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End of Session Letter




Dear Constituents, 

 

We have made it to the end of the 2024 Legislative session. Thank you all for engaging with me and my office this year. The Maryland General Assembly started this historic year, with the most bills ever submitted, but in the end, the House of Delegates passed 559 pieces of legislation. Under the leadership of Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson, the General Assembly passed measures against book bands, strengthened our elections, and criminal justice reform legislation. The House and Senate passed several bills that are part of Governor Moore’s priorities. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, it was my honor to take part in the passage of historic bills such as the Juvenile Law - Reform, Center for Firearm Violence Prevention and Intervention - Establishment, Maryland Maternal Health Act of 2024, and Services for Formerly Incarcerated Women - Commission and Pilot Program - Establishment. 

 

This session, District 22 received 16 Legislative Bond Initiatives requests. Every year, we try to ensure that every project receives funds for their project. However, because of the decrease in the estimated revenues for the state, the Capital Budget ended up being less than what was initially anticipated. Therefore, we could only ensure that 6 of the Legislative Bond Initiative’s requests received funds.

 

As your Delegate, the legislation that I introduced placed a high priority this session on reproductive health care, criminal justice reform, family preservation, and aiding disabled citizens with curbside voting. Out of the bills that I introduced, 3 of those bills will be signed by Governor Moore. I want to thank Senator Alonzo Washington, Senator Muse, Senator Kelly, Senator Carter, Senator McCray, and Senator West for cross-filing many of the bills I introduced during this session. 

 

As we move into the interim, I will visit many of the municipalities and communities in the District to further debrief you about the extraordinary work during the 2024 Legislative Session. Until then, please scroll down below or go to www.nicoleawilliams.com for a more expansive, thorough, and detailed version of this letter that will cover what has taken place this session. Thank you again for engaging with me and my office this year. It has been an honor to serve you. 

 

Best, 

 

Delegate Nicole A. Williams, Esq. 


 

Maryland General Assembly Legislative Initiatives 

 

The Maryland General Assembly worked hard this year to address issues facing members of our community, such as access to housing, education, criminal justice reform, and health disparities. The Services for Formerly Incarcerated Women - Commission and Pilot Program - Establishment (HB 37) aims to develop a comprehensive plan for providing essential services to formerly incarcerated women. The Election Law - Candidate Expenditures - Campaign-Related Caregiving Expenses (HB 331) updates the definition of 'expenditure' to include reasonable caregiving expenses incurred by candidates as a direct result of campaign activity and necessary for promoting their candidacy. The Center for Firearm Violence Prevention and Intervention - Establishment (HB 583) aims to reduce firearm violence, mitigate the harm caused by firearm violence, and address the misuse of firearms in our state. Another bill was Juvenile Law - Reform (HB 814), which will bring forth crucial alterations to improve our approach to youth justice and enhance the safety of our schools. The Freedom to Read Act (HB 785) is also a critical bill that prohibits county boards of education from taking retaliatory actions, such as dismissal or demotion, against school library media program personnel who adhere to these standards in performing their job duties. The last bill I will highlight is the Maryland Maternal Health Act of 2024 (HB 1051), which mandates local health departments and specific healthcare providers to adhere to regulations concerning maternal health. 


 

State Budget

 

Passing an annual budget is imperative to the functioning of our state. As mandated by our state Constitution, the General Assembly approved and passed Governor Moore’s budget. Budget Bill (Fiscal Year 2025) (HB 350/SB 361) details the Governor’s $74.1 billion budget proposal for the 2025 Fiscal Year. Highlights of this budget include but are not limited to the following:

 

SB360 (Speaker - Administration) FY25 Budget Bill & SB362 (Speaker - Administration) Budget Reconciliation & Financing Act 

 

The FY25 Budget reflects our values. Maryland faces tough fiscal realities, specifically for our transportation, public education, and hospital trauma systems. The FY25 Budget package proves that we are ready and willing to meet these challenges and invest in our future.

 

Funds Year 3 of Implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future

  • State support for public schools totals $9.1 billion. 

  • Aid to local school systems increase by an estimated $457.1 million (5.3%). 

 

Downpayment to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund

  • The Blueprint is now funded through FY27 by assigning tobacco tax revenue to the Blueprint Fund.  

  • These sources of revenue will allow us to uphold the commitments we have made to educators and students in the Blueprint, including: 

  • Keeping the promises we made to 3- and 4-year-old children in our Pre-K programs; 

  • Improving reading proficiency; 

  • Recruiting more highly qualified and diverse teachers; and 

  • Supporting community schools, students with special needs, and English language learners. 

  • The Budget also adjusts the Tier II Pre-K income eligibility schedule. The savings from this adjustment will be reinvested to significantly increase the per-pupil full-day Pre-K amount. 

  • This additional funding will further incentivize providers to start Pre-K programs and more adequately compensate existing Pre-K providers.

 

Stabilizes State Transportation Funding

  • The FY25 Budget also includes $330 million in revenue to support our transportation system. This funding will be used for: 

  • Local roads and bridges, through highway user revenues; 

  • Locally operated transit systems;

  • MTA operations and safety; 

  • SHA highway, road, and bridge construction projects and system preservation; 

  • Continued planning for future projects, such as the Red Line and other significant transportation projects; and 

  • Costs related to shifting roadwork on I-695 or any other State road project to nighttime to minimize traffic impacts following the collapse of the Key Bridge.

  • Additionally, the House and Senate have agreed to work in partnership over the interim on other approaches to fund our transportation system through the TRAIN Commission. 

 

Increases Funding for Trauma Services to Meet the Needs of Marylanders 

  • Maryland’s globally renowned trauma system services over 25,000 seriously injured patients annually across the State and, without change, faced a significant fiscal shortfall. 

  • The FY25 Budget provides $105 million in additional funding to support the State’s trauma centers and services. 

 

Supports Child Care

  • Almost $488 million of new funding is allocated to the Child Care Scholarship Program to address shortfalls in FY23 & 24 and adequately fund the FY25 budget. The program has seen participation more than double since January 2021 to more than 31,000 children. 

  • The FY25 budget prohibits any increase in co-payments on families participating in the Child Care Scholarship Program above those in place on January 1, 2024. 

 

Continues to Provide Vital Health Care Services

  • Medicaid funding totals $14.4 billion, allowing the State to provide coverage to over 1.6 million of our residents. 

  • Rate increases of 3% are funded for providers serving the developmentally disabled, behavioral health providers, nursing homes, and most Medicaid community–based providers. 

  • School-based mental health providers will be allowed to bill Medicaid for their services, expanding access to behavioral health to up to 520,000 children.

 

Enhances Funding for Public Safety and Maintains Support for Victim Services

  • The FY25 Budget funds police aid at $121.4 million, $46 million above the statutorily required amount. 

  • New funding of $8 million is provided for gun violence prevention and intervention programs, while $10.3 million is invested in community-based services for juveniles and services to families residing in communities with high crime rates.

 

Invests in the State’s Climate Pollution Reduction Plan

  • The FY25 Budget includes $90 million for climate pollution reduction efforts, including:

  • $17 million for grants to purchase/lease electric school buses;

  • $23 million to install vehicle charging infrastructure; and

  • $50 million for grants to electrify hospitals, schools, multi-family housing, and other community buildings. 

 

Support for Individuals & Businesses at the Port of Baltimore 

  • The FY25 Budget provides $275 million to assist individuals and businesses impacted by the reduced operations of the Port of Baltimore following the collapse of the Key Bridge. 

 

Investments in Rebuilding State Government – Boosts State Employee Salaries and Funds Other Initiatives to Facilitate Recruitment and Retention in Highly Competitive Labor Market

  • The FY25 Budget includes funding for FY25 state employee salary increases, including a 3% cost–of–living adjustment (5% for members of law enforcement officers), employee salary increments, bonus increments for employees with 4.5 years or more of service, targeted salary increases for hard-to-fill positions, and bonuses for certain public safety workers.

 

SB361 (Speaker - Administration) FY25 Capital Budget 

 

The FY25 Capital Budget funds projects in all state jurisdictions. It will help create and maintain tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs and leverage approximately $2 billion of local and private funds. 

 

Four largest areas of investment include:

 

  • $917 million for school construction projects, including: 

  • $454 million for the Built to Learn Program;

  • $90 million for the Healthy Schools Program, with 50% going to Baltimore City;

  • $314 million for the traditional public school program; and 

  • $40 million for the supplemental program. 

 

  • $606 million for housing and community development programs, including: 

  • $173 million of federal funds to continue the expansion of the Broadband Initiative; 

  • $145 million to support Rental Housing Programs;

  • $60 million for the Strategic Demolition Program with $50 million set aside for Project CORE in Baltimore City; 

  • $38 million for the Housing and Building Energy Program;

  • $31 million to support other housing programs, including Down Payment Assistance and assistance to developers through the new Appraisal Gap Program; 

  • $22 million for the Historic Tax Credit Program; and 

  • $115 million for other community development projects throughout the State.

 

  • $594 million for environmental programs, including:  

  • $111 million to support state and local parks and wastewater and water treatment plant projects at state park facilities; and 

  • $297 million to support water quality, drinking water programs, and the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

 

  • $382 million for higher education institutions, including:

  • $266 million for University System of Maryland campuses;

  • $55 million for Maryland’s HBCU’s;

  • $45 million for community college projects; and  

  • $28 million for private colleges.

 

HB666 (Shetty) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – State Supplement

 

HB666 is anti-poverty legislation that helps ensure that every Maryland resident is food secure. The bill expands benefits to low-income seniors, age 60+, and increases their minimum to $50/month. This will help around 39,000 Marylander seniors. 


 

Delegate Nicole Williams - Maryland General Assembly Passed Legislation

 

HB0833 - Parents in Substance Use Disorder Treatment - Children in Need of Assistance and Treatment Facilities

 

Placing a child with their parent during treatment helps to maintain family bonds and can contribute to better long-term outcomes for both the parent and child. This bill establishes a presumption that it is in the best interest of a child to be placed with their parent who is undergoing substance use disorder treatment, ensuring the child receives proper care and attention. The bill, in return, promotes family stability, child well-being, access to treatment, and public health, underscoring the importance of supporting families affected by substance use disorder in their journey toward recovery.

 

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

 

This legislation prohibits the sale of natural membrane condoms specifically, rather than all non-latex condoms, through vending machines or automatic devices. Additionally, it authorizes registered nurses to provide nonprescription drugs and devices, including contraceptives, without a prescription in local health departments under certain circumstances. Overall, this legislation improves access to contraception for individuals who may face barriers to obtaining it through traditional channels.

 

HB1063: Criminal Organizations - Criminal Prohibitions

 

This bill strengthens the legal framework for addressing the impact of criminal organizations and gangs on society by updating the crimes that may be prosecuted under the Maryland Gang Statute to reflect modern-day gang activity.


 

Legislative Bond Initiatives

Municipality/

Project

Organization

Purpose

Money Given

Town of Berwyn Heights

Police Department

To purchase a modern police station

$425,000


Town of Edmonston


Town Hall Renovation

To renovate and expand the Town Hall


$300,000

City of Greenbelt 

Cinema Restoration

To fund needed upgrades to the Greenbelt Cinema

$350,000

City of Hyattsville

City Building

For the renovation of the Hyattsville City Administration Building

$300,000

Town of Riverdale Park

Stormwater Management

To implement the new stormwater infrastructure in Beale Circle and the park

$100,000

Town of University Park

University Park Town Hall

To renovate and expand the existing town hall

$160,000

 

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