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Lorig's Letter: December 2, 2023


Alternative Gift Fair I hope you can join me at the 25th Annual Alternative Gift Fair today, Saturday, December 2, from 12-4 pm in the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church’s gym. This festive event raises thousands of dollars for nonprofits here in our community and around the world. Giving monetary donations—rather than material—gifts is the goal of the fair. You can also donate online at aggw.org.


Caring Heart Award I was incredibly honored recently by the Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church awarding me its 2023 “Caring Heart” award in appreciation of my efforts for “legislating a sustainable community-based food system.” It is truly humbling to have my efforts recognized in this way. My work seeks to address food insecurity and hunger by strengthening the farm to fork connections in our institutions, our homes, and our food banks.



Energy Transmission Planning Proactive energy transmission planning is crucial for our clean energy and resilient future electrical grid. Grid-enhancing technologies also allow us to get more from the grid we already have and help lower costs to ratepayers. I have been leading a national effort through the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators to finalize and strengthen regulations aiming to streamline transmission planning with an eye toward protecting ratepayers. Read more about this important issue and the positive response we have received from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) here.


MDOT Consolidated Transportation Presentation (CTP) The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently met with state legislators from Montgomery County to brief us on MDOT’s capital projects and to receive feedback.


My remarks, on behalf of the entire District 20 delegation, urged MDOT to prioritize transit (especially in traditionally under-resourced communities) and improve safety for all road users, especially pedestrians and bicyclists. We also strongly stated our staunch opposition to public-private partnerships (P3s) for funding public transportation projects. You can watch the presentation here; my remarks begin at 2:35. Legislative Preview (continued) I have been spotlighting some of the legislation I plan to introduce in the next legislative session. In January, you will find a complete list of all my legislation (with bill numbers and fact sheets) on my website.


Watch for these bills: - Mental Health Parity will require insurance companies to ensure mental health and substance abuse treatment is covered in the same way other physical health is covered. The aim is to increase access to behavioral health services, especially preventative services.

- The Utility Transparency and Accountability Act seeks to prevent utilities from using funds received from rate-payers to lobby or attempt to influence policy. It also requires the disclosure of votes at PJM, the regional authority controlling Maryland’s electrical grid, as a way to increase transparency and better understand how major energy decisions affecting ratepayers–and ultimately the climate–are made.



Thanksgiving Parade What a joy to participate in the annual Thanksgiving Parade in downtown Silver Spring! Our team highlighted our progressive and people-powered efforts to create a more just and inclusive Maryland—with marchers dressed up as wind turbines, heat pumps, local produce and getting around on a bicycle built for four, an electric scooter, little red wagon, and their own power!


Stay in Touch Need help with a state issue? Please contact my office at lorig.charkoudian@house.state.md.us or leave us a message at (410)-841-3423.


Onward,

Lorig

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