Session Update: Budgets & Bills

A message from Sarah

Dear neighbor,

The 439th Legislative Session is off to an exciting start! I've spent the first weeks of session in budget briefings, working with colleagues to address the impacts of the federal government shutdownmeeting with constituentswelcoming our incredible interns, and working on legislation to help strengthen our community and State. These newsletters serve to provide you with biweekly updates on the budget, legislation, and our community. With just 70 days left to review the approximately 3,000 bills that will be introduced and pass a balanced budget, I appreciate your continued engagement and feedback.

On deck this week: the Governor delivers his State of the State address on Wednesday, budget hearings kick into high gear, and we’ll be introducing a number of bills on environment, mental health, and addressing sexual assault. 

Please "Like" the Senate Facebook page to stay up to date on a day-to-day goings on of the office. 

Yours,
Sarah


Session Updates: Budget & Legislation

Operating & Capital Budget. Governor Hogan delivered his $46.6 billion budgetto each member of the General Assembly on January 18th.

The budget includes: $6.9 billion in school funding, $248 million in drug treatment and prevention, $3.3 billion in road improvement, and much, much more. On the local front, the Governor’s budget includes $387,000 for Anne Arundel Medical Center to renovate their emergency department to better care for victims of sexual assault, $400,000 for the YWCA to finish building it’s Safe House Shelter and Education and Wellness Center, and $1,000,000 for the Chesapeake Regional Accessible Boating to build its Adaptive Boating Center.

As a member of the Senate’s Budget and Taxation Committee, I will spend the next two months reviewing the budget, hearing from departments and citizens through my subcommittee assignments (Education, Business, & Administration; Pensions; and Capital), and working to pass a balanced budget that reflects the priorities of our community. I've also submitted a number of Legislative Bond Initiatives to support the great work of our community's nonprofit organizations. Stay tuned for an update on all our Capital Budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

Legislation. To date I've introduced two bills (detailed below) as the primary sponsor and co-sponsored dozens of bills on issues ranging from reinstating prescription drug coverage to State retirees to legislation that protects forestsbans styrofoam, and strengthens our common sense gun safety laws. 

Senate Bill 99 - Supporting Agritourism
SB 99 is a bipartisan bill that seeks to help Anne Arundel farmers take advantage of agritourism opportunities and diversify revenues by providing greater flexibility to use barns and agricultural buildings for events. Anne Arundel lost 51 farms, or 7,107 acres of farmland, between 2002 and 2012. We must do more to preserve farmland, and SB 99 is a step in the right direction. Special thanks to to the local farmers who brought this legislation to our attention! 

Senate Bill 156 - Increasing the State's Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) to the City of Annapolis
The City of Annapolis provides significant public safety and public works support to State buildings. Traditionally, the State has provided $367,000 in funding to help offset these costs, but that funding has remained stagnant since 2006. Speaker Busch, Delegate Cain, and I have filed legislation to increase that funding to $750,000 annually and tie the increase to inflation beginning in Fiscal Year 2022. 

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Community Spotlight
Congratulations to the graduating Class of 2019 at Lighthouse Building Employment Success Training (B.E.S.T.) Program. It was great to be able to be part of the celebration of the culmination of work done by students and The Light House!


Community Updates

In the District
Senatorial Scholarship applications for District 30 will go live in the next newsletter. If you are interested in applying, please email Sarah.Elfreth@senate.state.md.us so we can follow up. You can find out more about the Senatorial scholarship programhere.

The Anne Arundel County Board of Public Works recently voted to approve fundingfor Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass statues in the old House Chamber of the State House. 

Anne Arundel County Seeks New Members for the Plan2040 Citizens Advisory Committee, part of the General Development Plan (GDP). The GDP is Anne Arundel County’s comprehensive plan to guide land use in the County, capitalize on its assets and conserve critical resources. Individuals interested in being considered for the committee should fill out the application located on the Anne Arundel County website. Applications are due by February 1, 2019.  

In honor of American Heart Month and CVS Health’s ongoing commitment to building healthy, all community members are invited to visit their local MinuteClinic for a free heart health screening on February 7, 14, 21, or 28, 2019. As you may know, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.

Around the State

The Governor's Commission on the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution has released educational materials and a student contest. Please share with any teachers or young persons who would benefit.

  • Educational Document Packet: This educational resource provides an overview of Maryland's timeline and role in the women's suffrage movement, as well as includes full color scans of original primary source documents that can be used in the classroom for document based questioning. 

  • Creative Contest
    The Commission is also sponsoring a Creative Contest for students coordinated by the Maryland Historical Society. The contest will open on June 1, 2019.  All student artists and scholars throughout Maryland are invited to produce creative pieces that exemplify notable women. Students’ submissions should strive to answer the questions:
    How would YOU use the power of your vote? Reflecting on the efforts of an individual or group, how did they inspire you to help propel society forward?  For more information on the timeline and guidelines for submission, please email mdsuffragecommission@gmail.com


Stay in Touch

My priority is to be your voice in the Senate. In that vein, we'd love to keep in touch and get your feedback through our regular community surveys. Click here to take part in our first survey.

You can stay in touch with us during session by calling our office at 410-841-3578 or emailing me at Sarah.Elfreth@senate.state.md.us. You can also mail to the office address below:Attn. Senator Sarah Elfreth
11 Bladen St, Rm. 103
Annapolis, MD 21401

By Authority: Friends of Sarah Elfreth; Michael G. Miller, Treasurer

Our mailing address:
Friends of Sarah Elfreth
P.O. Box 5935, Annapolis, MD 21403

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Sarah Elfreth