Highlights of 2018 Maryland legislative session
Last month, Delegates Barbara Frush, Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Ben Barnes, and I concluded the 2018 legislative session. Like last year, much of our work has been focused on protecting Maryland from the dangers posed by President Trump and his allies. Among the most important:
• Restoring the personal exemption on Maryland tax returns taken away by the Republican federal tax law.
• Based on the recommendation of the Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission, co-chaired by Delegate Peña-Melnyk, we fought Republican attacks on Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid and passed a strong law to block big insurance rate hikes.
• Responding to Trump’s “drill, baby, drill” energy policy, we passed tough new regulations on offshore oil and gas drilling to protect Maryland's shores.
• To help protect Marylanders’ jobs, homes, and retirement savings from another economic crisis, we strengthened protections for retirees’ savings, boosted fines on unscrupulous brokers and banks, and put more financial cops on the beat to curb the wolves of Wall Street.
To keep our families safe, we:
• required insurance companies to expand drug addiction and mental health services through local health departments.
• required doctors to discuss with patients the risks of prescription painkillers.
• boosted funding Safe Streets and other programs that get guns off the streets.
• banned bump stocks, which, as we saw in Las Vegas, turn semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic weapons.
• required every public school by 2021 to have lockable doors for every classroom, a school resource or police officer, and expanded mental health evaluation.
• gave prosecutors more tools to keep repeat, violent criminals out of our neighborhoods with longer sentences for gun crimes and big drug dealers.
We worked together on all these initiatives:
• blocking big hikes in health insurance rates under the new law sponsored by Delegate Peña-Melnyk, chair of the House Public Health Subcommittee.
• Delegate Frush relentlessly worked on the Chesapeake Bay Commission to protect our environment and the Chesapeake Bay to make sure that it remains healthy and viable.
• Delegate Barnes, as vice chairman of the Education Subcommittee, has worked to secure record school funding for Prince George’s.
• restoring state personal tax exemptions endangered by Trump tax plan, championed by Senator Rosapepe.
To help fix potholes and improve local roads, we approved $26.7 million for Prince George's County.
Key investments in the state budget
• boosts in state funds for schools in Prince George's by $29.2 million.
• more jobs in Maryland repairing UM buildings and local schools, increasing investments in roads, bridges, and transit.
• boosts in investment in the University of Maryland and other public colleges by $60.2 million.
• balanced the budget, protecting Maryland's AAA bond rating.
• $150.1 million to protect open space and $2.5 million to improve local parks.
• $5.6 million for rebuilding Route 1 in College Park.
• $334.9 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!
• $5 million for a tax cut for small businesses that provide paid sick leave to their workers.
Join us Monday, May 21 in Beltsville
Delegates Barbara Frush, Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Ben Barnes, and I will be meeting with Beltsville residents Monday, May 21, to report on the 2018 Maryland legislative session. The meeting will include residents from Beltsville Civic Association, Calverton Citizens Association, and other nearby homeowners’ associations. The event starts at 7:00 pm and will be held at Beltsville Academy on Wicomico Ave. We'll be discussing local issues and answering your questions. We invite you to share your views on important state and community issues.
Join us at Beltsville Day, Sunday, May 20
The delegates and I are always there to chat with local residents—and celebrate Beltsville. If you've never come, start this year! There are games for kids, music, food, great fellowship, and much more. Stop by the 21st District Delegation's table where we'll have free maps, guides to festivals and other fun events around Maryland, and information on how to solve problems. We look forward to seeing you and hearing your concerns Sunday, May 20, noon–5 pm, at the Beltsville Community Center.
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.