February 10, 2020

Friends and Neighbors,

Parents of grown children often tell me that the “days are long but the years are short.” Well, in Annapolis, the days are long but the weeks fly by! I am working every day on my own legislation, in my new Committee and leadership role on environmental, housing, land use and ethics bills, meeting with constituents and advocates about a variety of issues, participating in Women’s Caucus, Latino Caucus, and leading the Transit Caucus… and responding the mail I receive (190 emails this past weekend!).

I have introduced all the legislation I plan to work on this year, and you can review the bills I am working on at my webpage on the new General Assembly website: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Members/Details/lierman01/?activeTab=divLegislation. Over 300 bills have been assigned to my Committee – the Environment & Transportation Committee – so I will be in long Committee hearings over the next 6 weeks as we hear bills, discuss them, and vote on them. Below I share a few items of interest from the past two weeks!

Make sure you follow me on Facebook to keep up with me in real time and to see my weekly Friday roundups of the work we do each week: www.facebook.com/brookeliermanfordelegate

In Annapolis

Veto Overrides: On January 30th, working with the Senate, we override several of the Governor’s vetoes of bills that we had passed last session, including vetoes on bills that protect our oyster population, ensure Marylanders re-joining society after spending time in prison have a fair chance to get a job, removing bureaucratic hurdles that made it difficult for undocumented students to get in-state tuition at four-year universities, ensuring that political appointees are not deciding who gets a handgun, and ensuring public employees have a chance to bring their grievances.

State of the State 2020: The Governor delivered his State of the State address on February 5 at noon. While we do not always agree, it is a great event and an important opportunity to hear his perspective and think at a high level about the future of Maryland. You can read his address here: https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/02/05/2020-state-of-the-state-address/

Environment & Transportation Committee: You can find information about my Committee online here: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Committees/Details?cmte=ent. All assigned bills, as well as our meeting schedule, is online! We had many bills over the past two weeks, including a bill about reforming our toll payment process, helping to ensure that condominium owners have full information on their purchases, and more.

HB1 – Funding for School Buildings: This week the Appropriations Committee voted out HB1, the bill to provide additional capital funding for school districts around Maryland. Passing this bill would enable Baltimore City Public Schools to continue renovating and building new school buildings

Brooke’s Bills

Housing Opportunities Made Equal: I am proud this year to be carrying on the work of my predecessor Del. Steve Lafferty and my colleague Del. Maggie McIntosh and am the lead sponsor of the HOME Act, working on it with Sen. Will Smith (HB 231/SB530). This legislation has been introduced every year for at least a decade – but it is such a simple fix to a pernicious problem. It simply ensures that for all those Marylanders who receive government assistance in housing – veterans, low-income Marylanders, people with disabilities – that landlords may not deny them a rental unit simply because they wish to pay with a voucher. I am delighted to be working with great organizations like the Homeless Persons Representation Project and Public Justice Center and more on this legislation. I hope this is the year that we end discrimination based on one’s source of income!

The Transit Safety and Investment Act is another major bill and priority for me this year because it would address the systematic dismantling and underinvesting in transit in Central Maryland that the Hogan Administration has delivered. It is a simple but profoundly important bill: it requires MDOT to ensure that MTA has adequate capital resources to fund its state of good repair needs, which is about an additional $123m per year for the next 6 years. All of these needs and the costs are detailed in the first-ever MTA Capital Needs Inventory, available online here.

Investing in housing and mobility options are key to success for Maryland – these two bills are some of my top priorities this session. Look for more updates on Facebook and Twitter! And join me at Transit Caucus Night this Wednesday to get more involved! February 12, 2020 from 6-8PM in the House of Delegates. RSVP HERE / Facebook event here.

Coming up next…

I will continue preparing for the six hearings that I have in the next two weeks and working with individuals and groups to come support these pieces of legislation. These six bills focus on reducing plastic pollution (#BantheBag), strengthening our Public Information Act; funding community development programs in Baltimore and around the state; protecting juveniles’ civil rights; granting student athletes the right to use their name, image, and likeness; and enhancing environmental enforcement.

All bill hearings are open to the public – if you are interested in attending a hearing or providing written support for any of my bills, please let me know!

In Baltimore

The Census! 

The 2020 Census count begins in April! We want to make sure that Everyone Counts. Accurate census numbers impact funding and representation for Baltimore. It is important that everyone participates in the Census. For more information on the Census, click HERE. To get involved or check out upcoming events related to the Census, click HERE.

To follow Maryland Census 2020 on Twitter and Facebook – Follow @MdCensus2020 and like @MdCensus2020 – to stay in touch with Maryland’s Census 2020 complete count efforts. Join the conversation by using hashtag #2020MDCensus on Facebook and on Twitter.

TEAM 46 Annual Town Hall

Please join us for our Annual Town Hall – this year on Saturday, February 22 from 11:30-1:00 p.m. at the National Federation of the Blind! Hope to see you then! Click HERE to RSVP


In the News

MD Women Lead on Climate Change Resiliency: I was very proud to join four other women lawmakers in announcing a package of five climate resilience bills. My environmental transparency bill will empower normal citizens in the process of preparing for and combating the acute effects of our changing climate change. It’s great to be working with Senator Sarah Elfreth, Delegate Courtney Watson, and Senator Katie Fry Hester and more on legislation to prevent the worst effects of climate change in Maryland, support our communities, and ensure we are building resilient and healthy neighborhoods!

Strengthen our Public Information Act! The Baltimore Sun this week covered my proposed legislation to rectify the sorry state of public information requests and hold our state institutions more accountable. The Sun’s editorial board recommends my legislation.

The Path to Zero Waste is an initiative of several bills, including the Plastics & Packaging Reduction Act (the plastic bag ban), was in the news last week: WBAL reported on our goal to move Maryland toward zero waste. Our state relies on landfills and incinerators to dispose of our trash, and we need to be moving toward reducing plastic trash that we can’t recycle or compost and building out our capacity to compost (which is less expensive for local governments & can be a moneymaker).