As Chair of the Statewide 9-1-1 Commission, I convened an impressive cross-section of experts from around Maryland. From industry and telecommunications experts to the disabilities community and cybersecurity representatives as well as a bipartisan group of legislators, we studied issues related to technology, staffing, security, oversight, and funding. Ultimately, we released a 65-page comprehensive report
with 23 recommendations. Each of these was endorsed unanimously by the Commission and will be incorporated into the bipartisan legislation I’m sponsoring. I’ll keep you updated as we move through the process.
Banning Harmful Polystyrene Food Containers Across the State
Already banned in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, Baltimore City, D.C., and many other places around Maryland and around the country, expanded polystyrene (“Styrofoam”) food containers are harmful to both our health and our ecosystem. I am sponsoring the ban with strong support from a coalition of environmental advocates including Trash-Free Maryland, the Sierra Club, and the League of Conservation Voters.
Supporting Maryland’s Nonprofit Organizations
Last year, I enacted a new law to reimburse nonprofits for the overhead (“indirect”) costs they incur while carrying out State grants or contracts. These costs are critical to an organization’s mission– like rent for a homeless shelter or equipment for medical research. Working with Maryland Nonprofits
, I will introduce legislation to expand these important reimbursements to organizations with renewing grants and contracts. It’s worth reminding folks of the NIMBL program
I created (Nonprofit, Interest-Free, Micro- Bridge Loan), to address delayed government funds.
Sponsoring Other Key Initiatives
- Addressing Police Shortages – Currently, only U.S. citizens can apply to become law enforcement officers in Maryland. With support from Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger, I hope to address police recruitment challenges by expanding the pool of prospects to include Legal Permanent Residents who have been honorably discharged from the military. We can diversify our forces while rewarding those with a proven dedication to protecting our communities. It passed the House last year and had 41 of 47 Senators as co-sponsors.
- Expanding Voters’ Choices – Dozens of supporters showed up at a recent hearing in Rockville on my legislation to authorize our County Council & County Executive to implement “Ranked Choice Voting” to better reflect voter intent. I am also proposing legislation to give independent voters more access to voting in primary elections; make absentee ballots postage-free; and more.
- Keeping Tech Jobs in Maryland – TEDCO, Maryland’s Technology Development Corporation, was created to invest in innovative local start-ups. My legislation will help ensure that the businesses they endorse will create jobs here!
- Earning Funds for Projects in Rockville & Gaithersburg – In addition to municipal priorities, I will be educating my colleagues about Manna Food Center, our local food pantry for the hungry, and Sunflower Bakery, which teaches baking skills to individuals with different learning abilities. Both these nonprofits are seeking to expand their space.
UnNaugural Concert Tickets!
Have you gotten your reserved seats for the 3rd annual UnNaugural Concert yet? Once again, I’ve got five performers raising funds for five nonprofit organizations. This year’s beneficiaries work on affordable housing, domestic violence, poverty, pollution, and suicide prevention.
In addition to an exciting year ahead in Annapolis, I am looking forward to a Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. This will restore checks and balances against the Trump Administration’s extreme proposals on civil rights, the environment, health care, and more.