January 8, 2021
As we begin a new year, I am incredibly proud of the work we have done #OnlyTogether to care for each other. As I said in December, so many in our community have suffered devastating losses this calendar year and at the same time so many have stepped up generously to be the light for others. I am incredibly proud of our community and the many ways we've continued forward.
I also want to thank all of our Prince George's County employees who have risen to meet the demands placed on Prince George's County and our region in light of the dual crises of both a pandemic and racial inequities.
Below are highlights of many of the bills I proposed, sponsored and supported during the County Council's 2020 Legislative Year. You can access all County Council legislation here. Follow County Council agendas, including links to proposed bills and resolutions in 2021 here.
Legislation Celebrating and Supporting our Diversity
Juneteenth Observance Resolution
expressed the County's support for the celebration of Juneteenth National Freedom Day, the date when the last enslaved Americans learned of their freedom.
Public Charge Resolution
denounced the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the expanded public charge rule, which designates any person who uses one or more public benefits (including Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, WIC, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) a public charge to the United States government and considers denying them entry to the United States, legal permanent resident status, or naturalization.
Responsible Legacy Task Force Resolutions
created and updated a task force to review the names of all public buildings, streets, schools, and places of honor in the County in order to ensure they reflect our diversity and culture. The task force will recommend places for name change, offer alternative names, and create a process for name changes. PGCPS is undertaking this work regarding school names separately.
Transgender Day of Remembrance Resolution
marked the first time the County Council recognized Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is an annual day to call attention to the violence and discrimination transgender and gender nonconforming individuals face in the County and across the Country.
Immigration Detention During COVID-19 Pandemic
called attention to the risk that Prince George's County residents face to contracting COVID-19 in immigration detention and called for their immediate release.
Expansion of Language Access Program
built on the County's existing Immigrant Services and Language Access (ISLA) Program to further expand access to County government for non-English speakers.
Legislation Improving Our Quality of Life
Prohibiting rent increases and late fees during COVID pandemic
prohibited rent increases and late fees during the COVID pandemic state of emergency, and encouraged landlords to offer tenants payment plans and extending the moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent to August 31, 2020. CB-078-2020
allowed for rent increases, but capped them at 2.6% per annum and continued to prohibit increases for those who had suffered a loss of income due to COVID.
Requiring air conditioning in rental housing meets certain requirements
amended the Landlord-Tenant Code to require that any air conditioning equipment provided by a landlord is properly installed, connected and maintained, including setting a minimum temperature it must reach during the summer months.
Addressing illegal dumping
expanded the County's prohibition on littering to cover the dumping of bulky items on public and private property, including a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment up to 30 days. Please report illegal dumping to 311.
Addressing unpermitted construction
allowed the Department of Permitting and Inspections (DPIE) to halt unpermitted construction immediately without having to go through a lengthy judicial process. The bill also allowed DPIE to impose civil fines for all violations, making each day the violation continues a separate violation.
Initiating the Adelphi Road-UMGC/UMD Purple Line Station Area Sector Plan and Sectional Map Amendment: CR-123-2020 initiates a new Sector Plan and concurrent Sectional Map Amendment for the areas around this future Purple Line Station to ensure community input on the future development surrounding this station.
Increasing the authority of the DPIE Administrative Hearing Unit: CB-81-2020 to enforce property standards and maintenance violations on nonresidential property in Prince George's County.
Legislation Promoting Healthy Communities
Establishing Health In All Policies in Prince George's County: CR-127-2020 establishes an approach that recognizes that many health factors are outside of clinical settings and require communities to take a hard look at their investment choices for health.
Making healthy food choices for kids easier
created new guidelines for children's meals in County restaurants, making the default options in children's meals the healthiest option. Prince George's County is leading the way across the country with healthy children's meals.
Attracting grocery stores to food deserts: CB-003-2020 and CB-075-2020 extended the grocery store tax credit to cover personal property, in addition to real property, to attract grocery stores to healthy food priority areas in the County.
Designating Health Food Priority Areas in Prince George's County: CR-99-2020 designates these areas in the County.
Establishing the Prince George's County Food Security Task Force: CR-62-2020 establishes the Prince George's County Food Security Task Force to address issues related to the demand and supply of healthy food and areas with limited access to healthy food, food-health connections, school meals, and food security in Prince Georges County.
Prohibiting fly ash landfills
prohibited fly ash landfills, which can contain harmful amounts of heavy metals and threaten the health and safety of County residents.
Legislation Supporting Local Businesses and Creating Jobs
Expanding access to County procurement for local businesses
made changes to the County's procurement process to increase the participation of local businesses.
Attracting data centers to the County
allowed the County to reduce property tax assessments to qualifying data centers as an incentive to draw these job-creating businesses to the County.
Creating a business license for Food Halls
: CB-86-2020 creates a special business license to streamline the establishment of Food Halls in Prince George's County.
Legislation Supporting Additional Affordable Housing
I was proud to join with the majority of my colleagues to support CR-094-2020
which each supported County investment at the Woodyard Station Senior Apartments project to build new affordable senior housing in Clinton. The Council also passed CR-093-2020
to support the United Communities Against Poverty (UCAP) Neighborhood Development Program.
County Council Retreat
This week my colleagues and I participated in a virtual version of the Council's annual retreat. The schedule and briefing materials are available online here
The County Council continues to meet virtually in 2021. I look forward to a productive year under the leadership of Council Chair Calvin Hawkins and Vice Chair Deni Taveras.
The County's COVID-19 vaccine webpage contains the latest updates to the phased distribution plan, the vaccine data dashboard, initial information on how residents in future phases will be able to sign up for vaccines, and more.
Watch this week's COVID-19 and vaccine update press conference from County Executive Alsobrooks here
PGCPS School Boundary Virtual Community Conversations
PGCPS is conducting a Comprehensive School Boundary Initiative. With community input, the initiative will develop scenarios for boundary adjustments in order to populate new and expanded school facilities and balance facility utilization.
It's very important for our entire community to engage in these conversations. Please plan to attend one or more of the virtual events.
Spanish language: Saturday, Jan. 9
Central County: Tuesday, Jan. 12
North County: Wednesday, Jan. 13
Learn more: https://www.pgcps.org/boundary
Capital Region Rail Vision
Please join me on Monday, January 11, at 12:00 p.m. for a webinar to hear from transportation and policy experts on the recently released Vision. We will discuss the elements, benefits and barriers of the Vision and how the region can work effectively together to collaborate and support the Vision's delivery to see it to fruition. Successful delivery of the Vision affects residents and employers throughout the Capital Region from Baltimore to Richmond. A Q&A will be held after the panel discussion.
Learn more and register here
Is the MAGLEV Good for Prince George's County? Virtual Town Hall
Please join Council Member Jolene Ivey, Maryland Coalition for Responsible Transit, and me on Thursday, January 14, at 7:00 p.m. for a discussion about SC MAGLEV (aka BW MAGLEV) project. Register here
Free Food Distributions in/near Council District 3
I continue to share regular updates about food distributions and other resources on social media, especially my Facebook page. #onlytogether
Together Strengthening Our Community,