COMMUNITY UPDATE - June 20, 2020

NEW THIS WEEK Confederate-sympathizing Civil War Plaque Removed from Maryland State House. In my first act as Speaker, I proposed removing the “Maryland Remembers” plaque from the State House as it sympathizes with Confederate motivations and memorializes Confederate soldiers. Unfortunately, I lost in a 3-1 vote, and the State House Trust decided to keep the plaque and it’s language but remove the Confederate flag. Last week, I renewed my call to have the State House Trust remove the plaque. I’m pleased to share that the State House Trust voted to remove the plaque so all Marylanders feel welcome in their State House. This is an important, symbolic step in our efforts to create more equality within our government and throughout the State.

Calling for Police Reform. This week, I, along with all 98 Democratic delegates, urged the Governor to take swift action tor reform policing in Maryland. We sent a letter to Governor Lawrence Hogan asking him to issue an executive order to immediately ban choke holds and shooting at moving vehicles; report police misconduct and re-train offending officers; reform deadly force rules within our police departments and require police officers to intervene when they see another officer using excessive force. These existing best practice recommendations by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission are not required among policing agencies in Maryland. We have not done enough to fix policing in Maryland and must take immediate action to ensure every citizen has confidence in their police department. 

SBE Provides Briefing on the June Primary Election. This week, House and Senate committees held a joint hearing with the State Board of Elections to review the June Primary Election. We appreciate the Board for the work that they have done given the public health circumstances, but it is clear that mistakes were made that could have been avoided. In particular, African American communities continue to face disproportionately long lines at voting centers. This must be addressed for the November election. If not, I will be forced to look at systemic and wide ranging reforms to the structure, appointments and function of both the state & local boards of elections when the legislature reconvenes in January. 

Free Summer Meals Program. More than 400,000 Maryland children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, but they may not have access to nutritious meals during the summer when schools are closed. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally-funded, state-administered program that provides healthy meals to youth when schools are not in session. Join the Summer Meals Twitter Chat on June 18 at 2:00 PM along with@NoKidHungryMD to find out more about FREE Summer Meals for youth in your area. Families can find summer meals sites by visiting http://mdsummermeals.org, texting FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 or calling 211.


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