2018 General Assembly Session: Week 5









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2018 General Assembly Session: Week 5

I was out with pneumonia for the latter part of this week (yuck!), but that didn’t stop things from happening! Thankfully I have an excellent legislative aide, Sean Mullin, who testified for me on a very important bill; and a great delegation vice-chair, Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo, who handled a busy Montgomery County delegation meeting for me with ease. Thank you Sean and Dave!

Speaker Mike Busch and the House of Delegates honoring the world-class University of Maryland Medical Center Transplant Team last Tuesday.

Tuesday
My bill, HB 104, was voted out of subcommittee. It’s a small bill that would allow people signing up for licenses with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to make voluntary donations to protect the Chesapeake Bay. DNR estimates that this legislation will lead to an extra $200k or more in funding each year to restore our Bay. Many Marylanders are happy to donate to worthy causes, but you need to ask and this bill does that.

Also on Tuesday we honored the University of Maryland Medical Center Transplant Team, and in the Environment &Transportation Committee we heard a bill that would decrease the amount of time it takes to get organs to hospitals so that they can perform lifesaving transplants. Speaker Busch’s life was saved last year by his sister’s organ donation and the top-notch quality of medical professionals in Maryland.

While we have great medical institutions in this state, we can’t forget that access and affordability are still a huge problem for so many people. That is why I always support legislation that would create a public option for Marylanders. This session my District 39 colleague, Delegate Kirill Reznik, filed HB 660 which would create a public option called Healthcare Maryland.
 

HB 106 Hearing 

I was at the hearing for HB 106 which would help get transplant organs to hospitals more quickly – a matter of life or death. This is the Speaker’s bill, and he was in committee to testify.

Wednesday
The Women’s Legislative Caucus led by Delegate Ariana Kelly met early Wednesday morning to approve recommendations to combat the scourge of sexual harassment and assault that has plagued legislative bodies across the country. Their recommendations were approved unanimously and will move on to a commission established by the presiding officers of the House and Senate. Delegates Carol Krimm and David Fraser-Hidalgo chaired the work group that led to the recommendations. I was in the audience as an observer and was delighted that some of the recommendations from a letter I penned in November of 2016 were added to the list. That letter was initially signed by 15 members, and eventually 27 during the 2017 legislative session. The letter was never distributed publicly, but here it is below.

MGA Sexual Harassment Policy Letter 11-29-16 by Shane Robinson on Scribd

Thursday
My bill, HB 13 – Vehicle Laws – Licenses, Identification Cards, and Moped Operator’s Permits – Indication of Applicant’s Sex  was heard in the Environment & Transportation Committee. Unfortunately I was out with pneumonia, but Sean Mullin did a great job testifying for me. The bill seeks to do two things:

  1. Prohibit the state from requiring proof of a person’s sex when applying for a driver’s license.
  2. Allow for a person to list their sex as unspecified on a driver’s license.

I watched the hearing from bed and was pleased at how well it went, although I was surprised at some of the questions from my colleagues and was reminded of how far we still have to come as a society in terms of understanding and fully accepting the trans community. Washington DC already does this, along with Washington State, Oregon and California. Maryland should do it too!

Also on Thursday HB 104 was voted out of committee. It’s scheduled for debate on the House floor on February 13th, and with a little luck my first bill of the session will get voted out of the House on the 14th. How’s that for a Valentine’s Day gift? Let it be our gift to the Chesapeake Bay.

Friday
I was still out with pneumonia on Friday and had to miss the Montgomery County House Delegation meeting. In my three years as Chair of the Delegation this is the first meeting that I’ve missed, and hopefully the last. Needless to say, Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo did a great job in my place. Here’s what happened at the meeting. You can find out about what the Delegation is up to here.

Duck and Cover?

The tunnels between the State House and the adjoining office buildings have been around for awhile… and so has this sign. 

If you’re a District 39 resident and you’d like a tour of some of the nooks and crannies of our State Capitol, just call my office at 301-858-3021. I always want to hear from constituents, and what better way than during a stroll around the grounds?

Chancery Lane

A view of the State House from Chancery Lane – an alley connecting State Circle and Main Street.

Let’s take a walk around Annapolis!

 

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2018 General Assembly Session: Week 4









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2018 General Assembly Session: Week 4

Last week the Governor delivered his State of the State address, Montgomery County fought to win the Amazon HQ2 bid, the Dems proposed a lockbox on education funding from gambling, and much more!

With Senator Nancy King and Gigi Godwin at the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Reception

Monday
I spoke in favor of Montgomery County’s proposal to house Amazon’s second headquarters, and our county is one of only 20 jurisdictions nationwide being considered. 238 cities submitted proposals and Montgomery is among the few that made it to the next round. If successful, we’re looking at 40,000 new jobs with average salaries of at least $100k. There are claw-back provisions in the bill, so if the jobs and salaries don’t hit those levels then the state is off the hook for providing the tax cuts to Amazon that it is using to lure the project. This is game-changing for our county, state, and region. I’m happy to report that the county delegation is working with County Executive Ike Leggett to make this possibility a reality.

Firearm Regulation

Tuesday
I stood with my colleagues in support of two bills designed to curb gun violence in Maryland. One would ban bump stocks – a device that makes semi automatic weapons fully automatic – and another would repeal the Handgun Permit Review Board and turn concealed carry permit appeal decisions over to administrative law judges. More here

Ran into some friends on my way to a voting session and the Governor’s State of the State speech last Wednesday. Big Chicken dumps a lot of money into politics in Maryland. 

Revoking parental rights from rapists

Wednesday
After years of roadblocks and delays, we finally passed the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act. This bill seeks to terminate parental rights for convicted rapists. I was a proud cosponsor along with many others. The bill also passed the Senate, and is expected to become law.

State of the State

Also on Wednesday, Governor Hogan delivered his annual State of the State speech. It was a short speech, both in content and details, but unlike in the past he focused on bipartisan successes this year which was nice. 

Thursday
We had a great rally for 100% clean, renewable electricity in Maryland by 2035. It was so uplifting to be around people that are fighting for real change, and know that it is possible. Everyone I speak with wants 100% clean, renewable energy, but it’s easy to get disillusioned in our current political climate and think that getting to 100% isn’t realistic – many of my friends who are environmentalists feel this way. That’s why spending time with so many activists, scientists, engineers, healthcare professionals, and Maryland residents that are truly fighting for the seventh generation is so inspirational. This bill is the most ambitious climate fighting legislation in the country that is actually doable, and we’re going to do everything that we can to make it happen. 

Friday
I filed HB 878, the 100% Clean Renewable Energy Equity Act of 2018 with 47 cosponsors. Do you see your Delegates on the above list? If so, they’re on board with 100% clean, renewable electricity by 2035, and I’m proud to stand with them. BTW – we call the list a “blue back” which is where Delegates circle their names and add their initials to indicate that they wish to cosponsor a particular bill. In the Senate they are called “white backs”. 

More next week!

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2018 General Assembly Session: Week 3

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Annapolis Update: Week 3

A lot happened this week, including bill hearings, a rally to protect our air, discussion of the plan to bring Amazon’s HQ2 to Montgomery County, and much more!

Monday
The Montgomery County Democratic Caucus met with County Executive Ike Leggett to discuss our proposal to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to Montgomery County. There will likely be a lot more coverage of this over the course of the session. Read more here:

Later on Monday Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo and I met with the Chairwoman of the Legislative Black Caucus, Delegate Cheryl Glenn, to discuss how the selection process for medical marijuana growing licenses can be improved. Currently there are no licensees from Montgomery County despite several good applications.

Delegates Robinson and Carr with Moms Demand Action

Tuesday
Moms Demand Action met with me and Delegate Al Carr to discuss a bill that would take guns away from domestic abusers. We both agreed to cosponsor the legislation. According to the group, women are five times as likely to be murdered by their partner if there is a gun present in the house. Domestic abusers should not have access to firearms.

The Environment & Transportation Committee

The committee I serve on had its first bill hearings this week. We also had briefings on the budget, and the state of agriculture in Maryland.

Wednesday
There was a rally and press conference for HB 26 – The Community Healthy Air Act. Currently we aren’t monitoring the air quality around factory farms, despite a higher level of upper respiratory disorders and other illnesses in surrounding communities. This bill requires the Department of the Environment to monitor and report on air quality so that we can better understand and respond to health problems affecting Marylanders living near industrial agriculture.

Speaking in favor of HB 26 – The Community Healthy Air Act

Also on Wednesday I presented my first bill of the session. HB 104 makes it easier to donate to programs and projects that help the Chesapeake Bay when you are buying a license through the Department of Natural Resource’s website. Many hunters, fisherman, boaters, and other outdoor enthusiasts are very willing to donate to help the bay. This bill makes donating easier.

Meeting with leaders of US Wind to discuss my 100% clean, renewable electricity by 2035 bill. It was a great meeting, and with a few improvements to the legislation we may be able to move the target to 2029!

Thursday
More hearings and meetings. Bill hearings in the Environment & Transportation Committee generally begin at 1pm. These hearings are recorded so you can watch them at your convinience. For more information on the committee, and what bills we’re hearing, click here.

Friday
The Montgomery County House Delegation met at 9am for a briefing from Senator Ben Cardin, local bill hearings, and a voting session. You can learn more about the delegation here, and next week’s agenda is already posted. Meetings are open to the public.

Bill Introduction & Rally for 100% Clean Energy!

Join us for a rally and press conference to officially introduce the bill that will move Maryland to 100% clean energy! This is the strongest climate bill ever introduced in Annapolis

Finally, Bethesda Magazine posted an article today entitled Leggett Accuses District 39 Incumbents of Deciding Primary Slate in ‘Smoke-Filled Room’. While it is everyone’s right to endorse and support any candidate, I take issue with the innuendo directed at my legislative team. The County Executive has never spoken with me about our process for selecting Lesley Lopez as a member of the District 39 Slate, and to my knowledge he has never met with her. The following quote is completely out of character for someone who I have always found to be a thoughtful leader and statesman.

“When our legislators decide in the back rooms, the smoke-filled room, that they’re going to concoct other candidates, some of whom we’ve never known or never heard from—their background and their status … questionable in terms of ethnicity and what have you [and] to say we’re going to do this over a qualified candidate who has been working for [District] 39 and for Democrats years on years, that to me is unacceptable,” Leggett declared.

Mr. Leggett, you owe Lesley Lopez and her family an apology.

2018 Maryland General Assembly Session: Week 2

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Annapolis Update: Week 2

Another busy week in the Maryland General Assembly!

Over the weekend there was a great piece on my 100% clean, renewable electricity bill. It’s worth watching if you’re interested in why getting to 100% as soon as possible is so important.

 

We need 100% clean, renewable energy now.

Monday
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is always a special day in the Maryland General Assembly, and to our state as a whole. While President Trump spent the day golfing, many others spent the day honoring his legacy by volunteering. Also, as Ben Jealous mentioned, it’s important to not forget his widow, Coretta Scott King.

Maryland Democrats Standing up to Trump’s Tax Plan

Tuesday
We held a press conference to outline three bills designed to provide relief to Maryland tax payers. In total Marylanders are expected to lose $680 million in personal exemptions because of the disastrous tax bill passed by the Republican Congress and signed into law by Donald Trump. Republicans are essentially forcing Marylanders to pay taxes on our taxes, and this will not stand. Providing tax relief is a major priority for Democrats during the 2018 session. Stay tuned as this process unfolds.

The State of the Bay

On Wednesday the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Chesapeake Bay Commission briefed the Environment and Transportation Committee on the state of the bay. Bottom line: it’s getting better, but a LONG way to go.

Thursday
The Environment & Transportation Committee was briefed by the Maryland Commission on Climate Change. There are many great members of the commission, but not a lot has been accomplished yet. Their goal is a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. A great goal! But where’s the plan? Check out the commission’s 2017 annual report here.

2018 Maryland Environmental Summit

Attorney General Brian Frosh addresses the crowd. While under the Trump administration Scott Pruitt and the EPA have attacked Maryland, but Frosh has fought back.

Thursday evening: With the best Sheriff in Maryland! MoCo Sheriff Darren Popkin.

Friday
I’m honored to be the Chairman of the Montgomery County House Delegation for the fourth year in a row. Today we met for the first time this session and accomplished a lot. Generally we meet on Friday mornings. I encourage you to sign up for updates on our website, and get involved. This is a democracy. We need you!

Finally…
For everyone’s sake, I really hope the federal government doesn’t shutdown tonight. It’s horrible for Maryland and I can’t believe we’re in this situation. In Maryland we are required by our constitution to pass a balanced budget each year. Unfortunately that is not the case at the federal level, and even though Republicans control all branches of government, they’re trying to blame Democrats for the possible shutdown. It’s baffling.

Bill Introduction & Rally for 100% Clean Energy!

Thursday, February 1st at 12pm
Lawyer’s Mall, Annapolis

Please join me for a rally on clean energy! Immediately afterwards I will introduce the 100% clean, renewable electricity by 2035 bill. No dirty energy or half-measures in this bill. RSVP here.

The Maryland General Assembly is Back in Session!

 The Maryland General Assembly got off to a busy start on Wednesday, reelecting Mike Busch as Speaker and preparing for a heavy workload brought on by a Trump administration that has proven disastrous to Maryland in myriad ways. The House has already overridden two of the Governor’s vetoes, more on that below, but that’s just the beginning because there is a TON of work to do this session. We have to protect Marylanders from the devastating Trump tax overhaul, find health insurance for thousands of Maryland children because of ineptitude in Congress, protect our air and water from the Trump administration’s deregulation of environmental protections, and find funding for school construction and transportation projects in Montgomery County while Governor Hogan continues to siphon our money and send it to rural Maryland, just to name a few. And to add, his friend President Trump is busy sending our money to welfare states like Mississippi, so we have our work cut out for us! Stay tuned for weekly updates as the 90 day session progresses.

The week started off with a fundraiser at my sister’s home in Montgomery Village. It was great to see Ben Jealous there – someone who will make an excellent Governor of – as well as the President of the African Women’s Council, Mary-Rose Sirikari, and one of my favorite members of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, Mumin Barre. Fundraising is my least favorite part of being a Delegate, but it’s a necessary part of being in a position to enact good policy that will help Maryland.

On Tuesday morning I was interviewed by Doug Tallman from Montgomery County Media. A few excerpts from the interview are posted below.

On securing state funding:

On terminating parental rights for rapists:

On Maryland’s response to Trump’s tax reform:

On the Federal Government’s failure to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP):

Later on Tuesday I spoke at a press conference in support of a bill I am sponsoring that would bring 100% clean, renewable electricity to Maryland by 2035. Powering our state with 100% clean, renewable energy is not a scientific or engineering problem — we know how to do it — it’s a political problem, and one that we intend to solve. Climate change is the single biggest threat to humanity and the planet, and I view it as a moral duty to take strong and immediate action. Maryland is a small state, but it is positioned to create model policy that other states and countries can adopt. That is how Maryland can have a positive impact on the entire planet.

Tuesday ended with my response to a question by Luke Broadwater from the Baltimore Sun. Luke wanted to know if any elected officials in Maryland thought that Senator Nathaniel Oaks, who is under federal indictment, should resign.

Mike Busch sworn-in as Speaker

Session started on Wednesday with us swearing in Michael Erin Busch as Speaker of the House. Busch is the longest serving Speaker in Maryland history, and has presided over landmark legislation such as marriage equality, the death penalty repeal, and the DREAM Act.

Thursday was a landmark day because the House was able to override two of Governor Hogan’s vetoes. The first was Earned Sick Leave which will provide sick leave for over 700,000 Marylanders that currently don’t have it. The ability to stay home when your sick is so important, and I’m glad that we were able to strike down the Governor’s reckless veto. I was proud to vote FOR Earned Sick Leave, and AGAINST Hogan’s veto.

I also voted for the Governor’s veto to ban the box on college applications.


Finally, I sponsored and cosponsored several bills this week and I’ll write about them during next week’s update. For now, have a great weekend!

Sincerely,

Shane

How did the Maryland fracking ban happen? Hear it from Robinson, Fraser-Hidalgo, Manno and Zirkin




Lesley Lopez to Slate with the D39 Team

Senator Nancy J. King and Delegates Kirill Reznik and Shane Robinson announced on June 23rd that Lesley J. Lopez, will be joining the State Legislative District 39 Team Slate for the upcoming primary election in June of 2018.

Years of working on legislation in Congress and for nonprofits have given Lesley a qualified perspective on how to work together to solve problems. Her successful career in advocacy lead her to be part of the strategic teams fighting for comprehensive immigration reform, voting rights protections, and the roll out and defense of the Affordable Care Act. She is also a faculty member at the George Washington University, where she is a proud SEIU 500 member.

Senator Nancy King said, “Lesley impressed us immediately with her background in public service, but it was her role as former Director of Communications for the National Immigration Forum and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, along with her own family’s experiences that assured me she understands the issues that so many of our District 39 residents are facing. Ms. Lopez has a strong desire to serve and will be an asset to District 39 and a strong advocate for all Maryland residents.”

Delegates Reznik and Robinson echoed the Senator’s enthusiastic support by saying, “There are many qualified individuals who have expressed their desire to serve in District 39, but Lesley brings to our team a wealth of experience on county, state, federal and international issues.” Delegate Reznik pointed to Ms. Lopez’s progressive ideas on health care and public safety and Delegate Robinson noted her passion for finding a long term fix to transportation issues that balances transit needs with environmental concerns.

“It has been such an honor to serve my community on the Montgomery County Board of Social Services, fight for social justice on the board for NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and grow the local Democratic party as a precinct chair. I’m ready to apply my federal and local experiences to take the next step in public service, and use the skills I learned in Emerge to help our D39 team run through the tape next June. With the list of rights to protect growing longer every day, we have a responsibility to ensure we don’t set the clock back to a bygone era when inequality was the norm,” said Lesley.

Learn more about Lesley here.

King, Reznik & Robinson file for re-election as slate

My District 39 teammates and I filed for re-election today. We’ll miss Del. Charlie Barkley who is planning to run for County Council, but it’s great to continue working with Senator Nancy King and Delegate Kirill Reznik. We each bring different experiences and sets of expertise to the team, helping us to better serve our constituents and Maryland as a whole.

-Shane

Please join me for a reception on June 29th

Dear Friends,

We accomplished a lot together in the 2017 session of the General Assembly. Among our victories we can count paid sick leave for our working families, a comprehensive fracking ban, and limits on antibiotic usage in our farms, which I was the lead sponsor of, to keep Marylanders healthy in the wake of a rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

 In Montgomery County, we secured more than $55 million in capital funding with additional grants to help improve and renovate our parks, libraries, schools, and infrastructure. As Chair of the Montgomery County House Delegation I am proud of the work we were able to do for the environment and our residents.
Please join me Thursday, June 29th with my friends at the Barking Mad Cafe to recap the legislative session and enjoy a reception in support of my campaign.
To RSVP, or with questions, please contact Justin Garcia at (410) 547-8884 or justin@martinlauer.com
Sincerely,
Delegate Shane Robinson
District 39, Environment & Transportation Committee

Chicago posts EPA’s Deleted Climate Change Pages to City Website

Mayor Rahm Emanuel posted the Environmental Protection Agency’s deleted climate change pages to the City of Chicago’s website. Climate change is real and the Trump administration cannot hide from reality by deleting scientific evidence. Kudos to Chicago for keeping this information accessible to the public. You can view the site here.

Climate change is the single biggest threat to humanity and earth’s ecological system. If we’re going to mitigate this crisis we need to do a lot more from a policy perspective. Maryland banned fracking during the 2017 legislative session and consequently states such as Oregon are looking at stopping fracking as well, but that’s not enough. We need to get to 100% renewable energy as quickly as possible, and Maryland can be a leader in this effort. During the 2018 legislative session I plan to introduce legislation that would help Maryland arrive at 100% renewable energy by 2035. Each day wind and solar energy become cheaper and more accessible. 100% renewable energy by 2035 is an attainable goal and mitigating climate change demands it.

By Authority: Friends of Shane Robinson; Mary Robinson, Treasurer.