The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is back in Annapolis! I am so excited to once again walk with Jennifer’s Journey. This cause, led locally by a dear friend who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, is one that my family and I have supported for years and years.
There are approximately 30,000 Americans living with cystic fibrosis. They are moms, dads, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, friends, and co-workers. These individuals struggle every day just to breathe.
My family walks with Jennifer’s Journey to help raise awareness, and funds in support of research to help improve the lives of those impacted by this awful disease. I hope you will support me in these efforts. You can donate to this cause by this local Annapolis family here.
In the meantime, I look forward to seeing our community this weekend at the Annapolis St. Patrick’s Day Parade! Details on the Parade are here!
Capital Gazette Commentary
The Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis (HACA) is home to hundreds of hard-working families here in Annapolis. We have stepped up our state investments in affordable housing, but the fallout from the pandemic has left a lot of work still to do. Last week my seatmates, Senator Sarah Elfreth and Delegate Shaneka Henson, and I met with stakeholders to discuss how we can ensure that HACA is able to sustain many of its essential services and duties.
You can read more about that important meeting in our article in the Capital Gazette here -
St. Mary's Book Drive Benefiting the Boys & Girls Club
March is #NationalReadingMonth! As a reminder, this month, I am working with the St. Mary's High School Book Club to collect new and gently used books for grades pre-K - 12th on March 7 - 11. All books collected will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club at Wiley H. Bates Heritage Park here in Annapolis.
The Bates Club is a wonderful facility that offers an abundance of activities and caring staff that serves children of all ages here in Annapolis. They have a lovely library which needs gently used books. St. Mary’s High School Book Club and my hope is to fill those shelves with books for which children can choose to read at the Bates Club - or take home and keep! I am so proud of these students for putting together this thoughtful book drive.
Donations can be dropped off at 113 Duke of Gloucester Street at the front office of St. Mary’s High School OR contact my office directly if you’d like to coordinate a drop-off at my office as well.
Pick & Play Donations *Ending Soon*
This past weekend, my family donated to the annual ‘Pass, Pick & Play’ drive. This drive accepts donations of gently-used sporting equipment now through March 11. Now in its fifth year, Pass, Pick & Play helps residents pass on no longer used equipment and equips local families, at no cost, with sporting equipment they might need for their families.
Items are being collected at four locations through Friday, March 11.
"Pip” Moyer Recreation Center (PMRC) at 273 Hilltop Lane, Annapolis, MD 21403
Calvary United Methodist Church at 301 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, MD 21401
The Key School at 534 Hillsmere Blvd., Annapolis, MD 21403
Discoveries: The Library at the Mall at 2250 Annapolis Mall Road, Annapolis, MD 21401
Donated items will be distributed during an event on Saturday, March 26, 2022 between 10 a.m. and noon at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center.
Visit here to learn more about what equipment is being collected.
Bike Safety Bill
Every year, hundreds of cyclists are killed in traffic crashes across the U.S. For the countless Marylanders who bike to work and school, this can make their daily commute a terrifying endeavor. In order to save lives, it’s important that we have policies that help protect both our bicyclists and pedestrians.
Current Maryland law forbids bicycles on sidewalks as the default statewide. Localities can and have overridden this law, creating inconsistency throughout Maryland and leading to much confusion among bikers and pedestrians.
This week I introduced HB 1153 which would help implement more consistent policy around bicycle usage by allowing bikes to utilize sidewalks unless otherwise disallowed by localities. If this law was consistent throughout the state, not only would those commuting by bike be safer, but it would also help avoid confusion on which laws to follow when traveling across jurisdictions. All of this, of course, is compounded by the safety issues for bicyclists sharing our major roads with vehicles.
EZ Pass Update
We have heard from many constituents about the challenges with E-ZPass accounts or toll bills. We’ve worked closely with the MDTA to find solutions to help residents with challenges. As of last week, a Customer Assistance Plan.
Effective February 24, 2022, the MDTA has begun a civil penalty waiver grace period for tolls paid in full and has ceased referring toll bills to the Central Collection Unit (CCU) and MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) temporarily. The grace period will end at 11:59 p.m. on November 30, 2022, and the MDTA will resume referrals of unpaid toll bills and civil penalties to CCU and MDOT MVA on December 1. This plan also included adding more customer support representatives to assist customers. If you are still having difficulty with your E-ZPass bill, please do not hesitate to contact my office directly.
New Statewide Water Assistance Program
The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is available statewide and provides Maryland households with financial relief toward water and/or wastewater bills. Eligible households may receive up to $2,000 in assistance. LIHWAP funding is limited, and applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
You can learn more about the program or apply for LIHWAP assistance online using the consumer portal at mymdthink.maryland.gov. If you are unable to apply online, you may request an application be mailed to you through the service hotline at 1-800-332-6347 or by calling your local Department of Social Services or Office of Home Energy Programs office. A printable paper application can be found here.
COVID Testing Available
Free COVID-19 testing is available for adults and children in Annapolis, Glen Burnie, and Shady Side. Walk-ups are accepted, or you can schedule an appointment directly here.
Love Our Libraries
This weekend on Saturday, March 6, at 3 pm, join Anne Arundel County Public Library at the Discoveries: the Library at the Mall for a special dance storytime, followed by joining the dancers from the Chesapeake Ballet Company to learn some basic ballet steps and dance together! Learn more 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!
Praying for those in Ukraine
This week, after my family and I observed Ash Wednesday, we joined a vigil in State Circle with nearly 200 people to stand in solidarity with the country and people of Ukraine. We prayed for peace and for this senseless invasion of a sovereign country to come to an end. It was important for my family & I to be there last night - especially as we reflect during this Lenten season and prepare for Easter. The courage, determination and fearlessness of the Ukrainians has inspired us all as they protect their homeland against this invasion.
For those of you looking to help in the assistance of aid to Ukrainian refugees the International Committee of the Red Cross is responding to the urgent humanitarian needs and doing life saving work.
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,