The Latest News from Senator Rosapepe's Office: May 2020
Updated: Jun 26
Legislative Update on the Virus Crisis
Protecting our families from the virus: To support the state’s public health efforts while keeping the essential services of government functioning, the Maryland legislature:
- set aside more than $350 million in emergency funds for tests, treatment, tracing, and other critical medical services
- boosted state reserves and increased the tobacco tax to provide funds to respond to the crisis
- cut the session short to focus on making sure that our constituents benefit from state efforts to fight the virus and its economic disruption. As part of this effort, Jim and Joseline have been named to the Joint COVID-19 Response Legislative Workgroup to monitor state responses and recommend ways to improve them.
Protecting our incomes and jobs: We passed legislation to expand unemployment insurance, fight price gouging, help small businesses, and achieve other ways to help protect Maryland families from the economic impact of this virus, especially those who lose their jobs.
Highlights of 2020 Maryland Legislative Session
Training high school graduates for family-supporting jobs: To help young people get good jobs at good wages, we passed the “Kirwan” plan to expand access to reading and math skills, job training programs, and paid apprenticeships.
Reducing college tuition costs: College costs too much. So we worked successfully to:
- expand opportunities for high school students to earn college credits tuition-free
- cap next year’s tuition hikes at Maryland colleges at 2%
Protecting senior citizens: Older adults with complex care needs want to live as independently as possible and limit stress on family caregivers. The new telehealth law offers the potential to improve access to care and the quality of care while reducing strain on family caregivers.
Investing in Morgan State, Bowie, and other historically black colleges and universities: These schools are ladders of opportunity for many of our young people. To help them expand their offerings, particularly in Prince George’s, we committed the state to a ten-year funding plan.
Cleaning up our environment: Chlorpyrifos is a dangerous pesticide that does harm to our environment, so we banned it. We also worked to promote environmentally-conscious transportation initiatives.
Supporting our community:
- Boosted state funds for local schools in Prince George's by $54.7 million.
- $7.4 million for rebuilding Route One in College Park.
- $186 million for construction of the light rail Purple Line, connecting the Metro Green Line and the University of Maryland with Bethesda, New Carrollton—and New York!
- To fix pot holes and improve local roads, we approved $6.9 million for Prince George's County.
We worked together on all these initiatives:
- As vice chair of House Health Committee, Delegate Peña-Melnyk led the successful fight to protect Obamacare from Trump attacks on it and to crack down on prescription drug price hikes.
- Delegate Lehman led the successful fight to protect college students and staff from mold by requiring the University System of Maryland to inventory building contaminants and plan to fix them.
- Delegate Barnes, chair of the House Education Subcommittee, worked to boost state funding to local schools, making sure that, for the first time, state money will flow directly into our kids’ classrooms, not the central office.
- Cutting child-care costs for working families by expanding subsidies for public and private preschools, championed by Senator Rosapepe, vice chair of the Senate Budget Committee.
Virtual Town Halls
Usually, we would be spending the summer meeting with local groups and participating in community events. Even with the stay home order, we want to be in touch with you directly. If you or your organization wants to set up a virtual town hall with the 21st District Delegation, let us know!
Please let us know if there are other issues you have questions or thoughts about. And, of course, feel free to be in touch if we can help you. Just email 21stDistrictDelegation@gmail.com or call 301.858.3141.