Caucus Roundup 3/10/17

FRACKING BAN PASSED

During the two year moratorium in Maryland we spent countless hours researching the public health and environmental impact of fracking and listening to those communities that would be most affected. The Environment & Transportation Committee concluded the risks far outweigh the benefits.

In 2010 and 2016 the federal EPA found that fracking can impact drinking water supplies. We successfully passed the statewide fracking ban in the House today, 97–40.

We have a responsibility to ensure clean water, clean air and a clean environment to future generations and hope the Senate follows our lead.

 

DEFENDING WOMEN’S HEALTH

On International Women’s Day, we stood in support of women’s health and family planning services in the face of President Trump’s plan to cut funding for Planned Parenthood.

HB 1083 will ensure continued services for over 25,000 Marylanders including access to cancer screening, contraceptives and STD testing. The bill requires Governor Hogan to backfill $2.7M in state funding if President Trump defunds Planned Parenthood.

70% of Americans believe Planned Parenthood should continue to be funded, including 50% of Trump supporters.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-planned-parenthood-20170308-story.html

 

COMBATING SEXUAL ASSAULT

Yesterday, we unanimously passed a package of bills to provide justice & protections to victims of sexual assault & sex trafficking. These bills showcase our ability to work in a bipartisan manner to strengthen public safety.

The Attorney General reported in December that Maryland had 3,700 untested rape kits, with many more never recorded. HB 255 establishes a statewide standard of handling sexual assault evidence to ensure rape kits are properly tested and stored so victims aren’t treated differently because of their ZIP code.

HB 428 provides justice for sexual assault victims by removing an attacker’s paternal rights. We’re proud to join 30 other states that offer this protection to victims—ensuring women and children’s interests come first. This is the second year in a row the House has passed this legislation and we are hopeful the Senate joins us to make this bill the law. HB 429 provides a defense for victims of sexual assault that were either incapacitated or physically helpless.

We worked with the Hogan Administration to pass the Protecting Victims of Sex Trafficking Act, which will protect federal funding for wraparound services provided to victims of sex trafficking.

 

HOUSE OF DELEGATES TAKES ON HOME FORECLOSURE RECOVERY BILLS

We are supporting important legislation that will provide an opportunity for communities with high foreclosure rates to recover, encourage new home-ownership and grow the local economy.

These bills sponsored by Delegate Holmes focus on creating efficient statewide policies that expedite the foreclosure process, allowing these neglected areas to get a fresh start.

Land Bank Reform: Allows counties to create self-funded land banks to cut down on neglected properties and provide management to handle restoration to bring them back on the market.
Improved Foreclosure Registries: Ensures the Foreclosure Property Registry is kept up to date by requiring the DLLR to give counties with the most current information.
Defining Vacant & Abandoned Properties: Creates a single statewide definition of vacant and abandoned properties which will help complete the foreclosure process more quickly and allow for faster restoration actions to be taken.

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