Below is a brief recap of the 2014 legislative session.
Below are the top four bills that you contacted me about that I supported and the House and Senate passed during the 2014 legislative session:
- HB 295 – Maryland Minimum Wage Act of 2014 This bill increases Maryland’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2018. Raising the minimum wage is a huge victory for Maryland workers. However, I would have liked a stronger bill that indexes minimum wage to inflation and doesn’t freeze tipped wages at $3.63. I look forward to future sessions to correct these setbacks.
- SB 212 – Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 After a 19 year push, SB 212 prohibits discrimination against people based on gender identity in employment, housing and public places such as hotels, restaurants, theaters and sports venues.
- HB73 – Personal Injury or Death Caused by Dog After passage all dog owners would be responsible for personal injuries and or death caused by their dogs without singling out a single breed. This finally provides a solution to the Tracey v Solesky Decision.
- SB 364 – Civil Fine on Marijuana Possession This makes possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil offence and subject to a fine.
Legislation I Passed
Here is a brief synopsis 6 of the bills I passed this session:
- HB 27 Healthy Births for Incarcerated Women Act This bill is the culmination of a 2 year effort to ban shackling incarcerated women during labor and delivery, and establishes policy guidelines for transport, pregnancy, and post-partum recovery.
- HB 1040 Electronic Grievances Submission This bill would allow state employees who choose to file grievances or appeal disciplinary actions to do so electronically.
- HB 482 Unaccompanied Homeless Youth – Tuition Exemption This expands the foster youth tuition waiver created last session to include unaccompanied homeless youth, who typically lack the financial, social and emotional support of their families.
- HB 813 Joint Committee on Ending Homelessness Establishes the Joint Committee on Ending Homelessness. Currently no state legislative ‘home’ exists to address the range of housing, health, and employment related factors that contribute to homelessness.
- HB 1036/SB 796 Interagency Council on Homelessness Combines two existing advisory groups into a single Interagency Council on Homelessness. It adds key stakeholders such as direct service providers and persons who have experienced homelessness and reports to the Joint Committee.
- HB 794 Maryland Unaccompanied Homeless Youth and Young Adult Count Demonstration Project This will support six local communities in gathering information about the prevalence and characteristics of homeless youth and young adults allowing to them better address the needs of this vulnerable population. At my request, $200,000 was included in the Governor’s Supplemental Budget to fund this project.
Met with Governor O’Malley
On Tuesday March 18th Antonia Fasanelli from the Homeless Persons Representation Project, Kevin Lindamood from Healthcare for the Homeless and I met with Governor O’Malley to discuss homelessness. After the meeting O’Malley agreed to become the first Governor in the country to endorse the National Housing Trust Fund and he agreed to work on a statewide housing first model for homelessness.
The 43rd District’s unique neighborhoods provide investment opportunities for all kinds of enhancements to our communities. We were successful in getting the following two bond bill projects funded on the House side:
- HB 1391 This project received $100,000 for the Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation (BARCO) North Avenue Arts Building. This adds another anchor to the revitalization efforts of the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. Lead sponsors: Washington/Conway
- HB 474 This project received $250,000 for Hamilton-Lauraville Main Street to acquire and rehab the property at 4500 Harford Rd. (home of the farmers’ market) and strengthen the Main Street business corridor. Lead Sponsors: McIntosh/Conway