A bill to help pay college tuition for the families of public safety officers and others killed in the line of duty passed unanimously in both the House and Senate on March 26th and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley.
The Edward T. Conroy Memorial Scholarship Program Alterations bill would replace a scholarship program of the same name which had left eligible students on a waiting list for tuition assistance due to funding shortfalls. The problem was first brought to public attention on The Dagger by Lynne Parry, wife of slain Baltimore Police Detective Sergeant Mark Parry.
The new Conroy program would allow qualified students to receive a tuition credit from their intended post-secondary institution, which would then invoice the Maryland Higher Education Commission for payment. If funding ran short in any given year the post-secondary institution, and not the student, would be put on a waiting list of sorts until funding became available.
Delegate Susan Aumann (Dist.42), who sits on the House Appropriations Committee and sponsored the bill, said the issue was referred to her by Harford County Delegate Susan McComas. Aumann said “I’m grateful we were able to work this out so that all students that are eligible will benefit, will receive it, without going to extraordinary measures as they had done in the past.” Aumann added “A promise made is a promise kept.”
Among the bill’s co-sponsors were Harford County Delegates Susan McComas, J.B. Jennings, Mary-Dulany James and Harford and Baltimore County Delegate Pat McDonough. Harford County Senators Andy Harris and Nancy Jacobs were co-sponsors in the senate.