Take 5 With Delegate Robbyn Lewis: Week 9

Happy Women’s History Month! Time is accelerating as we approach the final stretch of the 2019 session. Here’s the five things you need to know this week.

  1. Priority Legislation

One of the most consequential tasks before the General Assembly is to build an equitable, high quality, accountable public education system that serves every child in Maryland. Called the “Blueprint For Maryland,” this bill would allocate $325 million in FY20 and $750 million in FY21 to fund the key policy areas outlined by the Commission on Innovation & Excellence in Education (also called the Kirwan Commission).

You can read more here and here.

We passed numerous consequential bills out of the House this week. To name just three: End of Life Option Act, Fight For $15, and Commission on Alcohol & Tobacco, which creates a new entity for the regulation alcohol and tobacco. These bills now head to the Senate for consideration.

  1. My Bills are Moving!

    Lead Poisoning Prevention – My bill to reduce the risk of childhood lead poisoning in the home, Maryland Healthy Children Act, was heard this week, and I’m optimistic for a favorable report. My colleague Delegate Solomon introduced a measure to address lead-contaminated drinking water in schools. There’s a great write up about both bills here.

    Clean Air – Baltimore has the worst air quality and the highest rate of pediatric asthma in Maryland. Trash incineration contributes significantly to this problem. The Baltimore City Council recently passed an ordinance to regulate trash incineration. We need state level action, too. Right now, state law says that trash incineration is a form of renewable energy – like solar or wind – and as such gets subsidized. I think that’s wrong. We should not pay incineration companies to poison our air! That’s why I cosponsored a measure to remove it from the renewable energy portfolio.

    You can read more about it here.

  2. Policing & Public Safety in Baltimore

Many of you have called, written, texted and tweeted about public safety legislation. We’ve already moved some much needed proposals out of City Delegation, specifically bills to return the police department to city control and require regular audits of the police department. But the most frequently raised questions are about the proposal from Johns Hopkins University to create its own armed police force.

Most of my constituents who have contacted me directly are opposed to the measure, but some feel it is a good idea. As of this writing, the Senate has voted on an amended version of the bill, and I expect that we’ll get to see it here in the House within the next few days. Please let me know your thoughts.

  1. Baltimore City Delegation Night

On February 28th, we held the first ever Baltimore City Delegation Night here in Annapolis, and it was fantastic! Too often, our colleagues from around the state cling to the most negative stories about Baltimore. Well, we wanted to remind them that we are much more than bad headlines – we are the creative center and cultural beating heart of the entire state!

We are artists, musicians and poets like Lady Brion from the Pennsylvania Black Arts District, Arch Social Club, and Youth Resiliency Institute. We are brewers and distillers like Sagamore Distillery, Old Line Spirits, Union Craft Brewing, and makers like Open Works and Made in Baltimore. We are curators of culture like the Baltimore Museum of Art, Y Art Gallery and more! We could not have done this without the generous support of Visit Baltimore. Many thanks to Visit Baltimore Director Al Hutchinson and his team for making our celebration possible!

  1. 46th District Visitors this Week

I’m always happy to welcome constituents to Annapolis! This week two of my good friends, who are also my neighbors, stopped by. Dr Raegan McDonald Mosley, Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood Maryland came to testify on HB1272, which protects access to family planning funding. Mark Parker, Pastor of the Breath of God Lutheran Church in Highlandtown, stopped by to chat about proposals that will affect our neighborhood.

REMINDER: My office is accepting scholarship applications for the 2019-2020 academic year! Any high school senior, current college student or graduate student who lives in District 46 is eligible, visit my website to apply by May 15, 2019.