Dear Friends,

It's a very busy time of year in the General Assembly! Yesterday, we passed "crossover," the date by which a bill must pass one house in order to be guaranteed a hearing in the other. Please scroll down to read about my bills that survived crossover and will be considered by the House.

Last week, we passed an emergency measure signed into law by the Governor to suspend the state sales tax on gasoline for 30 days. We also passed legislation to: divest our pension fund of investments in Russia, create a paid family leave program (similar to insurance with a 75% contribution from the employee and 25% contribution from the employer), enhance public safety, expand access to child care, mental health and dental care, address the climate crisis, and reform our juvenile justice system. We also passed the $58.8 billion budget - our only constitutionally required act, that includes significant funding for implementing the Blueprint for Maryland's Future, our groundbreaking educational reform effort, significant investments in public safety, healthcare, public employee salaries, and tax relief for older adults.

In the coming weeks, I expect the full Senate will also have the opportunity to vote on the Abortion Care Access Act, consider legislation to enhance cybersecurity, and legalize marijuana. With just 20 days until the end of session, we have have lots to do!

Each day we hear from constituents who want to share with us how they feel about legislation as well as from those who seek help from state agencies. As always, please don't hesitate to reach out to let us know your stance on issues and if we can be of assistance. My fabulous staff and I are ready to help in any way we can.

It's wonderful to see the cherry blossoms and daffodils and know that warmer weather is on its way. I hope you are well and healthy and enjoy these longer spring days.

Shelly's Signature
In this issue:
  • Women's History Month
  • Crossover Updates
  • Here to Help - Community Resources
  • Traffic Alert
  • Covid-19 Vaccines, Testing
  • Contact Information
When the portrait of Senator Verda Welcome was moved from the 2nd floor of the James Senate Office Building to the Maryland State Senate chamber walls, there was a big empty space. I began to think about what would be appropriate to hang there, so I asked the Senate President’s office to see if there existed a portrait of Senator Rosalie Silber Abrams. She was the first woman Senator to be Majority Leader, Chair of the Finance Committee, and Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party. She was also the first Jewish woman elected to the Senate.

President Ferguson's office found a portrait of Senator Abrams and had it framed and hung in our hallway. I was so pleased to host Senator Abrams’ daughter, Lissa Abrams, and her granddaughter Jordan, to see the portrait and to introduce them on the floor of the Senate where I had the opportunity to share with my colleagues some of Sen. Abrams' accomplishments. She had a profound impact on Maryland’s healthcare system and its unique cost savings procedures and Sen. Abrams also was among the first to run on an integrated electoral ticket in the mid 1960's, bucking the traditional Democratic slate.

I had the chance to meet Senator Abrams in 2004 and Senator Delores Kelley spoke about what a mentor Sen. Abrams was to her, noting that if it hadn’t been for her, she probably wouldn’t have run for office. Finally, in a #smalltimore moment, Lissa and Jordan got to meet a distant relative who is working on the Senate President’s staff.

It was such an honor today to learn more about Rosalie Silber Abrams' life from her family and to celebrate with them her accomplishments in this Women's History Month!
"Crossover" is the date by which bills have to pass one house in order to be guaranteed a hearing in the other. It's a very important deadline for the life of a bill. I'm pleased to report that a number of my bills were passed by the Senate and will be heard in the House in the coming weeks. All of these bills have "crossfiles," which means that the corresponding House committee should be familiar with the topic. But, the version passed by the House may be different, so we'll have to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bills before final passage. Stay tuned.
SB 124 - Creates a $250,o00 grant program to allow public schools to reduce food waste and compost

SB 279 - Provides a funding source for access to counsel in evictions proceedings

SB 280 - Enables someone to electronically file for a temporary protective order from a hospital, domestic violence, child abuse, or elder abuse program

SB 349 - Enables Baltimore County to provide homeowners with a tax credit for those who exceeded the income cap due to a significant hardship

SB 384 - Allows courts to pause an eviction when presented with evidence that a good faith effort application for rental assistance has been made

SB 522 - Incorporated into the Great Maryland Outdoors Act, "requires the park service to adopt design principles related to crime prevention in its programming and amenities to ensure maximum public safety for all residents and visitors"

SB 563 - Closes a loophole that will protect renters from exploitation by unlicensed landlords

SB 625 - Expands access to transportation options for people with disabilities, improving their ability to get to doctors' appointments, jobs, and daily errands

SB 638 - The Elijah Gorham Act protects our student athletes by ensuring that schools develop & rehearse venue-specific emergency action plans & have ready access to life saving equipment

SB 704 - Extends our federally funded pre-trial home monitoring program for those charged with (but not convicted of ) a crime who meet income qualifications & the bill creates a workgroup to study longer term policy solutions

SB 744- Creates new opportunities for expanding access to excess state land for the development of affordable housing

SB 819 - Extends the Senate's role in providing advice and consent to the Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services

SB 951 - Allows student athletes to adapt team uniforms to conform to the requirements of their religious observance or desire to dress modestly
Senatorial Scholarships-Applications Due April 1st!

Each year, Delegates and Senators of the Maryland General Assembly award thousands of Maryland students millions of dollars in financial aid. Senatorial Scholarships are awarded for four years and are automatically renewed each year. Please find the application and additional information on my website. Questions? E-mail Janet Eckman

The CBC Foundation awards more than 300 scholarships annually to students that demonstrate leadership ability through exemplary community service and academic talent. Find more information and application details here:
Maryland Water Assistance Program
The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is available statewide and provides Maryland households with financial relief toward water and/or wastewater bills. Eligible households may receive up to $2,000. LIHWAP funding is limited, and applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

You can apply for LIHWAP assistance online using the consumer portal at mymdthink.maryland. gov. If you are unable to apply online, you may request an application be mailed to you through the service hotline at 1-800-332-6347 or by calling your local Department of Social Services or Office of Home Energy Programs office. A printable paper application can be found at energy-programs/low-income-household-water- assistance-program.

  You can connect with LIHWAP Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM-5 PM by calling their customer service hotline at 1-800-332-6347 or by calling your local Department of Social Services or Office of Home Energy Programs office.


Our office advocates for those who may be vulnerable or need assistance cutting through “bureaucratic red tape” with these entities and many more:

◆ Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA)
◆ State Highway Administration (SHA)
◆ Unemployment Insurance (Dept. of Labor)
◆ Tax Issues (Office of the Comptroller)
◆ Citations for milestone birthdays, Gold/Eagle Scout Awards, etc.
◆ Senate resolutions for major/historic commemorations

We work closely with our local and federal partners to ensure that our constituents’ voices are heard at all levels of government, striving to make government accessible and responsive to our constituents' needs. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you need assistance.
Thank you to the Baltimore County Government for the comprehensive Resource Guide - please check out recently announced programs by clicking on the button above. Please don't hesitate to call or email my office if we can be of assistance.

Whether you are looking for your first dose, a booster, or a pediatric vaccine, clinics are offered daily at locations across the county with walk-in and appointment availability. Find Baltimore County Health Department vaccine clinic information here.


Baltimore County testing sites can be found here. You no longer need an appointment! If you need assistance scheduling a test for yourself or someone else please call 410-887-3816.

Looking for at-home tests? Baltimore County is distributing test kits at a number of community sites found here.
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