ISSUES

Creating Jobs and Fighting for Working Families

Job creation is Maryland’s #1 priority.  Maryland has one of the most highly skilled workforces in the country. Its close proximity to the nation’s capital and the federal government provides a unique opportunity to capitalize on a research hub where ideas are born and shared to provide businesses with unparalleled access to informational and technological resources.

 

I am proud to serve on the Maryland House of Delegates’ Business Climate Workgroup (BCW), whose mission is to ensure that Maryland continues to attract new businesses and empower small businesses to expand. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. We must assist with access to capital, extending tax credits for hiring new workers, and encouraging research and innovation.

 

The BCW will make recommendations and develop long-term plans to streamline business regulations, encourage business innovation, and develop public-private partnerships to finance infrastructure, consider creative financing mechanisms to stimulate infrastructure development; identify ways to promote Maryland as a central place for economic development.

 

Today, working families are under more stress than 20 years ago. It is high time we account for indexed inflation and raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. In Maryland, tipped workers earn just $3.63 an hour and a raise to 70% of the minimum wage is needed.

 

The need for facilitating a balance between work and family life as a means to overcome women’s persistently disadvantaged position in the labor market as a result of having to choose between full paid employment and care giving responsibilities.  I am committed to helping women combine work and family life and will introduce legislation for mandatory paternal leave.  I believe this will create more equal distribution of childcare and housework and will allow women more able to rise to positions of power in the workplace, and help narrow the salary gap between men and women.

 

Bills I sponsored/co-sponsored:

 

HB0386-Income Tax Credit - Expands the existing research and development (R&D) tax credit for small businesses.

 

HB1017-Income Tax Credit - Wineries and Vineyards, allows credit against State income tax for specified reasons.

 

• HB0456- State Government – Procurement-Increasing African American & women-owned businesses to a 25% goal.

 

HB173, Business and Economic Development - Invest Maryland Program, established Invest Maryland Program and Maryland Venture Fund Authority for business and economic development.

 

HB571, Linked Deposit Program for Small Businesses - Lend Local Act of 2012, established linked deposit program for small businesses.

Investing in our Children

As a mother of three children raised in the Montgomery County public schools system, I deeply understand the important role investment in public schools plays in improving our community, economy, and future.  I am honored to serve on the Ways & Means Education sub-committee where I get the opportunity to shape policies that make Maryland public schools #1 in the nation.

 

There is no greater asset to our future than our children, and no greater investment than in their education.  In 2012, I supported legislation strengthening the maintenance of effort laws that ensure we continue to invest in our future and not consent to short-term economic pressures.

 

College affordability is a critical need for every family and Maryland has held tuition to low single digit increases even in tough budget years.

 

Quality education is a right and equal access to resources and opportunities for all students is what Maryland should strive to achieve. I will work to ensure pre-K programs are funded so all children are adequately prepared to embark with equal footing on their educational path to K-12 and beyond.

 

The best education requires quality teachers in the classroom. That’s why I co-sponsored legislation that created the Public School Labor Relations Board, which expanded the ability of our educators to collectively bargain and get the pay and benefits they deserve.

 

Bills I sponsored/co-sponsored:

 

• HB0470  Higher Education - Tuition Charges - Maryland High School Students (Dream Act), path to higher education for qualifying undocumented immigrants.

 

HB613, Loan Assistance Repayment Program - Nancy Grasmick Teacher Scholars, provides assistance in repayment for qualifying teachers.

 

HB0813, Task Force to Study the Impact of Expanding Credit and Noncredit Courses for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, which establishes a task force to study the impact of expanding credit and noncredit courses for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

 

HB1176, Primary and Secondary Education - Online Courses and Services – Accessibility, requiring Maryland Department of Education must include an assessment regarding the accessibility of online courses or service to individuals with disabilities, including the blind.

 

HB0740 Graduate Level Education - Exemption from Paying Nonresident Tuition Members of the United States Armed Forces, exempts active duty and honorably discharged veterans from paying nonresident tuition up to 5 years after.

Building 21st Century Transportation Facilities

Reducing the Washington DC Metropolitan traffic congestion must be a priority, which ranks #1 in the nation with an average of 67 hours a year of wasted gas, time, and, money.  As a transportation engineer with over 23 years of experience, I believe solving our transportation problems requires a holistic approach that includes an investment in transit, highway, sidewalk and bicycle facilities.

 

I strongly support funding the Corridor City Transitway (CCT), which is important to District 15, Montgomery County and Maryland.  The construction of this transit project is critical to the advancement of the I-270 Technology Corridor to attract high tech and biotech industries.

 

Technology can play a critical role to reduce traffic congestion. I sponsored and passed legislation to increase the state's telework quota which allows employees to work from home thereby reducing congestion on our roadways.

 

The Inter-County Connector (ICC), a $2.5 billion limited access highway, is an important thoroughfare for both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.  However, it is underutilized. I have been on the forefront and raised concerns that the tolls are too high and the posted speed limit is too low.  In 2013, in a bi-partisan effort, I introduced legislation to raise the speed limit on the ICC from 55 mph to 70 mph.  While this bill was unsuccessful, the speed limit was raised to 60 mph.

 

Bills I sponsored/co-sponsored:

 

• HB1515, Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013, which is expected to raise $4.4 billion that will ensure Maryland continues to invest in the roadways & transit projects that are critical to our state’s global competitiveness.

 

• HB136,  State Personnel – Teleworking – Eligibility Statewide Program and Goals, created state-wide telework policy.

 

HB94, Vehicle Laws - Special and Commemorative Registration Plates, requires fees to be dispersed to environmental clean up of the bay.

 

HB457, Transportation - Highway or Capital Transit Construction Training and Supportive Services, requiring amount of federal funding to go to construction training.

 

HB0934, Telemedicine Task Force - Maryland Health Care Commission, to continue study of telehealth, which would reduce travel time and congestion.

Keeping Maryland’s Energy & Environment Clean

How we choose to steward our land, water & air resources affects the legacy we leave to our future generations.

 

It begins with preserving our greatest natural resource, the Chesapeake Bay.  Our water resources are at risk of pollution from industrial plants, storm water runoff, everyday household activities, and ill-regulated efforts to drill for oil and activities related to fracking. I am honored to serve as a commissioner on the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) where we work together with regional and interstate colleagues to promote watershed-based management protective of ecosystems and water resources; foster development of engaged and knowledgeable citizens and stakeholders.

 

Over 350,000 people are employed in agriculture, making it the largest commercial industry in Maryland and the largest single land use in the state. I will continue to support and sponsor bills that financially assist Maryland farmers.

 

As a Montgomery County resident in an agricultural community I will protect Maryland’s 93,000 acres of agricultural land and was proud to co-sponsor the Family Farm Preservation Act in 2012.

 

I support a moratorium on Marcellus Shale drilling in Western Maryland so all Maryland residents have access to clean water and air.

 

Maryland imports approximately 30% of the electricity we consume every year and this leads to significant transmission congestion and high line losses, which raises rates for Maryland taxpayers.  It is critical to invest in our state’s energy grid so we can meet tomorrow's demands with homegrown Maryland energy.

 

Today, nearly 70% of Maryland’s coal-fired electric generation is produced by power plants that are at least 30 years old. Of these plants, 22% have been operating for more than 50 years.

 

In Maryland, I have supported major environmental efforts that include a Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and cap-and-trade program, and the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013.

 

Bills I sponsored/co-sponsored:

 

HB 529, Telephone Companies - Distribution of Telephone Directories,  Ends State mandate to on the requirement to ship white page phone directories.

 

HB 502  Tax Incentive - Sale of Electricity Generated by Solar Energy and Residential Wind Energy Equipment, exemption for specified solar energy equipment of residential wind power source.

 

• HB 444   Family Farm Preservation Act of 2012, limiting Maryland estate tax on qualifying agricultural properties to 5%.

 

HB 273, Natural Resources - Oyster Poaching – Hearing, requires Department of Natural Resources to hold hearing for oyster poachers and revoke license under certain circumstances.

Empowering Women

The empowerment of women and the improvement of their social, political, economic, and health status is critical to the productivity of our state.  We must strengthen laws on violence against women, protect reproductive health, and eliminate gender pay gaps in the workforce. Gender equality in the workplace does not mean exactly the same outcome for all individuals but equal outcomes for women and men where women can combine the roles of child-bearing and child-rearing without discrimination at work.  While women represent over 50 percent of the population, we continue to be under-represented as voters, corporate leaders and elected officials. Democracy is best achieved when all of its citizens are represented in the political arena.

 

Bills I sponsored/co-sponsored:

 

HB0724-Sexual Offense in the Fourth Degree - Statute of Limitations – Increase, Increase time from 1 to 3 years to prosecute specific fourth degree offenses.

 

HB511-Juvenile Services - Services and Programs for Females, to provide report on progress of utilization of prevention and educational and vocational resources.

 

HB647, Education - Human Trafficking - Awareness, Training, and Distribution of Materials, mandates training materials for human trafficking awareness.

 

HB0132,  Mammograms - Dense Breast Tissue – Notification, requires specified centers to notify patients of dense breast tissue.

 

• HB1429, State Government - Statue of Harriet Tubman, gives statue to federal government to be hopefully placed in U.S. Capitol Visitors Center.

Progressing towards Equality

Inclusion of all people is what makes our state so great and I will continue to fight against discrimination and create opportunities to celebrate our differences. Maryland is a progressive state that moves boldly in equality. We are the first to win marriage equality as a ballot initiative and are proud of the growing diversity. Proactive Immigration reform is the right way to address an ever-growing population and I was proud to co-sponsor the Maryland DREAM Act, creating a path to higher education for qualifying undocumented students.

 

Our seniors worked tirelessly their entire lives and earned their retirement. The mental, physical, and financial well being of seniors impacts everyone.

 

It is important to focus on improving the quality of life for our most vulnerable citizens, people with learning and physical disabilities and ensure the availability of assistive technology, transportation, housing, education, and employment. I will continue to support legislation that strengthens accessibility and increases funding for projects benefiting the disabled community and their families.

 

Bills I sponsored/co-sponsored:

 

HB438, Civil Marriage Protection Act, marriage equality while prohibiting violation of personal rights for officiate to be required to perform civil union.

 

HB 202, Education - Discrimination Prohibited - Protected Classes, increases protection against discrimination in the employment of public school employees.

 

HB 329 Public Information Act - Required Denials - Senior Citizen Activities Centers, requires records to be kept for denials.

 

HB1161 Commission on Special Education Access and Equity, requires commission to report findings and recommendations to Governor.

Ensuring Public Safety

Maryland’s crime rate is the lowest it has been since the 1970’s and passing into law one of the most stringent gun control measures in the country is a win. However, we must continue to work hard streamline the criminal justice system, address overcrowding in our state correctional facilities, improve security while supporting programs for the rehabilitation of prisoners. We must also invest in our police force and provide necessary and appropriate safety officials and reinforced security measures at our schools.

 

Bills I sponsored/co-sponsored:

 

HB448, Education - Residential Boarding Education Programs for At-Risk Youth – Funding, requires funds for transportation, boarding, and administrative costs for at-risk youth in residential boarding education programs.

 

• HB666, Courts - Peace Orders – Penalties, alters penalty for second offence in grating temporary and final peace orders.

 

• HB1128, Criminal Law - Sexual Crimes – Definitions.

 

HB589, Criminal Law - Controlled Dangerous Substances – Mephedrone, lists Mehepdrone as schedule 1 controlled dangerous susbstance.

 

HB1272, Public Health - Electronic Cigarettes - Distribution to Minors Prohibited, prohibits sale of electronic cigarettes that can deliver nicotine to minors.

 

HB349, Criminal Law - Misdemeanor Possession of Child Pornography - Statute of Limitations, increase prosecution time from 1 to 2 years for possession of child pornography.

Accessibility
to Comprehensive, Affordable, High Quality Health Care

Montgomery County residents are the second healthiest in the state. However, Maryland’s rank as #24 in the nation should serve as a call to action. Healthcare is a right, not a privilege and Marylanders deserve patient-centered care with a focus on preventative health care. Under the Affordable Care Act, (ACA) everyone should understand their rights and utilize services available to them.

 

I support action to address inequalities in health outcomes. With a robust non-English speaking community in Maryland, it is time to meet the demand for culturally competent materials. The Maryland Health Exchange pledged to provide linguistically appropriate materials, yet it does not currently offer any alternate language options.

 

Over one million Marylanders received Medicaid benefits from 2012- 2013 and with state Medicaid expansion, all adults under age 65 and up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level are now eligible. The ACA provides young adults up to age 26 who have aged out of foster care health care too. These vital changes mean more people are covered and I will always fight to protect Medicaid.

 

Children are our greatest asset. I am proud to reintroduce legislation to warn about the extreme temperatures on synthetic fields where our kids play. Through the Maryland Children’s Health Program (MCHP) the poorest and sickest children have access to cost-effective comprehensive health care through and the ACA expands access.

 

While there has been much debate over the lack of efficiency in implementation, Maryland uses a state based health exchange. Please sign up for healthcare here.

 

 

Bills I’ve sponsored/co-sponsored:

 

HB1272, Public Health - Electronic Cigarettes - Distribution to Minors Prohibited, prohibits sale of electronic cigarette with nicotine to minors

 

HB497, Public Schools - Epinephrine Availability and Use - Policy Requirements, requires each county board to institute injectable epinephrine policy in schools.

 

HB121, The Lorraine Sheehan Health and Community Services Act of 2011, increases State tax on alcohol to provide revenue for specified health services

 

HB888, Health Insurance - Prescription Eye Drops – Refills, required health insurance companies to cover prescription eye drops under set circumstances

 

HB391, Maryland Electricity Service Quality and Reliability Act - Safety Violations, required Public Health Commission to adopt regulations for public health reasons

Campaign Support Team

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