Policy Testimony

A key role for Family League as the Local Management Board (LMB) for Baltimore City is influencing systems by advocating for sound public policy as a foundation for lasting change for children, families, and communities. We do this, in part, by providing perspective on pressing issues through research-based written testimony.  

House Bill 18/Senate Bill 154: Landlord and Tenant – Residential Tenants – Right to Counsel

Establishing that certain individuals have a right to legal representation in eviction proceedings; establishing the Right to Counsel in Evictions Program to be administered by the Maryland Legal Service Corporation to organize and direct services and resources to provide covered individuals with certain legal representation; establishing the Right to Counsel in Evictions Task Force to evaluate the services provided by the Program and provide recommendations on necessary policy and statutory changes; etc.
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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; etc.

Read Full Testimony Here

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.

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

Establishing the Office of Digital Inclusion 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 Governor to appoint the Director of the Office; requiring the Office to develop, by July 1, 2022, a statewide plan to ensure all State residents have the ability to connect to reliable broadband Internet by December 31, 2029; etc.

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House Bill 101/ Senate Bill 913: Human Services – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Heat and Eat Program and Study on Maryland Energy Assistance Program Eligibility

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.

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House Bill 608/Senate Bill 890: 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.
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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 the person during the taxable year; allowing a subtraction modification under the Maryland income tax for certain State economic impact payments; etc.

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House Bill 636/Senate Bill 546: 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; and 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.
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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; etc.
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Senate Bill 881:Income Tax – Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Allowing certain 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 Credit claimed by an employer on the employer’s federal income tax return, or the State income tax imposed for that taxable year, and may not be carried over to any other taxable year; and applying the Act to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2020.

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

Establishing the Growing Family Child Care Opportunities Pilot Program in the Department of Education; authorizing the Department to provide grants to local jurisdictions or child care licensing regions to increase the supply and ensure the sustainability of family child care providers in areas with above-average rates of poverty and unemployment; requiring the Department to report to the General Assembly by December 1, 2021, and each year thereafter, on the status of the program and an evaluation of local pilot programs; etc.

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House Bill 1300/Senate Bill 1000 – Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Implementation

Ways and Means; Budget and Taxation; Appropriations; Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
The Speaker et al.
Passed Enrolled

Repealing, altering, and adding certain provisions of law to implement The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which is intended to transform Maryland’s early childhood, primary, and secondary education system to the levels of high-performing systems around the world; establishing certain education aid formulas to provide funding for the implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future; providing for a reduction in a certain local share of certain education aid for certain counties under certain circumstances; etc.

 

House Bill 1/Senate Bill 1 – Build to Learn Act of 2020

Budget and Taxation; Appropriations
The Speaker et al.
Passed Enrolled

Requiring or authorizing, under certain circumstances, the Maryland Stadium Authority to contract for, manage, and oversee certain public school facility projects; authorizing the Prince George’s County government and Board of Education to enter into a certain public-private partnership to enhance the delivery of public school construction projects in the county; requiring the Governor, beginning in fiscal year 2020, to include in the annual budget certain supplemental funding to be used for certain educational purposes; etc.

 

Senate Bill 207/House Bill 208 – Unaccompanied minors in need of Shelter and Supportive Services

Appropriations; Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Mary Washington et al.
Returned Passed

Family League of Baltimore (Family League) strongly supports Senate Bill 207, which establishes that unaccompanied minors experiencing homelessness have the right to consent to emergency shelter. The bill would establish that an unaccompanied minor in need of shelter has the same capacity as an adult to consent to shelter and supportive services, thereby incentivizing non-profit organizations to shelter this extremely vulnerable and underserved population.
Read Full Testimony Here

 

House Bill 231 – Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act

Judicial Proceedings; Environment and Transportation
Brooke Lierman et al.
Returned Passed

Expanding the housing policy of the State to include providing for fair housing to all citizens regardless of source of income; stating the Act seeks to deconcentrate poverty by providing additional opportunities for tenants utilizing public subsidies to live in certain neighborhoods; prohibiting a person from refusing to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of source of income; establishing qualifications and limitations on the prohibition against discrimination in housing based on source of income; etc.

 

House Bill 286 – Public Health – Maternal Mortality Review Program – Stakeholders

Health and Government Operations; Finance
Jheanelle K. Wilkins et al.
Returned Passed

Family League of Baltimore (Family League) supports House Bill 286, Public Health – Maternal Mortality Review Program – Stakeholders. This bill would expand the stakeholder group convened under the Maternal Mortality Review Program to “reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of women most impacted by maternal deaths in the state.”
Read Full Testimony Here

 

Testimony in Opposition to Senate Bill 490 – Human Services – Youth Services Bureaus – Funding

Family League of Baltimore (Family League) opposes Senate Bill 490, Human Services – Youth Services Bureaus – Funding. This bill would create a mandatory funding minimum for all eligible Youth Service Bureaus and eliminates competitive funding for these entities, currently at the discretion of Local Management Boards.
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House Bill 837 – Public Health – Maternal Mortality and Morbidity – Implicit Bias Training and Study

Health and Government Operations; Finance
Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk et al.
Returned Passed

Altering the purposes of the Cultural and Linguistic Health Care Professional Competency Program; requiring the Program to establish and provide an evidence-based implicit bias training program for health care professionals involved in the perinatal care of patients on or before January 1, 2021; requiring certain health care professionals to complete a certain training on or before January 1, 2022; requiring the Program to offer a certain training to certain health care professionals; etc.

 

Testimony in Support of House Bill 1067 – Doulas – Doula Technical Assistance Advisory Group and Certification

Family League of Baltimore (Family League) strongly supports House Bill 1067. This bill would create a Doula Technical Assistance Advisory Group with the intention of exploring ways to better support doula services for pregnant individuals. The group will be tasked with making recommendations around, “workforce development for doulas, whether a voluntary State doula certification program should be established by the Maryland Department of Health and, if so, the training and credentialing that should be required of doulas for certification as nonclinical health care providers; reimbursement for doula services by the Maryland Medical Assistance Program; and expansion of doula care to low–income individuals and families.”
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Testimony in Support of House Bill 82/Senate Bill 116 Transportation – Complete Streets – Access to Healthy Food

HB 82 – Passed. Enacted under Article II, Section 17(c) of the Maryland Constitution – Chapter 572

Family League supported House Bill 82 and Senate Bill 116 which would provide significant supports for access to healthy food for Marylanders living in areas identified as “food deserts.” These bills would also encourage jurisdictions to develop ranking systems for projects that prioritize designs that create access to healthy options in food deserts and define “food desert” within the Complete Streets Program.
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Testimony in Support of House Bill 130 Maryland Transit Administration – Workgroup to Study Dedicated Bus Lanes in Baltimore City

Approved by the Governor – Chapter 340

Family League was in favor of House Bill 130 as a means to support our students who use MTA as a primary means of transportation to and from school. This bill was meant to establish a workgroup to study dedicated bus lanes in parts of Baltimore where all Middle and High School students who live more than 1.5 miles from their school receive a OneCard for use on the MTA.
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Testimony in Support of House Bill 166 Labor and Employment – Payment of Wages – Minimum Wage and Enforcement (Fight for Fifteen)

Gubernatorial Veto Override – Chapter 10

Family Leage supported HB 166 which would have raised the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour and tied future increase to growth rates in the Consumer Price Index. Doing so would have raised the prospects of low-wage earners; particularly workers of color.
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Testimony in Support of House Bill 218 Human Services – Food Supplements (Summer SNAP for Children Act)

Enacted under Article II, Section 17(c) of the Maryland Constitution – Chapter 635

Family League supported Senate Bill 218, the “Summer SNAP for Children Act,” as a significant measure aimed at reducing food insecurity for children and families during the summer months. SB 218 supports families of school-aged children by an additional $30 per month, per child, in direction financial food assistance via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
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Testimony in Support of Senate Bill 280 Labor and Employment – Payment of Wages – Minimum Wage and Enforcement (Fight for Fifteen)

Family League supported Senate Bill 280 which would have raised the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour and tied future increases to growth rates in the Consumer Price Index. This would have been a step the direction toward economic equity by raising the prospects of low-wage earners; particularly workers of color.
Read Full Testimony Here

 

Testimony in Support of House Bill 339/Senate Bill 456 Family Investment Program – Temporary Cash Assistance – Funding

Did not pass

Family League supported House Bill 339/Senate Bill 456 which would slowly raise Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) to 71% of the Maryland MInimum Living Level, when combined with SNAP benefits, over the course of five years.
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Testimony in Support of House Bill 341 Labor and Employment – Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program – Establishment, “Time to Care Act of 2019”

Did not pass

Family League supported House Bill 341 establishing the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program and providing paid family leave allowing workers to take the time they need to care for children, parents, or loved ones. Under HB 31, paid leave would have been made available to Maryland workers for up to 12 weeks follow the birth or adoption of a child and, when needed, to provide care for a family member or oneself.
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Testimony in Suppport of House Bill 520/Senate Bill 406 – Prenatal and Infant Care Coordination – Grant Funding and Task Force

Passed. Enacted under Article II, Section 17(c) of the Maryland Constitution – Chapter 572 Enacted under Article II, Section 17(c) of the Maryland Constitution – Chapter 662

Family League supported House Bill 520/Senate Bill 406 to address the fact that multiple source of federal, state, local, and privtae funding support an array of maternal, infant, and early childhood programs and services, but it is the coordination of those services that is most challenging. Funding and developing a robust Thrive By Three Fund had the potential to transform existing public and private programs and resources into an integrated system of care.
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Testimony in Support of House Bill 583/Senate Bill 356 – Maternal Mortality Review Program – Reporting Requirement

Approved by the Governor – Chapter 449

Family League supported House Bill 538/Senate Bill 356 as they strengthened the annual report regarding the Maternal Mortality Review Program by including a comprehensive section on racial disparities that included a comparison of  maternal mortality rates across race and ethnicity.
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Testimony in Support of House Bill 725 Public Schools – Student Discipline – Restorative Approaches

Passed Enacted under Article II, Section 17(c) of the Maryland Constitution – Chapter 691

Family League supported House Bill 725, requiring a school principal to implement restorative approaches, rehabilitative, special education, or other supportive service interventions before suspending or expelling a student. Each count Board of Education would have also been required to develop a multiyear plan for the adoption, implementation, and continued monitoring of restorative approaches to student discipline.
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Testimony in Support of House Bill 796/Senate Bill 602 Maternal Mortality Review Program – Establishment of Local Teams

House Bill Approved by the Governor – Chapter 448 Senate Bill did not pass

Family League was in favor of these bills that would support the work of the statewide Maternal Mortality Review Program by creating mechanisms for local health offices to assemble a more focused, regionally responsive review team. Additionally, local teams would be allowed to include a more diverse set of stakeholders, including an obstetrician-gynecologist, a direct-entry midwife, a birthing doula, and “any other individual necessary to the work of the local team.”
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Testimony in Support of House Bill 911 Unaccompanied Minors in Need of Shelter – Consent to Shelter and Supportive Services

Approved by the Governor – Chapter 553

Family League strongly supported House Bill 911 which would have established that unaccompanied minors experiencing homelessness have the right to consent to emergency shelter. The bill would have established that such minors had the same capacity as an adult to consent to shelter and supportive services, thereby incentivizing non-profit organizations to shelter this extremely vulnerable and underserved population.
Read Full Testimony Here