Hi Friend,

Crossover Day is March 18, so our delegates are working double time to get every bill to a floor vote. Bills must pass both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly to be sent to the Governor, but they must first pass a floor vote in one of the chambers before they can be voted on in the second. March 18 is the deadline for all those first votes to happen. Keep in mind that over 2,000 bills have been introduced, and you get a sense of the magnitude of this effort.

Take Legislative Action for Maryland

We're going to step through our priority bills, by issue category, and highlight what you can do between now and March 18 to help make sure these important bills pass. Remember, the entire state of Maryland is not as blue as Montgomery County. Yes, Democrats are the majority in both chambers, but not all legislators see things the way we do, even sometimes within our our own Montgomery County delegation. So, please call or email or even visit your state senators and delegates and urge them to vote yes on these bills. You can find contact information for your legislators and other resources on the 2019 Maryland Legislative Session page on our website.

Find Committee Assignments for State and Local Elected Officials

Find Your Elected State Representatives


ENVIRONMENT

ACTION NEEDED on the SB 516, Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) which is expected come up for a vote in the Senate Finance Committee this week.

Contact members of the Senate Finance Committee and ask them to vote yes. You should always focus on the Montgomery County legislators on these committees, but Sen. Ben Kramer is the only Montgomery County member, so try finding or using other connections to reach other members.

  • Express your support for the CEJA.
  • The best way to encourage Speaker Busch to move the House bill (HB1158) to the floor is for the Senate to pass it strongly.
  • Maryland has already lost hundreds of solar and wind industry jobs because our Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) incentives for wind and solar are not on par with neighboring states.
  • Thousands of good-paying jobs that could be in MD will go to PA, New Jersey and other states If CEJA does not pass this year.


Passage of the House CEJA bill (HB 1158) in in jeopardy in the Economic Matters Committee.

  • Montgomery County Delegates Pam Queen (D14) and Lily Qi (D15) may still need convincing, as do delegates from Eastern Shore where they worry that offshore wind turbines will decrease tourism, though there is no evidence to support this. If you have friends in PG county or on the Eastern shore, ask them to contact their delegates, and if you own property there, those delegates are your delegates, too!  
  • Contact the members of the House Economic Matters Committee to express your support for the bill.  
  • Call the chair of the House Economic Matters Committee, Derek Davis, and Mike Busch, Speaker of the House,  to express your support as a concerned MD resident.

Unfortunately, our legislators in Montgomery County are not as supportive as we would expect. If you are a constituent of any of these legislators, please call them and ask your friends and family to do so as well. Those who are on the Finance Committee or the Economic Matters Committee are critical to get the bill out of committee. But it won't hurt to push the others, either, to make sure they vote for the bill when it gets to the floor.

District 14

SEN. CRAIG ZUCKER: 410-841-3625 | 301-858-3625, Email: craig.zucker@senate.state.md.us  

DEL. PAM QUEEN (Economic Matters Committee): 410-841-3380 | 301-858-3380, Email: pam.queen@house.state.md.us

DISTRICT 15

SEN. BRIAN J. FELDMAN - BILL SPONSOR (410) 841-3169, (301) 858-3169, e-mail: brian.feldman@senate.state.md.us Finance Committee

Del. LILY QI, Democrat, District 15, Montgomery County 410-841-3090 | 301-858-3090 e-mail: lily.qi@house.state.md.us Economic Matters Committee

DISTRICT 16

SEN. Susan Lee, Democrat, District 16, Montgomery County (410) 841-3124, (301) 858-3124 e-mail: susan.lee@senate.state.md.us

DISTRICT 17

SEN. CHERYL C. KAGAN, Democrat, District 17, Montgomery County (410) 841-3134, (301) 858-3134 e-mail: cheryl.kagan@senate.state.md.us

District 18

SEN. JEFF WALDSTREICHER, Democrat, District 18, Montgomery County 410-841-3137 | 301-858- e-mail: jeff.waldstreicher@house.state.md.us

DISTRICT 19

SEN. BEN KRAMER, Democrat, District 19, Montgomery County 410-841-3151 | 301-858-3151 e-mail: benjamin.kramer@house.state.md.us Finance Committee

DISTRICT 20

SEN. WILL SMITH, Democrat, District 20, Montgomery County (410) 841-3634, (301) 858-3634 e-mail: will.smith@senate.state.md.us

Del. LORIG CHARKOUDIAN, Democrat, District 20, Montgomery County. e-mail: lorig.charkoudian@house.state.md.us 410-841-3423 | 301-858-3423 Economic Matters Committee

ACTION NEEDED on SB 548/HB 961, the stand alone bills to remove trash incineration from the MD Renewable Portfolio Standards:

  • A vote is expected on SB 548 in the Senate Finance Committee this week.  
  • Trash incineration is the largest source of airborne pollution in Montgomery County and in Baltimore. As a source of electricity , it is dirtier than burning coal.
  • Some are concerned about jobs (fewer than 100) that could be lost at the Baltimore incinerator. But, removing trash incineration will increase the renewable energy credits available for solar and wind and the thousands of jobs those sectors could create. Plus, cleaning up the air in Baltimore would save $55 million/yr in health costs!
  • Contact the chair and members (in particular, MoCo members) of the House Economic Matters Committee to express support for these bills!

HEALTH CARE

ACTION NEEDED: Contact Key Legislators For Prescription Drug Affordability and Health Insurance Down Payment Plan!

  • Contact members--especially Montgomery County members--of the Senate Finance Committee to support SB759 and the House Health and Government Operations Committee to support HB768.

  • These bills would create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board that is is big step forward in bringing runaway drug costs under control. The high cost of many prescription drugs is making it difficult for people to afford necessary medications and is driving up the cost of our premiums

  • Contact members--especially Montgomery County members--of the Senate Finance Committee and Budget and Taxation Committee to support SB802 and the  House Health and Government Operations Committee to support HB814 to create the Maryland Health Insurance Option.

  • Over 400,000 Marylanders gained health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Now this progress is in danger because of the federal decision not to enforce the individual mandate.  B802 / HB814 will help Maryland protect our progress and help over 130,000 more Marylanders get the coverage they need.

ACTION NEEDED: Two other health care bills need your help getting to a floor vote.


  • Health Insurance - Individual Market Stabilization - Provider Fee (HB 0258/SB 0239): Read our testimony here to learn why this legislation to allow the state to tax insurance providers whenever the Federal government fails to do so in accordance with the provisions of the ACA is important. In short, the money that will be collected will go into the Maryland Reinsurance fund, which helps lower the price of insurance in Maryland.
  • Health Insurance - Consumer Protections:  Read our testimony on HB0697 and our testimony on SB0868 for more on why we support these bills. A hearing for SB0868 is scheduled for March 13. Marylanders deserve the consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act guaranteed in SB868 / HB697.  We want coverage to include pre-existing conditions, protecting your choice of doctors, keeping young adults covered until age 26, ending lifetime limits on coverage and covering preventive care at not cost.

ELECTIONS & VOTING

We have to put the pressure on to get a floor vote on HB0624, Montgomery County Voting Methods MC 29-19, before Crossover Day on March 18 or MoCo's chance to study and implement Ranked Choice Voting will be set back another year. You can read DTMG's testimony here. A hearing on the bill was held by the House Ways and Means Committee on February 19. The bill is still in the Election Law subcommittee where there are some concerns about implementation and other issues that can and will be ironed out once the enabling legislation is passed. We need all hands on deck to move it out for a vote of the full committee.  

Contact Ways and Means Committee Chair Anne R. Kaiser (Montgomery County D14)

Contact MoCo Committee members:

Reach out to Ways and Means Election Law Subcommittee (no Montgomery County members)


We must continue to put pressure on House leadership and the Ways & Means committee. Please send an email or call delegates THIS WEEK. You can use the Ranked Choice Voting Maryland contact tool.

Please post to social media as well to keep the momentum in our favor.


Immigration

Please call or email your delegates asking them to support these important immigrant protection bills.

  • Correctional Facilities and Policies Officers -- Procedures (Maryland Trust Act) (HB 0913 and SB 0817). A hearing for HB 0913 is set for March 5. Read our testimony here.
  • Victims and Witnesses - Nonimmigrant Status - Certification of Victim Helpfulness aka U Visa Act (SB 0144 and HB 0214) has a hearing on HB 0214 on March 5.
  • Higher Education -- Tuition Rates Exemptions (Dream Act) (SB 0537 and HB 0262).


CASA official Julio Murillo and volunteer members of the Trust Act Coalition met in Rockville on February 28 with Montgomery County Councilmember Evan Glass to advocate for the Trust Act.

Transportation oversight

HOUSE

Two important transportation oversight bills have had hearings and are stuck in the House Environmental and Transportation Committee awaiting a vote. Time is running out.

HB0102 - Toll Roads, Highways, and Bridges - County Government Consent Requirement - Expansion:

This bill prohibits the state from constructing toll roads, highways or bridges without the consent of the majority of counties affected. Sponsor: Del. Lierman (crossfile SB0442)

HB1257 - Maryland Transportation - Public-Private Partnership Oversight Act

This bill establishes the Office of Transportation Oversite as a separate agency from those controlled by the Governor. This office will ensure that transportation partnerships serve the residents of the state Sponsor: Del. Carr.

MoCo Members of the House Environmental and Transportation Committee:

Suggested Script for Delegate contact

Hi, My name is _. I am a constituent of (Delegate ___ ). I live at __. I would like the Delegate to know that I support two bills currently awaiting a vote in the Environment and Transportation Committee that he/she sits on. These are important transportation oversight bills and I would like urge the Delegate to request that they get a vote as soon as possible. Once a vote is scheduled, I urge the Delegate to vote for these bills.

SENATE

One important transportation oversight bill has had hearings but is stuck in the Senate Finance Committee awaiting a vote. Time is running out.

Toll Roads, Highways, and Bridges - County Government Consent Requirement (SB0442). Read our testimony here in support of requiring the consent of the majority of counties affected before the construction of toll roads, highways or bridges. Sponsor: Sen. Smith, crossfile HB0102.


Chair and MoCo Members of the Senate Finance Committee:

Chair - Delores G. Kelley

Vice Chair - Brian J. Feldman District 15

Benjamin F. Kramer District 19

Suggested Script for Senator contact
Hi, My name is _. I am a constituent of (Senator __). I live at __.  I would like the Senator to know that I support Toll Roads, Highways, and Bridges - County Government Consent Requirement (SB0442) that is currently awaiting a vote in the Finance Committee that he/she sits on. This is an important bill and I would like urge the Senator to request that they get a vote as soon as possible. Once a vote is scheduled, I urge the Delegate to vote for these bills.


EDUCATION

The long-anticipated Kirwan Commission bills came before the Rules Committee this week. We need lawmakers to see that Marylanders from every county support making our schools world-class. Read our testimony in support of the bill.

The Blueprint for Maryland's Future (HB1413/SB1300) would transform Maryland's early childhood, primary and secondary education system to the levels of high-performing systems around the world. A hearing for SB1300 was held on March 6. In the House, a joint hearing is being held by the Appropriations and House Ways and Means Committees on March 13.

Contact Appropriations Committee Chair Maggie McIntosh

Contact Ways and Means Committee Chair Anne R. Kaiser (D14 MoCo)

Contact MoCo Committee members:

Ways and Means

Appropriations

Strong Schools Maryland has a convenient tool you can use to send an email to your delegates and state senator. Complete this quick action to let your lawmakers know you want them to support the Kirwan legislation.

Be sure to share this link with friends and on social media to gather more support!

If you'd rather send your own email or make a phone call, here's a generic script you can use:
Dear [Delegate] [Senator]___
I am writing to let you know that, as my representative, I want you to support the Kirwan Commission legislation. In the House it is HB1413 and in the Senate it is SB1030.
Right now, Maryland's public school system is in the middle of the pack nationally in a country that is in the middle of the pack internationally. The Kirwan Commission legislation is the best path forward to make sure every public school student in Maryland gets the education they deserve. We urge you to act in a way that matches the urgency of the moment. Our students, schools, and communities cannot wait. On top of it being the right thing to do, it is urgent for our state to be economically competitive in the region and nationally.
Check the DTMG website for updates and actions.