President John F. Kennedy authored a book called A Nation of Immigrants in which he expressed a sentiment with which I concur:
"Immigration policy should be generous; it should be fair; it should be flexible. With such a policy we can turn to the world, and to our own past, with clean hands and a clear conscience. Such a policy would be but a reaffirmation of old principles. It would be but an expression of our agreement with George Washington that 'The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome
to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.'"
I will try to maintain my focus in these updates on state and local issues within my purview, but I also wanted to share those thoughts.
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Since my last email update, I have introduced a new piece of legislation, the Assisted Living Program Transparency Act (HB 387). The legislation would make it easier for those researching assisted living facilities for parents or others to access information about facilities online.
Earlier this week, the House overrode the Governor's veto of the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The legislation increased the state's "renewable portfolio standard" (the amount of electricity we obtain from renewable sources) to 25%. The legislation passed the General Assembly on a bipartisan basis last year and is a modest improvement to our pro-environmental and pro-clean/green jobs policies. I was pleased to vote for the override.
The Appropriations Committee, on which I serve, has begun the process of going through each government agency's budget. You can see a schedule of hearings here. As the Department of Legislative Services' non-partisan budget analyses are released on each agency, they will also be available on the schedule page. One of the best parts about being an Appropriations Committee member is that the budget affects all areas of policy. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any issue of concern.
In 2015, the legislature passed a bill sponsored by my colleague Delegate Karen Young (Frederick) regarding student privacy protections. I was privileged to serve as floor leader on the bill. Pursuant to budget language, the Maryland Higher Education Commission recently reported on the status of implementation of the bill at Maryland institutions of higher education. You can review the status report online.
Shortly after this update is released, the Governor will come before the legislature and provide the State of the State address. I will be sure to discuss the speech in a future email update.
As I mentioned last week, the Administration's proposed budget included an operating subsidy increase for Metro as requested by Metro's General Manager. I joined with other colleagues in sending a letter to thank the Department of Transportation and encourage them to do more to protect riders. You can read the letter here.
I also discussed the budget issue on NPR's WAMU.
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