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Delegate Nicole Williams Newsletter - January

Dear Neighbors and Friends -


On Wednesday, January 10, we officially began the 446th Legislative session! As we dive into the legislative session, my office is working hard on noteworthy events and key initiatives to make a positive impact on our community. Stay tuned for updates on important legislation, community engagements, and opportunities for your valuable input. Together, let's shape a future that reflects the needs and aspirations of our community.


-Nicole


 

THE 2025 BUDGET


Recently, Governor Wes Moore released the official budget plan for the Fiscal Year 2025. Governor Moore's FY 2025 budget proposal focuses on fiscal responsibility and strategic investments, intending to reduce the state's structural deficit by 34% and maintain the Rainy Day Fund without raising taxes. The budget allocates record funding for local law enforcement, victims of crime, and initiatives for justice-involved youth. It significantly invests in affordable housing, childcare scholarships, and rental housing programs to address poverty challenges. Education receives substantial funding, including support for public schools and the University System of Maryland. Infrastructure projects, economic development efforts, and initiatives for civic innovation are also prioritized. The budget aims to position Maryland as a competitive and service-oriented state, emphasizing key areas of public safety, affordability, competitiveness, and civic engagement. For detailed information, visit here. We are excited to see what the Governor and Lieutenant Governor do in the 2024 Session!


 

District 22 Night

The District 22 night was canceled due to extreme weather conditions. Unfortunately, we will not be able to reschedule the event for this legislative session due to space constraints. However, we encourage residents to come to Annapolis if they have time to see us in session and let us know what bills you would like to see pass. 


 

New Team


Brindley Kean

Hello, my name is Brindley Kean. I am from West Bloomfield Township, Michigan. I am an Honors Government and Politics Sophomore at the University of Maryland with minors in Law and Society and General Business. I will be the Legislative Coordinator for Delegate Williams's Office during the 2024 Legislative Session. I hope to acquire valuable insights into the legislative process to enhance my understanding of the law and contribute to my future academic pursuits. In my future endeavors, I plan to pursue a law degree and continue to work within the government to assuage critical social issues.




Chelsea Boyer

Hello, my name is Chelsea Boyer, and I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Currently, I'm a Junior Communication student specializing in Political Communication and Public Advocacy, with a minor in Public Leadership at the University of Maryland. I am eager to learn more about the legislative process and actively contribute to meaningful legislation while interning in Delegate Nicole Williams' Office. Looking ahead, my aspirations include attending law school and exploring diverse avenues to make meaningful contributions to society.

 


Nneka Okoro

My name is Nneka Okoro, and I am a senior honors student at Howard University, pursuing my Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies. I am from Prince George’s County, Maryland. In addition to my academic pursuits, I serve as a legislative intern for Delegate Nicole Williams, actively contributing to the legislative process and gaining valuable insights into political mechanisms. I aspire to further my education by pursuing a Master's degree in Public Policy and Psychology with a specialized focus on counseling. My ultimate goal is to become a therapist, leveraging my academic background to contribute meaningfully to the field of mental health.


 

Session Updates



Chatting with members of AFSCME in the lobby of the State House

 about their legislative priorities. 




Dropping the Unit Rule Legislation in the hopper!




A glimpse into the Yes Campaign Rally for the 2024 Ballot Referendum to enshrine Reproductive Justice in our State Constitution



Got to meet with members of the Maryland Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind


 

Legislative Updates

Various hearings are coming up in the following weeks of the legislative session for bills that I am sponsoring. I am looking forward to introducing the following legislation for the 2024 Session:


HB0170: State Finance - Prohibited Appropriations - Magnetic Levitation Transportation System

  • This bill has not yet received a hearing date but will be heard in the Environment and Transportation and Appropriations Committee

  • Synopsis:

  • Prohibits the State and certain units and instrumentalities of the State from using any appropriation for a magnetic levitation transportation system in the State.



HB0317: Criminal Procedure - Postconviction Review - Motion for Reduction of Sentence

  • This bill will be heard on Tuesday, January 30th in the Judiciary Committee

  • Synopsis:

  • Authorizes a State's Attorney to request a sentence reduction at any point during an individual's incarceration if deemed in the interest of justice. It allows individuals to respond within 60 days and mandates a timely court hearing. The court is granted the authority to consider specific factors in deciding whether to reduce the sentence.



HB0546: Handgun Permits - Accidental Discharge and Training Requirements - Maryland State Police Gun Center (Firearm Safety Act of 2024)  

  • This bill will be heard in the Judiciary Committee in the near future

  • Synopsis:

  • Requires individuals holding handgun permits who accidentally discharge their firearm to register for a specific firearms safety training course within 90 days and complete it within 6 months of the incident. Failure to do so results in the Secretary of State Police revoking the handgun permit. Additionally, the Secretary must notify individuals whose handgun permits are revoked in writing.



HB0550: Criminal Procedure – Partial Expungement

  • This bill will be heard in the Judiciary Committee in the near future

  • Synopsis:

  • Proposes individualized expungement for specific charges within a unit, deviating from the current requirement to expunge charges as a whole under §10-107 of the Criminal Procedure Article. This change aims to grant eligibility for expungement on a charge-by-charge basis rather than collectively within a unit.



HB0641: Election Law – Curbside Voting – Establishment 

  • This bill will be heard in the Ways and Means Committee in the near future

  • Synopsis:

  • Proposes the establishment of designated locations for curbside voting by each local board of elections, outlining requirements and procedures for curbside voting, including location setup and voting processes.



Throughout this session, I will be introducing additional progressive legislation to tackle issues such as increasing access to contraceptives, promoting Mother-Baby Substance Use Treatment Programs, and more. 


 

Announcements


Delegate Nicole A. Williams 2024 Scholarship



The 2024 scholarship application will be available on February 5, 2024! Applications will be accepted from then until April 5, 2024. Refer to the graphic above to check your eligibility. 


More information will be posted on February 5, 2024, on how to apply, as well as the link to the official application. Award winners will be announced in mid-May. Best of luck to everyone applying!


 

Army Reserve Minuteman Scholarship Program



The Army Reserve Minuteman Scholarship program is now open. This program offers generous college scholarships in exchange for service in the Army Reserve (not active duty). The deadline to apply is July 2024, but scholarships are based on available funding. Refer to the informational pamphlet above for more information on the Minuteman Scholarship program, and contact Hayson Spiegel, Army Reserve Ambassador for Maryland, for further information: Jayson_spiegel@yahoo.com 


 

Racial Justice Essay & Creative Arts Student Contest



The Prince George’s County Lynching Memorial Project is pleased to announce its 2024 Racial Justice Essay and Creative Arts Contest, open to Prince George’s County students in grades 9-12. Scholarships totaling over $4,000 will be awarded to winning participants. 

The contest is open now and closes on February 29, 2024. For detailed information on the contest, including how to upload submissions, click on the flyer above.

If you have questions, or suggestions, or need additional information about the contest, please contact Lula at lulabeatty@verizon.net or princegeorgescolmp@gmail.com 


 

Trolley Trail Extension Announcement



Due to the very cold weather and icy conditions, the Trolley Trail Event will be moved to Saturday, January 27th at 10 am, beginning at Melrose Park and ending at the City of Hyattsville’s community room. Please contact Jessica Perez for more information: jperez@hyattsvillecdc.org 


 

Now Hiring School Crossing Guards!



The Prince George's County Police Department is actively seeking applications for school crossing guard positions! Refer to the graphic above for more information.


 

Thrive Academy



On Tuesday, January 9, the Governor and the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) announced the launch of the Thrive Academy. The Thrive Academy is a robust new program that serves youth who are determined to be at a heightened risk for involvement in gun violence, either as a victim or perpetrator. View the graphic above for more information or contact djs.thriveacademy@maryland.gov.


 

MDOT



The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) has announced that qualified plug-in electric vehicle owners can apply for a new HOV (High-Occupancy Vehicle) permit. The MVA began accepting applications on June 12th through this portal or by visiting an MVA branch office. Please note that prior permit holders should remove expired vehicle permits and reapply for new ones. The new program includes a $5 application fee valid through September 30, 2025. Any further information regarding the new HOV permit program can be found using this link.


 

Article of the Month



After more than seven years of community advocacy, city planning, and a year of construction, the Trolley Trail extension from Farragut Street to Charles Armentrout Drive on Route 1 has been completed. The $6.4 million project faced various challenges during the design phase, including funding, bus stops, telephone poles, underground utilities, wheelchair access, and land-use negotiations with the railroad company CSX. The extension runs along Route 1, requiring designers to meet national standards for a minimum 5-foot buffer between a shared-use bike and pedestrian path and the road's edge. A celebratory community ride marked the trail's completion, with participants expressing excitement about the newly connected trail system. Despite the construction's impact on local businesses, there is a shared enthusiasm for the completed trail and anticipation for further developments, such as extending the trail south to the D.C. border. To learn more about the Trolley Trail extension, click here.


 

Resources


Pepco Energy Assistance



Maryland customers can review eligibility requirements through the Department of Human Services website or by calling the Maryland Department of Human Services Office of Home Energy Programs at 800-332-6347. District residents can review eligibility requirements and apply for assistance online through the Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) website or by calling 3-1-1. As a reminder, District residents who have received LIHEAP assistance in the past must recertify their need for assistance this year. Enrollment does not roll over automatically.


If customers do not meet LIHEAP requirements and are having difficulty paying their energy bills, Pepco Customer Care is also available to help by offering:

    •    Flexible payment arrangements that offer tailored payment plans

    •    Extending payment periods for balances

    •    Connecting customers with energy assistance funds

    •    Budget Billing, which averages payments over a 12-month period and helps avoid  

          seasonal spikes and provides a consistent monthly bill. 

 

Customers can contact Pepco at 202-833-7500 or visit pepco.com/EnergyAssistance for more information


 

Energy Assistance for Maryland Residents 


  • The Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP) aids low-income customers with electric bills, even if without service, while the Utility Service Protection Program (USPP) protects families from utility cut-offs and allows MEAP-eligible households to enter into monthly payment programs. Apply by contacting your local Office of Home Energy Programs, calling 1-800-332-6347, or visiting dhr.maryland.gov/ohep.

  • Mary’s Center also provides emergency assistance to income-eligible customers in Prince George’s County. Customers can call 202-545-2024.


 

Pop-Up Community Clinics

Clinicas Communitaria



St Matthews/San Mateo Church is offering free primary care health services every first Sunday and last Tuesday of each month (Primer Domingo y ultimo martes de cada mes).

These services will be held from 9 am to 3 pm. 


Address:

5901 36th Avenue

Hyattsville MD, 20782


Call or Text for an Appointment:

240-258-8583

Mande Un Texto O Llame A:

240-258-8583


 

Housing


Prince George’s County Department of Housing Community Development 2023-2024 Affordable Housing Portfolio:


The Portfolio Lists over forty upcoming and completed senior living communities and multi-family dwellings, now available to County residents. You can watch the promotional video here to access more information about the new portfolio.


If you are currently facing housing or rental concerns due to financial hardships, the organizations listed below can provide some support:


Housing Counseling Services Inc. offers a variety of MD housing and rental assistance resources, including but not limited to housing counseling, foreclosure prevention, utility assistance, and veteran support services.


211 Maryland’s database can connect you with local programs and resources; call 2-1-1 to speak with an information and referral specialist or visit their website.



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