April 3, 2021 Weekly Update
We are now about two weeks from the end of session, and we are starting to see the results that this year's legislative session will bring for our area.
Yesterday, the House and Senate conferred on each chamber's amendments to the FY22 State Operating Budget. This budget is balanced, includes over $1.2 billion in assistance for struggling Marylanders and businesses, and increases direct aid to our schools by $228 million. Most importantly, I was able to secure the following for St. Mary's County:
✔️$4.79 million for the Maryland Heritage Interpretive Center at Historic St. Mary's City
✔️$500,000 for the design and acquisition of a new fire/rescue vessel for the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department
✔️$500,000 for the airport's autonomous systems center and capital improvements.
✔️$100,000 for the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum
FORT TO 400:
On Tuesday, the House passed my bill to establish the HSMC Fort to 400 Commission. I'm proud to work with Senator Bailey to prepare for Maryland's 400th anniversary in 2034, continue archaeological research on St. Mary's Fort, and invest in the growth of our local tourism economy.
Delegate Luedtke's HB745, which expands the number of early voting centers in Maryland, passed the full General Assembly. This bill will require St. Mary's County to have two early voting centers starting in the next election cycle. I collaborated with Delegate Luedtke while he was drafting this legislation to ensure that factors such as density and historically disenfranchised communities are given weight when selecting the additional location(s). I am hopeful my bill to expand transportation, HB656, along with Delegate Luedtke’s bill, makes voting easier for St. Mary’s County voters. As you watch news of states around the country working to dismantle voting rights, know that in Maryland, we are working hard to expand voter access.
Next week, I will present HB1013 to the Senate Environment, Health, and Educational Affairs Committee. We're one step closer to ending the archaic madness of changing our clocks twice a year! Read the full bill here.