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.  

Family League supports 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. 

Family League is 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 would 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 One Card for use on the MTA.

Family League supports HB 166, which would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour and tie future increases to growth rates in the Consumer Price Index. Doing so would raise the prospects of low-wage earners, particularly workers of color.

Family League supports 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 would support families of school-aged children by providing $30 per month, per child, in direct financial food assistance via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Family League supports Senate Bill 280, which would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour and tie future increases to growth rates in the Consumer Price Index. This is a step in the direction toward economic equity to raise the prospects of low-wage earners, particularly workers of color.

Family League supports House Bill 339/Senate Bill 456 which slowly raise Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) to 71% of the Maryland Minimum Living Level, when combined with SNAP benefits, over the course of 5 years.

Family League supports 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 341 paid leave would be made available to Maryland workers for up to 12 weeks following the birth or adoption of a child and when needed to provide care for a family member or oneself.

Family League of Baltimore (Family League) supports Senate Bill 406 – Prenatal and Infant Care Coordination Grant Funding and Task Force. Currently, multiple sources of federal, state, local, and private funding support an array of maternal, infant, and early childhood programs and services. However, it is often the coordination of these services that is most challenging. Funding and developing a robust Thrive by Three Fund has the potential to transform existing public and private programs and resources into an integrated system of care.

Family League supports House Bill 583/Senate Bill 356, Maternal Mortality Review Program – Reporting Requirement. These bills would strengthen the annual report regarding the Maternal Mortality Review Program by including a comprehensive section on racial disparities that includes a comparison of the maternal mortality rates across race and ethnicity.

Family League supports House Bill 725, Public Schools – Student Discipline – Restorative Approaches. This bill would require a school principal to implement restorative approaches, rehabilitative, special education, or other supportive service interventions before suspending or expelling a student. Each county Board of Education would also be required to develop a multiyear plan for the adoption, implementation, and continued monitoring of restorative approaches to student discipline.

Family League supports House Bill 796/Senate Bill 602, Maternal Mortality Review Program – Establishment of Local Teams. These bills 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.”

Family League of Baltimore (Family League) strongly supports House Bill 911, 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.