As most weeks during the legislative session, this was a busy one. The week started with a rally to support City Schools at Rash Field in Baltimore. Midweek we held a successful hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee on HB 1381, the creation of the Adult High School pilot program. On Friday, the Senate gave a preliminary nod to sick leave, the Mayor and the Appropriations Committee Chair Maggie MaIntosh announced a plan for $180 M to go to the Baltimore City Schools over three years, and the full House passed a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
Earned Sick Leave - The Senate debated for several hours on Thursday and for nearly three hours on Friday to advanced SB 230. The Senate was able to hold off 12 out of 13 amendments that would significantly change the reach and impact of the bill.
As the Washington Post laid out, The full Senate reduced the number of paid leave days approved by the Senate Finance Committee last week. Under the original Senate version of the bill, employers would have been required to provide six days, or 48 hours, ofsickleave each year.
The House version of the bill requires seven days.
Advocates said that despite the reduction in hours, they are thrilled that after years of proposing legislation, Maryland appears poised to become the eighth state in the country, in addition to the District, to require employers to provide the benefit.
In the House Economic Matters Committee - On Wednesday, we held a hearing for HB1381, which is the result of a year-long task force that I led on the creation of an Adult High School pilot program. We were impressed by the broad support including: the Annie E Casey Foundation, the MD Department of Labor, Licencing, and Regulation (DLLR), Out for Justice, the Job Opportunities Taskforce (JOTF), and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. All gave testimony to support this bill. I will report more on this bill, HB1457, and HB1452 as the House Economic Matters Committee continues their work.
Next week - We will share more as things develop in the proposed plan for City Schools. Thank you all again for your continued advocacy on this critical issue. Please keep up the efforts!
On Tuesday, I will hold a hearing on HB 1396 in front of the House Judiciary Committee. I am the lead sponsor in coordination with the Police Commissioner and a broad group of stakeholders to prohibit the suspension of a sentence for wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun under specified circumstances for a person previously convicted of specified crimes. We have heard from concerned constituents about an increase in crime, and this is one tool that we are working on this year in the General Assembly to reduce gun violence.
We will keep you updated on sick leave and all the other critical issues we are working on as they develop. You can also track legislation throughout the 90-day legislative session here. Please reach out to share your thoughts or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-989-3876.
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Visit us in Annapolis! If you are in Annapolis we love to see constituents, families, and school groups. You can always reach me at email@example.com or call 410-841-3303. We hope to see you soon.
If you live in the 46th District and are interested in applying for a Legislative Scholarship for the 2017-18 academic year from my office, applications will be due on Saturday, April 1, 2017. Applications are now available. Please call or email my office and we will send you an application.