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  • Writer's pictureStephen Buckingham

UUs Step Up as Hearings Continue on Priority Bills

Some of the more impactful bills were heard last week and featured multiple UU leaders and a host of others we encouraged to participate. Our youth engagement campaign for Gun Safe Schools had an impressive launch as committees in both chambers heard the measures to regulate Active Shooter Drills. 

Issue Lead Ken Shilling led our testimony, which included several youth including the daughter of our hard-working Coordinator, Ashley Egan. In all, 10 young people provided testimony, either in person or written, and several lawmakers told us that they had been convinced to support the measure. If anyone needed proof that we can make a difference, they got it last Wednesday.

Volunteers who testified to support the Active Shooter Drill Bill,

photo courtesy of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence.

Introduced for the first time since failing on a tie vote in 2019, the End-of-Life Options Act had its first hearing the Senate Judicial Proceedings, where 70 people had signed up to testify. Medical Aid in Dying Issue Lead Rev. Alexa Fraser strongly led our participation, followed later by Dr. Jan Byrd testifying from her medical background, Rev. Diane Teichert testified via Zoom, and then Steve Buckingham, who provided the official UULM-MD testimony. 

The same bill will be heard in the House this week.

Meanwhile, Criminal Justice Issue Lead Candy Clark provided testimony on four priority bills on Wednesday and the important Juvenile Justice Reform bill on Thursday and Friday. 

Healthcare also took center stage as we testified in support of the bills to expand the authority of the Prescription Drug Affordability Board before both the House and Senate in successive days. Also heard on Thursday in the House was our priority Immigration bill to expand Access to Health Care.

On Wednesday, we also gave our support to an environmental bill on Recycled Content, sponsored by Del. Jen Terassa of the UU Congregation of Columbia. And we also submitted testimony in strong opposition to a bill to prevent trans kids from competing in girls' sports.

It was a busy, exhilarating, and important week. More to follow in the coming week.

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