Dear Friends,

Welcome to the week after "crossover." This past Monday was the day when bills from one house must pass to the other with a guarantee of a hearing, without going through the Rules Committee. With fewer than 20 days left in session, there is an added urgency to the legislative process. Please see below for an update on the status of my legislative agenda, as well as updates on the eligibility for COVID19 vaccinations and important federal assistance.

Tragedies over the past week in Atlanta, Georgia and Boulder, Colorado remind us of the need for strong federal gun safety legislation and how much our language matters as anti-Asian hate crimes continue to rise. A few of my Asian-American colleagues shared their thoughts about these horrific incidents and their own experiences - even in our own General Assembly - about what it is like to face anti-Asian discrimination.

After many, many years and a long, drawn-out lawsuit, the General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed into law, a significant bill to bring equity to the world of higher education for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's). This is one of a series of important bills to address historic inequities.

As we celebrate this Maryland Day, recalling the day on which European settlers arrived on the shores of our great state, we hope you will let us know if we can be of any assistance to you.

Wishing you a lovely spring holiday season in celebration of Passover and Easter in the days ahead.

Stay safe & healthy!

Sincerely,
Shelly's Signature
In this issue:
  • Shelly@theDeli
  • Legislative updates
  • The latest on vaccinations
  • Federal relief guidance & FEMA help for COVID-related death expenses
  • My bills in the news
  • Scholarships
  • Virtual Job Fair- April 8
  • Baltimore County resources and information
  • Tax deadline extensions
Constituent Meetings- Virtual Shelly@theDeli

Did you miss last week's virtual Shelly@theDeli? We missed you, but you can watch the recording. Let us know what your favorite local #takeouttuesday place is! Click here to listen to updates on legislation, vaccines, as well as progress on school construction, and the latest on the Pikesville Armory. There were many great questions on everything from cannabis to redistricting.
If you would like more information about my bills, or would like to watch the bill hearings that have been held already, please click here. Many bills will not have additional hearings in the House because they were already heard as a "cross file." Want to know more about the path of a bill? Click here

The following is an update on my other bills for the 2021 session.

Establishes a right to counsel in evictions and other landlord/tenant disputes and provides individuals with legal representation, resources and education. Hearing Link

Clarifies the definition of protected categories under the hate crimes statute to include gender identity as well as requires a formal curriculum to be developed for offenders to complete. Hearing Link Passed unanimously out of the Senate.
Establishes the Maryland Office of the Inspector General for Health as an independent unit of the state to ensure that there is transparency and accountability for the nearly one third of our budget that is overseen by the Department of Health. Hearing Link Passed unanimously out of the Senate.
Strengthens existing environmental requirements for state funded green building projects. Hearing Link Incorporated into SB414 Climate Solutions Act of 2021, which passed the Senate.
Creates a pilot program of Overdose Prevention Sites only in communities that desire them and working with local community based organizations. Hearing Link
Requires a person 85 years or older to appear in person to renew a driver’s license.
Hearing Link Defeated in the Senate.
Establishes the right to counsel in immigration proceedings for individuals who are being held in detention. Hearing Link
Requires jurisdictions to provide a comprehensive report of employment discrimination complaints to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights. Hearing Link Passed unanimously out of the Senate.

Eliminates the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse and provides a 2 year window to sue for those who were previously barred by current law. Hearing Link
SLAPP suits are used to intimidate and quash free speech. This bill updates and clarifies the current SLAPP statute to extend speech beyond just those before government entities and assists defendants by eliminating certain requirements. The House version of this bill (HB308) has passed the House and is pending in the Senate. Hearing Link
Enhances liability protections for our frontline health care workers during a public health emergency, such as the COVID 19 pandemic.Hearing Link
Removes an action that criminalizes poverty by requiring the state or local jurisdiction to assume the cost of pretrial home monitoring for certain individuals - Baltimore Co. just did this! The House version of this bill (HB316) passed the House and is pending in the Senate. Hearing Link
Enables Baltimore County librarians and other library workers to form a union and participate in collective bargaining to advocate for better working conditions. Hearing Link Passed out of the Senate.

Requires large-scale food waste generators within a 30-mile radius of organics recycling facilities to compost their waste. This bill gives waste generators flexible options in order to achieve the goals set. For example, instead of sending food waste to organic recycling facilities, generators could implement their own methods of reducing waste, such as self-management onsite, agricultural usage, or through donations. Hearing Link Passed unanimously out of the Senate.

Requires police departments to offer crime victims a private room for reporting issues of a sensitive nature. Hearing Link Passed unanimously out of the Senate.

Establishes that when someone charged with the care of a child engages in a “continuing course of conduct” that includes three or more acts of second-degree child abuse, they may be charged with first-degree child abuse. Hearing Link Passed unanimously out of the Senate.

Requires that new (purchased after Jan. 1, 2022) police body-worn cameras, automatically record and save two minutes of audio and video footage immediately prior to the officer activating the record button on the device. Hearing Link

Removes the antiquated and burdensome requirement to publish name changes that will help keep safe transgender and non-binary people and survivors of domestic violence who wish to avoid risk and stigma, giving them the dignity and privacy they deserve. Hearing Link Passed the Senate.

Protects individual business owners who have been devastated by the impacts of COVID19 to get relief from personal liability clauses in commercial rental agreements during the state of emergency. Hearing Link

Authorizes restaurants, bars, and taverns to sell and deliver certain alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption or delivery. Hearing Link Passed out of the Senate.

Establishes a Task Force on Preventing and Countering Domestic Terrorism to consider policies and practices for preventing and countering domestic terrorism. Hearing Link

Allows renters and landlords to streamline the rental application process by providing for a “reusable tenant screening report” and prohibits a landlord from charging fees related to the reports. Hearing Link Bill is being considered on the Senate floor now.

Establishes an ombudsman position in the Office of the Attorney General to investigate complaints, mediate, and report on concerns within the corrections system. Hearing Link
In the News

Hidden Predator Act
On Wednesday, March 17th, I stood in support of survivors of child sexual abuse and spoke in support of the Hidden Predator Act. SB134 will eliminate the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse, creating a a two year look back window to allow survivors to seek justice. Read more about this issue in the Baltimore Sun.

The Baltimore County Public Library Collective Bargaining Bill
This legislation would authorize roughly 600 county library employees to collectively bargain and negotiate healthcare, working conditions, and other benefits. Read more about the bill here.

The Name Waiver Bill
"Removing the name change publishing requirement will help keep safe transgender and nonbinary people and survivors of domestic violence, who wish to avoid risk and stigma, giving them the dignity and privacy they deserve." Read more about the implications here.
Vaccine Update

The information on vaccination sites and eligibility is changing quickly. In Baltimore County, 221,204 people (25.8%) have received at least one dose and 122,499 (14.8%) are fully vaccinated. We are currently in phase 2A, but all Marylanders eligible in Phase 1 and Phase 2A and 2B are encouraged to pre-register for vaccination at one of our mass vaccination sites. Pre-registration ensures you will be notified when you and your loved ones are able to make an appointment if you are eligible to receive a vaccine. Primary care physicians will begin administering vaccines directly to vulnerable populations for communities with less access to vaccination sites.

On April 13, Phase 2C will open for Marylanders age 55 and older as well as for the remainder of essential workers. Phase 3 will open vaccines to the general public not later than April 27.

Click here for vaccine information and for a comprehensive spreadsheet of all vaccine locations, click here.

You can also text MDReady to 89821 to learn when appointments are available at mass vaccination sites at Six Flags and Regency Furniture Stadium in Prince George’s County and the Convention Center and M& T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. New mass vax sites have been added at the Timonium Fairgrounds, the Navy Stadium in Anne Arundel County, as well as locations in Montgomery, Frederick, Howard, and Harford Counties and will be open by April 12th.

Residents can call the Maryland Health Department 877-319-1525 with any feedback and specific questions related to the virus or the vaccine. For individuals who may not be able to access the vaccine registry via computer or who need additional assistance, please call 311 or use the Baltimore County COVID-19 hotline 410-887-3816. TTY users please call via Maryland Relay 7-1-1. 

Free Rides to Vaccines!
Good news -- Baltimore County will now schedule and cover the cost for Uber rides for residents without other transportation options to ensure they can travel to COVID-19 vaccine clinic sites. Click here for more information.
At Home Vaccinations Available
Residents who have been certified homebound by their physician should complete Baltimore County’s vaccine registration, which allows them to indicate that they are homebound. They will be contacted by the County to schedule a time to receive a vaccine. Public health nurses will partner with EMTs from the Baltimore County Fire Department to travel to residents’ homes via a mobile unit to administer vaccines. This service is available only for residents who are truly homebound. This program has begun, but the County asks residents to be patient – thousands have already registered and indicated that they are homebound, and it will take time for them to reach everyone.

I urge everyone to tune into the weekly Vaccine Workgroup hearings. This Monday at 4:00 pm. will be the last meeting- so be sure to get the latest update. Simply click the camera icon for previously recorded sessions or the LIVE button on Monday.

Already Vaccinated?
Fully vaccinated? Congratulations! Check out the CDC Interim Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated to continue keeping our communities safe and healthy. Once you have been vaccinated please unsubscribe from the pre-register list HERE.


Please contact my office if you have additional questions or concerns or need assistance scheduling an appointment shelly.hettleman@senate.state.md.us 410-841-3131

Helpful Links & Information:
Federal Relief Information- American Rescue Plan

Congress recently approved a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, authorizing new federal spending initiatives and a temporary, but dramatic increase in anti-poverty programs to help millions of families still struggling amid the pandemic.

Details of the American Recovery Act can be found here.
Economic Impact Payments -"Stimulus Check" information can be found here
Check IRS eligibility, questions, and FAQ's here
To check on your payment click here

FEMA to help with COVID funeral/death expenses

In early April, FEMA will begin providing financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020 for deaths related to COVID-19 to help ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the pandemic. The policy was just finalized and FEMA is now moving rapidly to implement this funeral assistance program nationwide. Click here for eligibility and more information.
Scholarship Deadline Approaching!

Each year, Delegates and Senators in the Maryland General Assembly award thousands of Maryland students millions of dollars in financial aid to attend a Maryland institution of higher education. Please note that Senatorial Scholarships are awarded for 4 years and are automatically renewed each year. Upon graduation, students may re-apply for graduate studies. You must be a resident of District 11 to receive a scholarship.

Applications for my scholarship are due on or before April 16, 2021.
Questions? Contact Janet at: jeckman@senate.state.md.us
Baltimore Co. Resources, Assistance & Information

Baltimore County just announced a new online registration system to support County services, including ongoing food distribution for seniors and career center services.

Senior Food Distribution Appointments
Since May 2020, the Baltimore County Department of Aging has provided boxes of food to adults age 60 and older, to help address food insecurity and provide seniors with chronic health conditions with the option to limit trips outside. Food kits include a well-balanced collection of fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggs, a frozen chicken and nonperishable food to help meet the weekly nutritional needs of older adults. Since last May, the Department of Aging has offered almost one million meals to older adults.
The County will continue to distribute food to older adults by appointment only. Appointments will open each Monday at 8:30 a.m. for appointments the following week.

  • To register online, residents will need to provide a phone number, which becomes their unique account ID, and an email address. Individuals will then receive a confirmation of their appointment via email or by text message. Residents can sign-up at baltimorecountymd.gov/aging-food-distribution

To download a copy of the Baltimore County Guide to Community services, click here.

Student Support Services Programs

Program 1: Lifeline: https://www.lifelinesupport.org/ - Provides up to $9.25 for phone or internet service.
 
Program 2: Emergency Broadband Benefit: **The program's start date has not yet been established so keep an eye out for when this begins** https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit 
Will provide a discount of up to $50/monthly. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet

Need help?:

  • Housing & utilities, access to food, healthcare, mental health
  • Consumer and legal assistance
  • Substance abuse or domestic violence issues
  • Worker and Small Business Assistance
  • Internet access
  • Senior and General Community Resources

We regularly update our Resource Guide - please check out recently announced programs by clicking on the button below. Please don't hesitate to call or email my office if we can be of assistance.
Maryland state income tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15, 2021, and all new tax forms will be added or updated by April 15th.

Federal income tax filing and payment deadlines have been extended from April 15 to May 17.

Find out if you qualify for free tax return preparation by calling 211.

Find more information HERE.
Contact Card- Final