District 16 Team Endorsed by MCEA, Sierra Club and Others

District 16 Team: Democrats Sen. Susan Lee and Delegates Ariana Kelly, Marc Korman and Sara Love

The Responsive and Progressive District 16 Team includes proven leaders delivering real results. Among their accomplishments are investing in classrooms, improving infrastructure, providing climate solutions, protecting women’s reproductive health, helping families afford basic needs, and passing gun safety laws. State Senator Susan Lee and Delegates Ariana Kelly, Marc Korman and Sara Love have been endorsed by the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), the Sierra Club, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, and many others.

Sen. Susan Lee Completes Productive 2022 Session

Sen. Susan Lee in MD District 16 near the Potomac River

June 2, 2022

Dear Friends and Constituents:

While we began our 2022 Session under the cloud of the Covid-19 Omicron variant, the General Assembly for the first time in many years had a historic budget surplus that allowed us to make transformative and generational investments for Marylanders’ future. I wanted to provide you an overview of accomplishments from this Session.

Budget and Investments in Education, Workforce, and Economic Development: We enacted a $62 billion budget that includes $7.9 B for Maryland’s Public Schools, an increase of 6.8% from last year, in addition to another $800 million as down payment on the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future; $50 M to help shore up hospitals from workforce shortages; $50 M for grants to assist the arts and tourism, which are particularly pandemic prone; $36 M to support local economic development and revitalization efforts; $25 M to expand workforce development opportunities; and $2.6 M in cash reserves, including $2.4 B in the Rainy Day Fund and $211M in the General Fund, with ongoing general fund revenues
projected to exceed ongoing expenditures by over $310 M in FY 23.

Tax Relief for Retirees and Families: We enacted nearly $2 billion in economic support for Maryland’s working families, retirees, and small businesses. The Retirement Tax Elimination Act of 2022 provides a tax credit for Retirees 65 and older making up to $100,000 in retirement income, and married couples making up to $150,000, resulting in 80% of them receiving substantial relief or paying no state income taxes. The relief package also included $115.6 million in Family Budget Boosters’ which provides sales tax exemptions for child care products, such as diapers, car seats, baby bottles, and critical health products such as dental hygiene and diabetic care products, as well as medical devices; and $195 million to fund the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to incentivize employers and businesses to hire and retain workers from underserved communities.

Banning Ghost Guns: Along with Attorney General Brian Frosh and Delegate Lesley Lopez, I led efforts to pass a law to ban unserialized “Ghost Guns” in Maryland. These guns are assembled easily without requiring a background check and are the violent criminals’ weapons of choice, including domestic abusers, gangs, and terrorists. Alarmingly, children are also purchasing these firearms. The new law will enable law enforcement and the state’s attorneys’ offices to solve and prosecute more crimes to protect our communities from the harm of accessible and untraceable firearms.

Protecting Child Abuse and Neglect Victims: The legislature passed my bill to allow statements made by child abuse and neglect victims to therapists, social workers, and trained professionals in cases where they are victims or witnesses to violent crimes or crimes of violence. Allowing those statements into evidence is critical for protecting child and domestic violence victims while also prosecuting violent crimes against them.

Combating the Surge in Electronic Stalking: Building on the laws I passed to fight stalking, we passed legislation to include and define “electronic stalking”, a new type of lethal and relentless stalking, that often leads to murder, sexual assault, and domestic violence; and to require training by law enforcement on electronic stalking that will help them identify this new form of vicious stalking and better assist victims and prosecutors.

The Climate Solutions Act of 2022, sets goals to reduce Maryland’s emissions of greenhouse gasses by 60% by 2030 and reaching net neutral emissions by 2045. The legislation makes Maryland a national leader in curbing emissions by electrifying our state vehicle fleet and local school buses, financially incentivizing the construction of new net-zero schools, leveraging private funding for green energy investments, and curbing emissions from large buildings over time. We also passed a ban on the manufacture and distribution of chemicals with PFAS that are linked to cancer and other
serious diseases.

We passed the Time to Care Act, which creates a paid family and medical leave program that allows Marylanders to be eligible for paid leave for up to 12 weeks to care for a family member with a medical issue and up to 24 weeks after becoming a parent. No one should have to choose between putting food on the table and getting vital medical treatment, caring for a newborn, or taking care of a seriously ill family member.

Expanding Mental, Dental, and other Health Care: As Covid-19 has put a tremendous strain on our healthcare systems, we made key investments in our operating budget for health care, including $14 B in Medicaid funding to cover 1.5 million residents, an 8% rate increase for most health care providers; $202 million for temporary and ongoing funding for providers serving vulnerable populations; expanded Medicaid coverage for dental care with $27 million set aside for that program; established a 9-8-8 Hotline for those in crisis; created a $3 million Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Support Services Program; passed legislation to remove barriers for those on Medicaid seeking psychiatric
inpatient care, and mandated the Department of Health move expeditiously to approve individuals on the waitlist for vital services. We also passed the Abortion Care Access Act to reduce unnecessary barriers to reproductive health care.

The legislature passed my bill, the Self-Direction Act of 2022 to help ensure qualified individuals with developmental disabilities receive quality and effective self-directed care to live with dignity, better quality care and more independence.

Housing: We passed several measures to confront the ever-present issue of housing insecurity and instability enhanced by the pandemic, which includes providing $14 M to fund the Access to Counsel in Evictions Special Fund for those facing eviction; my bill to allow landlords to receive rental payments from local government entities; requiring judges to pause eviction when the tenant provides evidence that a rental assistance request is pending; protecting tenants from unreasonable and arbitrary deductions, unless there is contrary documented evidence presented, and other measures.

Fighting Identity Theft: The legislature passed my bill to update the Maryland Personal Information Protection Act to ensure commercial entities effectively protect our personal data against theft and misuse, timely respond and notify consumers when there is a breach, and other measures to protect consumers against the harm associated with a breach.

Cybersecurity: To help our state and local governments prevent and protect against cyberattacks, we provided $570 million in the operating budget and pass measures to update IT systems and centralize the authority of the Maryland Department of Information Technology, and other related measures.

Cannabis Reform and Legalization: Marylanders will have an opportunity to vote on a Referendum to legalize adult use of cannabis. If voters affirm at the polls, the legislature will finalize the licensing and taxation implementation measures and use disparity study results to seek equitable market access and correct past criminalization disparities.

Capital Budget: The legislature invested nearly $7.8 billion in capital funds to stimulate our local economies and get Marylanders back to work by providing a critical lifeline to our local institutions that invest in our community through funding for construction, renovations, and improvements. District 16 received funding for the Bethesda Metro South Entrance; Montgomery Farm Women’s Cooperative Market; Roundtable Theatre; Glen Echo Park; Little Falls Stream Valley Park; Glen Echo Fire Department; Montgomery County Bus Rapid Transit; HOC and Montgomery County project at the Metropolitan for flooding control; Montgomery County’s acquisition of zero-emission buses; White Flint infrastructure improvements; and Montgomery County Public Schools construction.

Thank you for the privilege and honor of serving and representing you in the Maryland State Senate.

Rep. Jamie Raskin Celebrates Sen. Lee as Maryland Local Hero

Rep. Jamie Raskin, MD Attorney General Brian Frosh, and Sen. Susan Lee

On May 4, 2022, Representative Jamie Raskin took time away from his busy schedule in Congress to honor Senator Susan Lee as a Maryland Local Hero. During the segment, he celebrated her years of service as a Maryland State Delegate and State Senator, as well as her ongoing advocacy for the nation’s Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

“I am extremely honored by this recognition,” said Senator Lee, “especially coming from my extraordinary Congressman, who is a sterling exemplar and champion of democracy.”

Links to Rep. Raskin’s posts on social media can be found here:

Sen. Susan Lee Completes Productive 2021 Session

Senator Susan C. Lee (D-MD District 16)

April 21, 2021

Dear Friends and Constituents:

With our state and country dealing with the enormous challenges presented by the pandemic, economic downturn, and the need to address hundreds of years of systemic injustices and inequities, I am proud of what the Maryland General Assembly was able to achieve during our 90-day Legislative Session.

Hitting the ground running, the first bill we passed was the Relief Act of 2021, which provides $1 billion in economic stimulus to vulnerable Marylanders, small businesses, and nonprofits hardest hit by Covid-19; and establishes a Recover Now Fund and other programs that include $83 million to erase household utility debt and $279 million to support small businesses. Nearly 40,000 Marylanders stuck in Unemployment Insurance limbo have received an immediate $1,000 direct payment to get them through this crisis as their cases are adjudicated. While many families are still waiting for their
Unemployment Insurance to process, several laws passed to improve our broken Unemployment Insurance system and ensure our citizens have access to their money, better customer service, and that the Department of Labor is prepared for the next emergency. We also passed legislation to help small businesses defray the cost of paying into the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and expanded eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

Increasing Vaccine Access, Efficiency, and Transparency: As the December rollout and distribution of the vaccine by the Governor and Maryland Department of Health (MDH) was slow in reaching those eligible, the Senate immediately took up an oversight role by creating the Senate Vaccine Oversight Workgroup, which met weekly with the MDH Secretary. This helped push our state toward a more accessible, efficient, transparent and centralized model, including the launching of mass vaccination sites, statewide phone appointment signups and signup system for mass vaccination sites; the disclosure of county by county and site specific data; release of the Vaccine Equity Task Force Operations plan; and the community-based priority appointments for mass vaccination sites. We also passed the Covid-19 Testing, Contact Tracing, and Vaccination Act to ensure Maryland’s vaccine program meets its goals during this public health crisis and bills to expand and make Telehealth more accessible, secure, and efficient.

Passing Historic Police Reform and Building a More Equitable Criminal Justice System: With the urgency to address years of systemic injustices and inequities in our criminal justice system, my Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee colleagues and I held briefings and meetings last summer that continued into the session to pass a package of five policing reform bills and increase public safety, trust, transparency, and accountability. After overriding the Governor’s veto of three of the bills, all five will become law. These new laws increase body worn cameras and establish a “Use of Force” policy; create transparency in the disciplinary process and limit “no knock warrants”; demilitarize the police and independently investigate police–involved deaths; ensure local control of the Baltimore City Police
Department; and repeal and replace the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights and create a Law Enforcement Scholarship Program to recruit the best officers who are our guardians working with residents to solve crimes and keep families and communities safe.

Background Checks on Private Sales and Transfer of Long Guns/Shotguns Bill Becomes Law: Early this session, the General Assembly overrode the Governor’s veto of my bill SB 208 (passed last year) that would require Background Checks on the private sale or transfer of long guns and shotguns. The new law will help fight gun violence and tragedies by preventing violent criminals, domestic abusers, or those prohibited by law from possessing guns from circumventing the law and obtaining them at gun shows or online. Ghost Guns: My bill to regulate the use of Ghost Guns, which are guns that can be assembled from parts that do not require background checks, lack serial numbers, are untraceable, and
used increasingly in violent crimes, was not voted on as time ran out in the session.

Fighting Devastating and Dangerous Ransomware Attacks: The legislature passed my bill to proactively deter, fight, and prosecute the malicious possession or use of Ransomware that can paralyze or shut down state and local governments, the economy, financial and commercial institutions, and critical infrastructures. This law also increases penalties for attacks against government entities, utilities, hospitals, and school systems. Highlighting the urgency of this new law is the recent intrusion and shut down of Baltimore City’s operations, 911 systems, Baltimore County public schools, the
Salisbury Police Department, hospitals, and other entities, all of which have cost millions of dollars to resume operations and recover and restore vital data.

Strengthening Cybersecurity: With a surge in local government entities being attacked, the legislature passed my bill to enable the Maryland Department of Information Technology to provide critical assistance and guidance to localities in developing proactive cybersecurity strategic plans, identification of vulnerabilities, and other measures to prevent, protect, or respond to cyberattacks. As Co-Chair of the Maryland Cybersecurity Council Subcommittee on Law & Policy, I will continue my work to pass the Maryland Online Consumer Privacy Act and bills to update the Maryland Personal Information Protection Act and secure the “Internet of Things” devices.

Protecting Children from Abuse and Domestic Violence in Custody Cases: My bill to require the court to articulate its findings when it grants custody or visitation to a parent who had previously committed abuse, and to provide that a protective parent’s action to protect their child from further abuse does not constitute an unjustifiable interference passed the Senate, but did not advance in the House of Delegates as time ran out in the session.

Expanding Voting Rights: While other states have moved to restrict voting rights, the Maryland legislature passed measures to make it easier for all eligible voters to vote and have their voices heard. Building on last year’s secure and effective Mail-In Voting, we created a Permanent Absentee Ballot List with mail-in ballot applications going out to all registered voters in 2022 and 2024. We expanded the number of Early Voting Sites and included guardrails to ensure those sites and ballot drop boxes are equitably distributed and located.

Education: After overriding the Governor’s veto of the Blueprint for America’s Future, we passed legislation to fund intensive tutoring and summer school to improve educational outcomes, add money to the State’s base education formula for educational technology, support student’s socio-emotional health, and ensure the responsible use of federal funds.

Bridging Maryland’s Digital Divide: Addressing the disparities caused by the lack of access to reliable broadband and devices, Maryland is using $300 million in federal funds to provide internet connection to 567,000 people through infrastructure investments to expand broadband, a monthly subsidy to pay for internet services, and funding for free connection devices. A newly established Office of Statewide Broadband within the Department of Housing and Community Development will be tasked with creating and implementing a statewide broadband expansion plan.

Balanced Budget and Getting Marylanders Back to Work: The legislature passed a $52.4 billion budget that includes $572 million to expand testing, contract tracing and vaccinations; $13.5 billion in Medicaid funding to provide health care to $1.5 million Marylanders; $1.6 billion to ensure the Transportation & Unemployment Insurance Trust Funds’ solvency; $600 million to reopen schools safely, including $80 million for HVAC and ventilation improvements; $371.5 million for Maryland’s community colleges, representing a 9% increase over FY21; $85 million for local parks and playgrounds; and $2.1 billion in cash reserves, including $1.4 billion in the Rainy Day Fund and $696 million in the General Fund, which would erase projected budget shortfalls in FY23 and FY24. We worked with the Governor to invest nearing $4.5 billion in capital projects that will create nearly 30,000 jobs and provide a critical lifeline to our local institutions and invest state dollars in our community.

Thank you for the privilege and honor of representing and serving you in the Maryland State Senate.

Paid for and authorized by Friends of Susan C. Lee, P.O. Box 34283, Bethesda, MD 20827. Joseph D. Gebhardt, Treasurer  |  Contact the campaign