April 5, 2021
Hard to believe that we are just days away from Sine Die 2021. This historic legislative session has been conducted and masterfully executed by the most dedicated State staff in America.
Extraordinary lengths were taken to ensure new health regulations were in place to protect all those who worked in the Maryland General Assembly by the House & Senate leadership staff. I want to thank the House staff who facilitated the creation of two House chambers - which communicated as one, a tremendous technological lift to make all of this work. The committee analysts who worked late most nights and many weekends to get legislation ready for debate and amended on a moment’s notice. Our brave State Troopers that have kept us safe in the unsure times we have found ourselves. Administrative staff who prepared all of the MGA buildings right down to installing plexiglass around speaking podiums. All of this additional planning and preparation is outside of the colossal ‘normal amount’ of work to pass the people’s legislation and keep our state solvent in a 90-day window.
In the Jones 30a office, thousands of requests for assistance and correspondence were received in the last 82 days. On top of all of the normal legislative correspondence the office receives during a legislative session, we continued to provide COVID-related assistance, including help with Unemployment Insurance claims, answering COVID-19 testing questions, helping small businesses find their way to financial support, and assisting constituents in making vaccine appointments. All led by our extraordinary Chief of Staff, Lydia McPherson – whose professionalism and love of her home district is unmatched. The Jones office team of Heidi, Casey, Katherine & David have gone above and beyond in their dedication to the residents of our district, and I’m forever grateful.
This week I thank all of the MGA staff who have worked tirelessly for the state of Maryland. Your dedication is awe-inspiring.
Supporting our Community
We have just one week left in this year’s legislative Session. Among all the legislative work that has to get done, the Anne Arundel County Delegation was able to take a moment to recognize and support a local organization. The Anne Arundel County Food Bank has been working overtime to ensure that our neighbors hit hardest by the pandemic have the food and supplies they need. I was honored to join my fellow Delegation members in presenting AACo Food Bank with a check to help them continue to do their amazing work. If you would like to support our community’s food bank, click here!
Building the Budget
As you may know, the Maryland Constitution requires that our State budget be balanced, meaning that the legislature cannot spend more money than we bring in. Thanks to our State’s quickly recovering economy and the additional $3.9 billion in federal aid from the American Rescue Act, we are able to provide much-needed relief to Marylanders rather than make difficult cuts. The budget bill covers the costs of the bipartisan RELIEF Act, which was passed earlier this session. This state-level stimulus package includes direct stimulus payments to low-income Marylanders, expand the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, cuts taxes on unemployment income, and provide financial assistance to struggling businesses. Additional federal funds will be used to help enhance the state’s unemployment system, bolster economic relief programs, and improve access to broadband internet service. The final budget plan that was decided upon and passed by the House last week also dedicates $2.1 billion to state savings accounts and eliminates any projected budget deficits for the next two years.
As your Delegate, I have the privilege of advocating for funding to be used for community projects. This year my fellow seatmates and I worked to secure around $500,000 to fund projects throughout Annapolis and Anne Arundel county.
Love Our Libraries
2021 is the Anne Arundel County Public Library's 100th anniversary! Our library offers a wide variety of programming and resources. In honor of their centennial celebration, each week, I will be highlighting one program, resource, or event that our libraries have to offer.
Starting next Monday (April 12th), the AACPL system will reopen for walk-in services. Safety protocols remain in place at the library, and it is important that community members be respectful to library staff and fellow patrons when enjoying in-person services.
Are you thinking about doing some gardening before summer arrives? Get inspired with AACPL! This Thursday, from 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm, join the Garden Round Table Book Discussion: Rethinking Your Lawn. You can register for this discussion here.
I would encourage everyone to follow the Anne Arundel County Public Library’s Facebook page to get updates on programs and new resources. Also, check out their calendar to find the perfect event for you and your family to enjoy!
Vaccine Appointment Assistance & Information
Do you have questions about how to make or want help making a vaccine appointment? Our office has answers!
You can submit your questions to us by going to -http://bit.ly/Vaccinequestions1
O http://bit.ly/VaccineQuestions2 para en español.
STARTING TOMORROW April 6th, ALL Maryland mass vaccination sites will move into Phase 3 meaning that any Marylanders over the age of 16 will be eligible for a vaccine from these sites. **Please note that at this time, individuals aged 16-17 years old must receive Pfizer vaccines, which are not available everywhere.** Additionally, walk-up appointments are now accepted at the Salisbury and Hagerstown mass vaccination sites. Starting next week, walk-ups will be accepted at the M&T Bank Stadium mass vaccination site.
You can preregister for an appointment by going to covidvax.maryland.gov
Eligible Maryland residents can also these links to make an appointment at locations throughout the state:
CVS (Those without online access can call 800-746-7287)
VA Maryland Health Care System (Eligible Veterans only)
For more tips on how to register for a vaccination appointment you can click here!
NOTE To Those Who Have ALREADY Received The Vaccine: If you have been able to receive a vaccine from a mass vaccination site like Six Flags or a pharmacy like a CVS, please take the time to remove your name from any pre-registration waitlists you used. This small step makes a big difference to others still waiting for their shot. This continues to be a very fluid situation, and I encourage you all to follow any of my social media pages for up-to-date information as it becomes publicly available.
You can also use the State of Maryland Vaccination Site Search Tool to search for all vaccination locations within the state. Find out how to get alerted when appointments become available here!
If you have any questions about the vaccine rollout or are eligible for a vaccine and need help making an appointment, please email Dana.Jones@house.state.md.us, and our office will assist you.