With just 31 days left in the 2019 Legislative Session, the pace is picking-up. We are all working towards the March 18th “Cross Over” deadline where legislation must move from the House to the Senate to be considered. I wanted to take a few moments to update you on some of the biggest issues affecting District 1C and the State this Session. Now that we are closing in on the last month of the Session, look for more regular updates in the coming weeks in your inbox.
Just a reminder, you can get the latest from Annapolis and District 1C by liking my Facebook page.
Some of this Session\’s Big Issues
Minimum Wage Increase
If passed, HB 166 would gradually increase the State\’s minimum wage from $10.10 to $15.00 by 2025. This bill passed the House last Friday and is now headed to the Senate for consideration. My colleagues on the Economic Matters Committee succeeded in adding several amendments to the bill to make it “less-bad,” but I still believe it is a wrong move for Maryland, especially for rural areas such as District 1C that border states with a lower minimum wage. Click here for the story in the Baltimore Sun that shares my perspectives on the bill.
End of Life Option Act
This bill would allow someone with a terminal illness who has been given a life expectancy of six months or less to work with their physician to end their own life with a lethal dose of medication. Versions of this bill have been presented before over the years, and this version ads additional consent and evaluation measures. This bill was passed by the entire House this week. I voted against it. The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration. Click here for the full text of the bill.
Below is an update on some of the legislation I\’ve sponsored this session. For a complete list of my sponsored and co-sponsored legislation, please click here.
HB142: I\’m Alive Today Mobile App
I reintroduced this bill in 2019 that would create a Mobile Application that local health departments would use to check-in on opioid-exposed newborns and their mothers once they leave the hospital. This quick “check-in” would help connect these vulnerable babies and mothers to the help they need. This bill was heard by the Health & Government Operations Committee on February 20th and is awaiting committee action. Click here for the complete bill text.Click here for the news story in the Herald-Mail.
HB 322 – Community Dental Clinics Grant Program
I submitted this legislation to continue to support access to dental care for low-income residents. This bill would create the Community Dental Clinics Grant Program to provide state funding to support community dental clinics that would provide care under the pilot program to allow for adult Medicaid dental coverage established last year. The bill has had a hearing in the House Health and Government Operations Committee on February 13th and is awaiting a committee vote. Click here for the complete bill text. Click here for the news story in the Herald-Mail.
HB 12 – Correctional Officers – Background Check
Recruiting and retaining correctional officers is a big issue across the state, and I have heard from corrections professionals across the state that the hiring process and procedure can be the biggest roadblock to bringing on new, qualified officers. This legislation would give the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services greater flexibility by requiring candidates to pass a polygraph examination or extensive background check or both. Click here for the complete bill text. Click here for the story in the Salisbury Daily Times.Click here for the story on WBOC.