With Summer upon us, I wanted to reach out to you with a brief update on legislation and community events. Since the 2013 Session ended in April, I have been honored to attend bill signings for three very important pieces of legislation.
The first bill I’d like to highlight is the Employment Advancement Right Now (EARN) program, which will provide job training to math workers’ skills with employers’ needs. This legislation provides State funding and private sector expertise to train Marylanders for new careers, and will improving employment and productivity in our State.
Second, I was very pleased to attend the bill signing for the Firearms Safety Act of 2013. As I’ve said before, the common sense proposals contained in this law will make straw purchasing more difficult, will protect law enforcement officers, and will make it easier to prosecute those who break the law.
Finally, I was very proud that the Governor signed HB 596 into law. This bill, which I sponsored, will keep people out of jail for failing to pay small debts, while respecting the rights of legitimate creditors. Too often, unscrupulous debt collectors have used out courts to jail people for failing to pay small debts. At times, these people weren’t even the debtor, but due to a mistake they were forced to spend days in jail. With this new law, I hope to decrease the fear and intimidation that predatory lenders have utilized to bully consumers through our courts.
As the lead or co-sponsor for these bills, I am very pleased that they will become law. I got into public office in order to make positive change, and it is always heartening to see the fruits of our labor become the law of the land. As a state legislator, it is exciting to see ideas come to fruition as policy in only a matter of months, and I am extremely grateful to all of you for allowing me this incredible opportunity to serve. Thank you.
As you may know, the State Higher Education Commission administers a Legislative Scholarship program. Each legislator’s office is able to award funding for District residents to attend College or Graduate School at a Maryland institution. In order to evaluate scholarship applications, I organized a six-member Advisory Committee made up of District residents with backgrounds in secondary and higher education. Committee members examined students’ applications, personal statements, references, transcripts, and federal student aid application forms. The Committee considered both need and merit, along with how students’ plans might benefit the State of Maryland and Baltimore City in the future.
On Thursday, May 30, I went door-to-door to announce scholarship awards to 40 worthy students in our District, distributing a little over $40,000 in funding for the 2013-14 academic year! We had a great applicant pool this year, and I was happy to meet so many deserving students, and to ease the burden of higher education for them and their families. I extend my sincere congratulations to all of the recipients!
In the Community:
Over the next few weeks, I will continue to attend community meetings throughout our District. I will be in Cherry Hill and Westport on June 6; Highlandtown on June 17; Upper Fells Point on June 18; Mt. Winans and Riverside on June 25; and Federal Hill on June 27. I look forward to interacting with many of you at these upcoming events, and please let me know of other community events you may be involved with in the coming weeks and months.
I will continue to go door to door in District 46 to meet residents of South Baltimore, and to hear about the issues important to you. If you’d like to join me, please contact me at email@example.com.
As always, please contact me with any issues or concerns with State or City government. You can reach me at Luke.Clippinger@house.state.md.us.