Updated: Feb 28
This week I presented my bill HB 681 which would help to keep Maryland families united with their pets.
We have been experiencing unprecedented rates of housing insecurity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A large portion of rental properties do not allow their tenants to have pets. The ones that do often have strict breed and weight restrictions, restricting a large percentage of family dogs. For the 70% of renters who own a pet, many of whom faced housing insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be nearly impossible to find adequate accommodations. This forces them to make the heartbreaking decision between facing homelessness or giving up their beloved pets.
HB 681 would incentivize more pet-friendly housing by providing an income tax credit to landlords that allow companion animals, with no breed or size restrictions or non-refundable deposit, in their rental properties. Over the past two years, so many Marylanders have lost their jobs, family members, their homes - they shouldn’t have to lose their pets too. The stress and mental health crisis that we are currently experiencing should not be exacerbated by taking companion pets from families.
A Legislative Win
I am so proud and excited to say that my bill HB 283, a reintroduction of my school bus safety bill from last year that would require every student to have a seat on their school bus, once again passed UNANIMOUSLY through the House. I am hopeful that this year, we will see this commonsense bill enacted.
St. Mary's Book Drive Benefiting the Boys & Girls Club
I am happy to announce that 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 which 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.
New Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Microsite Promotes Black History 365 Days a Year
The Banneker-Douglass Museum (BDM) and Visit Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (VAAAC) have announced the creation of a newly launched Black History 365 microsite that makes it easy to celebrate the heritage and culture of the people of the African Diaspora in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County all year long.
Black History 365 is a compilation of videos, blogs, resources, and events from a myriad of sources that provides insights into the lives of generations of individuals of the African Diaspora.
While Black History 365 is off to a great start, the goal is to have it become even more robust as time goes on. Individuals and organizations who would like to add to Black History 365’s collection of stories and events are invited to submit their Black History event, exhibition, or program here and click “Black History” in the event category.
Shop Small 365
Last weekend my family and I were over the third moon of Tatooine as we supported Third Eye Comics at STAR WARS SATURDAY! This was a great event celebrating the finale of Disney+ The Book of Boba Fett with a real-life
Boba! They hosted a very special guest John Morton, the actor who played Dak Ralter and Boba Fett in Cloud City! For more special events at 3rd Eye Comics go to their events page!
AACPS is Seeking its Next Student Board Member
Anne Arundel County’s student member on the Board (SMOB) of Education is the only one in the nation on a local board who has full voting rights. The SMOB is elected by members of the Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Councils (CRASC) and appointed by the Governor.
High school juniors in good academic standing can get more information on becoming the 2022-2023 Student Member of the Board of Education (SMOB) of Anne Arundel County during a virtual Information Night scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, via Google Meet. The meeting link will be posted on the Chesapeake Regional Association of Student Councils (CRASC) website, www.aacps.org/crasc.
The nomination process for the 2022-2023 seat opens on February 24, 2022, and concludes at 4 p.m. on March 16, 2022. Nomination forms should be emailed to the Office of Student Leadership at firstname.lastname@example.org. No nomination forms will be accepted after 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.
BGE Energizing Small Business Grant
Through the BGE Energizing Small Business Grants Program, eligible businesses located in BGE's service area will have two additional opportunities this year to apply for grants of up to $20,000. The first round opened Monday, February 14th, and closes March 25th, 2022. The recipient will be announced in Mid-May. A second round of applications will open in late July and close in early September.
Applicants must be an existing BGE electric and/or gas customer with positive BGE credit history. Other eligibility criteria include:
Be a business founded in 2020 or prior
In good standing (or on the way to) with the State of Maryland
A maximum of twenty-five (25) employees
Annual gross revenues in 2021 of less than $7 million USD
Demonstrated need for funding to support business and serve customers
During the first year of the BGE Energizing Small Business Grants program, BGE, Hello Alice, and GEN Global engaged over 400 partner organizations and 10,000 small businesses, dispersed $3.5M in funds to 176 diverse small business owners across a variety of industries in the state of Maryland. Small businesses can apply here.
Volunteer with the Maritime Museum
The Annapolis Maritime Museum is hosting an in-person Volunteer Fair on February 21st from 4:00-6:00 PM. Join us to learn how you can get involved in your local community and contribute to the Annapolis Maritime Museum's mission. Lite fare and beverages will be provided. RSVP here.
Harriet Tubman 2022 Women's History Month Women of Courage Video Contest
In celebration of the bicentennial birth date of Harriet Tubman’s, the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture has announced an inaugural Harriet Tubman 2022 Women's History Month Women of Courage Video Contest. To honor the life of Maryland's native daughter, ALL Marylanders who have been inspired by the legacy of Harriet Tubman are invited to submit videos that embrace one or all of the three following Tubman topics:
"Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope” (Women’s History Month Theme)
"Dear Ms. Tubman...”
"I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say—I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” --Harriet Tubman
This contest is open to young people AND adults. For more information on the contest, rules, and entry requirements, please click here. Contest entries are due no later than March 4th, at 11:59 PM, and can be submitted here.
Love Our Libraries
Join AACPL for “My Grandmother Told Me: A Tribute to African-American Women '' at the Edgewater Branch Community Room at 12 pm on Saturday, February 19th. Join actress Debra Mims, as she transforms into Grandmother Sally Kathryn Mims who is searching through an old trunk in her attic. Each item she pulls out sparks a memory and tells a story of the past and of courageous Black women. Using monologs, poetry, and songs, she will guide the audience through an important part of America’s history in a fun and interactive way.
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!
Happy Birthday Oyster Harbor!
This week the Annapolis peninsula community of Oyster Harbor turned 71 years old! Community President, Eric Epstein, honored this anniversary by releasing a lovely video that celebrities the rich history of this great community. I want to end this week’s newsletter by wishing the happiest of birthdays to the Oyster harbor community and all of the amazing residents that call it home.
National Random Acts of Kindness Day 2022
Thursday, February 17th was Random Acts of Kindness Day. I took part by dropping off some goodies to Officer Calloway, one of the many hardworking Maryland Capitol Police Officers that keep us all safe each day.
There is no limit on the amount of goodness we can put forward, and the work to create a kinder, more compassionate world never ends. Join Random Acts of Kindness Day to help #MakeKindnesstheNorm.
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,