Friday, April 16, 2010

Delegate Heather Mizeur's End of Session Email

Delegate Heather Mizeur (D-20) sent the following end of session email to her constituents. The email contains a link to her eight-page (!) full briefing document.

Dear Friends,

Our state capital may be smaller than Rome, but Annapolis wasn't built in a day, either.

We've built a solid foundation over the last several years. But progress in Maryland state government sometimes happens slower than we'd all like.

Faced with a recession of historic proportions, this is especially true. Maryland's budget has all but squeezed blood from stone for several years, and this year was no exception.

Click here to read a round-up of the major action in the General Assembly this year.

Even in tough times, we protected our priorities. We maintained our strong support for education, increasing funding by 3.8 percent and preventing the transfer of teacher pensions to the counties. This steadfast funding commitment is paying off - for the second consecutive year, Maryland's schools were ranked first in the nation.

We will also be getting healthier soon. In addition to 172,000 Marylanders who will get public health insurance coverage, federal health reform finishes several projects we started here in Annapolis. Insurance companies will have to spend up to 85 percent of our premium dollars on medical care instead of marketing costs and CEO compensation; women will no longer pay more money for the same insurance coverage that men receive; and all young adults across America will now be able to stay enrolled on their family health plans until age 26.

Here in the state, we passed a law I introduced to ensure that Marylanders have easier access to preventive care so that they can stay healthy, and another that will leverage a new federal statute to improve enrollment outreach to children who qualify for public health coverage but aren't yet covered. With 100,000 eligible, uninsured children in Maryland, it's past time that our state's kids came first.

Same-sex couples are also taking a huge step forward: just a few months ago, Maryland decided to honor valid out-of-state marriage licenses like the one Deborah and I received in California. This is an important first step towards treating all families equally in the Free State.

But I wouldn't be honest if I said there were no disappointments this year.

I introduced common-sense legislation to ensure that low-income workers received information from their employers about the earned income credit, but after passing the House, it failed in the Senate. Bills to strengthen and expand family and medical leave and make clean energy biomass options more affordable for heating both died in the House.

Most disappointingly, I introduced and fought hard for legislation that would have saved the State tens of millions of dollars per year by giving low- and moderate-income women more reliable access to family planning services. The Family Planning Works Act didn't pass because we couldn't find modest start-up funding, but I will be working to find private foundation funding in the interim.

For a more detailed summary of the major legislation that was considered this year, please click here. For a summary of what the recently enacted federal health reform package means for Maryland, click here.

With the Maryland General Assembly adjourned sine die after another legislative session, I look forward to seeing more of you in Takoma Park, Silver Spring, White Oak and Colesville. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or feedback, and thank you for the opportunity to serve you in Annapolis.

All my best,


Heather R. Mizeur
Delegate, Maryland General Assembly
20th Legislative District
(301) 858-3493 Annapolis
(301) 270-0064 Silver Spring