Annapolis Insights: Legislative Newsletter – Week 9

It was another productive, with the cross-over week now beginning. Activity on the floor and in committees has increased significantly, and despite early meetings and late nights, I remain focused on my ultimate goal of serving my constituents in District 8 and the entire state of Maryland to the best of my abilities. As always, I welcome and encourage you to contact my office to share your opinions.

 Legislative Victory for Improved Patient Care

I would like to share the legislative victory of HB 633 – Hospital Credentialing – Reappointment Process for Physician Staff – Modification passing the third reader and crossing over to the Senate. This bill is crucial in aligning Maryland’s reappointment process for hospitals and physicians with federal standards. By extending the reappointment process timeline, Maryland hospitals will be able to benefit from this change and prioritize patient care. The passing of this bill will also ease the burden on our medical staff and allow them to focus on providing quality care to their patients. Stay tuned for more updates on this and other significant legislative efforts.

Presenting Two Bills for Consideration: Expanding Healthcare Coverage and Studying Extreme Risk Protective Orders in Maryland

I had the opportunity to present two of my bills to the Maryland General Assembly. The first bill, HB1116 (the Sagar Ghimire Act), was introduced to the Judiciary committee. This bill proposes the establishment of a workgroup to study extreme risk protective orders in Maryland. The Workgroup would be required to provide policy recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly by May 1, 2024, to improve the state’s use of extreme risk protective orders.

 The second bill, HB 1151, was introduced to the Health and Government Operations committee. This bill aims to expand healthcare coverage by requiring the Maryland Medical Assistance Program, the Maryland Children’s Health Program, and certain insurers, nonprofit health service plans, and health maintenance organizations to provide coverage for all services rendered by a licensed pharmacist within the pharmacist’s lawful scope of practice, rather than limiting coverage to certain services as is currently done. This would ensure enrollees receive the exact extent of coverage for services rendered by a pharmacist as they would for services rendered by any other healthcare practitioner.  

Advancing Maryland’s Priorities: Baltimore County Delegation Receives Valuable Update from Senator Cardin on Federal Matters

The  Baltimore County Delegation had the privilege of hearing from Senior Senator Ben Cardin, who provided an update on events in Washington D.C. that directly impact Maryland and, more specifically, Baltimore County. In addition, Senator Cardin spoke at length about programs previously voted on in Congress and how these initiatives are beginning to take effect. During the meeting, I asked Senator Cardin about the possibility of relocating the FBI headquarters to Maryland. He expressed his strong belief that the FBI belongs in Maryland, citing that it would save taxpayers an estimated 1.5 to 2 billion dollars compared to building in Virginia. Senator Cardin’s insights and expertise were invaluable, and we are grateful for his ongoing support in advancing Maryland’s priorities. We will continue working closely with Senator Cardin and our colleagues in Washington, D.C., to ensure our constituents’ needs are heard and met.

Building Bridges: Strengthening International Partnerships for a Better World

I had the pleasure of meeting with government officials from 15 different countries in Annapolis as a chair of Asian American Pacific Islander(AAPI) caucus chair. During the meeting, we discussed strengthening partnerships between our state and its provinces and states. It was an insightful conversation, and I was grateful for the chance to collaborate with leaders worldwide.

Thank our MD State Secretary, Susan Lee, for coordinating the meeting. Without her efforts, this gathering would not have been possible. Her dedication and commitment to building relationships with other governments are admirable and something we should all strive to emulate. Through partnerships like these, we can make progress on important issues and create a better world for everyone.

Preventing Youth Violence: The Importance of Conflict Resolution Education in  Schools

I talked to David Collins from WBALTV about my HB1110 – the Peace and Conflict Studies – High School Course bill. The interview shed light on the harsh reality that Maryland’s youth are being senselessly killed. My bill aims to introduce conflict resolution classes and training in schools to prevent violence in the classroom and on our streets. It is disheartening that minor disputes can quickly spiral out of control, resulting in devastating consequences. Tragically, firearms are often used in these incidents. We must take proactive steps to address this issue, and my bill is just one of many ways we can work towards a safer and more peaceful Maryland. I am committed to advocating for the well-being of our youth and our communities, and I thank WBALTV and David Collins for helping to bring attention to this critical issue.  Click the link here to watch: 

How to follow Maryland General Assembly’s 2023 session

To follow the Maryland General Assembly’s 2023 session, you can visit the Maryland General Assembly’s website. The website provides the following resources:

  1. The Schedule for the 2023 Session
  2. The Committee Schedule (which will be updated regularly to reflect any changes)
  3. The Legislation Charts allow you to look up and track proposed bills.

It’s important to note that every bill introduced before the deadline will be granted a hearing. In addition, before the hearing takes place, a fiscal and policy note will be published regarding the bill. By utilizing these resources, you can stay up-to-date with the Maryland General Assembly’s 2023 session and track the progress of proposed bills.

Stay Aware, Stay Safe

As the new year begins and everything appears to be back to normal, it is important to remember that we are not out of the woods yet. 

With the emergence of the new Omicron variant XBB.1.5, it’s crucial to continue taking precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones. However, we have tools to prevent severe infection and maintain a sense of normalcy. So please, make sure to get vaccinated and stay safe.

Opportunity for Excellence: Apply Now for Delegate Scholarship Program 

My office now accepts applications for the District 8 Delegate Scholarship in collaboration with Delegate Nick Allen and Delegate Carl Jackson. 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:

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 or by phone at 410-841-3524.

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