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February E-News

February 2016
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February E-News

 

In this Issue
#NotSpringBreak
Prince George’s County Hospital Funding
Need Help Reporting Potholes?
“Out and About” in the 25th
Black History Month
FYI – New Voting Machines
Middle Class Legislative Agenda
25th District “Night in Annapolis”
Policy Updates – MGA 2016
Delegate Scholarship – APPLY TODAY
Helpful Links
Office Staff
Phylicia Henry
Chief of Staff
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Delegate Barnes
E-News

February 2016


Friends,

So much has happened since the start of the 2016 General Assembly Legislative Session.  Last month I mentioned a lot about the importance of safeguarding funding for programs and projects that impact Prince George’s County and the State of Maryland.  We are just about half way through session and I’ve included important updates on the General Assembly’s progress thus far.

Yours in service,

Delegate Darryl Barnes, D25
 

 

ICYMI:  On February 18, 2016, The Legislative Black Caucus held a press conference to address Governor’s lack of action to fund essential programs like healthcare, education and transportation.  Speaking on behalf of the Prince George’s County House Delegation, Jay Walker discussed the importance of Governor Hogan “to stop “politic-in”, and start governing”.

Click above to view a clip of the press conference and click HERE to watch the entire press conference.  My colleagues and I are fighting to safeguard funding to improve Prince George’s County and the State of Maryland.

As a member of The Legislative Black Caucus we’re holding Governor Hogan accountable and I am committed to ensuring we do not roll back on the progress we’ve made.

Governor Larry Hogan Announces $55 Million in Bridge Funding for Prince George’s Hospital

One of our top funding priorities this year is the Regional Medical Center. Before Governor Hogan took office, the delegation was confident State funding to move the project forward would be provided.  But, when Governor Hogan released his initial FY 2017 Budget, $15 Million in operating funds was not included.  

Providing a high level of quality healthcare matters deeply to my colleagues and I, we fought hard to ensure Governor Hogan heard our concerns and understood it’s importance.  On February 5, 2016, Governor Hogan announced the additional $15 Million in operating funds to match the contributions provided by the County.

District 25, were one step closer to improving the health care infrastructure in Prince George’s County! 

State Highway Administration Notice  

As warmer temperatures are in the forecast week following this week’s snowstorm, we’d like to take this opportunity to share resources for constituents to report potholes on state roads and/or submit any claims for damages regarding potholes on state roads.
Customers may submit pothole service requests 24 hours a day Here.

Customers should include as much information regarding the pothole including the name or route number of the state road, direction in which  the pothole exists and any cross streets that will help our crews quickly locate and fill the potholes. All potholes will be filled in the order received, weather and emergencies permitting.
Claims for damages directly related to  potholes on state roads are handled by the Maryland State Treasurer’s Office.  Customers Click Here.

Additionally, customers with claims for pothole damages can contact the State Treasurer’s Office via phone at 410-260-7684. Customers should have as much information as possible when calling the Treasurer’s Office including location of the pothole, time and date of the incident and other information like a service estimate or receipt for any work performed on their vehicle directly attributable to any pothole along a state road and the name and contact number of their insurance company. Any and all next steps regarding a submission of claims for damages will be taken by the Treasurer’s Office after due diligence is performed.

Black History Month – My Black is Beautiful 

Is it just me or we’re you beaming with pride during a historic night back in 2008 when President Barack Obama became the first black President of the United States?   As we all come to grips with our first black President leaving office (I know, I wish he could serve another term too) and as we commemorate black history month; I’d like to share two words President Obama and I both stand for and believe in – hope and opportunity

During Black History Month, we’re reminded of the perseverance and shown by leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Hattie McDaniel, Angela Davis and countless others.  As March approaches, let us remember that our greatest days are upon us and that we all have the opportunity to change lives for the better. #BlackHistoryMonth365


Join the Wilburn Civic Association for a Presentation on the
New Voting System

On March 8, 2016 please join the Wilburn Civic Association and representatives from the State Board of Elections for a voting equipment demonstration on the new voting system in Maryland. Starting in the upcoming April 2016 Primary, voters will begin a new process to cast their vote.

Willburn Civic Association
March 8, 2016 7PM
MIllwood Recreation Center
Contact: Margaret White
h5134543@aol.com 

If your organization or group is interested in hosting an voting equipment demonstration please contact Marilyn W. Dunston at mwdunston@co.pg.md.us

Middle Class Legislative Agenda
This year is all about supporting the middle class.  As a member of the Democratic Caucus and the Ways & Means committee, I am in full support this year’s agenda and I will keep you posted on the legislative progress of the Caucus’s agenda.

The legislature makes a difference. We are the policymakers.

-Speaker Mike Busch

COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY

Over the past eight years, the legislature has limited tuition increases at Maryland’s colleges, to bring Maryland from 7th most expensive to the 26th least expensive. Three bills this year will focus more on the student debt issue that has become a national and local problem: the average debt of a college graduate in Maryland was over $27,000 last year.
With less discretionary income available over the past decade, Maryland’s College Savings 529 Plan has become increasingly out of reach for middle-class families. According to a 2012 report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, less than 3% of families had a 529 plan. Those that participated had about 25 times the median financial assets and a median income about 3 times of those who did not participate in a plan. According to the Department of Legislative Services, “this trend holds true in Maryland.”

  1. Education Affordability Act of 2016
    • To make early college savings more accessible for middle-class families, legislation will incentivize investments in 529 plans by providing a State match. This bill would impact up to 20,000 Maryland families to encourage working families to begin savings for their child’s higher education costs and reduce the amount of future debt.
    • The bill will also assist middle class college graduates and families with student debt exceeding $20,000, based on debt-to-income ratios.
    • The bill also incentivizes students to take 30 credits each year so they can graduate on time in four years, saving students time and money.
  2. Student Loan Refinancing Study
    • Legislation will also be considered to study whether the State can establish a mechanism to refinance student loan debt to more manageable payments, and report back to the General Assembly in 2017.
PAY EQUITY
In 2016, women make an average of 78 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men. At the current rate, it will take 45 years for men and women to be on equal pay footing. In Maryland in 2014, a woman who holds a full time job is paid on average $49,000 per year, while a man who holds a full time job is paid $57,000 per year.
  1. Equal Pay for Equal Work Act
    • Legislation will strengthen expand equal pay for equal work laws in Maryland to all employers, by ensuring that businesses cannot penalize employees for discussing salaries.
    • The bill will also allow for greater sunlight on currently existing pay disparities and broadens existing State standards used to determine whether unlawful compensation discrimination exists.
    • The bill specifies that the Attorney General can also enforce pay discrimination claims.
 
RETIREMENT SECURITY
With employer-sponsored retirement plans in decline across the country, and Maryland employees having only Social Security to rely on, there cannot be a further delay in providing Marylanders with a path towards economic stability in retirement. An estimated one million Marylanders lack adequate retirement savings and are at risk of financial distress when they eventually retire. More than a third of those within ten years of retirement age have saved less than $10,000.
  1. Retirement Security
    • Last year, the presiding officers established an interim workgroup on retirement security & savings to work with the federal Department of Labor to identify ways that Maryland can help families save for retirement.
    • Legislation is being finalized to establish a program to incentivize employers who do not already offer retirement options to provide retirement savings plans to all employees.

Girl Scouts Take Annapolis!

Each year, I always look forward to welcoming the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc down to Annapolis to hear their legislative agenda.  I have co – sponsored several bills in their agenda and I am in full support of their agenda as well.

This year, they are following important legislation that may interest you:

  • HB1003/SB481 – Equal Pay for Equal Work
  • HB1175/SB664 – Fair Scheduling, Wages, and Benefits Act
  • HB580/SB472 – Labor and Employment Maryland Healthy Working Families Act
  • HB155/SB278 – Criminal Law Stalking and Harassment
  • HB1002/SB906 – Weapon – Free Higher Education Zones
  • HB864 – Aggressive Drunk Driving – Punitive Damages 
  • HB1396 – Domestic Violence – Education & Definition of Abuse
  • HB 1000/SB1040 – Public Safety – Firearms – Terrorism Watch List 
  • HB 623/SB866 – Criminal Procedure – Post conviction Review Conviction of Human Trafficking Victim
Praise and Worship with Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee Chair Cheryl Landis at Largo Community Church
Feburary 21, 2016

Upcoming Events 

I am sponsoring five bills this session related to voting, education, criminal justice reform and healthcare.  You can always check the status of each bill by visiting the Maryland General Assembly website.

HB 592 – Blue Ribbon Commission on Voting, Openness, Transparency, and Equality (VOTE) in Elections
Establishing the Blue Ribbon Commission on Voting, Openness, Transparency, and Equality (VOTE) in Elections to examine ways to encourage broader voter participation and engage new voting populations through a study of specified issues; requiring the Commission to report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly on or before December 31, 2017; etc.
Status:  Bill hearing was on 2/24, Awaiting Voting Session

HB 770 – Criminal Procedure – Nonviolent Felonies – Stet, Shielding, and Expungement
Requiring a court to dispose of a charge for a nonviolent felony by stet if the court finds that the disposition is in the interest of justice; authorizing a person to file a petition to shield a conviction for a nonviolent felony in accordance with specified provisions of law no earlier than 3 years after the person satisfies specified requirements; etc.
Status: Bill hearing is on 3/8 at 1PM

HB 771 – Public and Nonpublic Schools – Student Diabetes Management Program
Requiring the State Department of Education and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to establish specified guidelines for the training of employees to become trained diabetes care providers; establishing that the purpose of the Student Diabetes Management Program is to have trained employee volunteers available to provide diabetes care services to students with diabetes during school hours and, when possible, at school-sponsored activities, including field trips and extracurricular activities; etc.
Status: Bill Hearing is scheduled for 3/14 1PM

HB 983 – Public Schools – Food Recovery Programs – Authorization

Authorizing a county board of education to develop and implement a specified food recovery program for schools under the jurisdiction of the county board; and authorizing a county board, if it exercises specified authority, to apply for recognition of its food recovery program under any food recovery certification program.

Status: Bill hearing is on 3/3 at 1 PM

HB 1208 – Creation of a State Debt – Prince George’s County – Mt. Ephraim Multipurpose Room
Authorizing the creation of a State Debt not to exceed $100,000, the proceeds to be used as a grant to the Board of Directors of the Mt. Ephraim Community Non-Profit Development Corporation for the acquisition, planning, design, construction, repair, renovation, reconstruction, and capital equipping of the Mt. Ephraim Multipurpose Room, located in Prince George’s County; providing for disbursement of the loan proceeds, subject to a requirement that the grantee provide and expend a matching fund; etc.
Status: On First Reading in Appropriations 

Delegate Darryl Barnes Scholarship 2016 – 2017
To apply, please click HERE.

Who may apply: Current high school seniors and full-time or part-time, degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students. Students attending a private career school may also apply.
How to apply:  Please contact my office after the start of the 2015 Legislative session for further instructions. These awards are made on the basis of need as demonstrated on the FAFSA in addition to completing an application provided by my office.
When to apply: Complete and file the FAFSA by March 1. Contact my office in February for further instructions.
Eligible majors: All majors are eligible.

The application process for the Delegate scholarship is OPEN, please share with your networks.
To apply, please click HERE!

Source: Maryland Higher Education Commission

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