With the second to the last week of the 2023 Legislative Session in the books, Bills from the House and the Senate are being debated and voted in each chamber.
Recently, I sat for an interview with Dave Wheelan from The Talbot Spy to discuss Legislative Issues in Annapolis. To listen to the interview, click here. This video is approximately 22 minutes in length.
Legislative Prayer Breakfast
Thank you to the Office of Johnny Ray Salling and State Chaplin Chris Jenson for hosting the Annual Legislative Prayer Breakfast.
The event was well attended, and featured a special guest, Congressman Tom Suozzi, who asked us to use faith as a commonground with our peers across the aisle.
Maryland lawmakers were able to agree on the $62.5 billion dollar State Budget on Friday. This budget includes allotting $900 million for the state’s pre-K through 12 education program known as the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. This $900 million is in addition to $8.7 billion set aside for pre-K through 12 funding in the 2024 fiscal year. The BOOST (Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today) was funded at $9 million, and added $2.5 million more for schools that participate in BOOST. This added money is available for safety, textbooks, nurses and other school health expenses. BOOST is a scholarship fund that helps children of low-income families to attend private schools. The Budget must be approved by both the House and the Senate before it receives final passage. A final vote is expected Monday evening.
In addition, on March 27, 2023 Governor Moore released a Supplemental Budget. The Supplemental Budget No. 2 can be read in full here, highlights can be found here.
The bill which will determine the details for legalizing cannabis was debated on the Senate floor this past week. SB516 Cannabis Reform has had a great deal of discussion, and will be going to a vote sometime next week. Meanwhile, the HB556 Cannabis Reform has passed out of the House and is currently in Senate committees.
Both bills are very different, and once they pass in both Chambers they will go to a Conference Committee for additional changes. The legislation will then return to the House and the Senate for final approval.
Constitutional Amendment Creating a Right to Reproductive Freedom
The House of Delegates and Senate passed legislation that will enshrine reproductive freedom into the Maryland Constitution, which includes but is not limited to abortion and related health regulations. In the 2024 Presidential Election Marylander’s will vote whether or not to include this in the Maryland Constitution. You may read more about this legislation by clicking here.
Lt. Col. Roland Butler Confirmed as Superintendent of Maryland State Police
Retired Lt. Col. Roland Butler was confirmed by the Senate on Friday to be the next Maryland State Police Superintendent. There had been opposition to his nomination from four Prince George’s County Democrat Senators. These senators said that Butler failed to do enough to address complaints of racism and disparate treatment of Black officers when it came to promotions and discipline. The Senate Executive Nominations Committee tied his confirmation to a pair of required reports. These reports are due on July 1 and December 15. The state is withholding $250,000 from the superintendent’s budget until these reports are filed.
Wastewater Treatment in Baltimore from the Train Derailment in East Palestine, Ohio
This past week there was concern that wastewater contaminated by the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio was being transported to Baltimore to be treated at the Clean Harbors Treatment Plant. Mayor Brandon Scott effectively had this plan halted, and we applaud his decision and efforts. You can read more about this situation by clicking here.