December 26, 2022
We’re officially in the midst of the holiday season! I hope each of you is finding time to celebrate according to your tradition, or building new traditions with your friends and family in the coming days. This year has flown by and it’s important that we take stock of all that has happened in 2022.

I was thankful this year to celebrate Thanksgiving this year with our Cherry Hill family and Christmas with Lea and the kids. I feel deeply blessed to live in and represent such a vibrant and welcoming community. I am always touched and uplifted by the many acts of kindness, generosity, and humor that fill the 46th District.

Your continued support remains deeply meaningful and I hope you have a happy holiday and new year!
Senator Pinsky to Become Director of the MEA
Last week, the Moore-Miller Administration announced that Senator Paul Pinsky, Chair of the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, will become director of the Maryland Energy Administration. As chair of the committee, Senator Pinsky has been an invaluable part of my leadership team in the Senate. Senator Pinsky leaves an indelible legacy of championing transformational legislation, especially in the realms of protecting Maryland's environment for future generations and transforming our State's public schools. 

Although he will be missed in the Senate, I look forward to continuing to work together in his new capacity with the Administration. There is no doubt that Senator Pinsky will continue making an outsized impact through his public service on behalf of all Marylanders.
Senate Leadership and Committee Announcements
Last week, I announced Senate leadership, committee jurisdiction, and membership changes for the 2023 Legislative Session, reflecting a true representation of all Marylanders and signaling a new focus on policy priorities for the next generation.

The Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee is being restructured to tackle the State's most contemporary challenges and will now be named the Senate Committee on Education, Energy, and the Environment (EEE) and chaired by Senator Brian Feldman. Under this new name, EEE will handle all energy and utilities-related legislation, positioning Maryland to develop policies that reflect the constant intersection of energy and utilities policy with environment and climate change policies. 

Additionally, the Senate Finance Committee will be chaired by Senator Melony Griffith and have jurisdiction over all health occupations and alcoholic beverages legislation. This change will ensure that the Senate is reviewing issues related to public health and business regulation comprehensively.

More information on my announcement, including a full list of committee assignments, can be found here.
Newly Elected Senate Minority Leadership
Congratulations to Senator Steve Hershey for being chosen as Senate Minority Leader last month, and to Senator Justin Ready for his continued role as minority whip. Senator Hershey served as minority whip from 2014 until 2020. I look forward to continuing to work across the aisle with these dedicated veterans of the Senate.
New Member Orientation and Bus Tour
We’re quickly approaching the beginning of the 2023 Legislative Session and the State of Maryland is fortunate to have a new group of passionate legislators joining the General Assembly in both the Senate and House. Over the last few weeks, we’ve had the pleasure of introducing those incoming new members to Annapolis and communities throughout the State. 

I was proud to welcome Maryland’s newly elected senators and delegates to Annapolis alongside Speaker Adrienne Jones and Mayor Gavin Bukley. The new members were introduced to the General Assembly’s operations and received a crash course in the legislative process. 

Following New Member Orientation, they went on a statewide bus tour to expose them to neighborhoods and community assets throughout Maryland and strengthen the idea that we are here for all Marylanders. That included a stop at Holabird Academy 229 in Baltimore's Fightin' 46th District! Eight years ago, this same freshman tour visited a school in total disrepair. Last week, the tour saw a beautiful net zero facility that fully honors our students' potential. It’s incredible what a difference eight years can make.
Expanding Maryland's Community Schools
A key priority of The Blueprint For Maryland’s Future is to support and expand community schools. This proven educational approach seeks to understand and respond to the many factors that contribute to a student’s personal and academic success.
 
Community schools provide core academic support, but also invest resources to ensure the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of students and their families so they are ready and able to learn. Wraparound services such as academic and language support, nutrition, and medical, dental, and behavioral care are provided, in addition to traditional classroom education.
 
Thanks to the Blueprint, nearly one-third of Maryland public schools will be converted to this proven model by 2027—the largest in the country. Community schools have documented school-wide effects on academic performance, family and community engagement, attendance, absenteeism, discipline, and health.
 
In the 21st century, it’s not just about math and science scores, although educational attainment is paramount. We also must respond and support the myriad social and emotional factors that ultimately decide if a child can be successful.
More News
It’s a great day when we have a ribbon cutting to reopen a newly renovated and restored Baltimore City Public School! The additions and renovations to Highlandtown #237 will have tangible and immediate impacts on students' educational attainment for decades. Overcrowded classrooms with semi-functioning HVAC will be a thing of the past for the thousands of students who will be inspired by their new classrooms every day.

Congressman Steny Hoyer announced that he is stepping away from leadership in his fifth decade on the job. All Marylanders owe Hoyer a deep sense of gratitude for his long history of serving our Nation and State. Congressman Hoyer was the youngest-ever elected Senate President in Maryland history.
 
Attorney General Brian E. Frosh has overruled decades of antiquated, racist legal opinions still on the books despite being determined to be unconstitutional. The 22 rulings were used to uphold segregation, discriminate against people of color, and deny marriage licenses based on race.

Many agencies across Maryland have “historically high” rates of unfilled positions. The Maryland General Assembly’s Spending Affordability Committee met virtually this month and noted that the problem is widespread, with many State agencies unable to fill key positions. 

The Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board, the first of its kind in the nation, is set to release its first report despite originally being created through law in 2019. Its work was delayed by Governor Hogan’s veto and the need for the Maryland General Assembly to dedicate specific funding for the Board to get off the ground. 

Maryland now has a Supreme Court as the Court of Appeals’ name changed thanks to a ballot measure passed by voters in November. The Court of Special Appeals has also been renamed the Appellate Court of Maryland. These changes should hopefully resolve confusion regarding the courts’ jurisdiction and brings Maryland in-line with nearly every other State in the country.
If there is anything we can do to help, please do not hesitate to contact my office via email, bill.ferguson@senate.state.md.us, or by phone, 410-841-3600.