Halfway Through Session and
Much Accomplished!
Dear Friends,

Saturday February 27 was day 45--the halfway mark of session. In two weeks we'll be at Crossover, when bills have to be voted out of each chamber to be heard in the opposite chamber. Work in our Committees and Subcommittees are picking up as that date approaches. In the meantime, the House and Senate have passed a number of important bills, some of which will be highlighted below.

Several of my bills had passed through the House last year but failed to get through the Senate before the General Assembly was forced to shut down early due to the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic. I'm pleased that nine of my seventeen bills have passed the House and are now waiting in the Senate to be heard after Crossover.
MY KEY LEGISLATION
Climate Solutions Now Act (HB583 / SB414)
 
In recognition of the climate emergency, the Climate Solutions Now Act is omnibus legislation that would accomplish several goals. It would realign our state's requirements for greenhouse gas emissions reductions with the recommendations of climate scientists: 60% reduction by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2045.
 
The legislation requires several climate actions to reduce emissions: increasing energy efficiency; planting 5 million trees over 8 years, including 500,000 trees in under-served areas; electrifying our state vehicle and bus fleet; setting a net-zero emissions standard for new state-funded buildings; strengthening energy conservation standards for large new buildings; and setting efficiency standards for large buildings when major renovations are conducted.
 
The legislation also implements several Environmental Justice (EJ) initiatives and establishes a Just Transition Employment and Retraining Working Group to advise on opportunities related to the transition to a clean energy economy.


Personal Information - State and Local Agencies - Restrictions on Access (The Driver Privacy Act) (HB23 / SB234)
 
In 2013, the legislature set up a “second-tier” driver’s license for undocumented immigrants in the State, and encouraged them to obtain the license. In recent years, it turns out that through access to the State’s database, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been using these driver’s licenses to identify immigrants, show up on their door-step, and then deport them. 
 
This should not happen unless ICE has a warrant or court order to get access to the State’s database. This legislation would require they do so.

Public Safety - Access to Firearms - Storage Requirements
(Jaelynn's Law) (HB200 / SB 479)
 
There is much debate on how to reduce gun violence in our schools—including arming teachers and security guards, better mental health treatment, metal detectors, etc. Another important way to reduce gun violence in schools is to reduce access to guns among young people. Data shows that if youth did not have access to guns, more than two-thirds of past gun violence in schools could not have occurred. 
 
This bill addresses weaknesses in Maryland’s current law on firearm storage so as to better protect children. The legislation requires all firearms, loaded or unloaded, to be stored in a location where an unsupervised minor under the age of 18 could not get access.
 
 
Vehicle Laws - Injury or Death of Vulnerable Individual – Penalties
 
This bill was recommended by the Maryland Bicycle Safety Task Force and is based on a model law provided by the League of American Bicyclists. It is part of a national movement to fill a critical policy gap in many state laws to promote safer driving and save lives.
 
HB 118 would protect vulnerable road users (walkers, cyclists, wheelchair users, children on training wheels, a parent pushing a stroller, or someone with a disability) by increasing penalties for drivers who hit a vulnerable road user. The bill says that if a driver kills or seriously injures such an individual, they will be subject to a fine of up to $2,000, will have their license suspended for at least 7 days and not more than 6 months, and may be subject to other penalties.
 
 
Natural Resources - Organized Killing Contests – Restriction

This bill would prohibit wildlife contest killing contests whose goal is to kill as many animals as possible, by whatever means possible. They are conducted for prizes or monetary awards. Hundreds of animals may be killed. Most contests involve fox, coyotes or raccoons. Many times, their bodies are dumped as trash.  
MAJOR LEGISLATION UPDATES
The House passed SB 218 to expand Maryland’s $1.5B relief package to eligible Marylanders with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Without SB218, nearly 86,000 immigrant tax payers would be excluded from the RELIEF Act – including the highest earned income tax credit (EITC) in the nation. The pandemic has hit low-income families the hardest and all Marylanders – regardless of their status – should have access to these critical relief benefits. 
The House passed HB 1048 to make voting easier and more convenient by creating a permanent mail-in ballot option. Marylanders who want to vote by mail in future elections will not need to request a ballot for every election. Elections during the pandemic have shown us that our existing mail-in voting process works and that voters should be able to choose the option that works best for them. This is an important step towards a more accessible and equitable democracy.
The House passed HB 30 to ensure that climate change is part of the conversation when energy and utility regulations are considered at the Public Service Commission. The Office of the People’s Counsel will add staff to focus on climate change and environmental issues, including our progress towards meeting our greenhouse gas reduction goals.
The House passed HB 3 to take the Governor out of parole decisions for those who are sentenced to life in prison after 20 years. Politics should not have any place in our parole system.   
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.
VACCINE UPDATES

With the addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, numbers have been picking up--but not yet where we would like them to be. In Baltimore County, nearly 160,000 people have received the first dose (about 19% of population) and close to 100,000 have had their second dose (about 12%). Baltimore County Health Department is still primarily focused on Groups 1A and 1B, to ensure that those who live in congregate living facilities, healthcare workers, and others whose jobs require them to be exposed daily are fully vaccinated.

Get a Ride to Your Appointment

County residents who have made a vaccine appointment but do not have access to transportation options can call 311 to be connected to CountyRide staff. Staff will schedule an Uber ride for you. After receiving their vaccine, staff at the vaccine clinic will be available to help schedule rides home. Click here for more information.

Homebound Vaccinations Available

Residents who have been certified homebound by their physician should complete Baltimore County’s vaccine registration, which allows you to indicate that you are homebound. You will be contacted by the County to schedule a time to receive their 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

For additional information: Baltimore County Vaccine Hub

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.

Innovative Vaccine Alert System- Developed by College Student

Reisterstown native, Mathew Steininger, a student at UMD College Park, has created a website and Twitter alert system to automatically monitor online booking portals for 16 major hospitals, retail pharmacies, and state-run vaccine sites across the state.

Check out his website: https://mdvax.info/ throughout the day for updates.

Or, if you are on Twitter, you can follow @MDVaxAlerts to get instant alerts.

Watch the General Assembly Session --
LIVE this Year
 
Floor debates are getting more lively--maybe because we're being live-streamed this year. If you would like to watch a debate or listen in to committee hearings you may be interested in, check out the MGA's 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.


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.
Sincerely,