Dear Friends,

It’s been almost two years since the General Assembly has had in-person committee hearings. Tuesday, with three of my bill hearings on the schedule, I had the opportunity to present them in committee rooms before colleagues and with witnesses by my side. It was terrific to be back with the community in our hearing rooms and in our Senate office building. Our technological limitations prevent us from allowing both virtual and in-person testimony, but we return to in-person hearings with greater transparency than ever.

With just over a third of the session under our belts, the General Assembly is in the thick of bill hearings. Floor sessions are longer as bills pass from committee to full Senate consideration. After bill hearings, the arduous process of working the kinks out of bills begins and the art of fine-tuning vies with the ticking clock.

The Judicial Proceedings Committee holds hearings this week on a number of different gun bills, including one to ban ghost guns – untraceable weapons that can be assembled at home – and have been proliferating in our state. Over the past few weeks, we’ve also considered bills on judicial transparency, juvenile justice, transportation, housing, and criminal justice.

COVID has had a devastating impact on the provision of child care in Maryland, resulting in over 700 providers closing. In response to the challenges of finding reliable and accessible child care, a legislative package of bills addressing the challenges was introduced last week. The bills will help providers hire and retain employees, expand and renovate facilities, assist providers who care for children with disabilities, and expand scholarship opportunities for children.

I’d love to return to the tradition of holding Shelly @the Deli gatherings in the near future, but only if you would consider attending. Please let me know if you think you’re ready to venture out to a masked, socially distant sit-down discussion of what’s happening in Annapolis.

As always, please let us know if we can help in any way. Stay safe & healthy.


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