I am pleased to share, that this Friday HB 1 The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act passed the House with a vote of 88 - 51! As I said on the floor, “This legislation is about this body saying that we know that the burden of illness is never to be compounded by the burden of poverty.”
On Wednesday, after 90 minutes of debate on the House floor, we were able to reject all amendments to HB 1. Some amendments would have increased the cost of the bill to $60 million or reduced by half the number of Marylanders who will have access to earned sick leave.
I want to offer a thank you to the 160 faith, labor, small business and community groups across the state of Maryland who have been fighting to make this bill a reality. A special thank you to Chairman Davis and to Speaker Busch for their outstanding leadership and all of my fellow legislators, who cosponsored and have worked to support this effort.
The Senate Finance Committee, led by the sponsor and Chairman of that committee Sen. Thomas "Mac" Middleton (D-Charles), met about this measure for more than eight hours over the past week. The committee finally voted the bill out of committee on Friday. The measure will be heard by the full Senate and is expected to come up for a vote sometime next week. Twenty-four out of 47 senators are signed on as bill cosponsors. As cited in the Baltimore Sun, the texts of the Senate and House versions are slightly different, and "each chamber has to pass the same version of the bill by the end of the General Assembly session on April 10 for it to become law." However, I continue to be optimistic about passing earned sick this session.
In addition to working on HB 1, I held hearings in the House on two Alternative Energy bills one dealing with wind (HB1452) and the other with solar (HB1457). I will report more on these bills as the House Economic Matters Committee continues their work.
Additionally, we have heard from a record number of constituents who are engaging around important issues including supporting earned sick leave, "fixing the gap" in City Schools funding, keeping the door open, combating crime, supporting public schools, the humane treatment of animals and many other issues. Thank you all for your engagement. I love hearing from and seeing you.
Our bill which is the result of a year-long task force that I led on the creation of an Adult High School pilot program, HB1381, will be heard in the House. On Wednesday, we held a successful day of testimony in the Senate. I will keep you posted on these and other legislation as they move along. You can also track legislation throughout the 90-day legislative session here.
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