March 17, 2022
Women's History Month
You could say that Baltimorean Henrietta Lacks, who passed away in 1951 from vervical cancer, is still working to save lives. She has a prolific legacy as one of the most important people in the history of medicine. Lacks’ cells, known as the HeLa cell line, were discovered to be mysteriously immortal after a sample was taken following her death from cervical cancer. These cells, which continued to multiply and never die, have changed the course of modern medicine. They have been studied and used by scientists and researchers the world over and have been instrumental in the development of HIV and cancer treatments, the polio vaccine and the study of the effects of zero-gravity on the human body in space, among other medical advancements
Lacks and her family were finally given recognition in 2021 when a bill “Henrietta Lacks Enhancing Cancer Research Act of 2019” sponsored by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings and Senator Chris Van Hollen was passed into law. The measure requires the U.S. Government Accountability Office to complete a study on barriers to participation in federally funded cancer clinical trials by populations that have been traditionally underrepresented in such trials. Henrietta Lacks’ cells have been credited for saving millions of lives.
Maryland's Primary Decision
The Maryland Court of Appeals on March 15 issued an order in the 2022 Legislative Districting case to move back the Maryland primary election to July 19. Click HERE to learn more on voter registration, early voting and how to obtain a mail-in (absentee) ballot.
Bills I am Working on - Its Unanimous!
HB 335 easily passed the House chamber with a unanimous vote, making it one of the few bills this session everybody could agree on. I filed the bill in the midst of a toll road consumer uproar with the Maryland Transit Authority (MDTA). This bill would allow an EZ Pass Account holder to dispute any charge or fee for 1 year (extending it from current 120 days) after the charge or fee is posted to the person’s EZ Pass account. It would be effective from June 1, 2022 until June 30, 2023. It now goes to the Senate chamber for consideration.
HB 870, another bill I sponsored, unanimously passed the House. This bill helps bring towing notifications into the 21st century by providing towers the opportunity to notify of a tow by email. Previously, the notification of the lien had to be made by mail, however this bill now gives them the ability to do so by email. This bill is cross filed by Senator Watts as SB 731, and is awaiting action in the Judicial Proceedings Committee.
House Passes Essential Legislation
HB 1171 and HB 937 two bills that protect women’s reproductive health sponsored by Speaker Adrienne Jones and Delegate Ariana Kelly respectively passed the House after lengthy debate. You can see the debate here (at 1:11:00). I voted Yes on both.
HB 1171 would allow voters to decide whether to add the right to Reproductive Liberty to the Maryland Constitution, and HB 937 increases access to abortion care by extending who can provide abortion services, funding training for abortion care, and making the state’s existing abortion care coverage under Medicaid permanent. The passage of these bills out of the House chamber in March is a testament to women during Women’s History Month.
HB 425/SB 387 Untraceable Firearms (aka Ghost Guns) sponsored by Speaker Adrienne Jones (on request by original sponsor Delegate Lesley Lopez) passed the House after lengthy debates. I voted Yes! SB 387, the cross-filed Senate bill sponsored by Senator Susan Lee, passed out of the Judicial Proceedings Committee with several amendments and now awaits final Senate vote.
HB 1486/SB 1010, “Gas Tax-free Period”. The House chamber unanimously passed an emergency bill to suspend the state’s gas tax for 30 days, which would waive the more than 36-cent tax per gallon of gas for 30 days at a cost of nearly $94 million to the state. I am among the co-sponsors of the bill. It now awaits a final vote in the Senate.
This is a bipartisan effort that includes Governor Larry Hogan, Senate President Bill Ferguson, and House Speaker Adrienne Jones working together to provide relief to Marylanders experiencing soaring gas prices after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Voter ''How-tos'' in Maryland
I Want to Hear From You
If you have questions or issues that need to be addressed, please reach out to me or my staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 410-841-3052.
Thank you for the privilege and honor to represent you and the other residents of District 15 in Annapolis.