2022 Legislative Session Week 11 Newsletter

We have now passed Cross Over, meaning everything is topsy-turvy — in the House, we’re reading Senate bills, and most of our bills have been sent across for consideration from our Senate colleagues. At this critical moment, six out of my seven bills passed the House with largely bipartisan support! I’m still working hard to make sure my legislative priorities make it to the Governor’s desk, but I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished so far this session.

Reminder that applications for my legislative scholarships are due Thursday, March 31. See below for more details.

Cross Over Update

House Accomplishments

My colleagues and I in the House of Delegates worked together to pass several monument pieces of legislation to address issues facing our state, including:

Child Care:

HB 89:  Child Care Stabilization and Child Care Expansion Grant Programs

  • House Bill 89 prioritizes family child care providers and providers most in need for the State’s $50 million stabilization grant. This legislation will allow family child care providers and providers most in need a better opportunity to take advantage of the grant this fiscal year.

HB 725:  Therapeutic Child Care Program

  • House Bill 725 establishes the Therapeutic Child Care Program for childcare providers that support students with developmental disabilities. The grant program provides up to $45k for each child with severe developmental disabilities or delays. 

HB 993:  Establishes the Child Care Capital Support Revolving Loan Fund

  • House Bill 993 creates a $35 million revolving loan fund available to child care providers participating in the scholarship program. The loans will be at no interest and can be used for expansion, new construction/acquisition, and renovations of childcare facilities.

HB 1100:  Bonuses for Child Care Providers and Employees

  • House Bill 1100 fences off $16 million in the budget for child care providers to use for employee retention and new hire bonuses.

 HB 1202:  Local Cybersecurity Support Act of 2022

  • House Bill 1202 codifies the Cyber Preparedness Unit Emergency under the Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) to assist local governments to be prepared for and respond to security hacks and other incidents. It requires local governments to report cyber security incidents to the local emergency manager, security operations center in DoIT, and the MD Joint Operations Center.

HB 1205:  Modernize Maryland Act of 2022

  • House Bill 1205 creates an oversight committee consisting of experts in cybersecurity, legislators, industry leaders. It also includes a “fee for service” grant program provided at cost by the state, to assess local governments’ cyberinfrastructure and make grants available to jurisdictions that take advantage of the program. This legislation also requires DoIT to conduct an audit of state cybersecurity infrastructure at least every three years with the assistance of hired outside consultants to provide insight into overall system security and identify deficiencies and areas for improvement.

HB 1346:  Improving State Cybersecurity Coordination and Governance

  • House Bill 1346 centralizes state cybersecurity operations inside of DoIT. The bill also codifies the Office of Security Management and the Chief Information Security Officer positions originally outlined in the Governor’s Executive Order. The bill also establishes the Cybersecurity Coordination and Operations Unit (CCOU) inside DoIT as a body to coordinate local efforts and support services to improve local, regional, and statewide cyber security readiness and response. This will serve as a place for locals to go for resources to improve their own cyber security efforts.

HB 88:  Electric Distribution Grid Support

  • House Bill 88 works to leverage federal dollars to better support Maryland’s electrical distribution grid. The bill puts the State on a path to help modernize the state’s grid, meet the state’s carbon reduction goals, create good-paying jobs and save ratepayers money on their utilities over the coming decades.

HB 94:  Electrified State Vehicle Fleet

  • House Bill 94 transitions the state fleet from gas to electric vehicles to help lower greenhouse gas emissions and meet our carbon reduction goals.

HB 696:  Electric School Bus Pilot Program

  • House Bill 696 establishes a 3-year electric school bus pilot program to begin transitioning Maryland’s 7,300 school buses from diesel to electric buses. 

HB 6:  Dental Coverage for Adults on Medicaid

  • House Bill 6 expands access to dental care by allowing adults with Medicaid to get dental coverage. This will expand dental coverage to the nearly 800,000 Marylanders without dental care.
Economic Development:

HB 2:  Work Opportunity Tax Credit

  • House Bill 2 helps put chronically unemployed Marylanders back to work by providing a tax credit to businesses that hire and retain workers from underrepresented communities.

Scholarship Applications

My office will be accepting applications for 2022-2023 scholarships until March 31, 2022, along with my fellow District 8 Delegates. Read on for more information. You can click the link below or scan the QR code to find our application form.

A few things to note before you apply:

  • Applicants must be residents of Maryland’s Legislative District 8. You can double-check your address at mdelect.net, and if you live in any other district, we encourage you to apply for a scholarship with your district’s representatives.
  • Applicants must be accepted or enrolled as full- or part-time students at a college or university in Maryland. We are not able to offer scholarships to students attending schools outside of Maryland (unless they have Unique Major status).
  • Applicants should only apply once. All three District 8 Delegates (Bhandari, Boteler, and Jackson) share a single scholarship fund and use the same system to accept and adjudicate applications. All three offices will be able to review your application after you submit this form once, so there’s no need to apply three times.

Find our application form at this link: https://forms.gle/UvbvxSe8wgVsBqz9A

Also worth noting: legislative scholarships are non-renewable, meaning you must reapply each year. Filing for FAFSA is encouraged but not required; however, if you don’t file for FAFSA, you must create a Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) account for the scholarship award to be processed. Visit this page for more details.

Please don’t hesitate to follow up with any questions. And good luck!

Questions, Comments, or Concerns

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns throughout the legislative session, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at harry.bhandari@house.state.md.us. I am always happy to hear from constituents, and in the meantime, I’m sending you all my best wishes.

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