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Delegate Nicole Williams Newsletter - March

Dear Neighbors and Friends - 

 

As we are past the midway point of this legislative session, we reflect on the strides we've made and the work that lies ahead. I have been working to diligently advocate for our community's needs, and I am thrilled to share some exciting legislative updates with you!


March is not only a pivotal moment in our legislative calendar but also a time to honor the contributions and resilience of women everywhere. As we commemorate Women's History Month and International Women's Day on March 8th, we celebrate the trailblazers who have paved the way for equality and justice. 

 

- Nicole

 

Happy Women's History Month!



March marks Women's History Month, a time dedicated to recognizing the indelible contributions and triumphs of women throughout history. The National Women’s History Alliance (NWHA) has named this year’s theme for Women’s History Month as, “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” This theme celebrates women's efforts to eliminate bias and discrimination. From diverse backgrounds, they champion fairness in society, promote inclusivity, and challenge unjust norms. 

 

This month offers us an opportunity to celebrate the resilience, courage, and achievements of women from all walks of life. Let's honor their legacies, amplify their voices, and continue striving for gender equality in every aspect of society. Here are some ways you can celebrate Women’s History Month in our community and within Prince George's County.

 

Women's History Month Highlight:

Dr. Charlene Mickens Dukes



Dr. Charlene Mickens Dukes was the first female president of Prince George’s Community College (PGCC). During her time as president, PGCC’s curriculum expanded into a model for community colleges around the state. Her work has created public-private partnerships to enhance student experience and develop opportunities for growth. Under her watch, PGCC also developed unique and innovative programs to allow students to graduate high school with their diploma and an associate degree.

 

She has had a remarkable career spanning 42 years. She served as the president of Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) for 13 years, during which enrollment reached 44,000 students across six locations. Before PGCC, she held administrative roles at the Community College of Allegheny County and served as vice president of student services at PGCC. Dr. Dukes was unanimously voted to serve as the president of the Maryland State Board of Education in 2011 and served three one-year terms. 

 

Dr. Dukes is also the founder of The Dukes Group LLC, focusing on executive coaching, equity, and advocacy. She holds various leadership positions on boards and task forces, including the Meyer Foundation and CareFirst, Inc. Dr. Dukes is deeply involved in mentoring programs, educational initiatives, and community organizations, contributing extensively to higher education and social progress. She is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Pittsburgh (my alma mater). Dr. Dukes is leaving a lasting impact on Maryland students and continues to make strides in enhancing Maryland’s educational systems. 

 

Session Updates



Muslim Lobby Day was on Monday, February 26th, and I got the chance to meet with this group and discuss important legislation.




I met with members of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association to discuss their legislative priorities.




I attended the Black Caucus Labor Night, where the Legislative Black Caucus and Labor Leaders hosted a meeting and reception in Annapolis to discuss various legislative priorities. Pictured above at the podium is Ray Lee with United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW).




I celebrated the 2024 Read Across America at an event at the State House 

and took a picture with Big Bird!




Members of the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee (PGCDCC) visited members of the Prince George’s County Delegation in Annapolis.



I attended the Women’s Caucus Breakfast with the Governor alongside my remarkable colleagues.




On Tuesday, March 5th, we held a press conference for HB1063 - Criminal Organizations - Criminal Prohibitions, Civil Actions, and Forfeiture. I was alongside Prince George’s County State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy, Baltimore City State's Attorney Ivan Bates and State Senator C. Anthony Muse. The bill hearing was also held on March 5th. This bill expands the list of crimes that may be prosecuted under the gang statute including car theft, the removal of VIN numbers, and other crimes. We proudly advocated for this legislation and addressed any concerns and questions.




The bill hearing for HB550 - Partial Expungement was also on March 5th. This legislation will allow individuals to expunge charges that are expungeable under the Code but linked with unexpungeable charges. Currently, individuals who have completed their period of incarceration, parole, and/or probation are not allowed to expunge these charges even if they were never convicted of these charges. I testified on this bill with my panelists who are pictured above.





A snapshot with students from Towson University on Towson Tiger Pride Day in Annapolis!


 

Legislative Updates


As my bill hearings in the House have come to an end for this 2024 legislative session, I am excited to keep you all updated on their progression as they receive their final committee reports and potentially crossover to the Senate:


HB0641: Election Law – Curbside Voting – Establishment

  • This bill was heard on Tuesday, February 13th in the Ways and Means Committee

  • This bill received a favorable report with amendments from the Ways and Means Committee and passed on to the second reader with the approved amendments. The bill will now move on to the third reader in the House. 

  • 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.


HB0550: Criminal Procedure – Partial Expungement

  • This bill was heard on Tuesday, March 5th in the Judiciary Committee. We are advocating for the committee to vote on this important bill.

  • Synopsis:

  • Proposes individualized expungement for specific charges within a unit of charges, deviating from the current requirement to expunge charges as a whole unit 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 of charges.


HB1063: Criminal Organizations - Criminal Prohibitions, Civil Actions, and Forfeiture

  • This bill was heard on Tuesday, March 5th in the Judiciary Committee. This bill has the support of Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy.

  • Synopsis:

  •  This bill has been amended to adjust definitions and adds a list of charges allowed under the gang statute.


HB1171: Nonprescription Drugs and Devices – Provision by Registered Nurses and Sale of Contraceptives Through Automatic Devices 

  • This bill was heard on Friday, March 1st, in the Health and Government Operations Committee

  • Synopsis:

  • Repeals the prohibition on the sale of certain contraceptives by means of a vending machine or other automatic device; and authorizing registered nurses to provide, without a prescription, nonprescription drugs and devices in a local health department under certain circumstances.


HJ0003: Use of Nuclear Weapons 

  • This bill was heard on Monday, March 4th, in the Rules and Executive Nominations Committee

  • Synopsis:

  • States that the General Assembly joins seven other state legislative bodies and over 75 municipalities and counties in passing a resolution on reducing the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons; urging members of the State's Congressional Delegation who have not yet done so to cosponsor House Resolution 77 relating to the use of nuclear weapons; and urging the U.S. President and the U.S. Senate to endorse the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.


 

Announcements



Delegate A. Williams 2024 Scholarship



The 2024 scholarship application is now available! Applications will be accepted until April 5, 2024. Refer to the graphic above to check your eligibility. 

 

Visit my website for more information 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!



Greenbelt ACE Educator Awards



Congratulations to the ACE 2024 Educator Awardees: Ivy Wilcher, Teacher from Springhill Lake Elementary; Stephanie Abuelhawa, Teacher from Greenbelt Elementary; Mercy Faeldonia, Teacher from Magnolia Elementary; Judith Barrera, Teacher from Eleanor Roosevelt High School; Kristen Ransome, Paraprofessional from Dora Kennedy French Immersion; and Byron Snowden, School Security from Greenbelt Middle School! Thank you all for the amazing work you do.   

 

The Greenbelt Advisory Committee on Education (ACE) was established in 1995 by the Greenbelt City Council to ensure that schools attended by Greenbelt’s children are of the highest quality. They advise the City Council on issues pertaining to the needs of these schools.

They currently work with the six area schools where the majority of Greenbelt children attend: Greenbelt Elementary School, Magnolia Elementary School, Springhill Lake Elementary School, Greenbelt Middle School, Dora Kennedy French Immersion School and Eleanor Roosevelt High School.


Each year they host two award ceremonies to honor excellence in these schools. The first ceremony, the ACE Educator Awards, focuses on an adult who has made a significant contribution to a school and the quality of students’ experience. This award ceremony was held on Monday, March 11, 2024. Congratulations to this year's award winners!


Community Power Hour


Charles Herbert Flowers High School wants to bring your attention to recent incidents of assault occurring during high school students' walks home in their neighborhood.  As a community, it is crucial that we come together to ensure the safety of our young residents.

 

They kindly request everyone to be extra vigilant during the hours when Charles Flowers High School students are walking home. Keep an eye out for any suspicious activities and report them promptly to the local authorities.

 

Please view the flyer above to see how you can help our high school and people in the community.


Police Show of Force



On Wednesday, March 20th from 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM, our police will partner with the Maryland State Police, Prince George's County Police, Riverdale Park Police, and Hyattsville Police to conduct a large-scale traffic enforcement operation. These events help reinforce that our community takes traffic laws and public safety seriously. They also send a strong message to habitual traffic law offenders that our community is not the place to violate these laws.


Please direct any questions or comments to Town Administrator, Angela Lawrence (alawrence@upmd.org), and Chief Harvey Baker (hbaker@upmd.org).


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


School Crossing Guards Employment Opportunity



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



Danielle McKinney, Greenbelt's first Black woman elected to the city council, comes from a family of trailblazers. Her family's legacy, including her mother's groundbreaking achievements in academia and her brother's historic role in the National Hockey League, instilled in her a drive for progress.

 

McKinney's journey, marked by experiences like attending Space Camp and teaching with Teach for America in Long Beach, California, underscores her commitment to diversity and education. Now serving Greenbelt, she champions inclusive governance, advocating for flexible council meetings and greater youth involvement. Beyond politics, McKinney nurtures her passion for sustainability through gardening, promoting local food production, and envisioning greener spaces for her community, all in honor of the late Ric Gordon's legacy of unity and optimism. Learn more about Danielle McKinney 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.





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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