The Washington Report February 2nd

Greetings from Annapolis! February marks Black History Month. A month dedicated to learning, honoring, and celebrating the achievements of Black people and culture. One excellent source to engage and celebrate our history is the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) founded in 1915 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. As a member of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, I seek fairness and protection for the more than 1.7 million Black citizens of Maryland during Black History Month and throughout the year. Please read more about the LBC and our 2018 Legislative Agenda here.

In this moment when women across the country are mobilizing to finally stop sexual harassment and abuse, we must stand together in saying, “Time’s Up” for sexual abuse; The Women’s Legislative Caucus of Maryland is doing just that. Last Wednesday, the Caucus announced its preliminary approval of recommendations to combat sexual harassment in the Maryland General Assembly. The state has also launched a Workplace Harassment Commission, which will meet regularly to examine the treatment of women. Throughout the session, I’ll report on their findings on any progress we make in protecting Maryland’s women.

This week, I introduced several pieces of legislation. The one I’m most excited about is the “Restoring Trust in the Education Trust Fund” (HB 557) bill I introduced on Monday. This bill will stop the bait-and-switch practice of cutting education funding from other sources even as casino revenues come in to our Education Trust and make the state live up to our promise to use gambling revenues to improve our schools. It will get new resources to schools this year and help us make a downpayment right away on filling the $2.9 billion funding shortfall that is hurting public schools across Maryland (see more details in list of sponsored bills below).

I also plan to introduce a bill to make May “Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month,” in Maryland, just as it is in other states (HB 668). This bill will require caregivers to be trained to recognize the signs of pediatric stroke, which can be quite different from the signs of stroke in adults.

My colleagues and I on the Ways & Means Committee are working to limit the damage the Trump tax bill will do to Maryland families. Last Thursday, Comptroller Peter Franchot released a report stating that federal tax cuts could add $400 million to Marylanders’ state tax tax bills. The report found unless the legislature acts to protect Marylanders, the GOP tax bill will cause state and local taxes to increase for 28 percent of Marylanders, while lowering taxes for just four percent of us. We pledge not to allow these federal cuts to cause such devastating damage to taxpayers in Maryland — and the comptroller’s report adds to the urgency of our work. I’ll report to you throughout the session on the solutions we develop and the progress we’re making in protecting Maryland taxpayers.

In partnership,

Delegate Mary Washington