The 2017 Legislative Session

  Dear Friends,

     As the 2017 Legislative Session of the Maryland General Assembly ends, I feel honored to have had the privilege of serving the citizens of Legislative District 23A.   Your emails and phone calls have kept me abreast of the issues you care about and helped me to make informed decisions while representing you in Annapolis.
     This has been a busy session and I worked hard to make sure that Maryland, and in particular, Prince George's County benefited. Much of our focus was placed on the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act and its potential impact on Maryland. I was proud to sponsor and pass several important pieces of legislation this session:
  • A bill to conform Maryland's HIPAA privacy laws to the federal standards which will allow families of patients undergoing a mental health crisis to have access to their hospital location and to work with their medical provider when the doctor believes it is in the best interest of the patient.
  • A bill to conform sentencing options for homicide by motor vehicle for driving while drugged to those in current law for homicide while driving drunk
  • A bill to forgive municipalities' debt for errors by the Comptroller
  • District 23 was also successful in reaching an agreement with the owners of the Bowie Race Track to improve the maintenance and upkeep of the area
Additional details for these bills follow in the Legislative Highlights included in this letter.    
     Closer to home, we fought successfully to retain the promised funding for the
Regional Medical Center in Largo, which the Governor had cut from the budget, and to have Laurel Hospital keep the best possible remaining programs.

District 23 was proud to secure funding for:
  • Champs House, which works with recovering alcoholic men
  • Alpha House, to help the homeless working poor
  • Patuxent 4-H Center, to renovate their cabins
  • a new building for community and scout meetings, and projects such as Warm Nights Homeless shelters for St. Nicholas in Laurel
All of these capital projects require substantial fundraising on the recipients' part.
     While serving my first full session on the Appropriations Committee, I continued my past work securing benefits for the poor and indigent as a member of the Health and Human Resources Subcommittee and also served on the Personnel Subcommittee.  I was proud to serve over the interim on the Select Committee on Ending Homelessness, which helps me utilize my Appropriations Committee position to the fullest.
           Our military families and deployed parents deserve our deepest respect. Continuing to fight to see that they are fairly treated by our state and courts compels my efforts to support many legislative efforts for our veterans and active soldiers. It was a great honor to be recognized for these efforts by the AMVETS as their 2017 recipient of the PNC A. Leon Anderson Free State Award of Excellence.
     This was my second session as the Prince George's Delegation First Vice Chair and my first session as Chair of the Delegation Education Committee. The Delegation Education Committee heard many hours of testimony on
HB 1565, Prince George's County Board of Education, PG 402-17
. The Legislative Highlights on the following pages contain more detail on this bill and school funding issues.
     My top legislative priorities will continue to be fighting for the poor, juvenile justice, victims, veterans, the best possible education for all our children and my never ending fight against impaired driving. On the next few pages, I have highlighted some of the most important measures which were considered this year.

For more detailed information on the 2017 Legislative Session Click Here
     I am eager to return to our District to hear what is on your minds. Please reach out to me at or call me at 301-858-3101 to share your concerns. I would love to come speak at your next HOA or community meeting.
     Please know that it is my privilege to represent you. I can do my best work for you when I know what matters to you.
Geraldine Valentino-Smith
Delegate, Maryland House of Delegates, District 23A

By Authority of Friends For Geraldine Valentino-Smith, Elizabeth Ryan, Treasurer