What Happened in the 2017 Legislative Session
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
Maryland's 2017 legislative session just ended, and I have much to report on my efforts to defend Silver Spring and Takoma Park values.
The election of Donald Trump is causing great uncertainty in numerous areas of state policy, but we did our best to minimize the damage to our state budget and to our residents. Below you can read about several bills I've passed, as well as key votes I've taken.
This was also my first year serving as Chair of the House Juvenile Law subcommittee, and I'm continuing to refine my tactics for advancing progressive policy. As a result, though we moved numerous social and economic justice bills this year, I'm even more optimistic for 2018!
P.S. If you like the issues I'm working on, please consider making a donation today. I don't take corporate donations, so I'm relying on the grassroots to get my back.
ADVANCING JUSTICE IN MARYLAND - I've had the honor of co-sponsoring & voting for some great bills this year. Here are some major bills that we passed (details below):
- Passing Earned Sick Leave (HB 1) - This bill requires employers with 15 or more workers to provide paid sick leave. Marylanders shouldn't have to choose between their paycheck and their health -- especially if they're going to come to work sick. Governor Hogan vowed to veto this bill, but we passed it with veto-proof majorities.
- Winning a Fracking Ban (HB 1325) - After years of effort, we passed a fracking ban! This ensures we won't risk contaminating the environment for the benefit of energy companies.
- Funding Planned Parenthood (HB 1083) - This legislation protects Marylanders' access to cancer screening, contraceptives & STD testing if Trump defunds Planned Parenthood.
- Reducing Overtesting of Students (HB 461) - I'm pleased to report that we passed a bill to limit the amount of classroom learning time that may be spent on standardized tests to 2%.
- Combatting Pharmaceutical Price-Gouging (HB 631) - We passed a bill this year to allow Attorney General Brian Frosh to sue drug manufacturers that engage in price gouging.
- Curbing Antibiotics in Our Food (HB 602) - We passed a bill to ban the routine use of antibiotics in food-producing animals that are not sick. This will help prevent the creation of "superbugs" and keep our antiobiotics effective.
- Forming a Treaty on Redistricting (SB 1023) - We engaged in some creative problem-solving this year and passed a bill to create a treaty among six Mid-Atlantic states to all develop bipartisan redistricting commissions. By working in tandem with other states we hope to disarm the partisan warfare involved in state-by-state Congressional redistricting plans.
MY LEGISLATIVE SUCCESSES - This year I was the lead sponsor on 25 pieces of legislation in Annapolis. I'm pleased to report that 8 of my bills will become law (details below):
- Fighting Obamacare Repeal (HJ 9) - I passed a resolution to Congress highlighting the numerous catastrophic consequences Maryland would face from repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In Maryland, the ACA created a 42% drop in the uninsured rate since, and a repeal would cost Maryland billions of dollars and cause many residents to lose their health insurance and face reduced services.
- Eliminating "Debtors Prisons" in Maryland (HB 844) - In Maryland, residents can be sent to jail simply because they are poor. This year I passed a bill to curb these debtors prisons by ending our practice of jailing drivers who are late on child support payments.
- Ensuring Public Access to Government Records (HB 383) - After the press had difficulty getting access to police records about rape investigation practices in Maryland, I passed a bill requiring state and local government agencies to explain themselves when they deny public information requests. This legislation requires government agencies to state why they can't simply redact sensitive information instead of denying requests outright.
- Lowering the Cost of Building Child Care Facilities (HB 335) - The cost of child care in Montgomery County is among the highest in the nation, and my constituents often face long waiting lists for quality facilities. This year, I passed a bill to lower the cost of building child care facilities in our county by exempting them from costly water and sewer hookup fees.
- Protecting Developmentally Disabled Foster Youths (HB 279) - I passed a bill to ensure quality services for foster youths with developmental disabilities, when they turn 21 and are transferred from the youth system into the adult system.
- Expunging Marijuana Possession Convictions (SB 949) - I passed a bill to allow thousands of Maryland residents convicted of simple possession of marijuana to expunge their records, four years after conviction. You can also currently expunge possession of marijuana under 10 grams, as we've now decriminalized that small amount.
- Creating Standards for Police SWAT Teams (SB 941) - After years of controversy over police over-using SWAT teams in Maryland, I passed a bill to create statewide standards for when and how police deploy SWAT teams in our state.
- Ending Counterproductive & Harsh Penalties (HB 1047) - Maryland currently takes away working privileges from some residents who are late on child support payments. I passed a bill to make exceptions for people who are making good faith efforts to pay. After all, you're not likely to get a child support payment out of someone who is not allowed to work.
In 2006, I managed
Jamie Raskin's first campaign for the State Senate:
"Thank you for the amazing sleepless commitment you have shown to this 'impossible' quest for a year. People will come to study your work in managing an insurgent progressive campaign that everyone agrees has been unprecedented in Maryland state legislative races."
- Jamie Raskin
9/14/06 - 2 days after his primary victory in his first State Senate campaign