New Year Newsletter: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Happy New Year! From me and my loved ones to you and yours, I wish you peace and blessings in 2022. As we return from the holidays and head into a busy legislative session starting January 12, you can expect weekly updates from me until Sine Die on April 11, when we will switch back to monthly updates. Meanwhile, as we get settled in Annapolis, I want to share a look back on 2021 and a glimpse ahead.

Legislative Session 2021

I passed five bills during last year’s legislative session, and have altogether passed 10 bills during my time in the legislature which have been enacted into law. Last session, I was proud to see bills I introduced on early voting, policing and collective bargaining rolled in with larger bi-partisan packages of legislation which passed in the General Assembly.

My own legislative wins included:

  • Banning registered sex offenders from entering public school buildings. This responded to an incident of sexual assault between students at Parkville High School, one of whom was a registered sex offender. I hope this first-in-the-nation bill will prevent an incident like this from happening again in Maryland.
  • Restructuring fees for the Maryland Department of Health’s Board of Environmental Health Specialists. This boosts the state’s General Fund and helps to streamline the flow of money through our state agencies.
  • Bolstering benefits for Baltimore County detention and correctional officers. We are in a moment when these individuals are facing the double challenge of working through the pandemic and shifting cultural attitudes toward their work.
  • Expanding the eligibility of temporary licenses to practice physical therapy. This will make these sought-after services easier to come by and ease the demands on our state healthcare system during the pandemic.
  • Requiring members of the Baltimore County Board of License Commissioners to be residents of Baltimore County. This will help ensure that our local liquor regulations are enforced by people invested here in our communities.

I’ve also been proud to work with my District 8 colleagues to secure over $2 million for local projects through my time in the legislature so far, including a new turf field at Parkville High School and funding for improvements at Overlea High School, Double Rock Park, and Linover Park.

Plus, the General Assembly passed some monumental legislation. Our RELIEF Act sought to address the COVID-19 pandemic through direct payments to low-income folks, provisions to help process unemployment claims, and tax breaks for businesses and low- and middle-income workers through an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit. We also overrode the Governor’s veto of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, meaning our schools can look forward to big investments in teaching, technology, and construction to give our kids the strongest footing for success in generations to come.


Legislative Session 2022

Looking ahead to 2022, I have already filed or prepared to file a number of bills. I will plan to pursue additional bills that develop during the session, and I am always open to hearing from my constituents about your priorities.

Legislative initiatives I am already pushing include:

  • Making monitoring your blood pressure from home easier. This will help folks stay more informed about their health and potentially save trips to the doctor. My thanks to District 15 Senator Brian Feldman for cross-filing.
  • Allowing pharmacists to prescribe medication easing reliance on tobacco. This will increase support for tobacco users seeking to improve their own health. My thanks to District 46 Delegate Robyn Lewis for co-sponsoring and to District 43 Senator Mary Washington for cross-filing.
  • Recognizing Dashain Day statewide. This festival originated in Nepal is celebrated in many South Asian communities is very important to our growing diaspora communities here in Maryland and deserves formal recognition from the highest levels. My thanks to District 21 Senator Jim Rosapepe for agreeing on cross-filing in the Senate. The bill is currently in the drafting process.

I am very much looking forward to my fourth regular legislative session and excited to see what the General Assembly will accomplish this year. Stay tuned!

COVID-19 in Maryland

Over the holidays, we saw a sharp surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the prevalence of the Omicron variant here in Maryland. In the last seven weeks, COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state have increased more than 500 percent, for a record-high 3,057 on January 4, and projections that we may see a peak of more than 5,000 hospitalizations.

Last week, Governor Larry Hogan declared a 30-day state of emergency and announced a series of executive actions to brace for increased strain on our healthcare system in the coming weeks and months. These include provisions to address staffing shortages in hospitals and care facilities, an expansion of the emergency medical staff workforce and mobilization of the Maryland National Guard to assist health officials, opening of 20 new testing sites across the state, and authorization of booster shots for 12- to 15-year olds.

Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. also announced a local state of emergency and issued a county-wide indoor mask mandate for all citizens regardless of COVID-19 status or vaccination, through at least the end of January. Earlier this week, the county council voted overwhelmingly in support of this measure as a key step in curbing the spread of COVID-19 through our communities, workplaces, and schools.

As both a teacher in the classroom with students and legislator with this year’s legislative session fast approaching, I am troubled by the persistence of our health trends in the wrong direction. I was feeling unwell at the beginning of January and took a test to make sure I am not transmitting Omicron to the people in my life. It’s a reminder that we are not done with this pandemic, and that it’s worth taking precautions to preserve the health and safety of our friends and family, colleagues, and communities.

Please continue masking and distancing, and in the next few weeks think twice about more risky behavior. Above all, please get your vaccines and boosters. We did not defeat the pandemic in 2021, but if we work together, we can come to terms with it in 2022. Please stay safe and be well, and know that my best wishes are with you in the new year!

Contact Me

As always, do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns. You can reach my office by email at or by phone at 410-841-3526. My office in Annapolis is located at 6 Bladen Street, Room 303, Annapolis MD 21401, and I also have a district office at 7701 Belair Road, Nottingham MD 21236. My staff and I are here to serve you and will continue to do so throughout the 2022 Legislative Session.

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