The Legislative Week in Review
Children of Incarcerated Parents
Maryland Equal Access to Food Act of 2017 (3/9, Senate Finance
Committee, 1 pm)
Family League submitted testimony in favor of the Senate version of a bill that would repeal the year-long waiting period currently required to reinstate food and cash assistance benefits to nonviolent felony drug offenders after they’ve served their sentence. The bill hopes to reduce recidivism rates and make it easier for adult offenders to transition back into society. Read our testimony in support of this bill here.
Senator Madaleno with members of the Job Opportunities Task Force, the Partnership to End Childhood Hunger, Out for Justice, and others after testifying in support of SB 853, the Maryland Equal Access to Food Act of 2017.
Tuition Waivers for Foster Care Recipients and Unaccompanied
Homeless Youth (3/1, Senate Education, Health, and Environmental
Affairs Committee, 1 pm)
A bill aimed at expanding access to tuition waiver to unaccompanied homeless youth who graduated high school prior to turning 18 was heard on March 1. The bill was a submitted as technical addition to a similar bill that was signed into law last session, and had full committee support at the hearing. Read our testimony in support of this bill here.
School Discipline and Restorative Practices
Suspensions and Expulsions (3/8, Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, 1 pm)
On March 8, Family League provided written support for the Senate version of a bill that would prohibit the use of expulsion and suspension of students between the prekindergarten and second grade as consequences for poor behavior. Current disciplinary practices disproportionately affect young male students of color and students with disabilities. The bill would also require the school to provide specified supports to address the student’s behavior, and require the school system to remedy the impact of the student’s behavior through specified intervention methods. Read our testimony in support of this bill here.
Governor’s Office for Children and Interagency Fund
(2/28, Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, 1 pm)
Family League President and CEO Jonathon Rondeau testified in support of the new budget put forth by the Governor’s Office for Children for fiscal year 2018. Mr. Rondeau highlighted the importance of the financial support provided to Local Management Boards (LMBs) by the GOC, and how the financial support has allowed Family League to provide higher levels of support and accountability to our partners. A similar hearing was held in the House on February 10th. Read our testimony in support of this bill here.
Other Bills of Interest
Food Deserts- Small Loans (2/28, House Environment and Transportation Committee, 1 pm)
Family League submitted testimony in support of a bill that would require the Department of Housing and Community Development, as an aspect of its Business Development Program, to provide low-interest loans to projects and businesses addressing a lack of access to fresh, healthy food in defined food deserts across the state. The bill entered committee with no opposition. Read our testimony in support of this bill here.
Statewide Reporting-2-1-1 Maryland (3/9, Senate Finance Committee, 1 pm)
Due to unfavorable review by the Senate Finance Committee, this bill, which would have centralized child abuse and neglect reporting to one phone number throughout the state, was withdrawn by its sponsor. Family League has submitted written testimony in opposition to both the House and Senate versions of the bill. Read that testimony here.
City Council Resolution 17-0013R
Request for State Action: Ban the Box for College Applications (3/6)
Would call on the State to eliminate questions about criminal background from Maryland college applications to ensure that all Marylanders get a fair chance of attaining a college education.
Luncheon with the Legislative Black Caucus and the Interfaith Partners of the Chesapeake- Environmental Justice: Food Deserts & Equity (3/1, House Office Building, Rooms 170 & 180, 11:30 am)
The Legislative Black Caucus collaborated with the Interfaith Partners of the Chesapeake to host a luncheon providing opportunities for legislators, environmental justice advocates, and citizens to network and discuss the impacts of environmental injustice on marginalized communities. Delegate Cheryl Glenn, Chair of the Caucus, spoke about the importance of prioritizing environment issues in the legislature, and Jodi Rose, Executive Director of the Interfaith Partners, highlighted the historical significance of the “environment versus the economy” dichotomy that has pervaded policy conversations about environmental justice.
Edible produce centerpieces were provided by Hungry Harvest, an organization that combats food waste by recovering produce that isn’t aesthetically pleasing enough (or too abundant) to be sold in grocery stores and delivers that food to customers.
Family League remains interested in issues of environmental justice given the impact of those issues on the health and academic prospects of children throughout Baltimore City. Learn more about the Legislative Black Caucus here, the Interfaith Partners of the Chesapeake here, and Hungry Harvest here.
The Weeks Ahead
Maryland Healthy Working Families Act (3/14, Senate Floor, 10 am)
After a few days of contentious conversation, the Senate is expected to take a final vote on the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, which would require employers with more than 15 employees to offer an hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
Senate Chamber Hearings
Hunger-Free Schools Act of 2017 (3/21, Senate Budget and
Taxation Committee, 1 pm)
After passing the Third Reading on both the House and Senate floors with majority votes, the bill that aims to reauthorize the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the Hunger-Free Schools Act of 2015 is scheduled to be heard in its original committees again next week. Family League will continue to support this critical bill, protecting universal free school meals in Baltimore City schools.
Maryland Meals for Achievement for Teens Act of 2017
(3/21, House Ways and Means Committee, 1 pm)
This bill aims to allow schools to serve breakfast at any location within schools, including classrooms. The bill passed unanimously in its Third Reading in both the Senate and House floors last week, and will have a subsequent House committee hearing on the 21st.
Tuition Waivers for Foster Care Recipients and Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (3/21, House Ways and Means Committee, 1 pm)
A bill that seeks to include foster care recipients and unaccompanied homeless youth who are under the age of 18 at the time of their high school graduation in a group of students who are eligible recipients for tuition waivers is scheduled to be heard in the House, after being unanimously approved in the Senate. Family League has supported this bill through its first chamber passage, and will continue to do so in its second chamber hearing.
FAMILY LEAGUE RESOURCES
Please download and share these informative documents:
FamilyLeague FY17 State Policy Priorities
Family League Investment Maps (State Districts)
Community Eligibility Provision Re-authorization Summary