Highlights from Week 2 of the 2020 Legislative Session


Dear Friend:


Things began to pick up in the second week of this year’s Maryland General Assembly. Governor Hogan submitted a proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021. Legislators have introduced over 700 bills (so far!), hearings are being held, and individuals and groups have begun to lobby for their causes. I have begun updating my website with the legislation I am introducing. The page is still a work in progress, so check back regularly for updates.


WEEK TWO HIGHLIGHTS:


Medical Debt: I had an opportunity to discuss my medical debt protections bill with the Health and Government Operations Committee, as part of their briefing on the broader issue of medical debt. My bill will limit the aggressive practices currently used to collect debt from vulnerable patients in Maryland.


Off-Shore Wind: We all know that it is crucial that we move forward with off-shore wind as quickly as possible, both for the important renewable energy capacity that it adds to the grid and for the good jobs that can be created all along the supply chain. Unfortunately, the Maryland Energy Administration and City of Ocean City have asked the Public Service Commission to slow down the process of off-shore wind development due to design changes in turbine sizes. I traveled to Ocean City over the weekend to testify against any delay at the Public Service Commission hearing. I reminded them that the Maryland General Assembly has committed to fighting climate change and has reinforced its commitment to developing renewable energy in Maryland, and I urged them to move forward as quickly as possible with both the current round and the next round of offshore wind development.



Protecting Maryland’s Renewable Energy Policies: As you may have heard, the non-stop efforts of the Trump administration to prop up fossil fuels, reached new levels with Trump appointees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) establishing an order designed to undermine state’s renewable energy policies. You can read about the basics in this Vox article. I have been leading the effort in the General Assembly to establish a workgroup to determine what we can do in Maryland to protect our growing renewable energy industry and to protect rate-payers from the likely increase in rates that would result from this irresponsible FERC decision.


There are many bills that my colleagues and I are introducing and I will keep you updated as the Session progresses. Click here to see all the bills as they are filed. Then stay tuned for further updates. There will be many more bills added in the coming weeks!


Your Involvement Matters!

Democracy works best when residents are actively engaged in it. I was thrilled, for example, to welcome the Blair High School Democrats as they offered their support to several legislators by taking their bills around to get co-sponsors.


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