 719: University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents
Requiring the Board of Regents to provide greater accountability and transparency in governing Maryland’s higher education system. The General Assembly created the University System of Maryland and its governing Board of Regents in 1988. When the Board makes missteps that lead to a breakdown in that public trust, as it did last fall, the General Assembly has an obligation to step in. That's why Senator Jim Rosapepe, Delegate Ben Barnes, and I introduced Senate Bill 719 and House Bill 533. Read the Baltimore Sun Editorial Board’s endorsement of the legislation here.
Status: Passed unanimously in the Senate and the House and will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.
Senate Bill 830: Natural Resources – Fishery Management Plans
This legislation seeks to take the politics out the oyster question by using a professional facilitator and consensus-building tactics to bring watermen and scientists to the table and determine a Fisheries Management Plan that benefits everyone and restores one of our greatest natural resources. SB 830 represents a true compromise that brought watermen, environmental groups, and a bipartisan group of legislators to the table. With amendments, it is the best example of stakeholder-led, consensus-driven legislation we can put forward to solve a generations-old challenge to save one of Maryland’s greatest natural resources: the Eastern Oyster.
Status: Passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support and now will be sent to the Governor for his signature.