The 442nd General Assembly Session Begins!
The 442nd General Assembly Session bgan today at noon. Thank you to my constituents for allowing me to serve you in the Maryland Senate. We are returning to Annapolis in-person to conduct the peoples’ business, remaining as safe and socially distant as possible. The General Assembly complex is limiting the number of people allowed to be physically present in the buildings but Marylanders will be able to participate fully via live-streamed committee hearings, floor proceedings and virtual testimony and meetings. This is an unprecedented Legislative Session but it is critical that we meet to pass a budget, provide relief to our struggling families and small businesses and address issues of policing in our community. You can read the full reopening plan here. In a later newsletter, I will share details of the legislation I am sponsoring, until then you can visit my General Assembly page and click on Legislation. Only pre-filed bills show up now, other bills will follow later.
Today, Senator Sarah Elfreth took over as Chair of the Anne Arundel County Senate Delegation. I've worked with Senator Elfreth closely since we were both elected to the Senate in 2018 and I am confident she will do a fantastic job.
The Maryland Coalition for Responsible Transit Council is holding a virtual Town Hall for the discussion of the impact of the MAGLEV on our communities January 14, 2021 at 7:00pm. You can register for it here.
I worked opposing this project for many years, it is not a secret, that in my opinion this is not a good project for our district or our State. I will share with you the many reasons that I do not support Maglev.
The Maglev is touted to be the fastest train in the world, and it can travel over 300 miles per hour. This train however, will go from Baltimore City to BWI airport and then from BWI to DC - it will never get near the projected speed. Why would we spend this money on a project that will not go any faster than Acela.
The current path of this train goes directly through our neighborhoods underground. Its current route travels under 3 of our neighborhood schools; the Board of Education has issued a resolution in opposing the project. The developers say it will continue underground until it gets to Prince Georges County, where it will go through a conservation area. A 200 acre train storage facility will be built in Prince Georges County. The Environmental Impact statement being studied by the Federal Government is more than a year overdue. The EIS is almost ready to be released, we understand that it is nearly 6,000 pages. We are asking our Federal partners to extend the response time from 90 days to 6 months.
Another item to consider is the cost of the ticket to ride this train. It is expected to be far more than the Acela or other trains to DC. Who will ride it? There have not been any true projections of cost to build and operate versus expected revenue. Also consider that a rider will only be able to board the train in one of three places: Baltimore City, BWI, or the DC stop. It will not be convenient. In my opinion more investment should be made with high speed trains that are more accessible to communities, not an experiment that provides three stops.
COVID-19 Recovery Work Group
During the interim, the Senate “COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Legislation Workgroup” was convened to investigate and propose impactful legislation for introduction during the 2021 General Assembly, I was pleased to be appointed to the Workgroup. In the coming days, legislation will be introduced to protect Maryland’s essential workers, provide much needed relief to vulnerable communities, expand broadband, continue telehealth and keep our small businesses open.
Vaccines and Upcoming Information Sessions
Maryland is currently in Phase 1A of our vaccine rollout plan. The plan will distribute the vaccine in five different priority groups based on relative risk or exposure or likelihood of developing serious illness. This includes Healthcare workers, residents and staff of nursing homes and first responders can get the vaccine. Visit https://covidlink.maryland.gov/content/vaccine/ for more information on the state wide vaccination plan.
The Anne Arundel County Health Department has great information available on its website. County Executive Pittman and the County Health Officer, Dr. Kalyanaraman spoke to County residents last night to discuss COVID vaccines and answer questions about the distribution process. Currently the County is receiving 5,000 vaccines weekly, they are being distributed to our 2 hospitals, Nursing Homes/Assisted Living facilities and the Health Department. You can view the discussion here. You can find information on Anne Arundel County’s vaccine rollout here.
Also on January 22nd, the Anne Arundel House Delegation will host County Executive Pittman and Dr. Kalyanaraman for a briefing on the County’s current COVID numbers and the vaccine distribution plan. Check my Facebook page for a link to this virtual Delegation meeting closer to the event.
Nursing Homes Oversight Committee
We have all seen quite a bit in the news regarding Nursing Homes and Assisted Living facilities during the Pandemic. I was a member of the “Oversight Committee on Quality Care in Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Facilities”. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to take a hard look at the short comings of state laws regarding nursing homes and assisted living facilities. I have introduced SB204, Assisted Living Programs – Memory Care and Alzheimer’s Disease Unit Regulations to update state regulations to ensure facilities and staff are certified to handle the unique challenges of caring for individuals in Memory Care Units.
2021 Scholarship Application
The application and directions for my 2021 Senatorial Scholarships is on my website: www.PamBeidle.com. Remember, IF you are currently receiving a Senatorial Scholarship there is no need to reapply. The deadline for receipt of the applications is March 31, 2021. My scholarship committee will review the applications and award notifications are expected to be made in late May.
My office remains in Room 202 of the James Senate Office Building. Unfortunately, this Legislative Session, we cannot have constituents stop by and meet in person but my Chief of Staff Nancy Lipin Crawford, my Legislative Aide Joe Cadman and our Session Aide Molly Cannon will be happy to assist you and help with any issues or questions you have. You can email my office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-841-3593.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your State Senator from District 32,
Senator, District 32
Vice-Chair Executive Nominations