It’s hard to believe we are once again at the end of another legislation session, the final session of my first term. By the time of this publication, we’ll have adjourned Sine Die and we’ll know a few things — we’ll know if Maryland has the will to finally end child marriage, if we are ready to at last repeal the spousal defense for sexual assault, and if we are going to make record investment in behavioral health services.
We’ll know how much money we are bringing back to Anne Arundel County in capital projects, school construction and local nonprofits. For many of us, we’ll know the fate of our bills currently in the hands of the Senate, which bills the governor will veto, and which he will sign. At the time of this writing, with just one week left in the session, these and so many other questions remain unresolved, so impactful is the final week of session. As a theater maker by trade, this feels quite familiar because, often, a show or even an entire festival comes together not during the months of planning and rehearsal but in the final week of tech.
There’s a lot we do know already. We know we’ve passed the largest investment in adult dental care for low-income Marylanders in our history, something which required years of work and will have a tremendous impact on the health, lives and livelihoods of so many. We know we’ve passed tax relief for seniors, working families, businesses, parents, veterans, and low-income Marylanders while leveraging state and federal dollars for widespread investment in infrastructure, education, cybersecurity and health care. We know we passed comprehensive policies to recruit, expand, retain and protect our health care workforce, as well as collective bargaining for more of our Maryland industries. We passed a comprehensive climate action policy, which will put us on track not only to be a leader in clean energy but also to provide serious buying power in sustainable infrastructure. We passed a policy to expand and protect our national parks.
As we begin the process of writing our end-of-session letters, we’ll have time to take stock of all we’ve accomplished this session and that which fell short.
I often say legislation is a last, not first, resort. I have a three-tiered strategy to problem solving: collaboration, regulation, legislation. In my theater world, a character breaks into song when mere words fail to express all they are feeling, all they need to convey. Good legislation is not dissimilar; it is the action necessary when all other efforts cannot adequately address the problem.
Why do I mention this? Because the bills we see, the laws we pass, are the culmination of years of effort, bridge building, stakeholder meetings, recommendations for solving a problem, or as I like to say, an opportunity, which finds no resolution in mere collaboration or regulation. It is exciting to see a bill pass into law, but it is just as exciting to find another way, so I wanted to share some of the “other ways” which I’ve found because they’ll never make the headlines, but they are just as important.
I’m most proud of the work that you’ll likely never see; the hundreds of ribbon cuttings and events where I joined businesses as they celebrated the birth of their dreams or the fruit of their labors; the over 600 constituents who we helped navigate our unemployment system; the good faith work with our state agencies to establish better, more timely constituent communication from the State Highway Administration, or to put the institutional knowledge of policy experts from the Department of the Environment front-facing on their website as homeowners and community volunteers try to understand the complicated permitting process of shared shoreline and riparian rights. I’m also proud of our assistance in navigating the health care and insurance system, helping small businesses find grants and stabilization programs, our collaborations with our county and federal partners, meeting with students to talk about the legislative process, and meeting with community leaders to hear about their concerns and needs for their communities. This really is how the sausage is made.
These 90 days are just the public-facing culmination of a year-round effort to provide a better future for Marylanders. If you want to know more about any legislation, please email my office at email@example.com to request the end-of-session letter, but always remember that my door is open first and foremost to serve the needs of District 33 year-round.
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