Opening Day of the 444th Session of the Maryland General Assembly

Updated: Feb 4





Dear Friend:


Walking up the State House steps in Annapolis today, I remembered, once again, what an extraordinary honor it is to serve in the Maryland General Assembly. I am proud of the progress my colleagues and I have made. In the three years since I was first elected, we responded and continue to respond to the pandemic, economic devastation of so many Marylanders, long-overdue racial reckonings, and rapidly changing climate. Of course, much more work stands before us. Undaunted, I am determined and hopeful that through my legislation and advocacy—and with your help—we can continue to build a more just and inclusive Maryland.


This truly is what democracy looks like.


I am stepping up into two additional leadership positions. I have just been elected to co-chair the Maryland Transit Caucus (learn more about the work of the Transit Caucus and my role here) and I have been appointed to chair the Unemployment Insurance Subcommittee for the Economic Matters Committee.


2022 LEGISLATION Throughout this legislative session, we, the members of the General Assembly, will address several important issues including climate change and justice reforms. In my last letter, I introduced some of the bills I have authored or co-sponsored for this session. Today I am sharing a few more. Find a complete list of my bills by clicking here.

  • Mobile Crisis Units (HB 129) This bill requires mobile crisis units to be designed in order to minimize interactions between law enforcement and people experiencing behavioral health crises; the bill prioritizes a mental health response. It also requires 911 systems to develop policies to triage behavioral health crises and to dispatch the most appropriate services.

  • Medical Debt Protection (Bill number pending) Hospitals collected approximately $120 million in 2017 and 2018 from patients who were eligible for free care and should not have been billed, according to a 2021 Health Service Cost Review Commission report. This bill establishes a process to identify these patients and requires the hospitals to refund the money they have collected from patients. Stay tuned for a link to this bill.

  • Universal Access to the Electric Universal Service Program (HB 138) This bill requires the Maryland Department of Human Services to establish a process to grant access to utility assistance for all income-qualified Marylanders, regardless of immigration status. All people should be able to keep their heat and lights on in difficult times.

  • Prohibition on Declawing of Cats (HB 22) This bill prohibits declawing cats, the cruel procedure of amputating the last section of each toe bone in the cat’s paw that can cause permanent pain and behavioral changes in the declawed cat.

COMMUNITY CANVASSING Even during the current 90 day legislative session, I plan to continue to canvass in District 20 neighborhoods every weekend. Please join me for our next monthly door-knocking event on Saturday, February 5th, starting at 12:00 noon. For more information or to sign up to join us, click here.


STAY IN TOUCH I take my role as a public servant absolutely to heart. If you or anyone you know needs assistance, please contact my office at lorig.charkoudian@house.state.md.us or (410) 841-3423. We are here to serve.


Onward,

Lorig Charkoudian