It’s the start of a new year, which also means the beginning of the 90-day Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session is upon us! The Session officially kicks off at 12pm today. This is a big year for Family League in Annapolis. Aside from welcoming in many amazing new Baltimore City Delegates and Senators, we are looking forward to work happening in our coalitions which has the potential to significantly improve conditions for children and families across our City.
Foundational to the success of this work is our ability to influence systems and advocate for solid public policy. Our 2019 policy priorities are guided by the eight Maryland Results for Child Well-Being. Here’s a quick overview of some of our high-priority issue areas:
As many may be aware, the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (commonly known as the Kirwan Commission) has delayed their final recommendationsuntil later in 2019. While this is a set-back to a long overdue adjustment of our state’s school funding formulas, we are hopeful that the Commissioners will take additional time to work on adequately addressing racial equity in their final recommendations. Family League supports the findings of Dr. Ivory Toldson, who has been working with the Commission to pursuing its work through a racial equity lens.
There is still much work to be done in this regard. We are working closely with our legislative allies to address undercounting of immigrant students in our schools, and to strengthen and support a statewide definition of Community Schools.
In the meantime, the Kirwan Commission has also released a set of preliminary recommendations which will most likely turn into legislation in the coming weeks. Much of our education advocacy is rooted in our work in the Community Schools Steering Committee, the Maryland for Community Schools coalition, and the Coalition to Reform School Discipline. Stay tuned-in to our policy newsletter to get more updates as other bills arise this Session.
In addition to critical school funding work, we are working with the B’More for Healthy Babies strategy to address racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes, and to increase funding for care coordination through the Thrive by Three fund.
We also want to make it easier for local health departments to access data related to maternal mortality so they can more quickly and adeptly address the factors which lead to high maternal and infant mortality rates. That’s why we’re working on legislation to establish Local Maternal Mortality Review Teams and to require the statewide Maternal Mortality Review Committee to share disaggregated data with local health departments.
We are working closely with our food access coalition, the Baltimore Partnership to End Childhood Hunger, to reduce food insecurity for children in the summer months by proposing a Summer SNAP supplement for families. There is significant statewide momentum behind this issue, and we are looking forward to working with our legislative allies in the coming months.
If you’d like to get involved with our advocacy or learn more about issues at the state level, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! To stay in the loop on our Public Policy portfolio over the next 90 days, subscribe to our Public Policy Newsletter. We’ll be sharing updates on our work, infographics, and information about how the bills we advocate for are rooted in Maryland’s 8 Child Well-being Results. We are extremely privileged to work closely with so many amazing coalitions and partners to advocate with the children and families of Baltimore and look forward to moving this work forward during a productive Legislative Session.