By Del. Sandy Rosenberg
The health care and economic crises that we are all experiencing present a historic opportunity to address these issues in both the short and long term. That is my highest priority for the General Assembly session that began in Annapolis on Jan. 13.
Here’s what I plan to work on in this new legislative session.
The health of seniors and other vulnerable people is of the utmost importance. The COVID-19 pandemic has done great harm. I am working to ensure that vaccines are made available, consistent with sound and equitable medical guidelines. Where should vaccines be provided? Will you need transportation to get there? Del. Dalya Attar and I have met with the experts at The Associated to get their input on this.
No doubt many of you had your first telehealth appointment during the last nine months. Last year, I introduced an emergency bill to make sure telehealth care could be provided by your health care provider. This was a first step to comprehensive insurance coverage.
Another issue I am working on is that of safe neighborhoods and police accountability, which go hand in hand. In response to a series of armed car jackings in Northwest Baltimore, I am working with Councilman Yitzy Schleifer and my Annapolis colleagues on legislation that would require tracking of how these crimes are handled. The goal is both appropriate legal consequences and effective rehabilitation for these minors.
Speaker Adrienne Jones appointed me to the Work Group on Police Accountability and Reform. I successfully advocated for making it an officer’s duty to intervene if another officer is using force that is not reasonable under the circumstances. Enacting our reform bill will be a crucial step forward.
I also support the educational Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. This investment in pre-K-12 education will raise the standards for classroom instruction. We have built 21st-century schools throughout my district. With our school buildings closed since March, we have been reminded of how vital it is to provide a quality education for all students.
I will also continue to advocate for state funding for families who attend parochial schools. This education expense is a substantial financial burden on the many families that cannot really afford their tuition payments. State assistance has tremendous impact. It alleviates financial burden on struggling families and improves academic outcomes.
In addition, the Preakness will stay at Pimlico, and 50 acres on the site will be redeveloped for non-racing uses. This will bring major economic benefits to Park Heights, the city and the region. This reinvestment began when I proposed that the Maryland Stadium Authority study the future use of the site. My work continues, making sure that this site becomes an asset that creates jobs and that the residents nearby are involved in decision making.
From Roland Park to Cheswolde to Howard Park to Allendale, I am working with neighborhoods throughout the district. I am joined by my 41st district colleagues, state Sen. Jill P. Carter and Dels. Attar and Tony Bridges.
On the opening day of the legislative session, I was asked to give the prayer. This is what I said:
We are again welcomed to this historic State House by the statues of Thurgood Marshall and the students he represented in Brown v. Board of Education and Murray v. Pearson, which integrated the University of Maryland School of Law.
Since we last met, some words have new meanings: Zoom, House Annex, virtual hearing.
Some phrases have not changed: propose, persuade, count to 71, the rule of law.
Some issues have come to the forefront: our commitment to racial and economic justice.
As we work together to address these and other challenges in the days ahead, may we remain committed to the people who sent us here to make policy on their behalf.
Sandy Rosenberg represents the 41st district in the Maryland House of Delegates.