From Del. Mary Ann Lisanti:
As we reach the midway point of the Legislative Session, committees including mine, Economic Matters are spending long hours deliberating hundreds of pieces of legislation. For my part, I’ve had hearings on several of my own bills this week including four today. Next week I’ll update you on some of those bills.
For today, I would like to highlight one of the bills that I presented before the House Appropriations Committee. On Tuesday I presented HB 645 which would establish a minimum standard for local law enforcement disability pension plans. The bill will set a floor of 45% to provide law enforcement officers a disability pension following an injury while in the line of duty, if they are no longer able to work. This legislation is necessary because there is no state-wide standard regulation in the matter of injured officer disability pensions. Each police agency makes the decisions on disability retirement, yet they also send officers to mutual aid incidents creating the potential for negative outcomes. Significantly larger agencies can provide an ample pension, while officers working in smaller agencies are typically not afforded any disability benefit. I’m pleased to have the support of the Maryland Municipal League who advocates for cities and towns across Maryland.
If you know a student in District 34 heading to college, now is a great time to start thinking about applying for scholarships. Each Delegate is budgeted approximately $50,000.00 to establish and offer a House of Delegates Scholarship Program. I am now accepting scholarship applications in my office. Current students and adults seeking higher education by attending a Maryland Higher Education Institution living in District 34A are encouraged to apply. Please reach out to my office at 410-841-3331 if you know someone interested in applying.
On the subject of scholarships, you may have heard that there was legislation debated and passed this week that was misrepresented to suggest that scholarship rules were changed to give priority to illegal immigrants ahead of Maryland citizens when it comes to awarding students. This claim is simply untrue and a political stunt from a hyper-partisan group to attack members of the legislature. The non-partisan Department of Legislative Services clearly stated in the policy note of HB 118 that the bill’s purpose is as follows… ” the bill requires an individual to be domiciled in the legislative district from which the applicant seeks an award and makes conforming changes, including repealing language specifying that an individual who is on active duty with the United States military must be domiciled in the State and, at the time of the applicant’s initial application, be domiciled in the legislative district from which the applicant seeks an award. These are conforming changes because active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces who are stationed, reside, or are domiciled in Maryland are eligible for in-state tuition and thus continue to be eligible for the scholarships”. Don’t believe the fear tactics you might be hearing that say the General Assembly is putting illegal immigrants ahead of our citizens.
Lastly, I’d like to mention a few of the events around Annapolis this week. I had the pleasure to host with my District mate Delegate Steve Johnson, County Councilman Andre Johnson and New Harford Democratic Club President Bridgette Johnson (no relation) to introduce them to colleagues and witness floor proceedings. In addition, I welcomed visitors from Volvo Group of America, Chaired my first Joint Committee on Unemployment Insurance Oversight with Senator Kathy Klausmeier, and participated in the re-election on State Treasurer Nancy Kopp.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns regarding legislation or how I can assist you. It’s a great privilege to serve the people of Harford County and I always appreciate hearing from you while serving in Annapolis.
Mary Ann Lisanti
Delegate, District 34A