Influencing Systems

Family League engages, informs, and collaborates with leaders and policymakers to create an efficient network of opportunities for children and families in Baltimore through policy recommendations at the local, state, and national levels. We believe sharing data helps bring positive and lasting change for Baltimore families.

We recognize that it is critical to approach our work through a racial equity lens. The Racial Equity Analysis Tool supports our efforts to advocate for policy changes in a way that mitigates the impact of racism entrenched in existing structures by accounting for stakeholder input, unintended consequences, root-cause transformational ability, and questions of implementation in the development of legislation.

2021 Public Policy Priorities

This year, Family League is taking a deeper approach to our advocacy efforts by rooting all of our policy work in our recently released Community Health Needs Assessment developed in partnership with Morgan State University’s School of Community Health and Policy and through the generous support of the Bainum Family Foundation and the Goldseker Foundation. This document provides a community-informed foundation, not just for our soon-to-be-released strategic planning but also for establishing policy priorities to support improved outcomes for children, youth, and families in Baltimore. Concerns that were recurring themes in conversations with various segments of stakeholders included:

Maryland Results Areas of Child Wellbeing

 

As the Local Management Board for Baltimore City, our policy advocacy work is also guided by and in support of the Governor’s Office Of Crime Prevention Youth And Victim Services’ Results for Child Well-Being.  Through our Strategic Planning Process, we have prioritized three of these results areas for 2021 through 2024:
– the success of Baltimore City’s children in school;
– the economic stability of families; and
– the safety of communities for children, youth, and families.

While our work will prioritize improving outcomes in these areas, Family League understands the interdependence of all the Results Areas of Child Well-Being. We will continue to work with our partners and the community to improve outcomes across all domains.

Headings for Priority Areas_OST-Pandemic

POLICY PRIORIT(IES/Y)

  • Extend Summer Camp licensing through the state of emergency
  • Bring back EPCC (Emergency Personnel Child Care) Program
  • Incentivize and encourage school and community partnership where school personnel are supervising external partners in a variety of program models.
  • Create waivers that expand COMAR exemptions to Y’s, Boys & Girls Clubs and local government-funded and -operated programs that have program standards and accountability consistent with camp regulations.
Headings for Priority Areas_Child Care - Pandemic
POLICY PRIORIT(IES/Y)
  • Direct grants to child care providers
  • Restoration of child care scholarship/voucher payments to providers based on enrollment (rather than attendance) from the Maryland State Department of Education.
  • Coordinated procurement of masks, face shields, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap, and other PPEs for child care providers
  • Additional state funds for the network of child care resource centers to provide business support and coaching to child care providers
  • Publicly funded care options for school-age children OR subsidies to parents to pay for the unexpected expense of child care for school-age children.
2021 Legislative Session Bill Status

House Bill 608: Early Childhood Education – Child Care Provider Support Grant Program (The Child Care Provider Support Act)

Establishing the Child Care Provider Support Grant Program to provide funds to eligible grantees to help support the operations of child care centers; requiring the Department of Commerce, in consultation with the State Department of Education, to implement and administer the Grant Program and, in consultation with certain industry leaders or advisory groups, to adopt certain regulations; requiring the Governor to include in the annual budget bill an appropriation of $25,000,000 for the Grant Program; etc.

Update: DID NOT PASS (Family League Supported)

House Bill 944/Senate Bill 711: Growing Family Child Care Opportunities Pilot Program – Established

This bill would authorize the Maryland State Department of Education to provide grants to local jurisdictions or childcare licensing regions to increase the supply of and ensure sustainability for family childcare providers in areas with above-average rates of poverty and unemployment. Click here to read more information.

Headings for Priority Areas_Education
POLICY PRIORIT(IES/Y)
  • Strengthening the Community School Strategy through the funding of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future
  • Addressing the digital divide through increased funding for school districts and the expansion of the Governor’s Rural Broadband Office to include Baltimore City
  • Addressing School Year 21 enrollment loss through a hold-harmless bill, using 2019 count unless 2020 is higher
  • Addressing Student Discipline through a bill that would remove SROs and redirect investments to mental health supports
  • Securing funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities

2021 Legislative Session Bill Status

House Bill 1/Senate Bill 1: Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Funding

Requiring the Maryland Higher Education Commission to establish a new unit to assist in evaluating and reviewing certain proposals for new programs and substantial modifications of existing programs; requiring the Governor, for fiscal years 2023 through 2032, to include in the annual State operating budget $577,000,000 to be allocated to certain historically black colleges and universities; establishing the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Reserve Fund; requiring the Cigarette Restitution Fund to include a separate account; etc. Click here for more information.

Update: PASSED (Family League Supported)

House Bill 34/Senate Bill 278: State Department of Education and Maryland Department of Health – Telehealth 

Requiring the State Department of Education and the Maryland Department of Health to authorize a certain health care practitioner at an approved school-based health center to provide health care services through telehealth under certain circumstances; prohibiting the State Department of Education and the Maryland Department of Health from establishing certain requirements for a certain school-based health center to provide health care services through telehealth; etc. Click here for more information.

Update: PASSED (Family League Supported)

House Bill 97/Senate Bill 66: Department of Housing and Community Development – Office of Digital Inclusion – Established (Digital Connectivity Act of 2021) 

Establishing the Office of Statewide Broadband in the Department of Housing and Community Development to ensure that every resident of the State is supported by high-quality broadband Internet service at an affordable price and has the tools necessary to use and take advantage of the Internet; requiring the Office to develop, by July 1, 2022, a statewide plan to ensure all State residents can connect to reliable broadband Internet by December 31, 2026; establishing the Digital Inclusion Fund to support capacity building in the State; etc. Click here for more information.

Update: PASSED (Family League Supported)

Headings for Priority Areas_Police Reform Crim Justice
POLICY PRIORIT(IES/Y)
  • Diversion of crises calls to appropriate community resources
  • The implementation of recommendations included in the final report of the Workgroup to Address Police Reform and Accountability

2021 Legislative Session Bill Status

House Bill 409/Senate Bill 494: Juveniles Convicted as Adults – Sentencing – Limitations and Reduction (Juvenile Restoration Act) 

Authorizing a court, when sentencing a minor convicted as an adult, to impose a sentence less than a certain minimum term; prohibiting a court from imposing a sentence of life without the possibility of parole or release for a minor; authorizing an individual convicted as an adult for an offense committed as a minor to file a motion to reduce the duration of the sentence; requiring a court to conduct a hearing on a motion to reduce the sentence; requiring notice of the hearing be given to the victim or the victim’s representative; etc. Click here for more information.
Update: PASSED, Vetoed by Governor Hogan, Overridden (Family League Supported)

Headings for Priority Areas_Child Welfare
POLICY PRIORIT(IES/Y)
  • Disaggregation of child welfare data by race and ethnicity
  • Expanding Tuition Waiver to foster and unaccompanied homeless youth
  • Gender expression protections for youth in foster care

2021 Legislative Session Bill Status

Senate Bill 592: State Child Welfare System Reporting

Altering the contents of a certain report required by the Department of Human Services regarding children and foster youth in the State child welfare system; requiring the State Department of Education, on or before December 1 each year, to report to the General Assembly and the Department of Human Services certain information regarding children and foster youth in the State child welfare system; requiring the State Department of Education to publish each report on its website within 30 days after submission to the General Assembly; etc. Click here for more information.
Update: PASSED (Family League Supported)

Headings for Priority Areas_Economic Security
POLICY PRIORIT(IES/Y)
  • Support of the Time to Care Act providing paid family leave
  • Support of the re-introduction of a bill to expand eligibility for the Earn Income Tax Credit to people without qualifying children
  • Support of equitable access to Transportation by securing MTA funding
  • Access to banking for unaccompanied and homeless youth

House Bill 612/Senate Bill 496: Recovery for the Economy, Livelihoods, Industries, Entrepreneurs, and Families (RELIEF) Act

Providing certain financing during fiscal years 2021 and 2022 for the purpose of relieving the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic; allowing, for certain taxable years, a subtraction under the Maryland income tax for certain unemployment insurance benefits; allowing, for certain taxable years, a subtraction under the Maryland income tax for certain coronavirus relief payments received by a person during the taxable year; etc. Click here for more information.
Update: PASSED (Family League Supported)

House Bill 786: Department of Human Services, Maryland Department of Health, and Department of Education- Easing Access to Family Support Programs 

Establishing that it is the policy of the State to do everything possible to alleviate administrative hurdles for low-income families seeking access to support programs; requiring that the Department of Human Services, the Maryland Department of Health, and the State Department of Education to take certain steps to achieve the policy goal and to simplify the application process for family support programs; requiring a joint progress report be submitted by January 1, 2023 and include areas where legislative changes are needed. Click here for more information.

Update: DID NOT PASS (Family League Supported)

Senate Bill 881: Work Opportunity Tax Credit 

Family League had the privilege of testifying on the bill sponsor’s panel for SB881, Work Opportunity Tax Credit. If passed, this bill would allow employers to claim a credit against the State income tax in a certain amount for certain wages paid to certain individuals with barriers to employment; providing that the credit may not exceed 100% of the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit claimed by an employer on the employer’s federal income tax return. This is particularly important for Baltimore City as many of its residents – including the formerly incarcerated, youth seeking summer employment, and recipients of supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits – would qualify for this hand-up to a better way of life. WOTC joins other workforce programs that incentivize workplace diversity and facilitate access to good jobs for workers. Click here to view the bill and our testimony,  and to follow its progress.
Update: DID NOT PASS (Family League Supported)

Headings for Priority Areas_Food Access
POLICY PRIORIT(IES/Y)
  • Support efforts to increase SNAP benefits for people already receiving utility assistance

2021 Legislative Session Bill Status

House Bill 101/Senate Bill 913: Human Services – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Heat and Eat Program

Establishing the Heat and Eat Program within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the Department of Human Services for the purpose of expanding food access to households that are receiving or are eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits; requiring the Department to study the feasibility of establishing automatic eligibility and approval for participation in the Maryland Energy Assistance Program for households receiving or eligible to receive certain benefits under State and federal law; etc. Click here for more information.

Update: PASSED (Family League Supported)

Headings for Priority Areas_Housing
POLICY PRIORIT(IES/Y)
  • Support for eviction prevention
  • Advocating for increased affordable housing stock

2021 Legislative Session Bill Status

House Bill 18/Senate Bill 154: Landlord and Tenant – Eviction Action – Right to Counsel 

Establishing that certain procedural notice requirements must be fulfilled prior to the filing of a complaint by a landlord or a landlord’s agent for the repossession of residential rental property for failure to pay rent; establishing that certain individuals shall have access to legal representation in eviction proceedings; establishing the Access to Counsel in Evictions Program to direct services to provide covered individuals with access to legal representation; establishing a certain Task Force; etc. Click here for more information.

Update: PASSED (Family League Supported)

House Bill 58/Senate Bill 117: Workgroup on Minority Homeownership, Neighborhood Revitalization, and Household Wealth Equity 

Establishing the Workgroup on Minority Homeownership, Neighborhood Revitalization, and Household Wealth Equity; requiring the Workgroup to study and make recommendations to promote homeownership and create wealth-building opportunities for minority households and promote community revitalization through targeted investments in homeownership; requiring the Workgroup to report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly by December 1, 2021. Click here for more information.

Update: DID NOT PASS (Family League Supported)

Headings for Priority Areas_Health
POLICY PRIORIT(IES/Y)
  • Support for maintaining the expansion of telehealth access
  • Advocating for legislation to address Lead Poisoning
  • Support for the Maryland Medicaid Doula study

2021 Legislative Session Bill Status

House Bill 28/Senate Bill 5: Public Health – Implicit Bias Training and the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities 

Altering the information to be included in the Health Care Disparities Policy Report Card to include disparities in morbidity and mortality rates for dementia; requiring the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities to publish health data that includes race and ethnicity information and to update the data biannually; requiring the Governor, beginning in Fiscal Year 2023, to include at least $1,788,314 in the annual budget bill for the Office; requiring a certain program to identify and approve implicit bias training programs. Click here for more information.
Update: PASSED (Family League Supported)

House Bill 49: Landlord and Tenant – Repossession for Failure to Pay Rent – Lead Risk Reduction Compliance 

Requiring an action for repossession for failure to pay rent to contain certain statements on whether the property is registered or licensed under local law and is an affected property under certain lead-based paint abatement laws; authorizing a court to adjourn a certain trial to enable either party to obtain documents or certain other proof under certain circumstances; repealing a certain prohibition against raising as an issue of fact a landlord’s compliance with certain lead-based paint abatement laws; etc. Click here for more information.
Update: DID NOT PASS (Family League Supported)

House Bill 375/Senate Bill 211: Labor and Employment – Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program – Establishment (Time to Care Act of 2021)

Establishing the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program to provide temporary benefits to a covered individual who is taking leave from employment; establishing the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Fund; requiring, beginning January 1, 2022, certain employees, employers, and self-employed individuals to pay certain contributions; authorizing, beginning July 1, 2023, a covered individual taking certain leave from employment to submit a claim for benefits; authorizing the establishment of private employer plans; etc. Click here for more information.
Update: DID NOT PASS (Family League Supported)

House Bill 463/Senate Bill 172: Maryland Health Equity Resource Act 

Establishing a Pathways to Health Equity Program in the Community Health Resources Commission to provide the foundation and guidance for a permanent Health Equity Resource Community Program; altering the purposes of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange Fund, requiring the Commission to designate certain areas as Health Equity Resource Communities to target State resources toward reducing health disparities, improving health outcomes and access to primary care, and reducing health care costs. Click here for more information.
Update: PASSED (Family League Supported)

House Bill 636: School Buildings – Drinking Water Outlets – Elevated Level of Lead (Safe School Drinking Water Act) 

Altering the definition of “elevated level of lead” for purposes of certain provisions of law requiring the periodic testing for the presence of lead in drinking water outlets in occupied public and nonpublic school buildings; requiring by August 1, 2022, a school to take certain remedial measures on a drinking water outlet tested on or before June 1, 2021, if the test indicated a concentration of lead that was more than 5 parts per billion but less than 20 parts per billion; and providing for the construction of the Act. Click here for more information.
Update: PASSED (Family League Supported)

Headings for Priority Areas_Immigration
POLICY PRIORIT(IES/Y)
  • Support for maintaining the expansion of telehealth access
  • Advocating for legislation to address Lead Poisoning
  • Support for the Maryland Medicaid Doula study