Legislative Session Update

Dear Friends

It's tempting to quote A Tale of Two Cities to describe the month that just ended:
“It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness, . . .
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair . . .

Two weeks after the horrific storming of our nation's Capitol by insurrectionists hoping to overturn the election, President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris were inaugurated on January 20. If their first two weeks in office are any indication, they will restore integrity, competence, and compassion to the White House. The Biden Administration seems to be laser-focused on organizing a national response to COVID-19 and the ongoing economic crisis it caused. 

At the same time, the pandemic is still claiming many lives, hurting businesses, and keeping many people out of work. Since last March, the District 11 legislative staff have assisted close to a thousand constituents who had trouble receiving their unemployment insurance benefits. The process has often been painfully slow for these constituents, many of whom became unemployed in March and continue to be without jobs.

In Annapolis, as we started our new legislative session on January 13, the pandemic was, and will remain, top-of-mind. The legislature is working on a relief package that will provide benefits to businesses, payments to low- to moderate-income Marylanders, and other assistance. We’ll also consider protections for front-line workers and tackle major issues on education, law enforcement, and the environment.

And we’ll do all of this in a setting that is completely different from any in history. COVID has changed most workplaces, and Annapolis is no exception. All of our committee hearings are taking place on Zoom--witness testimony and all--and when delegates return for floor session in a week or so, we’ll be located at two different sites with our desks physically distanced (see above photo). The House Office Building and State House—usually humming with activity, group visits and chatter—are eerily quiet and practically empty these days.
Now accepting applications
The link at left will take you to my website with applications for students attending a university or college in Maryland and who live in District 11. Applications must be postmarked by March 31, 2021.
Despite the change in procedures and tone, we’ve quickly gotten down to business. In the first two weeks, I had hearings on 11 of my bills, five of which have already been approved by the House Environment and Transportation Committee. These were bills that passed the House last year but ran out of time due to the shortened session, and include legislation on recycling, protecting vulnerable road users, and prohibiting animal killing contests. 

I also have several new bills and re-introductions of bills that didn’t make it out of the House last year—more on those in later newsletters.

Constituents--Virtually Visiting

In the meantime, I want to thank the constituents representing different groups who visited (virtually!) to discuss issues they care about. Among the groups so far were Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, staff from the Pikesville and Owings Mills Public Libraries, Sierra Club, CASA, and the Maryland Pharmacy Coalition.

I also appreciate the many constituents who have already sent emails advocating for legislation. And many thanks to my dedicated legislative director, Margie Brassil, who in addition to coordinating my legislation and constituent responses, has had to navigate all of the new procedures in place this session.

Watch the General Assembly Session --
LIVE This Year!

Participating in the General Assembly Session is easier than ever this year, since all hearings are virtual, testimony can be submitted online, and you can even watch committee votes and the Floor Sessions LIVE! To find out more on how to do all this, check out the cool video tutorials here. And, if you are interested in testifying on a bill, or simply want to track one to see whether it passes, be sure to create a MyMGA account.


Last Thursday evening, January 28, my fellow District 11 legislators and I held a Virtual Town Hall that provided very helpful information on the COVID-19 Vaccine. In case you missed it, or want to refresh yourself on some of the details, here is a link to the You Tube recording: https://youtu.be/KjcnuDQZwVg

Here are some additional links with helpful information on the vaccine:

We have received many follow-up emails from folks who registered with Baltimore County, but are concerned because no confirmation email was received. The Baltimore County Health Department initially did not send confirmation emails--but they have corrected the system and are doing so now. If you had previously registered and are concerned, rest assured you are in the system. Please do not re-register. If you would like an assurance, you may request a confirmation to COVIDvax@baltimorecountymd.gov. They are working as quickly as possible to respond, but it may take several days to hear back.

Thank you again for your patience as systems adjust to unprecedented times.

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.

I'm proud to represent District 11 in the Maryland General Assembly House of Delegates. If I can ever be of assistance, please contact me at dana.stein@house.state.md.us or call the Annapolis Office at 410-841-3527.