Arrive Silver Spring Apartment Fire My heart breaks for all the people affected by the tragic fire last Saturday at the Arrive Silver Spring apartments in downtown Silver Spring. Over 400 residents were displaced and more than a dozen hospitalized. More than 80 apartments have been condemned. I especially want to lift up the life of Melanie Diaz, who died in the fire. I’m deeply grateful to all the first responders and emergency workers who continue to help everyone recover.
I spent time on Saturday speaking with first responders and those who had fled the fire. Over the past few days, I have been working with the State Fire Marshal to find ways to strengthen our statewide fire safety regulations. Although the Arrive Apartments had recently undergone a major renovation, individual apartments lacked sprinklers.
If you would like to contribute to help families affected by the fire, go to the MHP website.
Cannabis Reform I serve on the House Economic Matters Committee, which recently held our hearing on legislation to create Maryland’s new legal cannabis industry. Major goals include curbing illegal sales and promoting greater equity in the state’s licensing, taxation, and regulation.
Sales will be taxed at a rate starting at 6% and rise to 10% over five years. Adult-use cannabis will be regulated in the same way as medical cannabis to ensure the product is legal and safe.
Importantly, the legislation attempts to build greater equity into the current market. The first 15 licenses issued to dispense medical cannabis went to white men. To correct this from happening again, the bill creates a more equitable application process to give social equity applicants—those who were disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition—an opportunity to compete for licenses. including:
low application fees,
priority consideration in the licensing process,
state provided technical services, and
targeted grants and loans to help jump-start new businesses.
I look forward to working with my colleagues as we consider amendments and work to pass this bill.
CCAN’s Annual Polar Bear Plunge For the past 10 years, my daughter Aline and I have plunged into the chilly waters of the Potomac to promote awareness of climate issues and to support the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN).
While any day is a good day to talk about and take action on the climate, this year’s Plunge provided me with an opportunity to talk about increasing Maryland’s commitment to Offshore Wind!
My bill (HB 793) prioritizes the rapid deployment of renewable energy and investments in offshore wind infrastructure to support our transition to a clean energy economy.
Another Walk in the Woods! Join me on Saturday, March 11th, 10:00 - 11:30 am for a walk and talk along the Paint Branch Trail. It’s a wonderful way to get some exercise in White Oak and gain some insight into what’s happening in Annapolis. R.S.V.P. here to get exact details.
Tracking My Legislation Several of my bills are moving through the committee hearing process. To see each bill’s brief fact sheet and actual bill language or to track its status, go to the “Legislation 2023” page on my website.
Upcoming Hearings (in the next two weeks)
HB 333: repaying bills wrongly charged to hospital patients
HB 169: investing in energy efficiency for low- and moderate-income housing
HB 793: expanding Maryland’s commitment to offshore wind
Past Hearings (within the past two weeks)
HB 61: requiring electric utility contractors to pay prevailing wages and benefits
HB 62: developing pollinator and wildlife friendly meadows under power lines
HB 63: incentivizing the removal of and building a market for invasive species
HB 82: increasing funding for school-based mental health
HB 323: streamlining applications for safety-net services
HB 367: ensuring safety and fines that are fair when using stop sign cameras
HB 724: modernizing Maryland’s Unemployment Insurance program
Be in Touch Make your voice heard! Reach out to me and my staff. We are here to serve you, particularly if you or anyone you know needs assistance with a state issue. Please contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (410)-841-3423.
Lorig Charkoudian Delegate Maryland General Assembly (District 20)