Happy May, fellow Democrats!
Last month saw the end of the 2021 legislative session for the Maryland General Assembly. Moving at breakneck speed, this session was one of the most historic yet for Maryland. More on that later.
Local Democrats were working hard, as usual! Below you’ll find updates from:
The DCC recently updated its two-year strategic plan. The plan focuses on five areas: Communications, Events, Grassroots Fundraising, Candidates, and Party Building, with a subcommittee dedicated to each area. If you are interested in volunteering on one of these subcommittees, or serving as an Associate Member on the DCC, contact Caroline King.
The DCC also launched a benefits program for recurring donors. The “Skipjack Circle” aims to grow small-dollar monthly donations that will make a big impact as we help forward-fund candidates heading into the 2022 elections. To learn more and join, visit stmarysdemocrats.org/skipjackcircle.
Speaking of the 2022 elections, the DCC is actively recruiting candidates! Positions on the ballot include State Senator, State Delegate, County Commissioner, and more. If you are interested in running, please reach out to us.
Upcoming Important Dates:
May 19, 6pm: DCC Meeting via Zoom. All meetings are open to the public: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82376250784?pwd=YnZRVU10cmRXVWdOa1VadGRFZ0o4UT09
May 24, 7pm: Training from the Maryland Democratic Party on canvassing and using MDVAN to create lists of doors to knock. If you are interested in getting out in the field and talking to voters, please join us for this training. More information will be posted on our website and Facebook pages soon.
June 26, 9-11am: Yoga and Wine Tasting at Port of Leonardtown Winery. Mark your calendars for our first fundraising event of the year -- it is sure to be a good time! More details to come!
In April, the Democratic Club welcomed Brooke Lierman, Candidate for Comptroller of MD.
At our May 17 meeting, we plan to discuss our bylaws, membership recruitment and committees (and we may also have a speaker from United Rural Democrats). You may view the agenda here. The agenda includes the zoom login information.
In June we will welcome Delegate Brian Crosby to give us an overview of the 2021 General Assembly Session.
For the past few months, members of I Am St. Mary’s, Democratic Women of St. Mary’s County, have been engaged in voicing our views and demands to state and county election representatives on HB655, HB745, and other important legislation from Annapolis. Additionally, we’ve been advocating for county projects such as the YMCA, disabled veterans property credit, as well as fully funding our schools and health department.
The next general meeting for I Am St. Mary’s will be held via Zoom on May 26th at 7PM. The announcement with the Zoom link will be emailed and posted soon. The focus of the meeting will be on supporting 2022 Democratic candidates, voter registration to get ready for 2022, and upcoming local projects aligned with our mission goals to Educate, Empower, and Engage. For more information, please email [email protected]
At midnight on April 13, the Maryland General Assembly adjourned, officially ending session for the year. Despite the strict public health measures during the 2021 session, I am proud of what our team was able to accomplish during the last 90 days.
I secured 9,000 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine for St. Mary's County through a public-private partnership. St. Mary's County will be the first county in the state to offer a vaccine to every student over the age of 16, and we will also be able to offer a vaccine to every student attending St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Additionally, we will establish a local vaccine clinic focused on equitably serving the Great Mills and Lexington Park communities. Combined, these efforts will help to protect an additional 10% of the St. Mary's adult population.
We passed a balanced, $50 billion budget and have a structural surplus through FY26 of $262 million. The operating budget increases direct aid to our schools by 2.5% to ensure their full funding, and despite increased health-related expenditures, we have retained $1.8 billion in our emergency fund.
In addition to supporting general funding received for the County, I secured the following:
- $4,790,000 for the design and construction of the Maryland Heritage Interpretive Center at Historic St. Mary’s City
- $500,000 for the design and acquisition of a new fire/rescue vessel for the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department
- $250,000 for the autonomous systems center and capital improvements at the St. Mary’s Regional Airport
- $100,000 for capital projects and improvements at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum
Two of my bills passed both chambers this year and will head to the Governor for his signature:
- HB1004 removes a regulatory barrier for state credit unions to put them on a level playing field against federal credit unions.
- HB1364 establishes the HSMC Fort to 400 Commission to plan events for Maryland’s 400th anniversary in 2034.
Below are some legislative highlights of bills I supported:
- Unemployment Reform (HB907, 908, 1138, 1139, 1143): This legislative package enables Marylanders to receive unemployment insurance payments through direct deposit instead of waiting for checks or debit cards. It also increases the earnings cap for partial payments, expands work-sharing programs, mandates higher staffing levels at the Department of Labor for faster claims processing, and includes stronger oversight and accountability measures.
- The RELIEF Act (SB496): This bi-partisan, $1.5 billion pandemic relief package expands the Earned Income Tax Credit, waives state taxes on unemployment benefits and up to $9,000 in sales taxes for three months for small businesses, provides COVID-19 related loans/grants, and sends direct payments to working families.
- Early Voting (HB745): An additional early voting location will be added in St. Mary’s County, and the bill requires the consideration of population density and accessibility in placement.
- Rural Broadband (HB1328): This legislation establishes a joint trenching process to expand broadband access and lower costs by letting providers place lines concurrent with work by the State Highway Administration. Any revenues collected by SHA for this service will be invested in further broadband expansion.
Throughout the entire session, I worked across the aisle to pass a budget that will bring back much-needed resources to our county. I am proud to be an advocate for St. Mary’s County and give us a voice in Annapolis!
Moving forward, we are preparing bills for next session and preparing for our run in 2022. To that end, I hope you will join us for a lovely evening in Historic St. Mary’s City on June 11.
Click here to RSVP: https://forms.gle/zyArrtcR9Brph4sH6
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