Updated: Dec 30, 2021
December 10, 2021
This week the House and Senate are in Annapolis for an extraordinary legislative session, otherwise known as “Special Session.” So far my colleagues and I have overridden several of the Governor’s vetoes in order to advance our clean energy goals, expand public transportation investments, and protect the rights of all of our residents.
After nearly five decades of public service in both the House of Delegates and as Treasurer of Maryland, Nancy Kopp, has retired. As the second longest-serving state treasurer in Maryland, and only the second woman to serve in the role, Kopp was a trailblazer and role model for bipartisanship - always balancing the needs of Marylanders with fiscal responsibility.
This week I joined my colleagues in electing Chairman Dereck Davis as the new Maryland State Treasurer. A true leader for our state & a member who was always so kind and helpful to me as a new Delegate of the House. His leadership on the House Economic Matters Committee has made us a stronger state.
With the 2022 Regular Session just a few short weeks away, my staff and I are hard at work finalizing my legislation. I always appreciate hearing from constituents about what issues matter most to them so please don’t hesitate to reach out to our office.
Standing Up for What’s Right
Last week I joined CASA, fellow Marylanders & some of my colleagues at Noche Del Inmigrante. We heard from families from across the state about their experiences as immigrants in Maryland.
Last Session, the Maryland General Assembly voted to pass HB 16, which would prohibit countries from entering financial agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for detaining people while they are legally going through their daily lives. Simply put - this bill would prohibit for-profit family separation. In many cases you may have seen in the news, people legally going through the immigration process were picked up for no reason. Some counties were making money seeking out and picking up folks to detain. This legislation will not interfere with the enforcement of criminal proceedings. We are better than this in Maryland. I am proud to stand with these families and to override the veto of Dignity Not Detention.
Fighting for Public Transit
As a member of the Transit Caucus, I am very familiar with the importance of public transportation and I was proud to support overriding the Governor's veto of the HB114, the Transit Safety and Investment Act. This legislation is a culmination of years of work to make sure that our residents, businesses, and neighborhoods have a transportation system that works for them.
The Maryland Transit Administration’s commuter, light, and heavy rail systems have the highest major breakdown rates in the nation. With more than $1.5 billion in deferred maintenance, our public transportation systems are consistently failing our residents and are in desperate need of additional funds. HB114 requires the MTA to increase operating and capital spending by extending provisions of the Maryland Metro/Transit Funding Act. It also includes a Grant Program for small businesses that have been adversely affected by the constriction of the Purple Line and studies to explore extending services to Western Maryland.
It meets the needs previously highlighted by the administration in a 2019 report and will increase spending to more than $500 million, allowing MDOT to not only maintain our transit systems but also upgrade and potentially expand services. Funding our transit infrastructure not only keeps railways safe but also allows for economic and educational opportunities. In the long term, this bill reduces our carbon footprint - an important factor in reducing the impact of global warming.
Annapolis Crime Update
The District 30A delegation met with Annapolis Police Department leadership on Tuesday for a three-hour meeting to continue our ongoing discussions surrounding public safety, specifically the recent gun violence, implementation of new State laws, and how we can be of assistance in recruiting and retaining public safety officers and Crisis Response Service personnel.
APD walked us through their thorough investigative protocol and gave an update on the five homicides of 2021. APD reported successful arrests in 4 out of the 5 homicides this year and is making significant progress on bringing justice to the fifth murder victim. Even though this year’s crime stats reported by APD are on par with numbers reported last year, every Annapolitan deserves to feel safe. The concerns expressed to us regarding this recent spate of gun violence are an awful affirmation that public safety must remain a top priority for our delegation.
This delegation fights every year to bring back State resources to support public safety priorities: including, $765,000 in Payment in Lieu of Taxes funding and grant funding through the Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services that goes directly towards recruitment and retention efforts. We will continue to prioritize these and other State funding opportunities to support safety in our community. Additionally, we have made record investments in k-12 education, tackled food insecurity and brought home funding to increase job opportunities, mental health support, addictions treatment & prevention, and quality affordable housing.
We are committed to continuing our collaboration with APD to help supply the resources needed to meet the demands of public safety. We believe that every one of us - elected officials, public safety officers, and citizens alike - have responsibility for safe communities. Please report suspicious activity to the Annapolis Police Department at 410-268-4141. You can also call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP or through the P3 Tips smartphone app submit an anonymous tip. If your tip leads to an arrest or indictment you may be eligible for a cash reward.
You can read the D30a Delegation's full statement here.
The Annapolis Inaugural
Congratulations to Mayor Gavin Buckley and the incoming Annapolis City Council! I am excited to welcome a few new faces to the council and look forward to continuing working with community leaders who will be serving another term. Throughout this past year and a half, I have worked alongside these wonderful public servants to help our shared constituents through a pandemic, a devastating tornado, and historic flooding. I am so thankful to have local partners share my compassion and devotion to serving our constituents.
A New Look For a New Century
As part of their centennial celebration, I joined the 652 other library lovers in becoming a “capsule keeper” and had my name added to AACPL’s time capsule filled with important memorabilia and messages for future library staff and patrons. Additionally, AACPL took this opportunity to unveil its new logo AND newly designed website that will help take our libraries into their next century of serving our community. Congratulations on this beautiful new logo and fantastic website!
The Eastport Yacht Club's Lights Parade is back!
This beloved Annapolis tradition will take place Saturday, December 11, 2021, 6 - 8 p.m. My husband and I absolutely love taking our son to see the boats carefully and creatively illuminated with thousands of colored lights. I’m so happy to see that this beloved tradition has returned this year and encourage everyone to come and enjoy the show!
A Win for Sustainability
Congratulations to the hard-working staff and elected officials of Anne Arunle County, who were recently recognized as a 2021 Maryland Sustainable Growth Award recipient for the work being done on Plan2040: Anne Arundel County General Development Plan. I am so thankful to work alongside my County partners as we work to make our community “the best place for all.”
A Parent’s Day Off
Attention Parents! The Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks is offering two day-long programs designed to keep your children entertained (and safe!) to give you a break and give you a chance to so you may cross some things off your shopping list. You can sign up for the December 11th program here and the December 18th program here!
Spreading Christmas Cheer
The Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds is hosting its First Annual Fair Family Christmas, a drive-through holiday display perfect for a fun family outing. A portion of the proceeds will go to supporting the Anne Arundel County Food Bank.
Tickets can be purchased here!
Lights on the Bay
From now until January 2nd, the amazing tradition of Lights on the Bay is back at Sandy Point State Park! This annual holiday light show featuring a two mile scenic drive along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay through Sandy Point State Park, with more than 70 animated and stationary displays depicting regional and holiday themes. For only $20 per car, you can drive through and enjoy the beautiful light displays. It's a very merry way to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. All proceeds from this family-friendly event will go directly to the SPCA of Anne Arundel County to help care for the animals. Tickets can be purchased at lightsonthebay.org or can be purchased at the event gates during regular hours of operation (5pm to 10pm nightly).
Love Our Libraries
2021 is the Anne Arundel County Public Library's 100th anniversary! Our library system 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.
In partnership with the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, Anne Arundel County Public Library is now offering free rapid COVID-19 test kits at all county libraries. These test kits are meant to be taken home and are limited to one per person, per day.
I would encourage everyone to follow the Anne Arundel County Public Library’s Facebook page to get updates on programs and new resources. You can check out their calendar to find the perfect event for you and your family to enjoy!
Join Me Before Session
Please join me for a pre-Session reception on Tuesday, January 12th from 5-7 pm at the Federal House in downtown Annapolis. This will be the last opportunity to support my campaign before the campaign freeze goes into effect just hours later! Your support is critical in helping me continue the work I do for our community.
RSVP for this event here!
You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or visit my new website to learn about volunteer opportunities, community resources, COVID-19 updates, and much more. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always contact my office by email at Dana.Jones@house.state.md.us or by phone at 410-841-3211.
Stay safe and healthy,
Delegate Dana Jones