May 22, 2019

2019 Senate Session Highlights – Senator Mary Washington

The 2019 General Assembly Session ended at midnight on April 9th, capping an eventful legislative session for Senator Mary Washington (District 43 – Baltimore City). In her first session in the Senate after serving in the House of Delegates from 2015-2019, Washington would be directly involved with some one hundred sixty-one pieces of legislation and serve as the lead sponsor of sixteen significant bills (you can find a link to each of these bills by clicking here). Of the sixteen bills that she carried as the lead sponsor, three passed both Chambers of the General Assembly and are now poised to become Maryland law.

Senate Bill 96 – Baltimore City – Tax Sales of Real Property – Water Liens (Water Taxpayer Protection Act of 2019)

This bill permanently limits the authority of the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore City to conduct tax sale proceedings on properties to enforce liens for unpaid water and sewer service charges. It continues the exclusion of residential property from such a sale, and newly excludes real property that is exempt from taxation under specified provisions of the Tax-Property Article applicable to property used exclusively for public religious worship or a parsonage or convent from such a sale. The bill also specifies that the mayor and city council may not conduct a tax sale proceeding to enforce another lien if the real property is residential or exempt from taxation under the specified provisions of the Tax-Property Article as noted above. The bill applies prospectively, and may not be applied to any liens attached to real property before the bill’s July 1, 2019 effective date.

Senate Bill 661 – Primary and Secondary Education – Community Schools – Established

This bill establishes community schools in the State and specifies the purpose and requirements of a community school. The bill defines a “community school” as a public school that establishes a set of strategic partnerships between the school and other community resources that promote student achievement, positive learning conditions, and the well-being of students, families, and the community. A local school system (LSS) or an existing public school may form a school-community partnership for the planning and implementation of a community school. An LSS must review and approve a community school; a community school may not be implemented without LSS approval. An LSS must make public funding available to a community school. The bill also expresses legislative intent that money appropriated in accordance with The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future legislation must be used to offset the cost of implementation of the bill.

Senate Bill 821 – Correctional Services – Prerelease Study and Report

This bill requires the Commissioner of Correction to (1) conduct a study on gender-based equity in prerelease programming and facilities in Maryland, as specified, and (2) by January 1, 2020, report on the results of the study to the Governor and the General Assembly.

Now after a successful 2019 legislative session, Senator Washington 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.