As my first Session as your representative in Annapolis ends, I want to thank you for the extraordinary honor it has been to serve as your Delegate. It has been an incredible Session with some exciting legislative victories, some disappointments, and a sad ending.
Our Session ended with heartbreak, as we mourned the passing of our beloved Speaker Mike Busch. Speaker Busch was a remarkable leader with an incredible legislative legacy on education, healthcare, and the Bay, among many other crucial issues. The Speaker was committed to the vision of One Maryland, lifting up every person, every community, and thus, the whole State. He will be missed and his legacy will live on in the many people he coached and mentored and in this State which will benefit from his efforts for many decades to come.
The highlight of my Session was the opportunity to serve as Floor Leader on the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA), leading it through second reader, and then to final passage on the last day of Session. CEJA requires 50% renewable energy by 2030, sets a process to work toward 100% renewable energy, increases in-state solar and wind production, and creates thousands of good jobs for Marylanders in the clean energy industry.
I will send a more comprehensive wrap up of the Session in the next few weeks, but want to share a quick update on my bills today. I am pleased that several of my bills supporting local food systems (HB82 and HB84) and small businesses (HB527) passed in the House and the Senate. My bill to develop restorative approaches in school discipline to dismantle the school to prison pipeline (HB725) passed in the House and made it through the Senate on the final day of Session! Unfortunately, my bill to improve police response to mental health crises (HB1210) passed the House but did not make it out of the Senate. Finally, my bill to decriminalize open containers of alcohol (HB88) also passed the House and got out of the Senate on the final day.
I know that many of you join me in our concern about the Governor’s plan to widen I-495 and I-270. The proposal to use a public-private partnership raises concerns about the privatization of public goods, long term fiscal risks to the state, disastrous environmental effects, and the possibilities of losing homes and businesses in our community. I was proud to work with my colleagues supporting bills to require more accountability, transparency, and local control in this process and was disappointed that while we moved a key bill through the House, we could not get it out of the Senate. We will continue to work with you to fight the widening of the Beltway.
Over the coming interim, I hope to have many opportunities to engage with you as I plan for the next Session. If you are interested in hosting a house party where I can meet with you and your neighbors to discuss this session and hear about your priorities, please reach out. I will be in touch about other events. Thank you again for putting your trust in me. It has truly been an honor to serve.