I had the absolute pleasure and honor of starting my week off with my fellow Maryland General Assembly Irish Caucus members in welcoming the 24th Cathaoirleach of the Seanad Éireann, Chair of the Senate of Ireland, Senator Mark Daly. After meeting on the steps of the Maryland State House to exchange flags, we took the Senator on a tour of Maryland’s historic State House, followed by Speaker Adrienne Jones’ presentation of a citation to commemorate the visit and comhghairdeas (congratulate) the 26th Seanad and prepare for the 100th Anniversary of Seanad Eireann. Finally, Speaker Jones extended the hand of friendship to Senator Daly as well as all of the citizens of the Republic of Ireland.
2022 marks the 100th anniversary of Seanad Éireann, or the Irish Senate. As the descendant of Irish immigrants, it was truly an honor to have celebrated this milestone with Senator Daly.
Making Voting More Accessible
My bill, HB 328, passed UNANIMOUSLY this week through the House of Delegates. This bill removes outdated restrictions on locations that can be used for polling locations. Thereby expanding the available locations for our local boards of elections to make voting sites available for use. The State Board of Election (SBE) must take a long list (10 pages!) of factors into consideration when evaluating each location.
Available space could be next door to restaurants that serve alcohol or community establishments that often serve alcohol (Veterans of Foreign Wars halls & American Legions), and current state law bars early voting centers in any building or part of any building used or occupied by an establishment that holds an alcoholic beverages license. Shopping malls and community centers throughout the state, meet the many requirements laid out by SBE and would be perfect polling locations. Even if the establishments would cease the sales of alcohol during the days where voting would take place.
My bill will allow SBE to choose voting locations that best serve the needs of each community. I’m so happy to have worked with advocates on this bill to help expand the available voting locations throughout Maryland.
Join the D30a Team!
We need your help! With the 2022 election just a few short months away, your representatives from D30a are ramping up outreach efforts. On Saturday, March 26th at 1:00 pm, Senator Elfreth, Delegate Henson, and I will be going out into our community to talk with constituents about all the work we have done as your representatives in the Maryland General Assembly.
Volunteers will be meeting at the Maryland Democratic Party Headquarters before going out to knock on doors. Please join us - you can email Dylan@sarahelfreth.com with your RSVP!
Carrs Beach Preservation
Earlier this week, it was announced that the State of Maryland would be purchasing the historic Carr’s and Sparrow’s Beach to develop a new public park in Annapolis. Carrs Beach, in particular, left an incredible legacy, and with this funding from the State of Maryland and our Federal partners, the property will provide public water access and walking trails as well as preserve a historical site
Carrs Beach and Sparrows Beach were both popular resorts that served the Black Community at a time when they were prohibited from using other beaches. Between the 1940s and 1960s, Carr’s Beach hosted many Black musicians such as The Temptations, Little Richard, Ike, and Tina Turner, The Shirelles, and Billie Holiday.
Many thanks to all the community partners, the State of Maryland, the City of Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, and our Federal Partners for coming together, across party lines, to preserve this incredible piece of history right here in Annapolis.
Hillman Garage Closing for Rebuild
Annapolis’ downtown Noah Hillman Garage is being rebuilt with the closure set for late March 2022. During this closure, visitors and residents can navigate parking information at: www.AccessAnnapolis.com. The website was built to serve as a hub for parking and transit information in order to help residents, businesses, employees, customers, and visitors plan their visits to downtown Annapolis. Residents and visitors to downtown will have a number of parking and transit options available during the rebuild.
Once completed, the new Hillman garage, built on the existing footprint, will include more total parking spaces (increasing from 425 current spaces to 590 spaces in the new garage); working elevators; easier entry, exit, and payments; smart technologies like wayfinding and parking space detectors; stormwater controls; solar arrays on the roof (providing shade for cars while generating energy); Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations; bicycle parking; improved lighting, safety, and security features; multi-purpose areas on the ground floor; and more.
Happy Birthday to the Girl Scouts!
Happy 110th birthday to the Girl Scouts of America! The Girl Scouts was founded in Savannah, Georgia in 1912 and more than 50 million women in America have been a part of the Girl Scouts during their childhood. These days, the Girl Scouts is a national organization that serves millions of girls across the nation that continues to empower a generation of young girls to serve the Girl Scouts Law to “make the world a better place…”
I would love to celebrate this incredible milestone with any of our local troops! I would encourage any scouts or troop leaders to contact my office to set up a tour of our historic State House and legislative complex. Please email Dana.Jones@house.state.md.us for more information.
Tax Season Deadlines
Reminder! Federal Taxes are due by April 18th, 2022, and Maryland State Income Taxes are due by Friday, July 15, 2022. You can find a list of approved online filing software here.
Call for Artwork!
The Arts Council of Anne Arundel County invites Anne Arundel County (18+ please) to enter its ‘Into the Garden’ exhibit. They are accepting 2-dimensional work. The deadline for entries is March 23, 2022. Selected pieces will be on display at 201 Defense Highway, Annapolis, MD in the reception area beginning April 14, 2022, through August 15, 2022. Learn more and submit your artwork here.
Utility Bill Help
The Office of People's Counsel has created an energy assistance toolkit to help Maryland households facing utility turn-off notices keep their power on. This toolkit includes videos on how to fill out the Office of Home Energy Programs application, application forms, and resource guides. Everything a person needs to apply for help with their utility bill can be found here.
Annapolis Restaurant Week Coming Up Next Week!
Gather your friends and family, Restaurant Week is coming up from March 20 - March 27! This year, participating restaurants will offer prix fixe menus, and select restaurants will also offer carry-out options. You can choose to indulge in a two-course breakfast or lunch, or a three-course dinner.
Let’s support the amazing small businesses that are the spine of our community. See which restaurants are participating here.
Love Our Libraries
This month, AACPL is hosting a number of events around Women’s History - from a Girl Power storytime to discussions around Women in Space and the History of Women’s Suffrage. The full calendar of women’s history events can be found here.
I 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!
Attention Navy Fans
Next year the Navy football team is traveling across the Atlantic to go head to head against Notre Dame in Ireland! If you don’t want to miss this unique opportunity you can purchase your ticket package 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,