February 2020, Week Two

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

The last two weeks have been big for legislation I have submitted. First, my bill HB543, “Estates and Trusts – Closed Estates – Subsequent Discovery of Check,” went before the Judiciary Committee. I’m pleased to say that it passed the committee, and is now up for a full House vote. This legislation will make it easier for beneficiaries who discover property or checks, worth $1,000 or less, left to them after an estate has closed, to get a court order allowing them access to said funds or property. As it stands, this process can be burdensome, and sometimes can cost more in legal/filing fees than the amount bequeathed. On top of that, HB551, “Health Occupations – Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants – Qualifications,” has passed the Health and Government Operations Committee and is now in the house. This legislation makes it easier for those who already hold certain out-of-state credentials to practice in Maryland. I’m excited to see how these pieces of legislation progress, and hope they will soon be joined by my other bills.

PARKVILLE HIGH

Ever since the troubling news came out about an older student at Parkville High being readmitted to the school despite being a sex offender, we have been working hard to get answers and respond.

Last week Dr. Darryl Williams, Superintendent of BCPS, briefed the Baltimore County House and Senate Delegations. In a short time, legislation will be presented to help guarantee something like this never happens again.

BALTIMORE COUNTY DELEGATION

Last week we were joined in Annapolis by our public safety leaders in the County, including Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt. Chief Hyatt, a career Baltimore City officer before taking over as Chief, stressed the importance of a strong relationship between communities and police, as well as crime reduction. Oftentimes the two go hand-in-hand. She acknowledged how the murder rate for 2019 had gotten out of hand. Despite that, crime went down in a number of other areas. I know crime and safety are always on people’s minds, and last year’s homicide numbers left some uneasy. But I believe Chief Hyatt has strong leadership abilities and she will do incredibly well in her first full calendar year at the helm. The week before, we were joined by BCPS students who advocated for changes in how the student member of the County’s Board of Education is selected. Basically, there needs to be far more input from students via a direct election with a larger number of students able to cast a vote. Considering this is their voice on the Board, I fully support the proposed legislation.

Along with changing how the member is elected, our students would also like for the student member of the Board to be able to vote on matters relating to capital and operating budgets. As they pointed out, as students they have strong first-hand knowledge of the issues they face. The position should not just be a ceremonious position, and if the student board member is supposed to be the voice of the student body, their voice should be heard. Finally, a third piece if legislation was introduced that would increase the scholarship granted to the student member from $1,000 to $7,500. Currently, adult members of the board receive a $12,500 stipend for their work. Considering the amount of work done by the student member, they should be compensated fairly. Together, these three bills will reform the role of the student member, and I certainly support these bil.

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