Thursday, January 3, 2019

New Laws Effective Jan 1

Most bills that passed the Maryland General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor were effective on July 1 and October 1 of 2018 but here are some new laws in our area that are effective January 1.


Roads near schools, youth facilities, recreation facilities, playgrounds, pools, athletic fields and senior centers in the District will have a 15 mph speed limit from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Drivers who pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk for a pedestrian will be hit with a $500 fine and a three-point penalty.

Drivers caught going 26 mph or more above the speed limit will face additional fines.

Drivers caught speeding more than 30 mph above the limit will face criminal charges.

Fines for blocking a bike lane increase from $65 to $150; fines for bicyclists who ride with headphones in both ears will be $50.

Residents must carry health insurance. Those who do not must pay a penalty, unless an exemption is granted.

Businesses are prohibited from providing single-use plastic straws. Unofficial warnings will be issued by the Department of Energy and Environment until July, when official warnings and fines will be issued.


One new law expands coverage for equipment, supplies and self-management training to apply to elevated or impaired glucose levels caused by pre-diabetes. That’s a condition when blood sugar levels are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. The new mandate also will apply to treating impaired glucose levels induced by pregnancy.

Another new law will require health insurers to cover treatment of a chronic swelling, often in an arm or leg, known as lymphedema. That’s an abnormal collection of fluid just beneath the skin. It usually develops when lymph vessels are damaged, or lymph nodes are removed.

The new mandate also will apply to treating impaired glucose levels induced by pregnancy.

Political campaigns will be prohibited from using any money via contributions received illegally.


The newly expanded Medicaid coverage for more than 400,000 residents begins.

In Alexandria, an ordinance changing the name of Jefferson Davis Highway to Richmond Highway went into effect on New Year’s Day. The Alexandria City Council approved the renaming in June, after years of deliberation over whether the Confederate leader’s name should be removed from a portion of U.S. 1.

(Thanks to Kate Ryan from WTOP for putting together this material.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Moving On - My Next Project

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

                I want to wish everybody a happy holiday season.

                At the end of this month I will be ending my four-year term as a Maryland State Delegate.  While I was disappointed that I was not re-elected to another term, I am very proud of what I accomplished in the Maryland Legislature.

                In my four years as a legislator I was able to pass over fifteen pieces of legislation. Because I was on the Ways and Means Committee, I spent a lot of time working on tax policies.  One of the most significant bills saved Maryland over $60 million by making sure that sixty of the richest families did not each receive a $1 million tax break by removing almost all taxes on inherited estates.  I was also able to pass bills to increase tax credits for low-income renters and publicizing existing tax credits—which many people unfortunately do not utilize.

                I also worked with my colleagues to pass a lot of progressive legislation.  Some of the most significant bills we passed were:

  • A ban on fracking in Maryland
  • Restoring the right to vote to former prisoners after they get out of jail
  • Same day voter registration
  • Justice re-investment, which attempts to take people who are not dangerous out of our jails 
                I also spent my time getting to know all of the people in my District.   I knocked on over 15,000 doors  and talked to more than 7,000 people.  I think this might have been the most enjoyable part of my experience as a state delegate.  While it was a lot of work, I really enjoyed learning about all the neighborhoods in District 47 and hearing about everyone’s lives, concerns and hopes.  It was very fulfilling to see how I could help resolve problems that people discussed with me.
              While I will not be in elected office starting in 2019, I truly believe that one’s work in the community does not begin or end because you are elected or not elected to public office.  Many people in our community spend countless hours helping to improve our community.

              I have been thinking of how to make use of what I learned in Annapolis and the relationships I made with other legislators.  I have decided to continue my advocacy work and have started a new organization, the People’s Lobbying Group (, and will continue to advocate for our community in Annapolis on a pro-bono basis.  I have already received some good press for my initiative: 

               I will also continue to send out my newsletter (although maybe not as frequently as before) to let people know what is going on in Annapolis and what bills have become laws and when they are effective.

               I will always be an advocate for my neighbors and my community as long as I am able to do the work.  If you have any issues you feel should be addressed, please feel free to write me; though I will not be your elected representative, I will be happy to brainstorm with you about how to get problems resolved and who we should talk to in order to address your issues.

                As always, I remain an advocate for you as all of us together try to make our community a better place, move Maryland in a more progressive direction, and change the direction of our country from the nightmare that is going on in Washington.
              I hope to see you soon at a community event,  a civic association meeting, or maybe just knocking on your door.

                Wishing the best for all of us,


Monday, November 5, 2018

Voting Day Is Here!

Voting Hours:  7 AM to 8 PM
This is the day I've been waiting for since Election Day 2016.  It is the time for us to change the direction of our country and our state.  Too many people stayed home in 2016 and the results have been disastrous.  Everybody should come to vote.

My Recommendations
Some people have asked who I am going to vote for and what I think about some of the ballot initiatives.  I am not going to list every office because some of the candidates are unopposed, or do not have much opposition.

These are races I do feel very strongly about:

Governor/ Lt Governor – Ben Jealous and Susan Turnbull

I supported Ben Jealous in the Democratic Primary and continue to support him.
His platform for moving Maryland forward is consistent with what I believe, including:
                $15 minimum wage
                Universal Health Care/Medicare-for –All
                Universal Pre-K Education
                Criminal Justice Reform

(You can see his complete platform at:

A number of people have told me that they don’t think Larry Hogan is a bad guy, and think that he works in a bi-partisan manner and deserves to be re-elected.  Having served in the legislature, I really have to disagree.  Hogan is a highly partisan politician who did the following:

1.            Vetoed Paid Sick Days for Workers
2.            Vetoed Increasing Renewable Energy in Maryland
3.            Vetoed Restoring Voting Rights to Residents Leaving Prison
4.            Vetoed a Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana
5.            Vetoed a Bill to Help Halt Deportations of Immigrants over Minor Offenses
6.            Vetoed Giving Parents & Teachers a Role in Education
7.            Vetoed a Bill to Stop Police from Taking Your Money When You Haven't Committed a Crime
8.            Delayed Tougher Water Pollution Rules for Coal Plants, After Trying to Postpone Them Indefinitely
9.            Called Removal of Additional Confederate Monuments Political Correctness "Run Amok"
10.          Vetoed Ban-the-Box Legislation (important  legislation that was passed over his veto, preventing discrimination in college applications - previously, when you applied to a college in Maryland, you could be required to give information about whether you’d ever been convicted of any offense, however minor)
11.          Refused to fund the Red Line transportation project in Baltimore
12.          Did not fund Prince George’s Hospital

I believe if Hogan is re-elected he will become more conservative and less bi-partisan as he tries to move up in the Republican Party – and when he no longer needs to make himself attractive to Maryland Democratic voters.  If we want to move Maryland in a more progressive direction and help Prince George’s County we need to elect Ben Jealous Governor.

Attorney General – Brian Frosh

I believe Brian Frosh is the best Attorney General our state has ever had.  He is a tireless advocate for consumer rights and has taken the initiative to sue President Trump when his policies have hurt Maryland residents.

State Senate District 47 – Malcolm Augustine

I have known Malcolm for six years.  He is a hard worker who has shown me his commitment to serving our community.  For the last five years he has been to every municipal council meeting, civic association meeting and community event.  He has earned my support and I think he will make an effective responsive State Senator.

(Dina Fennell, and Julian Ivey are running for State Delegate in District 47A unopposed.)

Board of Education District 3 - Pamela Boozer-Strother

(Mount Rainier, Brentwood, N. Brentwood, Avondale/Woodridge, Chillum, Hyattsville, University Park)

Pamela lives in Brentwood.  I have known her for over twelve years and worked with her on the Gateway Community Development Corporation and in the Mount Rainier/Brentwood Community.  She is hard working and conscientious.  She brings the perspective of a parent, an activist in the local PTA and a home owner.  Since so much of the state budget goes to education, I believe it is important that someone who knows how difficult it is to pay property taxes will make sure that the money is spent well.  Her program includes building new schools in our area that have smaller class sizes, paying educators fairly, and expanding the arts and language programs in all the schools.  She was endorsed by the Washington Post.

Ballot Questions 

I will be voting YES on all these questions.  Here is some of my reasoning:

Question 1 – Constitutional Amendment Requiring Gaming Revenues to Supplement Spending for Education – YES

When casinos were approved in Maryland the money was supposed to be used for education spending.  While technically this money has been used for education, it has not added to education funding as intended, because money that was previously dedicated for education was then used for other purposes.  This Constitutional Amendment would guarantee that all casino moneys would be used to supplement moneys that are already placed in the budget as a result of the spending formulas that are part of the Bridge of Excellence Act passed in 2002.

Question 2 – Same-Day Registration on Election Day – YES

This Constitutional Amendment will allow people to register and vote on Election Day.  Right now people can register during Early Voting but not on Election Day.  Across the country, Republicans are working hard to suppress the vote. Anything we can do to encourage people to vote and increase citizen participation is a good, democratic thing.

County Referendums A- E:  Charter Amendments to Allow the County to Borrow Money by Issuing Bonds - YES

While county and municipal budgets are used for operating expenditures, bonds are normally needed to fund capital construction costs – in the case of these bonds,  for new and rehabilitated facilities for Public Works and Transportation, the County Library System, Public Safety, County Building, and Prince George’s Community College.  I use the analogy with buying a home or doing a major renovation.   Most of us don’t have cash to pay for a house or even a new kitchen, so we take out a loan from the bank, normally in the form of a mortgage or re-financing loan on the equity in our home.  In the same way, local jurisdictions (who have to balance their budgets) have to borrow money for capital improvements (i.e., construction projects) and then pay off the projects over a number of years (similar to a mortgage).

County Charter Amendments F – K
Recommendations from the Charter Review Commission - YES

I honestly do not know much about these amendments, but I looked through them and do not see anything controversial with them.  They are all recommendations from the County Review Commission.  You can read all the recommendations here: . (The specific pages for each amendment are discussed on pages 3-6.)

League of Women Voters Voting Guide

The league publishes a very detailed guide with candidate biographies and responses to questions as well as details about each of the ballot initiatives and a list of the projects planned for each of the bond bills that have been proposed.

 You should check it out at:

If you have any questions or comments about any of the candidates or issues, please send me an email at and I will respond.