It's an honor to come back with an update during the last week of the 2023 Legislative Session. We have approximately 5 days left until we adjourn Sine Die and great progress has been made for Marylander's and the residents of District 27B.
We enshrined the right to an abortion in the State Constitution, protecting Reproductive Freedom in Maryland once and for all. I proudly Co-Sponsored this bill!
HB 705: Right to Reproductive Freedom. House Bill 705, the Reproductive Freedom Constitutional Amendment, establishes a constitutional right to abortion and other reproductive health care. It allows Maryland voters to decide whether the fundamental right to reproductive freedom should be enshrined in our state constitution, which is the highest level of protection that we can give to Marylanders in the wake of the devastating U.S. Supreme Court decision last summer which overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. We instituted meaningful cannabis reform, providing equity in the market. I proudly Co-Sponsored this bill!
HB 556: Cannabis Reform House Bill 556 creates an equitable licensing, tax and regulation framework for the new cannabis industry. The bill incorporates the best recreational cannabis practices from other states and learned lessons from the Maryland medical cannabis implementation. The legislation allows license seekers to apply for a combined medical and recreational adult-use licenses. It includes a low tax rate will help discourage an illicit market while still helping fund support for social equity applicants and traditionally disenfranchised communities. And it creates a more equitable application process to give social equity applicants, those who were disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, an equal opportunity to compete for licenses including: • low application fees, • priority consideration in the licensing process, • state provided technical services and • targeted grants and loans to help jumpstart new businesses.
Building a Legislative Track Record! I was able to shepherd 2 bills to passage through the house!
HB 239: Accessory Dwelling Unit Policy Task Force
House Bill 239 creates an Accessory Dwelling Unit Policy Task Force. This will help us address the lack of housing, answer questions surrounding housing policy (even the hard ones) and develop meaningful solutions surrounding growth and development.
HB 433: Prince George's County - Office of the Sheriff This bill was placed in support of our law enforcement community, allocating funding for an additional Deputy Sheriff. Although significant amendments were made to the bill. I look forward to coming back to addressing them next session.
I pledged to fight to deliver real results for the residents of District 27B. There were a myriad of bread and butter issues that I fought to help deliver for you. Emergency Rental Assistance
Pandemic shutdowns triggered the state and federal government to provide emergency rental assistance so Marylanders could pay their rent during that difficult time.
Now that the health emergency is over and more people are back to work, the focus has shifted from mitigating a widespread rental crisis to building more affordable rental housing and assisting those who are chronically in need.
The state continues to fund affordable housing at record levels. This year’s budget includes nearly $400 million to support the needs of low-income renters.
The House also passed the Governor’s bill providing $175 million a year to make Maryland’s earned income tax credit (EITC), which is one of the highest in the nation, and child tax credit expansions permanent to help more struggling and middle-income families.
Maryland has become the first state in the country to reimburse fraud victims for stolen SNAP benefits.
The state will use federal funds to help nearly 4,000 Marylanders get back more than $2.5 million in stolen SNAP benefits.
The Budget Our main constitutional obligation during the 90 day session is to pass a well thought out and balanced budget. This year's budget secures our state's financial future while continuing to make critical investments in Maryland’s economy as well as our transportation, education, technological, infrastructure, and physical and behavioral health sectors to support working Marylanders and their families. FY 24 Budget:
funds continued cost of living raises so we can provide competitive salaries and recruit and retain great workers as we seek to rebuild state government and fill record vacancies across our state agencies;
continues to make record investments in public education so every student has a chance to succeed;
includes new behavioral health investments so we can better address the mental health crisis in Maryland;
makes continued investments in enhancing the child tax credit and expanding other benefits that support Marylanders in need to lift families out of poverty and support our working families; and
prioritizes the development and utilization of renewable energy and other important steps to reach our goal of a clean, sustainable environment.
HB 1219 Maryland Educator Shortage Act of 2023 House Bill 1219 addresses the record vacancies in Maryland’s schools by requiring the State Department of Education to create new and permanent pathways into the education profession. It enhances programs to recruit and retain new educators, including earning while learning, diversifying the workforce with outreach to HBCUS and to students who are members of groups that are under-represented among teachers, and reforming the way we qualify childcare providers.
SCHOLARSHIP Our 2023-2024 Delegate Scholarship is now accepting applicants; if you or someone you know is looking to apply, click here: SCHOLARSHIP
A full comprehensive list of all the legislation I am sponsoring and co-sponsoring can be found here. Please continue to check back frequently as the list is updated. If you have any questions regarding legislation, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
As we wrap up this 90 day Legislative Session, I look forward to seeing you in the community and discussing what I can do to help address your concerns. If I can ever be of service to you, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
Delegate Jeffrie E. Long, Jr.
House District 27B