Education, Energy, and Opportunities

Updated: Jan 24


Dear Friend:


What an exciting week! I’m thrilled to tell you about last week’s steps to advance educational excellence, clean energy, job opportunities, and more.


My House colleagues and I passed the Built to Learn Act on Friday. It provides the largest one-time school construction investment in Maryland history. This historic bill will invest an additional $2.2B into school construction—on top of current school construction program funding ($400M per year). The bill will help counties across the state build new schools and start much needed maintenance projects to address issues such as overcrowding and lack of adequate heating or air conditioning in our schools. It will be financed by 30-year Maryland Stadium Authority bonds, and paid for by $125M every year from the Education Lockbox. This will bring more than $400 million for school construction in Montgomery County.


I also had hearings on four of my bills:

1. Community Choice Energy allows communities to take control of their electricity purchases, enjoy lower rates, and promote a more rapid transition to renewable energy. You can see the coverage of the hearing here and an guest opinion from Prince George’s County Councilmember Jolene Ivey on the policy here.


2. The Gas Service Regulator Safety (Flower Branch Act) implements the recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board in their investigation of the natural gas explosion at the Flower Branch Apartments, which killed 7 people, hospitalized 65, and traumatized the community. The bill requires that gas regulators be moved outside of multi-family buildings.


3. The Reasonable Accommodations for Applicants with Disabilities Act makes explicit in state law that employers are required to provide accommodations during the hiring process. Accommodations, such as participation by a job coach, video resumes, or alternatives to online applications, can ensure applicants with disabilities have a fair chance to demonstrate their ability to perform the tasks required by the job.


4. My modifications to the Maryland Recycling Act will create transparency and accuracy in our recycling and waste reduction system, by removing incineration ash from being counted toward recycling and removing the credit for waste reduction from being applied to incinerators – thus increasing the recycling goals for other materials such as paper, glass, and metals.


This coming week I look forward to hearings on my bill which will increase organics recycling and build out compost infrastructure in the state, and another bill that will improve police response to behavioral health crisis.


DELEGATE SCHOLARSHIPS As a Member of the House of Delegates, I am able to provide my constituents with academic scholarships. This scholarship is available to students who attend or are planning to attend a Maryland community college, a four-year university, or a graduate school during the 2020-2021 school year. Applications must be completed and submitted by May 13, 2019. Awardees will be informed by June 15, 2019. The application can be completed here.


As always, feel free to stop by my office in Annapolis any time – Room 226, Lowe House Office Building, 6 Bladen St. Annapolis, MD 21401. My phone number is 410-841-3423. Please e-mail constituent issues to lorig.charkoudian@house.state.md.us.


Onward,

Lorig Charkoudian