A busy third week in Annapolis included a hearing in front of the Economic Matters Committee on emergency legislation to ensure that furloughed essential federal employees, who are required to work without a paycheck, can receive unemployment insurance in Maryland. Under current law, furloughed employees who are not going to work can receive benefits, but those who are required to show up at work cannot. We all hope the shutdowns are over for good, but we need to protect our federal workers for any potential future shutdowns.
Last week also brought the hearing of my bill to fund the Farms and Families Act – to double the value of federal nutrition benefits spent at farmers markets. Farmers, anti-hunger advocates, farmers market management, and a participant in the program all joined me to advocate for this important funding. I was also thrilled to meet with members of CASA and share with them my commitment to increasing the minimum wage and passing legislation to prevent local law enforcement from taking on federal immigration enforcement roles. Moms Demand Action were also out in force on Thursday, as they advocate for legislation to close the background check loophole on long guns, and ban ghost guns (guns that have no serial numbers) in Maryland. I plan to co-sponsor both pieces of legislation once they are drafted.
I have updated my website to include all the legislation I have introduced and a link to where you can see updates on them. Check it out here: https://lorigd20.com/2019-legislation/ Below my signature you can find a summary of a bill I will introduce this week to end the school to prison pipeline.
Please plan to join us for District 20 Night, February 18, 6-8pm, We will be coordinating rides from Takoma Park, White Oak, and Four Corners. More information will be coming soon on how to request a ride.
Legislation I Will Introduce This Week
Restorative Approaches to School Discipline
The recommendation to increase the use restorative approaches over exclusionary discipline comes from the recommendations of the School to Prison Pipeline Commission, an expert group comprised of educators, parent representatives, conflict resolution practitioners, and other relevant stakeholders. Schools and classrooms that have comprehensively and consistently implemented restorative approaches have seen improvements in school climate and student behavior. Suspension and expulsion, by contrast, have been shown not to improve behavior, resolve conflict, or improve school climate.
These exclusionary discipline approaches, increase the likelihood that a student will not graduate and that they will end up in the criminal justice system. Schools that have reduced reliance on these exclusionary responses have seen improvements in their climate. This bill would require local school systems to develop a plan for the adoption, implementation, and continual monitoring of proactive and restorative approaches to build and sustain a positive school climate. Restorative approaches are proactive, preventative, relationship-focused discipline methods, which emphasize building strong relationships and setting clear behavioral norms for school communities. In response to behavior that violates these norms, restorative approaches focus on the harm caused by the behavior and reparation of the harm and relationships. Each local school system will determine its individual methods for implementing restorative approaches, but examples of such practices may include:
Social emotional learning,
Positive behavioral intervention services, and/or
The bill calls on administrators to use restorative approaches and other interventions before removing students from school whenever possible.