News from Annapolis 03/13/2020
Happy Friday 13th – It is hard to believe there are only 25 days of session left. Cross-Over is coming this Monday, March 16th. What is “Cross-Over”? It is the 69th Day of Session, it is the day the Opposite Chamber must send to the other Chamber all of those bills it intends to pass favorably. Any legislation passed after this date must go to the Rules Committee and may not have time to make it through the legislative process and pass into law. 11 of my bills have passed the Senate and are on their way to the House for consideration.
Bond Initiatives Saturday was this past weekend and I was delighted to sponsor North County High School, Linthicum Elementary School, the Benson Hammond House, the Linthicum Veterans Memorial, the West County Family Support Center, Lindale Middle School and the National Cryptologic Museum. The needs of our communities are great, Anne Arundel County submitted 23 Bond Initiatives, requesting a total of $5,738,000; unfortunately some projects will not receive funding as our allocation is only about $1,478,500.
Sandy and Lily joined Del. Bartlett and I to advocate for Linthicum Elementary on Bond Bill Saturday
SALES TAX EXPANSION
The sales tax expansion plan, HB 1628 Sales and Use Tax - Rate Reduction and Services, that would have expanded sales tax to services as a funding mechanism for the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future received an “Unfavorable Report” in the House Ways and Means Committee. This means that it will not move forward. Thank you to everyone that shared their thoughts and concerns regarding this legislation. I do strongly believe in funding the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future but this bill was not the best path to get there.
Covid 19 Virus- Emergency Legislation
This week several pieces of emergency legislation were introduced to increase access and reduce barriers to healthcare access and protect Marylanders during this State of Emergency. Under the legislation introduced, the following provisions would be in effect in a declared catastrophic health emergency:
Reduce barriers to screening tests by restricting and reducing costs
Improving access to telehealth so all Marylanders can access the needed health care
Improve access to the COVID-19 vaccine, when it becomes available
Ensuring that people under quarantine or isolation cannot lose their jobs
Prohibiting Price Gouging
Governor Hogan also introduced an emergency bill to authorize the administration to draw money from Maryland’s Rainy-Day Fund to combat the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the state. The legislature moved quickly, passed the bill unanimously, and the legislation was signed into law. Governor Hogan said the Maryland Emergency Management Agency is ratcheting up to combat the virus across government agencies as the number of positive cases climbs.
The Maryland Department of Health has created a website dedicated to providing accurate and up-to-date information regarding the novel coronavirus in Maryland. They are: the Maryland Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
SB 987 Racing and Community Development Act of 2020 cleared major hurtles last week, passing the Senate by a vote of 44-1. This Legislation will invest $389 million into Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park, and Bowie Race Track. It is now in the House Ways and Means and Appropriations Committee waiting for a hearing.
SB 4 would allow Marylanders to vote in a referendum this November for the legalization and implementation of sports betting. Nine sports gambling licenses would be awarded:
Six to the state’s casinos;
Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park would share one license;
State Fairgrounds in Timonium
,a new Redskins’ stadium in Prince George’s County.
Each licensee would pay an upfront fee. In addition, license holders would pay for a “skin”: an app used to place online bets. The bulk of the state’s portion of the proceeds are targeted to implement the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations for the state’s educational system.
Check your mailbox! The 2020 Census is coming!
Starting this week households will begin receiving official Census Bureau Mail with detailed information on how to fill out the census online, by phone or by mail. April 1st is National Census Day! When completing the census, you need to include everyone living in your home on April 1, 2020. Census Day will be celebrated with events across the country.
The U.S. Constitution A count of every person living in the United States every ten years is required by. It is easy, confidential and extremely important. The data collected by the census determines the number of seats Maryland has in the U.S. House of Representatives. It also determines how more than $675 billion in federal funds are distributed back to states and local communities every year; Money for infrastructure, healthcare, schools, Medicaid, SNAP, Head Start, and countless other programs in your community.
When people aren't counted, that translates to $1821 per person in dollars lost. In the 2010 census, Anne Arundel had a 20% non-response rate. This means there was a total of $43 million in lost federal funds to our community because people went uncounted.
It is important to remember that the law requires the Census Bureau to keep all information confidential and use it only to produce statistics. In order for each community to obtain the resources it needs, every count matters. It is in your hands to be counted. Learn more at https://census.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx.
Senatorial Scholarship – DEADLINE MARCH 31ST
My scholarship application is 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 Senate office you do not need to reapply.
If you need to contact my office for a constituent or legislative issue, my staff will be teleworking and available by email at email@example.com. We will also be monitoring the office voicemail periodically so if you cannot email us, you can call the office at 410-841-3593 and leave a voicemail and we will respond as soon as possible.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your State Senator from District 32,
Clifford visited the State House as part of Read Across America Day