It has been nearly two weeks since the devastating Hamas terrorist attacks on civilians in Israel and the beginning of war. Our hearts are shattered and continue to break as we take in the magnitude of suffering in Israel and Gaza. I know there are many in our community who have relatives, friends, and loved ones in the region and for whom this trauma is deeply personal. At the same time, many in our community experience immediate fear regarding anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hate crimes and incidents. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Annapolis and Montgomery County to make sure everyone in our community is, and feels, safe. A threat against any person based on hate is a threat to us all.
In this last legislative session, the General Assembly passed two bills to protect against hate crimes and hold perpetrators accountable. One allows the victim of a hate crime to bring a civil suit against the perpetrator. The second created a Protecting Against Hate Crimes Grant Fund for non-profits, including faith-based nonprofits, to pay for security enhancements to protect against hate crimes. Montgomery County also has a grant program for houses of worship to improve their security. Please reach out if you, your community, or your place of worship needs assistance in accessing protection.
For more information on fighting hate crimes, check out the resources available through the Maryland Attorney General.
(Photo courtesy of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters)
Climate Champion Award
I was deeply honored to have received a Maryland League of Conservation Voters’ “Climate Champion” Award. It highlights “leaders who have been working tirelessly to bring forward strong environmental legislation.” In particular, the group praised my success last session to ensure the passage of vibrant offshore wind legislation.
American Legion Bridge and 270 Corridor Project The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) will hold a series of public meetings on the American Legion Bridge and 270 Corridor Project. You can find details and sign up here. I encourage everyone with thoughts on the project to participate in the MDOT process.
For my part, I have been in ongoing conversation with the Department of Transportation to share what I believe to be strengths as well as my concerns about the proposal. In particular, I want MDOT to prioritize transit and other solutions other than roadway widening. Experience shows such widening encourages greater use of single occupancy vehicles, which result in an increase to greenhouse gas emissions.
2024 Legislation Preview In the next few newsletters, I will spotlight some of the legislation I plan to introduce in the next session of the General Assembly.
- Modernizing Maryland’s Unemployment Insurance As the Chair of the Economic Matters Subcommittee on Unemployment Insurance, I have developed comprehensive legislation to modernize our state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) program. It includes ensuring sufficient benefits for an unemployed person as they search for work and adjusting the tax structure to ensure the continued solvency of the UI trust fund.
- Easing Condos’ Switch to Clean Energy This bill changes portions of the Maryland Condominium Act to make it easier for condominium associations to install solar panels and other clean energy equipment, which will help Maryland meet its carbon reduction goals.
In January you will find a complete list of all my legislation, with bill numbers and fact sheets, on my website.
UAW Picket Line
Our entire state benefits when our workers receive good wages and benefits. That’s why I proudly stood in solidarity with striking United Auto Workers at the Mack Truck plant in Hagerstown earlier this month.
Hispanic Heritage Month
To end on a bright note, I’ve enjoyed attending several events that celebrate our community’s rich Hispanic heritage. We were fortunate to enjoy a dazzling performance of these wonderful young dancers at the most recent Maryland Legislative Latino Caucus’ Award Ceremony.
Stay in Touch Need help with a state issue? Please contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a message at (410)-841-3423.