April 25, 2019

2019 Senate Session Highlights – Senator Melony Griffith

The 2019 General Assembly Session ended at midnight on April 9th, capping an eventful legislative session for Senator Melony Griffith (District 25 – Prince George’s County). In her first session in the Senate after serving in the House of Delegates from 1999-2015, Griffith would be directly involved with some sixty-one pieces of legislation and serve as the lead sponsor of three important bills (you can find a link to each of these bills by clicking here). All three of the bills that she carried as the lead sponsor passed both Chambers of the General Assembly and are now poised to become Maryland law.

Senate Bill 852 – Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation – Veterans and Military Service Members and Spouses – Occupational Licenses

This bill requires the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR) to issue an expedited license to an eligible service member, veteran, or military spouse, as defined, within 60 days after receiving a completed application. The definitions of veteran and military spouse are altered to remove specified time limitations. DLLR and its occupational and professional licensing units must prominently publish the time period established under the bill on their respective websites, in addition to other related information.

Senate Bill 879 – Primary and Secondary Education – Black History Month – Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass

This bill requires public schools to devote a part of the school day to appropriate exercises that relate to Black History Month, with an emphasis on Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass and the contributions they made in the fight against slavery.

Senate Bill 946 – State Prescription Drug Benefits – Retiree Benefits – Revisions

This emergency bill establishes prescription drug out-of-pocket (OOP) reimbursement or catastrophic coverage programs for specified State retirees, dependents, or surviving dependents who are enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug benefit plan. State employees hired after June 30, 2011, remain ineligible for most prescription drug coverage from the State when they retire, except for a new program that reimburses OOP costs for life-sustaining drugs not covered by Medicare. By July 1, 2019, the Secretary of Budget and Management must notify specified individuals of their eligibility to enroll in the programs. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) must provide specified one-on-one counseling to Medicare-eligible retirees.

For her work on Senate Bill 946, the Maryland Matters publication called Senator Griffith a “Winner” of the 2019 session stating: “Anyone who can explain the state’s updated prescription drug benefit plan for retirees as cogently as she did on the Senate floor deserves a spot on the winners’ list.”

Now after a successful 2019 legislative session, Senator Griffith looks ahead to the 2020 session when she’ll bring with her the experience of a productive and effective first year in the Maryland Senate.