Greetings from Annapolis! Today marks the 31st day of our 2018 session, with 1256 bills filed in the House and 1081 bills filed in the Senate. So far, 270 bills have been assigned to the Ways & Means Committee and 144 bills have been filed that specifically relate to Baltimore City.
Each Friday during session, the entire Baltimore City Delegation meets to hear bills and to receive briefings from constituencies, city agencies, and appointed and elected officials. Last week we heard from Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises and Chair of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners Cheryl Casciani, who provided a fiscal briefing and their legislative agenda. Among their recommendations to the General Assembly was a plea to stop the partial funding of capital projects. This would go a long way to stop the State practice of withholding funds from approved projects for Baltimore City Schools. READ the full story on return funds here.
Additionally, we heard from Mayor Catherine Pugh and Acting Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa on their plans for the future of violence reduction in our city. I share our community’s alarm at the recent spike in the rate of assaults, robberies and murder in our city. But we must not only be tough on crime and on violent, repeat offenders but also be smart in our crime-reduction strategies.
One real sign of hope is the success of the Baltimore Ceasefire last weekend. On the third Ceasefire Weekend, activists succeeded in achieving zero homicides in Baltimore over the 72 hours from Friday, Feb. 2 through Sunday, Feb. 4. While it is truly sad that our rate of violence is as high as it is, the success of this Ceasefire is a hopeful that sign activism can make a difference in stopping violence and making our streets safer.
I hope the Ceasefire’s efforts prove more and more successful. Clearly, this is not the only way to stop crime in our city but every effort to tackle crime is appreciated.
Delegate Mary Washington