During the 2017 session, I worked on your behalf to champion progressive legislation that protects our environment, advances social justice, boosts our economy and improves health outcomes. After passing hundreds of impactful bills, the Maryland General Assembly adjourned on April 10, 2017, and I’ want to share some highlights with you.
Although I was appointed two weeks into the session, I hit the ground running and I’m proud to have passed the following bills that will be signed into law by the Governor:
Repeal Criminal Penalties for Violations of Barbering (HB 1261): To end over-incarceration, we must reform our code to decriminalize non-violent offenses. This legislation removes the criminal penalty associated with barbering without a license in order to take steps toward ending the criminalization of minor nonviolent offenses.
Curbing Racial Profiling Rearview Mirror Obstruction (HB 1335): Recent data demonstrates rampant racial profiling related to traffic stops when drivers are pulled over for items hanging in their rearview mirrors. My legislation balances safety while curbing racial profiling by making the state’s windshield obstruction law a secondary offense.
Tax Credit for Retired Military Service Members (HB 1234): This legislation supports our retired military service men and women by providing vital tax relief to support their financial stability and enable them to retire here in Maryland.
Despite the uncertain times, we are making progress in Maryland!
Maryland Community Trust Act (HB 1362): As an immigrant myself, immigrant rights are one of my greatest passions. The Trust Act would prevent law enforcement from inquiring about immigration status and limit their participation in federal immigration enforcement. We passed a strong Trust Act bill in the House and I testified in support of the bill, participated in press conferences calling for its passage, and stood up on the House floor to defend the bill. Unfortunately, the Senate did not move the bill forward. I will be working with colleagues to ensure successful passage in 2018.
Opioid Abuse and Prevention: The Speaker of the House appointed me to serve on the bipartisan House Opioid Work Group, which created a package of legislation that will save lives in Maryland by preventing and treating opioid abuse. I am proud to have played a role in promoting a public health response to the heroin epidemic with the passage of the Heroin and Opioid Abuse Prevention Effort and Treatment Act of 2017 (SB 967) and the Heroin and Opioid Education and Community Action Act of 2017 (SB 1060).
Healthy Working Families – Earned Sick Leave (HB 1): I stood shoulder to shoulder with working families to fight for earned sick leave legislation that will enable over 693,000 Marylanders the ability to earn up to 5 days of sick leave.
Ban on Fracking (HB 1325): Protecting our environment and health is one of my top priorities in the Maryland General Assembly, and I have been an advocate for banning fracking in Maryland for several years. As a result of the relentless work of advocates and elected officials, fracking will be banned in Maryland.
Protection of the Affordable Care Act (HJ 9): With the Affordable Care Act facing continued calls for repeal, we acted to voice our opposition to repeal efforts and safeguard critical resources in Maryland.
Protect Planned Parenthood Funding (HB 1083): This legislation protects critical resources in our community to provide family planning and reproductive health services.
Maryland Defense Act (HB 913): This bill empowers the Maryland Attorney General to sue the federal government for harmful federal policies.
More Learning, Less Testing in Schools Act (HB 461): This bill limits the amount of time that may be devoted to federal, State, and locally mandated assessments for each grade level across Maryland to 2.2 percent of school time.
Testing for Lead in Drinking Water in Schools (HB 270): This bill requires periodic testing for the presence of lead in drinking water outlets in public or nonpublic school buildings and requires the Department of the Environment to gather specific information regarding the establishment of lead-free school environments
Clean Energy Jobs Act (HB 1106): My very first vote on the House Floor was to override the Governor’s veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2016, which will protect our air, water, and drive economic development.
I hope this snapshot of the legislation was helpful. To learn more about the Maryland General Assembly and legislation, you may visit http://www.mgaleg.maryland.gov.
I am humbled by the opportunity to serve you and will work tirelessly on your behalf in Annapolis and in our community to make an impact. One of my top priorities is to listen to and understand your thoughts on issues impacting Marylanders. Please do not hesitate to contact me with your questions or concerns and to let me know how I can best serve you.
Lastly, I want to share my thanks and appreciation to my staff and interns for all of their hard work and dedication this session: Warren Ramsey, Jordan Baucum Colbert, Phylicia Henry, Laurie-Anne Sayles, Nana Adjoa Amamoo, Oluwatomike Adeboyejo, and Dianne Techwei.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Delegate in Annapolis.
Yours in service,
Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins, District 20