I hope you are all staying healthy and had the opportunity to read my coronavirus email update sent on Thursday night. To recap, Maryland is taking precautionary measures to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Some of these steps include: the closure of all public schools starting Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27, mass gatherings and events of more than 250 people to be cancelled or postponed, senior activity centers will be closed, and access to the House and Senate Office buildings and Legislative Services will be restricted to members only. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check Maryland Department of Health websites and follow their Twitter and Facebook pages for real-time updates:
WSSC will be suspending all water service shut-offs and waiving all late fees.
PEPCO will be suspending shut-offs at least through May 1 and will work with customers on a case-by-case basis to establish payment arrangements, identify energy assistance options, and waive late payment charges.
Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data. The results of the census also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
Please take this opportunity to complete the census online. Your participation is crucial and vital to the success of our communities. The online census can be completed at: https://my2020census.gov
I was also proud to vote with my colleagues to pass the HOME Act. This law will prevent housing discrimination based on source of income, such as Section 8, alimony, child support, or other payments. This will increase housing options in an equitable way for all Marylanders.
My Community Choice Energy bill was voted favorably out of the House Economic Matters Committee. After a great deal of debate, the bill now enables a pilot in Montgomery County. If the Montgomery County government chooses to establish a CCE, it will allow the County to purchase energy on behalf of residents – negotiating lower prices and more renewable energy. We now need to get it out of the Senate!
I am also pleased to report that the House passed my bill: the Gas Service Regulator Safety – Flower Branch Act. This legislation establishes a process to move gas service regulators to the exterior of multi-family buildings. This legislation came from the NTSB recommendations after the tragic Flower Branch Apartment explosion.
My Heat Stress Protection Act has also passed the House. This bill directs the Commissioner of Labor to establish heat stress standards to protect Maryland workers, with public input and guidance from nationally recognized occupational safety associations.
Several of my bills were heard in the last two weeks including the following:
Maryland Wage Protection Act: This bill will protect workers from wage theft by ensuring paystub transparency and protecting workers from retaliation when they complain about wage theft.
Maryland Food for Maryland Institutions: This bill establishes procurement procedures to increase the amount of locally grown food procured by Maryland state institutions. Building a strong local food system is crucial for local economic development, environmental sustainability, farmland preservation, and emergency preparedness.
Delegate Scholarships – UPDATED INFORMATION
As always, feel free to contact my office any time. Due to these recent developments, email is the best point of contact for now at: firstname.lastname@example.org.