The National Weather Service has placed Baltimore City under a Tropical Storm Warning and a Flash Flood Watch for this weekend, beginning Saturday afternoon. The storm could bring gusty winds, heavy rain, and inland flooding. Below are some helpful tips and important phone numbers that will be of assistance during the storm. Before and During the Storm
- Have an emergency kit, containing a 3-day supply of water, battery operated AM/FM radio, and a flashlight
- Stay tuned to local TV and radio stations, and listen for instructions from Baltimore City officials
- Have a personal or family plan to evacuate if told to do so
- Batten down any loose items and secure your property as best as possible
- Clear outdoor storm drains near the property to prevent flooding during heavy rains
- Do not drive on flood roads or park in flood-prone areas
- Keep track of pets and elderly neighbors or relatives during the stormParking in Flood Plain Areas
If you live in flood-prone areas near the water, the City will provide free parking starting at 8AM Saturday at several locations.
In Fells Point, you can park at:
- Caroline Street Garage - 805 S. Caroline Street
- Garage at Fleet and Eden
- Edison Parking Garage at Fallsway and High
In South Baltimore, Cherry Hill, or Westport, you can park at:
- Lot O, located southwest of M & T Bank Stadium at Ridgely and West Ostend StreetsImportant Emergency Numbers
Emergency - 911
For power outages - call Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) at 1-877-778-2222
For downed power lines - call Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) at 1-800-685-0123
To report blocked storm drains or downed trees - call 311Informative Websites
Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) - http://www.mema.state.md.us/MEMA2/index.html
National Weather Service (NWS) - http://www.weather.gov/
Please feel free to call me at 410-800-8109
or email me at email@example.com
if I can be of assistance.
As we begin the last week of the 2011 legislative session, we are wrapping up both committee and chamber voting sessions on a portion of the 2,352 bills that have been introduced this session. Sine Die, meaning “without a day specified for a future meeting”, will be on Tuesday, April 12th at midnight. If a bill does not have final passage by April 12th at midnight, it will not be discussed again until next legislative session.
The House and Senate are still negotiating the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. The budget conference committee, which consists of members from both chambers, has been meeting regularly to figure out several last changes to this year’s budget.
There are still a significant number of bills to be debated and voted on in the last week of legislative session. The topics of these bills include:
- An increase in the sales tax on alcohol
- Medical Marijuana legislation
- The construction of off-shore wind farms
- In-state tuition for immigrants
- Changes to pension plans for state employees
As always, I welcome your comments on these and other very important issues. Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
with your thoughts.
As we begin our final two weeks of the 2011 legislative session, there is still a significant amount of work to be done on both the House and Senate sides. The House is now spending much more time on the House floor, debating bills and holding voting sessions, and the committees are mostly holding voting sessions at this point. It is certainly a busy time to be in Annapolis. House Passes Budget
: The House of Delegates passed the Fiscal Year 2012 budget and the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) this past week, with votes of 97-42 and 96-42, respectively. There are no new taxes in this year’s budget. The budget also maintains a 5% Rainy Day Fund, which amounts to $640 million in the state of Maryland. Additionally, the House voted to restore $58.5 million to Maryland schools for K-12 education spending. Baltimore City schools will receive an additional $12 million in state aid due to the Guaranteed Tax Base of the Thornton formula, which gives more state aid to school systems where there seems to be an increase in support for the school system. The budget will also provide an additional $13 million to counties and municipalities for road maintenance. The operating budget and BRFA now go to the Senate and will both be debated this week. Crossover
: Today, Monday, March 28th, begins crossover in the 2011 legislative session. This means that each chamber sends to the other chamber those bills it passes favorably by today. If a bill hasn’t passed the House or Senate by today at midnight, it is most likely not going anywhere this session and may be brought up again next session. If a bill is referred to the opposite chamber after today, it must go through the Senate or House Rules Committee, which creates an additional obstacle before it can be voted on. The Next Two Weeks
: Over the next two weeks as the Senate bills come to the House floor, the House will hold hearings on these bills and will then vote on them. The schedule in Annapolis changes a bit at this point as we typically have “double sessions” each day where we hold one session in the morning and one in the afternoon. Instead of beginning session at 8PM tonight as we usually do on Mondays, we begin session today at 2PM. The House of Delegates met for three hours this past Saturday and voted on 60 bills that will now be sent to the Senate.
As always, feel free to contact me about any issue that is important to you at email@example.com
or at 410-841-3303.
The number of weeks left in the 2011 legislative session is quickly dwindling down, but the days, complete with hearings and voting sessions, are busier than ever before. This coming Tuesday, March 22nd is the “committee reporting courtesy date”, which means that both the House and Senate committees must report to the other chamber which bills each committee plans to pass favorably. Baltimore Day in Annapolis
: This past Wednesday was Baltimore Day at the State House in Annapolis. It was great to see so many Baltimoreans, many from District 46, at the evening reception. Baltimore City School Funding
: Many of you have written to me with concerns about the funding cuts to Baltimore City Schools in Governor O’Malley’s proposed budget. This past week, House leaders decided to restore about half of the proposed cuts to Baltimore City schools. The proposed plan, which will be voted on by the House Appropriations Committee, would give back about $10 million to Baltimore City schools. I will keep you updated regarding these proposed funding changes. KIPP and Baltimore Teachers Union Agreement:
I am pleased that the KIPP schools and the Baltimore Teachers Union have come to a 10-year agreement that will keep KIPP schools in the city of Baltimore. The contract extension allows for KIPP school teachers to work 9-hour days and participate in summer school while receiving a 20 percent premium for the extra time. The initial proposed legislation in the Maryland legislature regarding this issue will no longer be necessary now that the two groups have come to an agreement. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
: I am excited to announce a new addition to my Annapolis office: a new red Betta fish named Bubbles (see picture above). Bubbles was named by the first graders at Patterson Park Public Charter School. Bubbles will join Jesse, a blue Betta fish named by the students at Thomas Johnson Elementary School, in my office.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me about any issue important to you. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Students and President Edgar Schick from Baltimore International College visiting the Annapolis office
Dear Friends, Marriage Equality
: This past Friday, after extensive floor debate, the House of Delegates voted to recommit the Civil Marriage Protection Act (SB 116) to the House Judiciary Committee. While the bill did not fail on the House floor, “recommitting” the bill to the Judiciary Committee most likely means that the House will not vote on the bill this session. While we undoubtedly have our work cut out for us in the coming months, we should be extremely proud of our efforts in furthering the overarching cause of equality this legislative session.
If you would like to listen to my testimony from Friday’s debate on the House floor, you can go to the following link: http://mlis.state.md.us/asp/listen.asp
. My remarks begin at 2:18:55. Bond Bill Saturday
: The House Appropriations Committee held daylong hearings on bond bills this past Saturday. Along with representatives from the National Aquarium, The Children’s Guild, and the Star-Spangled Banner Museum and Flag House, I was able to introduce the three bond bills on which I am a lead sponsor. Representatives from the aforementioned organizations gave testimony on what the bond bill money would be used for in their respective organizations. To represent a bench made of whoopee cushions in the “What Makes Us Smile” exhibit at the American Visionary Arts Museum (another one of the bond bill recipients in our District), the museum presented a whoopee cushion to Delegate Norm Conway, a member from Wicomico and Worcester Counties and the chair of the House Appropriations Committee.March Madness
: NCAA tournament time means only one thing: bracket-picking contests. This year, I have decided to challenge the scrawny, 5’7, 27-year old scrapper from Canton: Senator Bill Ferguson. As a more than brawny, 6’3, 38-year old Poly-grad from Riverside Park, I’m prepared to lay down the gauntlet. The loser will be buying the winner his ticket to the 46th District Night game at Camden Yards and will also be providing him with two hot dogs and a Natty Boh (newly on tap at the stadium).
It is always an honor to represent and serve the residents of South and Southeast Baltimore in Annapolis. Please don’t hesitate to contact me about any issue.
House Judiciary Committee:
Marriage Equality: The Civil Marriage Protection Act was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee on Friday afternoon with a 12-10 vote. The bill now moves to the House floor where discussion will begin next week. Thanks to the overwhelming number of you who have emailed or called me voicing your support! Please continue urging your relatives, friends, and neighbors to call their delegates in support of this bill.
Child Neglect: This past Thursday, the committee held hearings, with testimony from Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and others, on a bill (SB 178/HB 162) that would criminalize the neglect of minors. This bill would make child neglect a felony subject to imprisonment of up to 10 years, a fine up to $10,000, or both. Maryland is currently the only state in the country that does not criminalize the neglect of minors.
First Bill Passed: Many of you have asked for me to explain, in layman’s terms, my first bill that passed this week with a 138-0 vote on the House floor. Here is a hypothetical scenario explaining what my particular bill, Petition for Writ of Actual Innocence- Circuit Court Jurisdiction (HB 626), would do:
Person C is convicted of killing Person D.
Person C goes to jail.
C has a certain period of time to ask for a reconsideration of his sentence (because it's too harsh), or a new trial (because the trial/plea was no good).
That time passes.
C is sitting at Jessup or Hagerstown (in jail) when suddenly...there is conclusive, definitive proof that C didn't kill D, Z did.
C then files a writ of actual innocence with the court to say "Hey, look at this (usually DNA evidence). I didn't do it, and if you knew this information at trial, you couldn't have possibly found me guilty.
So C files the writ and, if the court agrees, is released.
Right now, you can seek a writ of actual innocence if you've been convicted of a wide range of crimes, including Disorderly Conduct and the simple possession of drugs. Those lower level crimes weren't what the writ is there to address.
So, my bill limits the availability of the writ to crimes that must be tried in Circuit Court, mainly serious felonies.
Fort McHenry Center: A new $15 million dollar eco-friendly Visitor and Education Center was opened this past Thursday at Fort McHenry. The center is displaying Francis Scott Key’s original draft of the “Star-Spangled Banner” for three and a half months and also has various interactive exhibits where visitors from all over the country can learn about the history of Fort McHenry. Admission to the center is free and the center is open 8AM to 5PM, seven days a week.
New Office Addition: I am thrilled to announce that the 1st graders at Patterson Park Public Charter School named our new Betta fish, Bubbles. Bubbles will accompany (in a different fish bowl) our first fish, Jesse, named by the first graders at Thomas Johnson Elementary School, in my Annapolis office. Our third and final fish will soon be named by the students at Baybrook Elementary School.
Please don't hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or 410-841-3303 about any issue.
Meeting with students from the University of Maryland School of Nursing
We have reached the halfway point for the 2011 legislative session as this past Friday was the 45th day of session. There are currently 2,234 bills and 16 resolutions being considered, with 934 bills in the Senate and 1,297 bills in the House. Marriage Equality
: The MD Senate voted this past Thursday to approve the Civil Marriage Protection Act with a 25-21 vote. The bill has now moved over to the House side where the House Judiciary Committee held over 8 hours of hearings on both the Civil Marriage Protection Act and on the opposition’s bill, the Maryland Marriage Protection Act, this past Friday. Legislators expect the bill to be voted on in the Judiciary Committee Tuesday evening. Watch testimony from the LGBT Caucus here.
: The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and the House Appropriations Committee will soon begin hearings on bond bills. I am sponsoring three bond bills this session. The first bill would give $100,000 to the Children’s Guild, a non-profit serving children with multiple disabilities, for the construction of an elevator and a renovation of the school’s bathrooms. The second bill would give $250,000 to the National Aquarium for the construction of capital infrastructure projects. The third bill would give $150,000 to the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House for repairs and construction. I will be sure to keep you updated on the status of all three bills. Baltimore City Schools Rally
: The Baltimore Education Coalition is organizing a rally to be held Thursday, March 10th at 6:30PM on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis. Students, parents, teachers, and others will be protesting the proposed budget cuts to Baltimore City schools. I will be in attendance at the rally as well. To find out more, visit the Coalition’s website here.
As always, please feel free to contact me about any issue at firstname.lastname@example.org
or at 410-841-3303.
Dear Friends, Baltimore City Teacher of the Year
: This past week, Delegate Keiffer Mitchell and I met with the 2010-2011 Baltimore City Teacher of the Year, Brian Rainville. Brian is a
third-grade teacher at Commodore John Rogers Elementary School in Butcher’s Hill. His
third-graders achieved a 100% passing rate on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA),
with 86% of the students scoring in the advanced bracket for math. Congratulations to
Brian for his outstanding achievement! See a picture of Delegate Mitchell and I with
Brian above.Marriage Equality
: I met with a large group of marriage equality supporters from our
district this past Monday. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted in favor of the marriage equality
bill with a 7-4 vote this past Thursday. This coming Friday, February 25th, the House
Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on the marriage equality bill in the Joint Hearing
Room. See pictures of the rally here.
In the District
: Last Saturday, I attended an event celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Canton Public Library. The Canton branch is the oldest branch of the Enoch Pratt Library System in Baltimore. The library is currently preparing for a major renovation that would make the building fully ADA compliant and would upgrade its electrical and environmental systems. I’ll be scheduling public meetings at libraries in the district during several weekends in March as the legislature begins to make final choices about the 2012 budget and other issues. I’d like to hear from you at those meetings. I will be announcing the meeting schedule very soon.
Below is a picture of the cookbook I purchased from the Friends of the Canton Library. They use funds to help support improvements to the building and it's programs. The cookbook is another item from the 46th District on display in my office.
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me about any issue at email@example.com
or at 410-841-3303.
This week marked the deadline for proposed legislation to be submitted to have a guaranteed hearing in committee. Each day during committee meetings, I listen to bill hearings on anywhere from 7-10 different bills. The number of bill hearings will certainly increase in the next couple of weeks.
Offshore Wind Program- This past week, I signed on to Governor O’Malley’s Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2011. The bill’s primary purpose is to boost offshore wind development in Maryland in order to create a renewable energy source for the state, create new “green” jobs, and promote long-term price stability for green energy. Studies show that offshore wind development could potentially create 20.7 jobs per annual megawatt and an offshore wind energy facility could create an additional 2,000 jobs for Marylanders.
Baltimore City Community College Visit: I visited with a group of students from Baltimore City Community College this past week. With a median student age of 26 at BCCC, the school provides a valuable resource to our community as non-traditional students are able to further their careers through the school’s program offerings. With the nursing program being one of the best in the state, the BCCC students touted the school’s 100% licensure exam pass rate for both the RN and LPN nursing programs. See a picture of the students’ Annapolis visit above.
Our New Fish: Jesse: I am thrilled to announce that the first graders of Thomas Johnson Elementary School named our new Betta fish, Jesse. Jesse is adjusting quite well to his new accommodations on my desk in the Annapolis office. The students of Patterson Park Public Charter School, with the assistance of Principal Chad Kramer, will be naming our next Betta fish this week.
Thank you to those who have emailed or sent letters with feedback on proposed legislation. I take your opinions and ideas very seriously. Please don’t hesitate to contact me about any issue.