Issues

2021 session update: Fighting COVID — and more



Since the virus crisis hit Maryland, we’ve been focused on protecting everyone from the health dangers and the economic downturn.


During our 2021 legislative session, we took major action to help fight the crisis — as well as on education, climate change, small business, and police reform.

Below is a summary of major legislation we passed this year.

Please let us know if you have questions or there are ways we can be of help.

Jim, Joseline, Ben, and Mary


Vaccination on demand

Help for working families


Fighting the virus

 


It’s been our top priority for the last year to:


— Push the Governor (who has broad power when we’re not in Session) to provide free testing on demand, as well as allowing Prince George’s and Anne Arundel to protect our citizens from exposure and the University of Maryland to test all students and staff.

— Bring more vaccines to our neighborhoods, creating waitlists to simplify the sign up.

— Make sure seniors and people with preexisting conditions can get vaccinated.


Protecting our incomes, jobs, and small businesses:



This year we passed legislation to 
expand unemployment insurance for working people, help small businesses survive, help struggling families pay rent, mortgages, and utility bills, and help the unemployed find new jobs.


Other Key Priorities



Helping our kids learn at school – and online: This has been a tough year for our kids. That's why making our schools safe, expanding tutoring to help students catch up, and ending the digital divide were top priorities for the Biden relief funds Maryland is getting.

Police Reform: To protect all of us from police misconduct and rebuild community trust for law enforcement, our police reform plan expands body cameras, boosts mental health services to help police, and overhauls officer discipline rules.

Protecting senior citizens: To reduce strain on seniors and their families, the new telehealth law improves access to quality diagnoses, consultation, and care. We also provided $2 million to renovate Attick Tower Senior Apartments and $250,000 for Meals on Wheels.

Lower taxes for working families: Working families and small businesses carry too much of the tax burden. Big corporations like Amazon and Facebook pay too little. That’s why we gave county governments power to cut local income taxes for working people – and why we overrode the Governor’s veto of the Big Tech Tax.

Fighting Climate Change: Since clean energy is critical to protecting our planet, the legislature boosted investment in electric buses, geothermal, and other innovative technologies.

Supporting our communities


— Boosted state funds for local schools in Prince George's by $48.8 million and Anne Arundel by $11.4 million.

— $8.9 million for rebuilding Route One in College Park and $6.1 million for modernizing and expanding Route 175 in Odenton.

— To fix potholes and improve local roads, we approved $14.4 million for Prince George's and $8.1 million for Anne Arundel.

— $2.5 million for Laurel to build transitional housing for the homeless and help them get on their feet.

— More than $800,000 to improve the Trolley Trail and the bike paths under Route One and the CSX Tracks.

— $5 million for flood control in the Guilford Run watershed.


We worked together on all these initiatives:

— Enacting groundbreaking legislation to reduce health disparities, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and expanding access to care, sponsored by Delegate Peña-Melnyk, Vice Chair of the House Health Committee.

— Allowing family members safe visits to their relatives in nursing homes during emergencies like the COVID crisis, Delegate Lehman wrote the new law with rules for all nursing homes.

— Delegate Barnes, Chair of the House Education Subcommittee, worked to direct Biden Rescue Plan funds to bring kids back to school safely and end the digital divide.

— Getting vaccines to our neighborhoods, doctors and drug stores, as well as hospitals, schools, and local health departments, championed by Senator Rosapepe, member of the COVID and Vaccine Oversight Workgroups.