I’d like to wish you all a Happy Black History Month. It is critical that we celebrate Black excellence, culture, and joy—not only throughout the month of February, but all year around! But for the actions and sacrifices of our ancestors, we would not be here today. Considering this, we must remember to show our gratitude by honoring those who have come before us. Every day, by living our own lives, we are creating Black history, so I’d like to celebrate us!
As always, I continue to work diligently on your behalf. Here’s an update of recent actions and progress made within the last month:
At the end of January, the Baltimore City Senate Delegation hosted its first bill hearing of the 2022 session, where we heard presentations from the Mayor’s Office regarding the City’s Loan Authorization. We also heard a presentation from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on license plates. To view these presentations, please click here for access to a live recording of the hearing.
Additionally, the Delegation held another hearing on Friday, February 4th. There, we heard senatorial presentations and witness testimony on three bills: Senate Bill 222 – Baltimore City – Board of License Commissioners – Licensee Hours of Operation; Senate Bill 276 – Baltimore City Public School Buildings – Notice of Demolition – Repeal; and Senate Bill 430 – Baltimore City – Alcoholic Beverages Licenses – Transfer. If you’d like to watch this hearing, click here!
Public safety is a concern of foremost importance within the 45th district and throughout the State of Maryland. In efforts to address issues and communicate solutions, I participated in a recent press conference on public safety. I, alongside Senate President Ferguson, Attorney General Frosh, and numerous law enforcement officers, shed light on critically important points. I also had that opportunity to highlight my public safety-centered bills—Senate Bill 585 – Warrant Apprehension Reduction Grant, Senate Bill 586 – Criminal Procedure – Pretrial Release of Defendant – Notice, and Senate 587 – Division of Parole and Probation – Duties – Offenders Under Supervision (Parole and Probation Performance Act). I look forward to keeping you abreast on the status of these bills.
I’d like to give a special shoutout to our neighbor, and former Baltimore City Councilmember, Shannon Sneed, who has been selected to run for Lieutenant Governor alongside former Democratic National Committee Chair and 2022 gubernational candidate, Tom Perez. Congratulations, Shannon! To read more on this, please click here.
As many of you know, there has been an ongoing and inconvenient debacle between E-Z Pass and its customers. The E-Z Pass issue has really hit home—affecting various constituents of mine, as well as me, personally. I have been closely following this, and after seeing so many concerns, I was compelled to find a way to address them. With Senate Bill 59 – Maryland Transportation Authority – Options for the Payment of Tolls and Civil Penalties, I propose the waiving of late fees that stem from the lack of timely communications by the MTA. Additionally, I propose that the MTA provide options to set up payment plans to satisfy outstanding balances. I will continue to do my part and my best to resolve constituent issues. I look forward to providing you with more updates, as these bills are heard and voted on. In the meantime, click here to watch FOX 45’s coverage of the ongoing incident, and here for WMAR’s story on the debacle.
On January 31st, the Delegation hosted a Grassroots Briefing on Baltimore City, featuring Mayor Brandon Scott, Council President Nick Mosby, and Comptroller Bill Henry. There, we learned more about their legislative priorities—with special focus on issues regarding public safety, health, transportation, and budgeting. To view the briefing’s live recording, please click here.
One week prior, the Delegation also held a Grassroots Briefing on Baltimore City Public Schools, where CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises, Baltimore Teachers Union President Diamonte Brown, and Maryland State Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury shared presentations on recent updates and plans to ensure the progress of City Schools as we combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to watch the recorded briefing.
In an op-ed for Bmorenews.com, I shed light on a bill that I am sponsoring to remove arbitrary barriers that cause high payments for Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund consumers. These barriers adversely affect the Black community, especially. As a State Senator, member of the Budget and Taxation Committee, and Chair of the Public Safety Transportation & Environment Subcommittee, I have a heightened sense of responsibility to improve these systems and create equitable opportunities for all. In collaborating with Delegate Marc Korman on Senate Bill 278 – Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund – Installment Payment Plans, I hope to eliminate issues that specifically impede one’s ability to obtain insurance—for constituents in low-income communities; new drivers with no previous driving record; and drivers that cannot be added to a family member’s insurance plan. Senate Bill 278 proposes lower payment thresholds, as well as reasonable and flexible payment plans for those who face tougher circumstances. Click here to read more about this effort:
In closing and in tandem with highlighting African American trailblazers for Black History Month, it is with great sadness that I share the passing of Brigadier General Charles McGee. Brig. Gen. McGee was, not only a Tuskegee Airman but, one of the first Black aviators in the U.S. Military—a true pioneer for us as a people. May we always remember him and his tremendous contributions to our society.
I hope, with the collaboration of my team and our communities, to continue to work towards abundant progress and growth this month, and in the months to come.
Listening. Learning. Leading.
Cory V. McCray
Senator, 45th Legislative District