2018 Annapolis Dispatch 4: Town Hall

Friends & Neighbors:


It was great to see so many people for our 4th Annual Town Hall this past Saturday! If you missed it, check out my Facebook page – we did a live stream of it and you can go back and watch the video anytime: www.facebook.com/brookeliermanfordelegate. District 46 residents came to learn and ask questions, and I enjoyed meeting some new constituents!

Passing gun safety legislation at the state level and continuing to advocate for it at the federal level has been and continues to be a huge priority for me. The hundreds of deaths from guns in Baltimore and the horrific rampage in Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas are unconscionable – and preventable. No other modern country has these problems… it’s just us. I do not believe there is any reason for a private citizen to have access to rapid-shooting and high-powered rifles like an AR-15. It is with great admiration and much enthusiasm that I have been watching and cheering on the students from Parkland who have transferred their grief into anger and activism. It’s what we need if we are going to defeat the NRA’s grip on power. My colleagues and I sent a letter to the Douglas students today expressing our support for their efforts and discussing broadly some of the bills we are championing here in Maryland this year to reduce gun violence (including my own HB 432 – read that letter of support here).

Annapolis Highlights

Women’s Caucus – Breakfast with the Governor

Every year the Women’s Caucus has breakfast with the Governor and presents our legislative priorities. As the Caucus Subcommittee Chair on Working Families, I was responsible this year for presenting our priorities, I presented to him our concern about the state of child care availability and affordability in Maryland. Maryland is currently ranked 31st in availability of childcare and has 33% of its zip codes considered “child care deserts” a zip code with at least 30 children under the age of 5 and either no child care centers or so few centers that there are more than three times as many children under age 5 as there are spaces in centers. This has been a problem for many years, but we need to get serious about addressing it *now.* Ensuring children have access to high-quality child care from the earliest age results in higher graduation rates, higher likelihood of home ownership, and less likelihood of future conflicts with the law.  Two bills this year will help: HB 519 and HB 430. The first bill expands the child care tax credit to additional families in Maryland. The income guidelines have not kept up with rising income levels in Maryland. The second bill will increase the funding to the Child Care Subsidy Program reimbursement rates.  


Interested in volunteering or getting involved in my campaign!? I’d love to have your help! Just email me at BLFD2018@gmail.com or click here.


Brooke’s Budget Work: Appropriations Committee

We had a busy two weeks with many bill hearings, and budget briefings on the capital and operating budgets.  Bond Bill Saturday is next Saturday, March 10, when every legislator is invited to come testify on behalf of the local bond bills they have introduced. In District 46, we have introduced bills on behalf of and are working with many great groups who need bond money, including the Friends of Patterson Park, CASA, the Baltimore Museum of Industry, Westport CEDC, Creative Alliance, Port Discovery, Habitat for Humanity, and more!

Kirwan Commission – The Kirwan Commission released its preliminary report.  You can read it here.  Its report made specific policy recommendations that would enable Maryland’s preK-12 system to perform at the level of the best-performing systems in the world.  I have co-sponsored a bill taking into account some of the Commission’s initial recommendations, including a literacy program that I have been working to launch – the Maryland Early Literacy Initiative (MELI).  The Commission’s work is not yet complete, and they will continue working this year and release their FINAL recommendations mid-year in preparation from next session.

Brooke’s Bills

In each Annapolis Dispatch I discuss a couple of the bills that I am sponsoring this year. For past editions of this newsletter, see www.brookelierman.com.  February 9th was the date by which legislation needed to be introduced to be guaranteed a hearing in the House of Delegates – and over 1700 bills have been filed. You can see a complete list here.

HB 538 – Styrofoam Ban

On Feb 21, I was pleased to present my bill to ban styrofoam food containers to the Environment & Transportation Committee. Our hearing – which lasted nearly 4 hours – presented testimony from environmental and business advocates, as well as the NAACP, who noted the environmental justice issues associated with plastic trash. The opponents of the bill include the Maryland Retailers Association, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Chemistry Council (the plastics industry).  We had a great hearing with Committee members highly engaged throughout the entire four hours.  Our testimony highlighted the insidious problem of styrofoam – that *no* municipality/county recycles it, how it breaks up into small pieces and therefore is impossible to clean up, and that it acts like a pollutant sponge that sucks up chemicals and is then ingested by fish and other marine creatures – who we then eat! It lines the shores of the Harbor and rivers, and Mr. Trash Wheel has had enough! Now we are working to secure the support of the Committee leadership so that we can have a vote on the bill!

HB 420 – Expanding Access to Financial Aid for Undocumented Students

Several years ago, Maryland voted overwhelmingly to grant in-state tuition to many undocumented students. Those students, however, are still shut out of access to financial aid – they cannot apply for federal aid like Pell Grants, and all state public assistance is also off-limits. This bill seeks to remedy that failure by tying eligibility for in-state tuition to eligibility for MHEC financial aid and scholarships. I was proud to present this bill to the Ways & Means Committee last week, and to be joined by a college counselor and student from Ben Franklin H.S. in Brooklyn!

Baltimore Updates & Opportunities

College Scholarships Available! If you are a senior in high school or attending an in-state college or university and you reside in 46th District, you are eligible to apply for a Delegate scholarship. You can access the application on my website and follow instructions to apply. Please do not hesitate to call our office with any questions at  410-841-3319. To see if you live in the 46th district you can check your address at mdelect.net.

2018 Summer Camps & Programs Fair

This past Sunday Baltimore’s Child had a camp and programs fair.  There were sports clinics, crafts, petting zoo, DJ, facepainting, demonstrations, and more!  Look to sign your child up for a summer camp and/or program now! http://baltimoreschild.com/camps-and-summer-programs-links/

Nursing & Allied Health Career Fair

Employment Connection Center AFSCME Union Hall 1st Floor

1410 Bush Street, 3/29/18, 10:00 a.m.

Come meet with employers looking for registered nurses, LPN nurses, patient care technicians, pharmacy technicians, home health care aides, etc.  

 

Live Baltimore Buying into Baltimore Information Session

343 N. Charles Street, 3/7/18 – 6:00 p.m.; Learn all about the first step to buying a home: getting pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. Find out how to plan your budget, gather the required documents, prepare your credit score, and locate the right lender for you.

 

College and Career Workshop 

The Central Church of Christ along with the East Baltimore Church of Christ will host two FREE College and Career Workshops on Saturday, March 10, 2018, and Saturday, March 17, 2018, from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. For more information or to register contact click here. Breakfast and lunch are provided.  

In the News

MDOT’s ineptitude in overseeing the MTA Subway is unacceptable.  You can find some of my comments here and some of my questioning of Deputy Secretary James Ports here.  I continue to call for an audit of the system, as does the author of this article in the Sun.

I am once again introducing a bill to incentivize early investments in local startups – the Angel Investor Tax Credit.  You can find more information and comments from me in an article on Technically Baltimore.

Replicating the Safe Streets program throughout Baltimore is something we as the Legislature can do to help reduce the gun violence plaguing our City.  It is a cost-effective program to dramatically reduce gun violence, and I provided comments in support of it here.

Please feel free to contact me throughout session on the issues that are most important to you, your family, and your community. Our office phone number is 410-841-3319 and email address is Brooke.Lierman@house.state.md.us. I encourage you to come to visit Annapolis between now and the end of session in April. Please email or call my office to let us know if you are interested in visiting.

My best,

Brooke

PS: I have loved welcoming constituents to our office so far this session! Come down and see me! And make sure to follow me on Facebook.

2018 Annapolis Dispatch 3: Valentine’s Day Edition

Valentine’s Day 2018

Friends & Neighbors:

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m sending my biweekly email two days late this week so that I could share with you my new website – please take a moment and check it out and let me know what you think! www.brookelierman.com

Today is not only Valentine’s Day, it’s also the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass, one of the most important Marylanders in history. Douglass spent much of his early years in District 46 and you can still see places where he lived and worked in Southeast. One of the books I have in my office in Annapolis is “Young Frederick Douglass: The Maryland Years,” a fascinating account of Frederick Douglass’ time in Baltimore and Maryland. This year the City will be honoring his life, legacy, and work throughout the year through events and banners hanging around Fell’s Point and the City.

I had my first bill hearing last week on HB 432, a bill to create a gun violence prevention & intervention fund. We had a phenomenal hearing with national, local, and state support and I am hopeful that we will be able to pass this bill out committee and to the full House for a vote. Today I have a hearing in front of Ways & Means on my Angel Investor Tax Credit bill to spur entrepreneurship (read more below).

Annapolis Highlights

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Digital Harbor Students in Annapolis: As a state legislator, there are big and small ways we can make a difference. One small thing I try to do is involve Baltimore City students in different aspects of my job. Every year, I work with the art teacher at Digital Harbor High School to select several pieces of artwork to hang in my office in Annapolis. I arrange a day for students who take art at Digital to come see the artwork, take a tour of Annapolis, and meet with me. Last week, a dozen Digital seniors came to visit Annapolis, learn about state government, and see their art work displayed!  It was a great visit. This week, the visits continued when Digital Harbor’s bike club came to present to the state bike symposium and stopped by my office to say hello as well!

Work2LiveWell – Training Baltimoreans to work in natural resources – I was delighted to join Secretary and Deputy Secretary of DNR and the Secretary of DLLR for the official launch of a new job training program this week – Work2LiveWell. When the Deputy Secretary of DNR came to me last year with an idea about creating a way to train individuals to work in the field of natural resources, I jumped at the chance to have it operate in Baltimore, and it is indeed launching in the City! They have already received 26 applications to join the program and will be making selections soon. Effective and innovative job training programs like this one are more important than ever. For more information, visit the website here. http://dnr.maryland.gov/ccs/Pages/work-to-live-well/Work-to-Live-Well.aspx


Of note

Healthy Working Families Act Takes Effect

After 6 years of efforts to ensure that every Marylander has access to earn up to 5 days off from work, the earned paid sick leave bill took effect on Sunday.  DLLR is responsible for implementing this new law, and if you are a business who has questions about implementation, feel free to visit their website to see the resources they have published: https://www.dllr.state.md.us/paidleave/paidleaveguidance.shtml


Brooke’s Budget Work: Appropriations Committee

In addition to holding budget hearings four days a week, my Committee also holds bill hearings every Tuesday. They are long days! This week we had several important bills presented, including a bill to finally properly fund the child care subsidy program, HB430. The Child Care Subsidy program in Maryland provides low-income families with vouchers for child care – allowing kids to succeed from an early age and parents to continue working. Unfortunately, Maryland has one of the worst funded and least accessible child care subsidy programs in the country – not only does it regularly leave thousands of families on the waitlist (and really, what good is a waitlist for a service you need immediately??), but it also provides such a limited amount of money that even if parents receive it, they can only access around 10% of child care facilities in their area – the federal government recommends that states provide enough to access 75% to ensure equity of opportunity. HB 430 would increase funding to the subsidy program to ensure we continue to receive federal funding and provide more access to Maryland families. There is not much better investment than quality accessible child care, so I’m hopeful that we can pass this important bill this year. To learn more about this work, check out www.acy.org and www.marylandfamilynetwork.org.

We also heard HB 372, the Metro Funding Act.  This bill would provide – for the very first time – a dedicated funding stream for WMATA.  It will only go into effect if both Virginia and D.C. also dedicate money to WMATA. As a transit advocate, I recognize the need for this bill and support it. Given the lack of funding for MTA, however – as manifested by the closure of the MTA Metro this month – I will continue to advocate for more oversight and more resources for MTA. You can read a letter that I sent to Secretary Rahn about the subway closure here.

Briefing on Federal Tax Impact for Maryland Residents: Interested in what the Comptroller has to say about how the federal tax reform package will affect Marylanders? You can read all about it in a new report, published online here. Last week, the Maryland Senate passed a bill to allow personal exemptions at the state level when filing taxes. Without this bill, exemptions for children or dependents may have been eliminated from Maryland’s tax structure. We believe the bill will save Maryland families millions of dollars on taxes to help cover the costs associated with taking care of family members. The House will vote on a similar bill soon.

See the full Appropriations briefing schedule here.

Brooke’s Bills

To see a complete list of the bills that I am sponsoring this year, visit my official bio page. Each week I’ll highlight a couple bills I’m working on.

HB 526 – Angel Investor Tax Credit: Finding early stage investors is one of the greatest hurdles to starting a business.  Maryland currently lags behind other states in having ready capital available for entrepreneurs.  One of the bills I am championing this year will provide a tax credit for investments in qualified businesses that have their HQ in Maryland, have fewer than 35 full-time employees, are not public, and have been in business fewer than 10 years.  This bill is based on the incredibly successful 2007 Biotechnology Investment Incentive Tax Credit. The bill hearing is on Wednesday in the Ways & Means Committee! Read the BBJ’s coverage of the bill here.

HB 535 – Complete Streets Incentive Program: Complete Streets are streets designed to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. This bill creates a grant program for non-capital “Complete Streets” work for eligible jurisdictions and a work group to help with design, creation, and planning of the grant program.  Too many of our streets are designed only for speeding cars or creeping traffic jams.  This design flaw has led to congestion, increased air pollution, and has made it more difficult for people to utilize alternative modes of transportation.  Many states have enacted similar legislation and have seen advances in economic, health, and community vibrancy. I’m excited to have support for this bill from Bike Maryland, AARP, Smart Growth America, and others.

Baltimore Updates & Opportunities

College Scholarships Available! If you are a senior in high school or attending an in-state college or university and you reside in 46th District, you are eligible to apply for a Delegate scholarship. You can access the application on my website and follow instructions to apply. Please do not hesitate to call our office with any questions at  410-841-3319. To see if you live in the 46th district you can check your address at mdelect.net.

Team46 Legislative Town Hall – Team46 invites all constituents to attend a legislative town hall on Saturday, February 24 from 10:30 AM – 12:30 pm at The National Federation of the Blind – 200 E Wells St, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. Please RSVP here if you can join us.

Legends & Legacies Jubilee – In Honor of Black History Month and the bicentennial celebration of Frederick Douglass’ birth, many of the city’s top cultural attractions will gather under one roof on February 17, 2018 for an afternoon of FREE interactive and family-friendly activities.

In the News

My bill to create the Maryland Violence Prevention & Intervention Program received some press coverage this week – here and here.

I confronted the Police Commissioner at the City Delegation hearing on February 2 and asked what his plan was to “block by block restore trust” in the police department given the horrific stories of the gun trace task force. See it here and read more here.

I was also quoted in the Sun yesterday discussing the MTA Metro shutdown – see here.

Please feel free to contact me throughout session on the issues that are most important to you, your family, and your community. Our office phone number is 410-841-3319 and email address is Brooke.Lierman@house.state.md.us. I encourage you to come to visit Annapolis between now and the end of session in April. Please email or call my office to let us know if you are interested in visiting.

My best,

Brooke

PS: I have loved welcoming constituents to our office so far this session! Come down and see me! And make sure to follow me on Facebook.

2018 Annapolis Dispatch 2: Budgets & Briefings

Friends & Neighbors:

We are off and away!  Session is already moving at a rapid rate – I had a hard time deciding what to keep in this newsletter without making it too long… hope you enjoy the highlights below! Please remember that I love hearing from you – just email me at brooke.lierman@house.state.md.us or call 410-841-3319.

I took my son Teddy to his first march – the Baltimore Women’s March on Jan 20th! He had a great time and received many compliments on his sign.  

Annapolis Highlights

Budget Introduced

On Wednesday, January 17, Governor Hogan introduced his state budget proposal. It includes 3 sections – the operating budget, the capital budget, and the budget reconciliation and financing act (or “BRFA”) which is a piece of legislation that changes previously-passed formulas necessary to making his budget balanced.   I am concerned – like last year – about the number of cuts to Baltimore program. For instance, included in the budget is a proposal to trim 54% of a 5-year, $290 million plan to invest in Baltimore that was passed after the 2015 unrest.  In addition, although the tuition for our public universities is capped at 2%, mental health and developmental disability providers who were scheduled to receive a 3.5% pay increase this year have been cut by 43% and 73%, respectively. The budget removes an additional previously-agreed upon $50m payment to the state pension system and removes funding for after school and summer school programs and college scholarships, as well as repayments to Program Open Space (that were passed in 2016 as a result of a bill introduced by the Governor!).

For more detailed information about the budget – including our revenues and expenses – feel free to review the fiscal briefing we received from the Department of Legislative Services.

For the next 7 weeks, my Committee – the Appropriations Committee – will review each Agency’s budget and search for ways to restore some of the cuts, while at the same time preserving the constitutionally-required balanced budget.


Of note

The Judiciary Committee held a briefing on the Juvenile Justice system in Maryland during the second week of session. Although I am not on that Committee, I have a keen interest in the subject and I helped arrange for the Council on State Governments to present its plan to undertake a comprehensive review of Maryland’s juvenile justice system. In addition, DJS Secretary Sam Abed presented data on juvenile crime levels, average length of stay, and the current DJS programs and resources available. I will be working with my colleagues on Team 46 and in the Judiciary Committee to press for a comprehensive review of and reforms to the Maryland juvenile justice system.


 

Brooke’s Budget Work: Appropriations Committee

The Appropriations Committee has held a number of briefings in the past two weeks, including our annual briefing on the state of poverty in Maryland and a hearing on the dearth of affordable housing around the state.

We also heard from two commissions concerning school funding: Brit Kirwan presented the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education’s (Kirwan Commission) initial findings on operating funding and Martin Knott presented the 21st Century School Facilities Commission (Knotts Commission) report on capital funding of schools.  Both reports were illuminating, and highlighted the needs of city schools.

We also had a hearing on the State Center project.  Trying to clarify some befuddling decisions by the Department of General Services, I questioned their ongoing lawsuit against the project’s developer, and what their plan was for state workers and the local communities affected by canceled plans.

In my subcommittee on Transportation and the Environment, we had a brief overview of the Chesapeake Bay Restoration work and a briefing on the current status of Baltimore Link (at 1:25:50 in the video).

For those of you interested in the work of the Appropriations Committee, the schedule for each state agency hearing is available online. Over the next few weeks, an analysis of each agency budget will be added.

 

Sponsored Legislation

To see a complete list of the bills that I am sponsoring this year, visit my official bio page. Each week I’ll highlight a couple bills I’m working on.  Last week I introduced two pieces of legislation, the Maryland Violence Intervention & Prevention Program, and the Jill Wrigley Memorial Scholarship Expansion Act.

The Maryland Violence Intervention & Prevention Program (MD VIPP), HB 453, will invest and fund evidence-based public health approaches to gun violence prevention and intervention. This first-of-its-kind bill in Maryland will follow the successful examples in Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut, where similar funds have been created to invest in proven programs to reduce gun violence.  MD VIPP will provide financial support to local governments & community-based organizations that use public health principles and demonstrate measurable positive outcomes in preventing gun violence, especially in regions that are disproportionately affected by violence – like Baltimore. It will also establish a Council, anchored by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Protection, to oversee distribution of the funding and to review the efficacy of gun violence prevention programs.

Programs that utilize a health approach to violence prevention have proven to be effective at significantly reducing violence where they have been implemented, and have the potential to improve the overall health and well-being of communities that have faced high levels of violence for far too long. Like infectious diseases, violence can be understood and treated successfully as an epidemic. Public health approaches to violence stop the spread of violence by using the methods and strategies associated with disease control – detecting and interrupting conflicts, identifying and treating the highest-risk individuals, and changing social norms – resulting in some case of reductions in violence of up to 70%. I’m hopeful that we can pass this bill to ensure that we are using proven strategies to stop violent crime in Baltimore.

The Jill Wrigley Memorial Scholarship Expansion Act, HB 420, will expand eligibility for need-based MHEC financial aid to Marylanders without legal status who are eligible for in-state tuition through the Maryland Dream Act.  The MD Dream Act allows a student without legal status to attend Maryland institutions at in-state tuition rates. Because these students are not eligible for Pell Grants and other financial assistance, they are often prevented from attending higher education institutions. This bill will allow students eligible under the DREAM Act to be eligible for two Maryland educational assistance programs.

Although these students are eligible for in-state tuition, they are not eligible for state or federal public financial assistance. Paying for a college degree can be a burden for students and their families. Because of this restriction, only 5-10% of students without legal status go to college. Comparatively,  75% of their classmates attend college after high school. I’m hopeful that we can pass this bill to provide access to opportunities for additional hard-working young people in our City and state

Baltimore Updates & Opportunities

Women’s March in BaltimoreOn January 20, I was proud to join the Baltimore Women’s March – and to bring my son, Teddy!  Maryland is a state that celebrates the abilities of people from every gender, race, ethnicity, and religion, and the speaker line up reflected the awesome diversity of our City and state.  I will continue to fight for our core values of equality and justice.

Baltimore Day in Annapolis

February 7 – 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Join Mayor Pugh and the Baltimore State Delegation in Annapolis to discuss funding and local Baltimore legislative efforts for the 2018 session.  Transportation will be provided, with pick up Mondawmin Mall, Westside Skill Center, City College, and Du Burns Arena/Canton Water Park.  Buses will leave each location at 4:45 p.m. and return at 8:45 p.m.  RSVP by February 2nd by calling 410-396-4735 or by emailing mayor.eventrsvp@baltimorecity.gov.

Piecing Together the Homebuying Puzzle

6:00 p.m. —7:00 p.m. @ Live Baltimore HQs

This FREE event will bring together a real estate agent, a mortgage lender, and a title company to explain their roles in the homebuying process.  You can hear from all of the experts in one place!  Come and get your questions answered.

Mera Kitchen Collective – calling cooks and crafters!

The Mera Kitchen Collective invites cooks, craftspeople, storytellers and others to apply to join its Refugee & Immigrant Arts Fest! For more information, visit www.mera.kitchen/ourevents.

Youthworks Application Open – Baltimore City residents between the ages of 14 and 21 can begin the 2017 YouthWorks summer jobs registration process by applying online at http://youthworks.oedworks.com. YouthWorks matches thousands of city youth with paid summer jobs at for-profit businesses, nonprofits and government employers throughout the region. YouthWorks summer jobs will operate two, five-week sessions, the first beginning June 26 and the second beginning July 10. The online application is the first step of the YouthWorks summer jobs registration and will remain available for Baltimore City residents through Friday, March 10, 2017.

Please feel free to contact me throughout session on the issues that are most important to you, your family, and your community. Our office phone number is 410-841-3319 and email address is Brooke.Lierman@house.state.md.us. I encourage you to come to visit Annapolis between now and the end of session in April. Please email or call my office to let us know if you are interested in visiting.

My best,

Brooke

PS: I have loved welcoming constituents to our office so far this session! Come down and see me! And make sure to follow me on Facebook.

2018 Annapolis Dispatch | Back in Session

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friends & Neighbors:

The 2018 General Assembly has begun! On Wednesday, January 10, the House and Senate convened to start the 438th legislative session. It is the final session of my first term in office, and I will continue to serve as a member of the Appropriations Committee. As I have done in the past three session, I’ll send out an email every other week with an update about what is going on in Annapolis. (more…)

Brooke’s Brief: 2017 Back to School

Friends & Neighbors,

And just like that, summer is over (unofficially at least) – and wow, was it a busy one for me and for many of you! Best of luck to all those moms and dads and grandparents sending their children off to school today – I hope it’s a great school year.

Both in Baltimore and across the country, we are facing many challenges – just this past weekend we lost more lives in our City to gun violence. I’ve been working hard all summer to connect with residents in neighborhoods around District 46 to discuss how we can build bridges, create opportunity, and ensure our neighborhoods are safe, healthy, and growing. I’ve knocked on several thousand doors, and it’s been wonderful to connect with people on their front steps to discuss what’s going on in our lives, on our blocks, and in our communities. Thank you for opening your door and speaking with me.

A bit of personal news: in case I haven’t seen you at a community meeting around the district, or kruchtiki-making in Locust Point, or at a tenant council meeting, National Night Out, or Breakfast with Brooke, then you might not have seen that Teddy is getting a new sibling this fall! Teddy and I made a super-short video to let folks know that this November, we’ll be welcoming a baby girl into our home!

Today is also the first day of school for most public schools in Maryland and Baltimore. This year is the first year in many years that most public schools are starting after Labor Day. The Baltimore Sun published an op-ed I authored last week about why I believe the Governor’s decision to mandate a later school start date (and an earlier school end – June 15) was the wrong decision. You can read my op-ed here. The idea of a later school start date is not a partisan issue and it is worth debating because it has huge implications on families, children, and our future competitive edge in a global economy.

As some of you know, I graduated from the University of Texas Law School in Austin – and I’ve kept in close touch with many friends who are still in Texas, including in Houston. The personal accounts I have read of what is going on in Houston are devastating. If you’re interested in contributing but don’t know where or how to do so, Texas Monthly published a great list of places to donate. (And yes, I was a bit conflicted as the Terps battled the Longhorns this past weekend in football!)

Just a couple hours ago, the President announced that he is canceling the DACA program that Pres. Obama put into place and that has allowed children brought to the U.S. by their parents the ability to go to school and work legally. I cannot say strongly enough how reprehensible I find this action – it is cruel, inhumane, will separate families and will lead to disruptions in our economy and educational institutions. We are blessed to have many of these 800,000 “dreamers” in Maryland and in District 46 and I will do everything I can to enable them to continue working and living productive lives in our state.

State Legislative News

My calendar has been filled this summer with meetings with advocates and constituents, as well as local events and doorknocking. As I’ve been doorknocking, I’ve spoken with many residents who have concerns or questions. My legislative aide and I have been busy following up on those requests. In addition, we’ve had meetings in Upper Fell’s Point about traffic and speeding, at the Southeast CDC to start discussing increasing park and playground space, meetings with Rec & Parks and City DOT about neighborhood projects, and calls with advocates about juvenile justice issues, complete streets, and literacy. It’s been a great and busy summer!

I was thrilled to attend the opening of the first 21st Century Schools building at Fort Worthington Elementary/Middle School. Through a partnership with the State of Maryland, City Schools, Baltimore City, and the Maryland Stadium Authority, we are working to rebuild at least 24 schools in the City, and Fort Worthington was the first to open – and it was amazing to see! Learn more about the 21st Century Schools plan here. I look forward to helping cut the ribbon on new schools or new additions in District 46 in the next few years – in Greektown at John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle School, in Cherry Hill, in Brooklyn, at Patterson High School, and in Highlandtown/Butchers Hill schools – as well as others in O’Donnell Heights that are being rebuilt through a more traditional funding process.

This week I’ll be attending a trip with the Appropriations Committee to Southern Maryland to learn more about the pretrial system in St. Mary’s County, St. Mary’s College, and the needs and opportunities in the region. Fall hearings will begin soon as well – I’m on the Joint Committee on Pensions and the Joint Committee to End Homelessness so I’ll be attending many hearings over the next few months. We will also be discussing the Governor’s planned cuts to our budget through the Board of Public Works. I am very concerned about the reductions he has introduced – including cutting $1 m from the disparity grant for Baltimore City – given that we are not currently facing a deficit. At a time when we need to be investing in programs to reduce violence and find productive opportunities for young people, we need more investment, not less.

I’ve also been keeping up with the Kirwan Commission hearings. This important commission will be responsible for taking the recommendations from the adequacy study published last year and putting them into action in the form of legislation to consider next session. Based on the review by the educational experts and the Commission, it agrees there is consensus that our schools are underfunded because of the current formula. For more information or to see the documents from the Commission, click here.

Save the Date(s)

Community Conversations with Delegate Lierman

I’ll be holding four community events around the district to connect with residents before session, and to bring speakers like Dr. Santelises and MTA Administrator Kevin Quinn to our neighborhoods. RSVP and learn more here.

  • Oct 17: Patterson Park Public Charter School
  • Oct 19: Ben Franklin High School
  • Oct 24: Thomas Johnson Elem/Middle School
  • Oct 26: St. Veronica’s Church Hall

News from Team 46

Team 46 authored a framework and concrete ideas for moving forward to combat the crime plaguing our streets and to create safe and healthy neighborhoods. This is not the beginning of the conversation, and it’s certainly not the end: these are our thoughts after talking with many individuals engaged every day in this work – and we look forward to hearing your thoughts as well. We propose these ideas for the purpose of starting a discussion that government, civic, and business leaders must have so that we can address violence and crime directly. Read the plan and let me know what you think!

Learn More Here

Get Involved!

We need your help! Senator Bill Ferguson and Delegates Luke Clippinger, Robbyn Lewis and I – Team 46 – are out doorknocking and planning events, but we cannot reach everyone we need to reach alone! Let me know if we can count on you to work with us on the campaign trail prior to the June 2018 primary election by clicking on the button below and signing up to volunteer! Even if you signed up last campaign, we’d love to have you re-commit to help us! Thank you so much for your support and help.

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Upcoming Events in District 46

Final WTMD First Thursday Concert in the Park
September 7, 5:30 p.m. • Canton Waterfront Park

Little Italy Madonnari Arts Festival
Sept 7-10 • Little Italy – amazing works of art painted on the street!

Locust Point Festival 2017
September 9th 11am-7pm • Latrobe Park Locust Point

Riverside Park Concert Series
September 10th 5pm-9pm • Leone Riverside Park 301 E Randall St

4th Annual Baltimore Seafood Fest
September 16 12p-7p • Canton Waterfront Park

DBFA New Babies Playdate in the Park
Tuesday Sept 27th from 5pm-7pm • Federal Hill Park

Generation We Summit
September 30th 10am-1:30pm • Digital Harbor High School

Application for Youth and Seniors for the Snow Removal Program: Applications are due at the end of October. Seniors and Youths need to contact 311 to request an application form or if they have any questions.

Meetings about the Perkins Home Redevelopment Project: Third Tuesdays of the month at Perkins Homes Community Center – email margaret.webster@habc.org for more details.

At the end of the day, I am here to serve the residents of District 46! That means, if you live in District 46 and you have a problem – I’d like to do all I can to help. You can email me at brooke@brookelierman.com and my legislative director and I will help figure out how to solve the issues you’re confronting or connect you to someone who can. Please follow me on Facebook to keep up with what I am working on, and to see news that I post that is relevant to our district.

Hope to see you at the doors out and about the district – or at a Community Conversation! Keep in touch!

My best,

Brooke

Baltimore PROSPERS

Today, Team 46 offers a framework and concrete ideas for moving forward to combat the crime plaguing our streets and to create safe and healthy neighborhoods. This is not the beginning of the conversation, and it’s certainly not the end: these are our thoughts after talking with many individuals engaged every day in this work – and we look forward to hearing your thoughts as well. We propose these ideas for the purpose of starting a discussion that government, civic, and business leaders must have now so that we can address violence and crime head-on.

To comprehensively address this crisis, each of these recommendations requires leaders in the Baltimore region to consistently meet, plan, and implement an identified game plan. We need ongoing programming, innovation, and experimentation to create opportunity, reduce violence, and restore the level of trust in relationships between our communities and law enforcement. This collaborative and data-driven work should include participation of electeds, emergency responders, police (leadership and patrol officers), teachers, counselors, juvenile justice workers, judges, community leaders, and state/federal partners.

Finally, our approach must recognize that we only resolve this crisis sustainably when we create real opportunities for Baltimoreans: jobs, training, education, reliable transit, addiction counseling/ treatment, and affordable housing. We cannot ignore the deeper, structural problems that lead to crime — lack of economic opportunity, lack of education, addiction, structural racism, youth unemployment, segregated housing — each of which contributes to the broader landscape that causes crime spikes. Unfortunately, though, when crime reaches levels we are experiencing today, tackling these larger challenges becomes nearly impossible. We must triage the emergency, establish a path to a violence-free future, and work every day and every session toward reaching that vision of a safer, more equitable Baltimore.

Read our policy paper, Baltimore PROSPERS, here.

2017 Summer Newsletter

Friends & Neighbors:

This past Tuesday started the one-year countdown to the next election, and I was thrilled to join my colleagues on Team 46 for our campaign kickoff event in Baltimore’s beautiful Visitor Center at the Inner Harbor. We were joined by residents from nearly every neighborhood in the district, as well as leaders from some of our important cultural institutions. We each gave short remarks, and you can read my remarks and see our team slide show at my website. To support our team efforts, please visit our website: www.team46md.org to contribute!

Last Saturday was June 24th, the anniversary of the day that I won the Primary Election in 2014 to become one of the three democratic nominees for delegate.  This is always a day of reflection for me – on why I ran, on where our City and State are now, and how I can be the best public servant I can be for the people who elected me.  Part of my desire to give back is exemplified in the annual free Community Picnic I hold each year.  I wrote previously about the great success of this June’s Community Picnic, but if you missed the pictures, check them out here– they capture a fun afternoon with 350+ people from around Baltimore coming together to enjoy a beautiful public space in our City.  One of the great joys of this day is bringing service providers and non-profits and elected officials from all levels to interact with City residents… and this year many people came to tell me that although they don’t live too far, they had never been to Federal Hill Park before. I’m glad they had a reason to go and I hope they will go back to continue to enjoy this beautiful public space! Save the date for next year’s event – again the Sunday after Memorial Day – June 3, 2018!

I often explain that being an effective delegate is three jobs in one for me: being a community advocate and connector, being an ambassador, and working as a state legislator. It is in these three roles that I continue to work every day as one of your delegates. It has been an amazing experience for me to be able to work locally with residents and also to pass meaningful statewide legislation – thank you for your continued support and for allowing me to serve as your delegate!

Community Advocate

  • Fell’s Point Task Force: I’ve recently taken the reins from Del. Pete Hammen as the convenor of the Fell’s Point Task Force, a coalition of community association presidents from the greater Fell’s Point area. For the past few months, we’ve met with a facilitator to help the coalition develop a new mission and vision and guiding principles and goals. It will have a website before the year’s end, and will seek to be a proactive and positive force in Southeast Baltimore!
  • 2017 Harbor Report Card: I presented at the release of the 2016 Harbor Report Card to discuss the importance of passing statewide legislation to clean our harbor and Bay… and to pledge to continue my fight to ban dangerous plastics from our waterways and neighborhoods!
  • Preservation Maryland Award/SBLC funding: For my work in securing budget language that led to development of a critical report that highlights the need for more funding to preserve Maryland’s heritage, Preservation Maryland awarded me its Legislative Champion award. Preservation MD presented me the award at the South Baltimore Learning Center at the same time they awarded that great organization a technical assistance grant after I had encouraged SBLC to apply!

Ambassador

  • I was delighted to speak at a few schools this year before summer started – I spoke at both Thomas Johnson and Francis Scott Key about being a delegate and running for office. I also spoke to the middle school at Hampstead Hill Academy about my experience running for office and the importance of persistence.
  • I also met with a team of people from around District 46 to help review scholarship applications from over 50 students who are headed to college or grad school in the fall and need some financial assistance! It was – as always – amazing and inspiring to hear about the impressive work that many of these students have undertaken. This year we had a record number of students apply from Ben Franklin H.S. in Brooklyn – very exciting!
Looking to learn more about what the General Assembly did during the 2017 session? Check out the 90-Day Report, an annual publication from the Dep’t of Legislative Services that provides an overview by topic area. You can find it here: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/Pubs/LegisLegal/2017rs-90-day-report.pdf. 

State Legislator

Meetings!  I continue to have an endless assortment of meetings with smart and dedicated advocates from around the state – meeting with folks from Rural Maryland Council and the Community Development Network to Maryland Hunger Solutions and area manufacturers and businesses – to review legislation that exists and to analyze problems that exist that might be able to be solved through advocacy, regulations, or statute.

Kirwan Commission Meeting: As many of you know (and have read in past newsletters from me), a Commission has been set up to review our current public education funding formula and to recommend changes in the form of legislation. These meetings are open to the public and I attended one in early June where we heard from international and national experts on early childhood education and career & technical education. To review the materials of this incredibly important project, click here.

Earned Sick Leave Press Conference: I participated in a press conference denouncing the Governor’s veto of HB 1, the Healthy Working Families Act, with lead sponsor Luke Clippinger. The Governor vetoed this bill – that would provide over 700,000 Marylanders earned sick leave – and we are determined to override his veto next session.

The Governor also vetoed a bill (HB 622) that would have set up an independent commission to draw congressional district lines if several other states did as well through the formation of an interstate compact. It was a deeply cynical veto I thought, given his loud support for redistricting reform.

The rise in crimeSen. Ferguson, and Delegates Clippinger, Lewis and I have been holding meetings with all the agencies and departments involved in both the short term and long term work to prevent violence in our City, including BPD, the State’s Attorney’s office, Dep’t of Juvenile Services, the Health Dep’t and non-profits and professors that specialize in gun crimes and violence prevention. I appreciate hearing from residents about their concerns, and we want you to know that we are doing our due diligence to better understand the causes and discuss solutions – both at the City and State levels.  For the past several years, Del. Clippinger has sponsored and I have co-sponsored (along with Del. Lewis and Sen. Ferguson) legislation to increase penalties for illegal gun possession. Although the bill has been unsuccessful to date, we will continue working on it, and we expect to put together several bills addressing some of the loopholes that exist in the next session, and to put together our plan to share with all of you in the very near future. In the meantime, please keep the emails coming and be sure to let all levels of our government know about how this is effecting you and your family and business – from the Governor to the Mayor to us and your City Councilmembers. We all want and need to hear from you.  I also encourage you to join your community association and get involved in COP Walks (or start one if there isn’t one where you live!), and get to know your neighbors so that you can continue to be working together to build community and stay safe.

National Night Out is August 1 this year, and as always I will be trying to stop by as many neighborhood events as possible – please consider help organizing one in your area and get outside to build community!

Coming up in District 46 . . .

Summer Food Lunch Program: From June 19 through Sept 1, all Community Action Partnership Centers will offer FREE summer lunches from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.. For information, call 410-545-6958 or visit your local community action partnership center. Southern – 606 Cherry Hill Road; Southeast – 3411 Bank Street; Eastern – 1400 E. Federal Street.

Greater Baybrook Alliance: The GBA is one of the newest Community Development Corporations in the City, and it needs your input! If you live in Brooklyn or Curtis Bay, please check out this site and get involved! https://greaterbaybrookalliance.nationbuilder.com/

Curtis Bay Yard of the Week: Judgings take place on Sunday afternoons until July 23.  http://www.ilovecurtisbay.com/curtis_bay_yard_of_the_month

Fourth of July Festivities: See what’s going on this year on the Fourth! http://baltimore.org/events/baltimores-fourth-july-celebration-presented-ports-america-chesapeake

Rails-to-Trails Survey! Learn more about the Baltimore Greenway Trail Project and take the Rails to Trails survey here:https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VWN7VM7

D46 Farmers’ Markets – all summer long!

Pratt Street Market: Pratt/Light Streets on Thursdays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Fell’s Point Market: (new location this year) Harbor Point parking lot off of Caroline Street – Saturdays, 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar: Holliday/Saratoga (under 83) – Sundays, 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

For all farmers’ markets information, visit: http://baltimore.org/article/baltimore-farmers-markets

I am often asked about school construction and demolition, so am sharing the links about those projects with you as well:

21st Century School Reconstructionhttp://baltimore21stcenturyschools.org/ This website provides information on the schools being rebuilt and timelines.

Project CORE (Demolition of vacants): Visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov/ProjectCORE/Pages/default.aspx for information on demolition and deconstruction in Baltimore. This plan is pursuant to a bill passed by the General Assembly and an MOU signed with the Maryland Stadium Authority, which is handling the funds and helping to oversee the project.

Constituent Services…

At the end of the day, I am here to serve the residents of District 46!  That means, if you live in District 46 and you have a problem – I’d like to do all I can to help.  You can email me at brooke.lierman@house.state.md.us and my legislative director, Kim Shiloh, and I will help figure out how to solve the issues you’re confronting.

Three years after one of the most exciting days I my life – June 24, 2014 – I am eternally grateful to all of you for placing your trust in me in this important role. I continue to try to do my best each and every day to build a better Baltimore, and a better Maryland. I hope that one year from this week, you’ll give me the opportunity to continue to keep working for and with you!

Happy Independence Day and keep in touch!

My best,

Brooke

Follow me at www.facebook.com/brookeliermanfordelegate or @BELBaltimore on Twitter

Team46 Kicks Off Our Campaign!

I was delighted to stand with the other members of Team 46 – Bill Ferguson, Luke Clippinger, and Robbyn Lewis – on Tuesday night to kick off our campaign together! We are a great team, working together in Annapolis and in Baltimore for the people of District 46 and Baltimore, and so we are proud to be working together to ask for the votes of District 46 voters. The primary election is in one year – June 26, 2018! Our kickoff, held on a beautiful night in the Baltimore Visitor Center, brought together supporters from all over the district and Baltimore. It was wonderful to have so many people come out to show support – thank you!!

You can read my short remarks here.  To learn more or support our work, visit www.team46md.org. And check out the slide show that has a few pictures of us from the past couple years HERE.

Summer’s Here! Pictures from the Picnic

After a few days over 90 degrees, I think summer has arrived in Maryland! My May was filled with community meetings and discussions of session, and June started off with an incredibly memorable day at Federal Hill Park for my third annual free Community Picnic in the Park. Breaking down invisible barriers between neighborhoods is a job I take seriously – my Community Picnic invites residents from all over the district (and City) to come together for an opportunity to learn about some great non-profits, meet elected officials, and enjoy some great food and good fun.  This year’s picnic was hugely successful and very sunny! We held it across the harbor this year at Federal Hill Park, and welcomed nearly 350 adults and dozens of children for BBQ, ice cream, face painting, games, and camaraderie. We had numerous community organizations, like Creative Alliance, Downtown Sailing, League of Conservation Voters, and Civic Works, bring volunteers and information to share.  And, we were joined by a variety of public servants – local and federal – including Rep. Sarbanes, Council President Jack Young, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Team 46, other delegates from around the state, and three democratic gubernatorial hopefuls!

It was a great day, and you can share in the fun by checking out the pictures at this link
Team 46 Update: Campaign Kickoff Celebration on June 27

I’ll keep this note short, but want to make sure you’ve seen the invitation to the Team 46 Kickoff Celebration! I am so proud to be running with Sen. Bill Ferguson, Del. Luke Clippinger, and Del. Robbyn Lewis this cycle, and hope you’ll join us for our kickoff on Tuesday, June 27 at the Baltimore Visitor Center (next to West Shore Park) from 6:30-8:00 p.m. See the complete invitation below!
We’ve also launched our new team website where you can find links to more information about each of us and donate to support our campaign: Team 46 Website.
Around Baltimore…
There is a lot going on this summer – here are just a few of the things going on in the next few weeks, as well as some important summer resources!

Do you or someone you know need help with food this summer? Check out this link for information on where you and your children or others can find access to summer meals: http://www.baltimorehousing.org/food/

There are a number of community events in South Baltimore this weekend – hope to see you at one of them!

  • Mt Winans Block Party: Sat, June 17, 12:00pm – 4:00pm, 2500 Block S. Paca St
  • Curtis Bay Summer Festival: Sat, June 17, 12:00pm – 3:00pm at the Rec Center
  • Westport Movie Night: Sat, June 17, 7:00pm, Florence Park
  • Cherry Hill Father’s Day Cookout: Sat, June 17, all afternoon!

I’ll be walking in the Pride parade with my great colleague (and co-Grand Marshal) Del. Mary Washington this Saturday! For more information about Baltimore Pride, visit http://baltimorepride.org/

There are also a number of options for kids and students to take advantage of summer reading opportunities:

And two ongoing concert series are worth checking out. Eben, Teddy, and I were at the first concert in Patterson Park on Sunday, and we’ll be at the next one at Riverside next month.

Constituent Services…

At the end of the day, I am here to serve the residents of District 46!  That means, if you live in District 46 and you have a problem – I’d like to do all I can to help.  You can email me at brooke.lierman@house.state.md.us and my legislative director, Kim Shiloh, and I will help figure out how to solve the issues you’re confronting. I continue to be grateful to all of you for your work in making our City, State, and Country a better place. These are challenging times, and all around the City and State, people are rising to the occasion. I look forward to continue to be your advocate as I continue to try to do my best each and every day to build a better Baltimore, and a better Maryland.

Keep in touch!

My best,

Brooke