End of Session Update
At midnight on April 13, the Maryland General Assembly adjourned, officially ending session for the year. Despite the strict public health measures during the 2021 session, I am proud of what our team was able to accomplish during the last 90 days.
I secured 9,000 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine for St. Mary's County through a public-private partnership. St. Mary's County will be the first county in the state to offer a vaccine to every student over the age of 16, and we will also be able to offer a vaccine to every student attending St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Additionally, we will establish a local vaccine clinic focused on equitably serving the Great Mills and Lexington Park communities. Combined, these efforts will help to protect an additional 10% of the St. Mary's adult population.
We passed a balanced, $50 billion budget and have a structural surplus through FY26 of $262 million. The operating budget increases direct aid to our schools by 2.5% to ensure their full funding, and despite increased health-related expenditures, we have retained $1.8 billion in our emergency fund.
In addition to supporting general funding received for the County, I secured the following:
- $4,790,000 for the design and construction of the Maryland Heritage Interpretive Center at Historic St. Mary’s City
- $500,000 for the design and acquisition of a new fire/rescue vessel for the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department
- $250,000 for the autonomous systems center and capital improvements at the St. Mary’s Regional Airport
- $100,000 for capital projects and improvements at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum
Two of my bills passed both chambers this year and will head to the Governor for his signature:
- HB1004 removes a regulatory barrier for state credit unions to put them on a level playing field against federal credit unions.
- HB1364 establishes the HSMC Fort to 400 Commission to plan events for Maryland’s 400th anniversary in 2034.
Below are some legislative highlights of bills I supported:
- Unemployment Reform (HB907, 908, 1138, 1139, 1143): This legislative package enables Marylanders to receive unemployment insurance payments through direct deposit instead of waiting for checks or debit cards. It also increases the earnings cap for partial payments, expands work-sharing programs, mandates higher staffing levels at the Department of Labor for faster claims processing, and includes stronger oversight and accountability measures.
- The RELIEF Act (SB496): This bi-partisan, $1.5 billion pandemic relief package expands the Earned Income Tax Credit, waives state taxes on unemployment benefits and up to $9,000 in sales taxes for three months for small businesses, provides COVID-19 related loans/grants, and sends direct payments to working families.
- Early Voting (HB745): An additional early voting location will be added in St. Mary’s County, and the bill requires the consideration of population density and accessibility in placement.
- Rural Broadband (HB1328): This legislation establishes a joint trenching process to expand broadband access and lower costs by letting providers place lines concurrent with work by the State Highway Administration. Any revenues collected by SHA for this service will be invested in further broadband expansion.
Throughout the entire session, I worked across the aisle to pass a budget that will bring back much-needed resources to our county. I am proud to be an advocate for St. Mary’s County and give us a voice in Annapolis!