This has been a busy week for me and my team here in Annapolis. We kicked things off with our first bill hearing of the 2022 of HB285, a bill to expand an existing benefit to disabled federal agents. This benefit is already extended to State Officers, this bill would add federal job series: 0083 and 1811 which encompasses officers in the US Capitol Police, ATF, CIA, NIH, USPS, the Supreme Court Police, Pentagon Police – just to name a few. Last year, we watched in horror as insurrectionists stormed the capital. The only thing that stopped these violent actors from reaching our elected officials and their staff was the heroic actions taken by our Capitol Police Officers and Metropolitan Police. I believe extending this property tax credit to disabled federal agents shows how we value these Federal Officers from Maryland, their families & their dedication to our country. It shows our intent on retaining these brave men and women in Maryland as neighbors, community members & heroes.
We then moved on to HB282 which would eliminate state sales tax for diapers, saving Maryland families over $12 million annually on these essential items if passed. Our state’s policies are a reflection of our values. I believe it is time for our state to take this step to support all Maryland families. I want to thank the diverse organizations, from all over the state, that came out in support of my bill including; the National Diaper Bank Network, the Greater DC Diaper Bank, the Maryland Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MDAAAP), the Maryland Affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), the Maryland Nurses Association (MNA), Parent Advocacy, Consortium (Rich Ceruolo), Columbia Community Care, Welfare Advocates, Montgomery County Community Action Board, Planned Parenthood of Maryland, the Maryland Catholic Conference, AACPL Community Pantry, Maryland Family Network, Marylanders Against Poverty (MAP), MD Retailers Association, and the MD Association of Counties.
We closed out our bill hearings for the week with HB283, a reintroduction of my school bus safety bill from last year that would require school buses be routed with the intent that the number of students on the bus does not exceed the manufacturer's rated capacity for the bus. Although this commonsense bill passed the House nearly unanimously last year, it ran out of time in the Senate. I am hopeful that this year, we will see this commonsense bill pass.
Black History Month
February is Black History Month! Throughout this month, I will be sharing resources and events on my page that center around Celebrating Black History in our community, opportunities virtually, as well as resources for your family to celebrate.
On Monday, February 7th, join the Commission on African American History and Culture and the Banneker Douglass Museum for their February meeting, where they will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s birth with special presentations and guest speakers. The event will take place virtually, you can register here.
If you can’t make this event, the Banneker Douglass Museum has many events this month celebrating Black History and can be found here.
COVID-19 Testing Sites
As a reminder, Anne Arundel County offers testing at no cost. Symptoms are not required for testing, and a doctor’s note is not needed. Test results are usually available in three to five days. You can call the Anne Arundel county COVID-19 Health Information Line: 410-222-7256 with all of your COVID-19 related questions.
Are You Prepared?
Between tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flooding, and snowstorms, we have seen more than our fair share of extreme weather this year here in District 30a. With more winter weather on its way, I would encourage you to sign up for AACo Office of Emergency Management's Civicready Mass Notification System. You can sign up to receive emergency alerts and stay informed on what's going on near you.
It’s that time of year again - Tax Season! Starting February 1st, the Maryland Comptroller’s Office will be extending their call center hours to better serve taxpayers during tax filing season. The call center will remain open until 7 pm (except on state holidays) for personal income tax assistance only. Extended hours will be in place through April 18.
Love Our Libraries
In-person story times are back! As of January 31, 2022, the Anne Arundel County Public Library had resumed in-person events. Find an event near you: http://aacpl.net/events
This Thursday from 4:00 - 5:00 pm, join AACPL’s Discoveries Library at the Mall and Black in Marine Science to learn more about sea turtles (and to create a special sea turtle craft!) For more information on this event, click here!
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!
Pass, Pick & Play Donation Drive
Each spring the Annapolis Recreation and Parks, in partnership with the Armstrong Family, hosts “Pass, Pick & Play” a donation drive to provide kids in the Annapolis area with free, gently-used sporting goods. This year’s donation drive started yesterday. Between now and Friday, March 11, you can bring your gently-used sports equipment to one of the following locations:
"Pip” Moyer Recreation Center
Calvary United Methodist Church
Discoveries: The Library in the Mall
The distribution event will take place Saturday, March 26 at the "Pip" Moyer Recreation Center from 10:00 am to noon.
If you would like to learn more about the “Pass, Pick & Play” initiative or about the many other events being hosted by the Annapolis Recreation and Parks this month, check out their most recent newsletter!
Lending a Helping Hand to our New Neighbors
Since last December, 70 refugee families have been relocated to Anne Arundel County. To help them settle into their new homes, the AACo Food Bank is accepting donations that will go directly to these families. You can drop off donations to the AACo Food Bank warehouse Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 12:00 pm or 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm.
Chatting with the Next Generation of Leaders
I had so much fun last night spending time with the AOL's of Cub Scout Pack 815! What an amazing group of Cub Scouts. I loved our conversation about legislation, taxes, debate, and understanding the viewpoints of others. Hoping they get a chance to visit me here in the State House soon.
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
District 30A, Annapolis & Anne Arundel County