• Stephen Buckingham

Time to Contact Lawmakers Before Session Starts

Elections are important, but they are only part of a citizen’s duty to participate in democracy. With the Maryland General Assembly session opening on January 13, it is time to refocus on making our voices heard to effect real change in state policy.

With your help in 2020, we promoted important measures related to climate change, criminal justice reform, economic justice, education, gun violence, healthcare, immigration, and medical aid in dying. Before the General Assembly adjourned early, we supported some successful legislative actions, including overrides of two significant vetoes from the 2019 session: the expansion of Maryland’s DREAM Act and the repeal of the Handgun Permit Review Board that had been used to overturn permit denials by the State Police.

In addition, six of our priority bills passed, as did five other positive bills related to our issues.

Only one of these Governor Hogan allowed to go into effect without his signature, a measure to write the consumer protection provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into Maryland law and allow the Insurance Commissioner to enforce them.

Unfortunately, he vetoed our other priority bills, including:

  • HB 1095/SB 669 - Funding for the Prescription Drug Affordability Board

  • HB4/SB 208 - Background Checks for Rifles and Shotguns

  • HB 1300 - Funding for the Kirwan Commission Educational Reforms

  • SB 684 - Establishment of a Pre-Release Unit for Incarcerated Women (there are none), and

  • SB 708 - Funding for the Maryland Violence Intervention and Prevention Program, including Baltimore City’s Safe Streets Initiative

Now is the time to contact your Senator and Delegates and Senator, asking them to override these vetoes. We expect those votes to come up early in the session, so there is no time to waste.

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