Annapolis Insights: Legislative Newsletter – Week 2

A Historic Day in Maryland: Governor Wes Moore and Lt. Governor Aruna Miller Sworn into Office

Photo Credit:Julia Nikhinson/AP
We witnessed a historic moment as Governor Wes Moore, and Lt. Governor Aruna Miller were sworn into office at the Maryland State Capitol on Wednesday, January 18th, at noon (read more here). The State House was adorned with beautiful decorations, and thousands of people from across the state came to participate in this momentous occasion. The road to the Capitol was lined with rows of chairs, each glinting in the sunlight, symbolizing the unity and diversity of the crowd and the hopes and dreams of our state. The energy in Annapolis was electric, and the smiling faces of all in attendance were a proud moment for our state.

I was honored to be a part of the election result certification process and am excited for the positive changes to come under the Moore-Miller administration. I am eager to collaborate with the new Governor’s office to create a brighter future for my constituents and all Marylanders.

Maryland Has a New Comptroller – Brooke Lierman

Congratulations to Comptroller Brooke Lierman on her historic swearing-in as the first woman comptroller of Maryland and the first woman to hold an independent, statewide office. Serving alongside her in the Maryland General Assembly for the last four years was an honor. Together, we are committed to making Maryland a better place for all.

2023 Legislative Highlights

This week marks the deadline for requesting new legislation, and I wanted to update two bills in this issue that I will be sponsoring for this session. In addition, I will keep you updated on my other pieces of legislation that have the potential to make a positive impact in our community in future issues. I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues to move them forward.

Reducing Emergency Department Wait Time:

If enacted into law, this bill will establish a task force to study best practices for reducing wait times in emergency departments in our state. The Task Force identifies potential solutions to reduce excessive wait times, studies best practices from other states with similar populations, and recommends improving emergency department wait times in Maryland to the Governor and General Assembly.
This bill is needed to address the growing problem of excessive wait times in emergency departments. Long wait times can have a significant impact on patient outcomes, as well as the overall functioning of the healthcare system. This will ultimately lead to better patient outcomes and a more efficient healthcare system. Additionally, this task force will help to ensure that emergency care is accessible to all Marylanders, regardless of their socioeconomic status, background, or location within the state.

Places of Public Accommodation – Motion Picture Houses – Captioning

I am reintroducing the Places of Public Accommodation – Motion Picture Houses – Captioning bill this session. The purpose of this bill is to increase accessibility and provide more opportunities for individuals in Maryland to experience the enjoyment of watching films in movie theaters. This proposed bill requires movie theaters with at least two locations in the state to offer open captioning, meaning captions up on the big screen, for two movies per week. The bill aims to bring more audiences back to movie theaters, including thousands of people who might not usually go. The bill will help deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, seniors, parents of children who want them to learn new words, and English learners. Open captioning is a smart business move that will increase profit by appealing to more customers and making Maryland a national leader in accessibility.

Transparency and Civil Rights: The House Health and Government Operations Committee


The House Health and Government Operations Committee held a productive hearing on January 19, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. in House Office Building in Annapolis.
The hearing began with an overview of Maryland’s transparency laws, presented by Rachel Simmonsen of the Open Meetings Compliance Board, Lisa Kershner of the Public Access Ombudsman, and Sara Klemm of the Public Information Act Compliance Board. These experts provided valuable information on Maryland’s laws and regulations governing public access to government meetings and records. As a result, the committee gained a better understanding of the current practice for the potential legislation to ensure transparency in government operations.
Next, the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights was represented by Glendora C. Hughes, General Counsel, and Cleveland L. Horton, Deputy Director, who provided an overview of the Commission’s role in protecting the rights of Maryland residents. Committee members were provided with information about the Commission’s history, mission, and current initiatives and opportunities to ask questions and provide feedback.
The committee looks forward to continuing our efforts to ensure transparency and protect the rights of Maryland residents.

Connecting with the Community: Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy

On Tuesday, 17, 2023, we honored the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by coming together as a community to clean up McCormick and Hamilton as part of our district. I joined my colleagues Delegate Carl Jackson, Delegate Nick Allen, Councilman Mike Ertel, and many community leaders, including Kim L. Ross, in this effort to make our neighborhoods a cleaner and better place for all. It was a powerful reminder of the importance of service and coming together to make a difference.

Meet the New Team: Introducing Our Staff for the Legislative Session

As the new legislative session begins, I am excited to introduce some new members of my staff who will assist me in both Annapolis and the district office. My chief of staff, John McCartney, will handle policy and constituent issues and oversee day-to-day operations in both offices. John has a wealth of experience in state and federal legislative offices, sales, business development, and customer service.
Kritika Pant, our new legislative assistant, will work closely with John and me to help streamline our daily tasks and will also play an instrumental role in providing constituent services. Ms. Pant, a sophomore at CCBC Essex, brings enthusiasm, and we are excited to see the contributions she will make.
In addition, Kane Samuel will join us as a policy advisor, focusing primarily on environmental issues, but will soon expand his scope to cover a broader range of topics. With a background as an Environmental Protection Specialist for the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), Kane is well-versed in the latest environmental protection regulations and practices.
With a growing team in place, I am confident that we will achieve not only great things in Annapolis but also be able to serve the residents of the 8th District better.

Opportunity for Excellence: Apply Now for Delegate Scholarship Program

In collaboration with Delegate Nick Allen and Delegate Carl Jackson, my office is now accepting applications for the District 8 Delegate Scholarship. This scholarship aims to assist as many local students as possible, as we have done in previous years. Therefore, we encourage interested students to submit their applications early. To apply, please visit the following link:


Case Work

We are closely coordinating all casework requests and are dedicated to assisting you in any way we can. Whether it is helping you navigate the unemployment website, connecting you with resources for utility assistance, or providing information on local programs, we are here to support you.
https://delegatebhandari.com/scholarship/
Stay Aware, Stay Safe

As we continue to work our way through the challenges of the Covid epidemic, it is important to note that we are making progress in the fight. I would like to commend the medical community for the unprecedented levels of research that has gone into developing and dispersing vaccines. And, to our medical providers for the exceptional care that has been administered to those that have been afflicted. As we move forward, it is important that everyone who can be vaccinated so that we can stop the spread of this virus, and put this difficult part of our nation’s history firmly in the past.

Your Voice Matters

Thank everyone for reaching out with their thoughts on legislation, and all of your advocacy is heard and greatly appreciated. Whether at the federal, state, or local level, our government operates at a higher level with an informed and active constituency. Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions, comments, concerns, or requests for help. My staff and I are here to help, and I can be reached via email harry.bhandari@house.state.md.us or by phone at 410-841-3524.

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