2022 Legislative Session Week 12 Newsletter

We are really in the home stretch now! This week was long, with lots of lobbying and last pushes on all sorts of bills. I was so pleased to see two of my bills pass the Senate with overwhelming bi-partisan support (read on for more). The Senate’s Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee heard one of my bills on Tuesday, and I have another hearing on another bill in front of the Judicial Proceedings Committee this upcoming week.

As we sprint through the final leg towards Sine Die, I will keep doing everything I can to get my bills through, and to support the legislation crafted by my colleagues which aligns with my priorities and supports the needs of my communities. As always, my priority is making life better for people, families and communities in our great state!

Senate – Cleared

Two of my bills passed the Senate this week with overwhelming bipartisan support and are on their way to the Governor’s desk. HB28, which gives pharmacists the ability to prescribe nicotine replacement therapies, passed 45-1 (after passing unanimously in the House). HB534, which extends Medicaid coverage to self-measured blood pressure monitoring devices, passed 47-0 (after passing unanimously in the House).

HB28 will take effect in October, and HB534 will take effect at the start of 2023. An estimated 850,000 adults in our state smoke cigarettes, and as many as 1.5 million struggle with high blood pressure. I hope these bills will have a direct impact in helping these Marylanders live healthier lives. A huge thanks to my colleagues in the General Assembly for their support. I’m so proud to have played a role in passing this legislation.

Senate – Heard

This week, the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on HB1327, my bill to establish a study of the strengths and shortcomings of Maryland’s Home and Hospital Teaching program. The bill passed unanimously in the House and faces no opposition, so I am looking forward to a favorable committee report.

Legislative Wins

We in the House of Delegates have been hard at work on some monumental pieces of legislation which will help our state step forward into a new era. After hours of committee meetings and floor debate, we passed some top priorities this week, including:

Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022
  • I was so proud to support this bill, which aims to help us significantly reduce our state’s greenhouse gas emissions, with a goal of reaching net-zero by 2045. I was honored to work on this legislation with the committee and floor leadership, and strongly believe that this will help us leave a cleaner, healthier world to future generations.
Bi-partisan Tax Relief Plan
  • This plan paves the way for $1.86 billion in tax relief for retirees, small businesses and families in Maryland. But it goes further, giving businesses incentives to hire and retain workers and requiring reinvestment in public safety services, expansion of adult dental coverage, in-home care, and autism services, and easing of access to child care. This will do a lot to lift up communities and families across our state, and I was so proud to support its passage.
Family Budget Boosters
  • A key piece of the aforementioned tax relief plan, this set of bills outlines state income tax exemptions for medical, personal care and child care products, including diapers, car seats, baby bottles, dental hygiene products, diabetic care items and other medical products like thermometers, pulse oximeters and medical-grade face masks. This will give families critical support as we do our best to recover from the pandemic and rebuild the health of our state.

Baltimore County – School Spending

New northeast elementary school groundbreaking, August 2021.

I am so excited to see Baltimore County committing $70 million to school construction funding, including a Red House Run Elementary replacement, a Pine Grove Middle School addition, and design funds for a like-new Towson High School. This, in addition to the new northeast elementary and middle schools under construction, will mean a big step up for the schools and students in our area. I have proudly fought for historic school construction funding, including the $2.2 billion Built To Learn Act in 2020, and this is a top priority for me as a legislator. These investments will help build the strongest possible foundation for our kids to achieve success.

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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