January 25, 2022
Like many of you, I was heartbroken to learn of the tragic loss of Baltimore Firefighters Lt. Paul Butrim, FF Kelsey Sadler & FF Kenny Lacayo who made the greatest sacrifice in the line of service yesterday. Please keep FF John McMaster who remains in critical but stable condition in your continued prayers. We are keeping their families, colleagues, and the Baltimore community in our hearts and prayers during this painful time.
A GoFundMe page has been created in a joint effort between L-734 & Baltimore Fire Officers IAFF Local 964 to help the families of our heroes. You can help our injured and fallen heroes by donating to this GoFundMe. 100% of the money raised through this GoFundMe will go to the families to offset funeral/memorial, medical, and other expenses resulting from this tragic event.
Sponsoring Historic Tax Change for Maryland Families
Last year I received an overwhelming response to HB711, my bill to incentivize donations of diapers and other essential hygiene products, which passed unanimously through both chambers last session. I want to thank all of you for supporting, participating, and giving back to those who need these critical products. I am thrilled that this new law is providing some relief to the diaper banks and supply distribution lines that continue to see an overwhelming need for these items.
This year through a new piece of legislation I am expanding relief to Maryland families with the introduction of my bill, HB282 which would eliminate state sales tax for diapers. Families with young children spend over $1,000 a year on diapers, with that number expected to increase due to recent inflation and supply chain issues. Removing the sales tax on these essential items would save Maryland families over $12 million annually.
One in three families struggles to provide clean diapers for their baby. 57% of parents experiencing diaper need, who rely on child care, have reported missing an average of four days of school or work in the past month because they don’t have diapers. The leading cause, of course, is price. We know that families struggling with diaper needs have children more likely to end up in the hospital with kidney & urinary tract infections. Federal assistance programs do NOT allow for the purchase of diapers (SNAP or WIC).
Our state’s policies are a reflection of our values. I believe it is time for Maryland to take this step to support Maryland families. Please stay tuned to how you can help and follow this legislation during the session. I am so happy that my cross-file in the Senate is our very own Senator Sarah Elfreth. As always look for updates in my newsletter, on social media, and feel free to call or email the office
FREE At-Home Tests Available
Free At-Home COVID-19 Test Kits are now available to order via the USPS website.
- Limit of one order per residential address
- One order includes 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests
- Orders will ship free starting in late January
You can order yours via the USPS website.
The Wendi Winters Memorial Blood Drive
There is a CRITICAL shortage of blood right now, and the Red Cross is in need of donors. Join us in honoring Wendi Winters by giving a little of yourself and saving lives. Please share and invite your friends to the Wendi Winters Memorial Blood Drive.
The drive will be on February 12th at The Crowne Plaza Hotel from 8 AM to 4 PM. You can register here. Strict Covid protocols will be followed and masks are required.
The CDC recently updated its guidance on masks for the general public and is now recommending that people wear N95 and KN95 masks because they offer the best protection against Covid-19. Starting this week, the Biden administration will make 400 million N95 masks available for FREE at pharmacies and community health centers across the country. Major pharmacy chains CVS, Rite Aid, Giant, Walgreens, and Walmart have confirmed that they will be participating in the distribution of the free masks. Shipments are scheduled to go out later this week with maks becoming more available starting in February.
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.
Enhanced Benefits for Utility and Electric Assistance
Recipients of the state’s utility and electric assistance will receive enhanced benefits during this home heating season in an effort to combat the rising cost of heat. Through the Maryland Energy Assistance Program (MEAP), recipients will see their minimum benefit increase by 66%, from $300 to $500. Overall, MEAP is receiving a 30% increase in funding to support this enhanced benefit. Through the Electric Universal Assistance Program (EUSP), recipients will see their minimum benefit double from $150 to $300.
Residents in need of energy assistance may apply online, mail-in an application, or apply in person at a local Home Energy Program Office. Detailed information on how to apply can be found on the DHS website here.
Open Enrollment Extended Until February 28
Great news! Open enrollment has been extended. Uninsured Marylanders now have until February 28 to sign up for health coverage through Maryland Health Connection. Nine out of 10 Marylanders who enroll get financial help to pay for their plan. Additionally, Marylanders ages 18-34 have access to additional discounts thanks to a new state law. All plans available through Maryland Health Connection cover important health benefits, including doctor visits, prescriptions, mental health services, and more. Free help is available to choose a plan. Enroll at marylandhealthconnection.gov or call toll-free at 1-855-642-8572.
Tornado Assistance Still Available
Since the Tornado touched down on September 1, your Federal, State, County, & City representatives have been working together to try & bring financial relief to those who were affected by the storm. The Department of Housing & Community Development has dedicated $4 million in state funding towards tornado relief available through three different programs.
To find more information on the Maryland Disaster Relief Housing Program, Maryland Business Recovery GRANT Program, Maryland Disaster Housing Assistance Program you can go to the resource page of my website.
Love Our Libraries
In-person story times are coming back! Starting January 31, 2022, the Anne Arundel County Public Library will resume 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!
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