It has been an eventful week in Annapolis. Briefings and bill hearings are well under way and the days are getting longer. My staff is rescheduling appointments as fast as they are making them.
I was lucky enough to meet the 2019 Statewide Teacher of the Year Teresa Beilstein. Teresa is a Third Grade Teacher at South Shore Elementary School. Anne Arundel County Public Schools are fortunate to have teachers like Teresa.
I also had the pleasure of welcoming Girl Scout Troop #2638 to the state capital to show off their Silver Award Project. These young girls created a truly impressive memorial quilt for the victims of the Capital Gazette Shooting in 2018. They are currently looking for a permanent home for the quilt if you know any venue in the county that would be interested, please respond to this email or call our office.
Wednesday, I was part of the Women’s Legislative Caucus celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the passage of 19th Amendment, extending voting rights to women across the country. The evening included a lively discussion of how far women have come and what still needs to be accomplished.
Legislation To Watch
SB 253 would prohibit the State from using any appropriation for a MAGLEV system in Maryland and block any public or private entity that receives State funds from authorizing a permit or giving approval for any Magnetic Levitation Transportation System as well as ban MAGLEV systems from using tracks owned and operated by Amtrak or CSX. While the bill does not directly prohibit the construction of a Maglev system in the State, it does establish restrictions that make the proposed SCMAGLEV Project difficult or impossible to implement. There is a hearing next Wednesday at 2:00pm in the Budget and Tax Committee if you would like to come down and share your opinion. You can sign up for written or oral testimony from 9:00am -12:00pm in the B&T Committee room.
SB 60 has already passed the Senate and is on its way to the House where it will be heard in the House Environment and Transportation Committee. SB 60 is enabling legislation that I am co-sponsoring which will allow the Anne Arundel County Council to pass legislation imposing criminal and civil penalties for littering. If this legislation passes, the County Council will be able to pass local ordinances to determine the severity of fines or community service orders for littering. This a step in the right direction to get the littering problem in our County under control.
The Senate and House of Delegates voted on Thursday to override the Governor’s veto on five of eight pieces of legislation that the Governor vetoed following the 2019 session. All five votes received the two-thirds support necessary from both the House and Senate to override the Governor and will become law. One of the vetoes that was overridden today was my SB 1000 Handgun Permit Review Board repeal.
SB 1000 – Public Safety – Handgun Permit Review Board – Repeal
This bill repeals the Handgun Permit Review Board and transfers its workload to the impartial Office of Administrative Hearings. The Handgun Permit Review Board was unelected, untrained citizens who were not required to have any legal background or knowledge of gun laws in Maryland. The Board continuously overruled the State Police, in 2018-2019 alone they overturned the Maryland State Police recommendations 82.5% of the time, sustaining the MSP recommendation in only 8% of the cases, and they had a backlog of 367 cases waiting for appeals.
Moving the Handgun Permit repeals to the Office of Administrative Hearings, a judicial branch of government, is the right thing to do. The appeals will be reviewed in a fair and objective way.
SB 839 – Banning the Box
The legislation prohibits an employer with 15 or more full-time employees from, before the first in-person interview, requiring the applicant to disclose whether the applicant has a criminal record or has had criminal accusations brought against the applicant, it does not apply if the employer provides programs, services, or direct care to minors or vulnerable adults. Ten Maryland jurisdictions currently have policies to “ban the box”. This will ensure that job applicants are evaluated on fairly/accurately based on their abilities and qualifications versus previous history.
SB – 537 Clarifying the Dream Act
This bill permits Dreamers to apply to four year, Maryland universities and receive instate tuition. Before this veto override, Dreamers were required to attend community college and receive an associate’s degree before being able to apply to a four year school. They are still required to graduated from a Maryland high school and file a Maryland tax return for at least three years prior to applying in-state tuition at Maryland Universities. It is important to note that these students will not receive any tuition benefits that other Maryland students already receive.
SB 830 – Creating a Balanced Oyster Advisory Commission
This bill reestablish the Oyster Advisory Commission and requires the Department of Natural Resources and the Commission to develop recommendations for oyster management. The Commission will be made up of 60% Watermen and 40% environmental representatives. Oyster populations are at a dangerous and historic low level right now and this Commission will remove politics from oyster management.
HB 891 – Simplifying Grievance Procedures for State Personal
This veto override streamlines the State Employee Grievance Process and sends all workplace issues raised by state employees to the Office of Administrative Hearings for a final decision, thus resolving these grievances more efficiently. There is no evidence that this new process will impact the State’s negotiating position or lead to an increase in grievances being filed.
My scholarship application is now available online, it can be found here! I ask that interested students please print out and mail the completed application to my office before the March 31st deadline. It is important to note that the FAFSA must be completed by March 1st. Please complete the application carefully, the committee also requires a transcript and an essay. This is a four year renewable scholarship so if you are already receiving a senatorial scholarship from my office or another office you are not eligible.
My office remains in Room 202 of the James Senate Office Building, stop by if you are in Annapolis and share your thoughts with my staff. Nancy Lipin Crawford, my Chief of Staff, Joe Cadman, my Scheduler/Legislative Aide, Susan Meyer our Legacy Leader, and Molly Cannon our Student Intern will be happy to assist you and help with your issues and questions.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your State Senator from District 32,