I hope you’re doing well and enjoying the start of this beautiful summer season! It has been quite a while since I’ve sent an in-depth update, so I am overjoyed to share with you some recent developments and events that have taken place over the past month.
As a proud alumnus of Baltimore City Community College, I was honored to have served as keynote speaker for the institution’s 73rd Commencement Ceremony. I truly treasure my past experiences at BCCC. Coming home to deliver words of wisdom and motivation to the graduating students was such a great privilege. I would like to share the message I delivered with the Class of 2022: stay resilient, stay inspired, and always believe in yourselves. If you’d like to watch the recorded highlights of the ceremony, please click here.
I had such an amazing time speaking at the 2022 Patterson Highschool Senior Farewell. I was overjoyed to celebrate the accomplishments of our city’s students—they have a boundless potential for greatness. I am extremely proud of all our high school seniors during this graduation season, most especially for sticking it out during challenging times and coming out on top. I look forward to their success. To read more about this event, click here.
I was grateful to serve as a guest speaker at the combined 75th-80th Christopher Place Employment Academy graduation ceremony. The COVID-19 pandemic threw several events off course, but it was great to witness these determined individuals receive the recognition that they deserve. If you’d like to see more pictures of this milestone event, please click here.
Baltimore’s youth are some of the most driven and talented people to grace this earth. I was fortunate to attend the 5th Annual Dream Big Essay contest, sponsored by the Lyric. The youth are our future, and the young people who performed truly exemplified just how well equipped and invested they are in becoming that. The speakers presented very well— touching on complex topics with spectacular articulation and message clarity. I was happy to have had the opportunity to experience this incredible event and eagerly look forward to what the youth presenters have in store for next year’s contest. For more on this, check out this article by WBAL-TV.
Many families in our city are experiencing grief from having lost loved ones. Providing support to remedy that pain is critical to rehabilitating the parts of our city that need change most. Organizations like Roberta’s House are major players in the mission of healing these communities. I am beyond grateful for the token of appreciation I recently received from them. I hope to see continued investment in this productive and impactful organization, and I look forward to supporting them.
I am pleased to inform you all that I will be running unopposed in the upcoming elections. Considering this, I am dedicating my time to supporting candidates who show promise and are passionate about serving the people of the 45th District. Last month, we hosted our coordinated campaign office opening in East Baltimore. It was great to be in the company of all those who showed up and made this event what it was meant to be: a gathering of a strong and engaged community. Follow the embedded links to see the photos and video recap of this event.
**Election Day is coming up on July 19th. It is imperative that you cast your vote to further support the change our city is seeking. I hope you will vote for Tom Perez and Shannon Sneed for Governor and Lieutenant Governor.
As many of you know, there has been a continuous debacle between E-Z Pass and its customers. I am pleased to inform you all Senate Bill 59—the legislation I sponsored to address the debacle— has been signed into law. This measure guarantees the waiving of late fees stemming from lack of timely communication on the MTA’s behalf, as well as reimbursement to those who have already paid these fines. I am hopeful this law will bring relief to all those affected. Click here to read more about this.
Great News! The General Assembly’s efforts are blooming into fruition. A bill that I sponsored in 2019 requiring the Police Commissioner to redraw district lines is finally being put into effect. There is an urgent need to remap the district lines created over 50 years ago, as our city has undergone significant change. With this measure put into effect, the boundaries will soon reflect the Baltimore of today. Click here to read more about this development in a special by the Afro, and/or here for an article by Maryland Matters.
In closing, I am exceedingly grateful to serve such a vibrant and engaged community. As we enter the second half of the month, I look forward to the successes our District will cultivate. I will continue to work hard to bring forth progress and positive change to the 45th!
Listening. Learning. Leading.
Cory V. McCray
Senator, 45th Legislative District
End of Session 2022
Monday, April 11th, marked the conclusion of the 444th Legislative Session of the Maryland General Assembly. This 2022 Session was my fourth serving as the State Senator to the 45th District, and my second serving in the capacity of Chairman of the Baltimore City Senate Delegation. In this role, I was honored to lead the six State Senators for Baltimore City in the concerted effort to bring resources, investments, and opportunities to our communities. As Chair, I remain laser focused on bringing forth comprehensive solutions and taking initiatives in the best interests of our public safety, education, health, infrastructure, and transportation.
Despite the rolling changes and impediments to normalcy resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s session has proved successful. Over the course of the 90 days, 17 bills were passed by the House and Senate Chambers and are moving across the Governor’s desk. I am hopeful for the passage of these pieces of legislation, as they bring about progress and positively impact the people of the 45th district, Baltimore City, and the State of Maryland.
Here is a summary of successful pieces of legislation put forth by Team McCray this 2022 Legislative Session. If passed by the Governor, these measures will be enacted into law.
- To reassign responsibility to the agency and alleviate the sudden financial burdens placed on its customers, SB0059 Maryland Transportation Authority – Public-Private Partnerships and Options for the Payment of Tolls and Civil Penalties directs the Maryland Transportation Authority to provide account-holding users of E-Z Pass with extended options to satisfy payment of delinquent accounts resulting from suspended toll, video toll, and penalty charges. This measure will provide relief to thousands of drivers impacted by the suspension and the subsequent backlog in processing tolls.
- Maryland’s drivers need access to cost-effective insurance premiums and fairer payment plan options. Considering this, I proposed SB0278 Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund – Installment Payment Plans to make effective changes to the way Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund places premiums on installation insurance plans.
- SB0289 Historic Revitalization Tax Credit – Funding and Extension is centered on Maryland’s Historic Revitalization Tax Credit—a catalyst of economic growth and a key tool for neighborhood revitalization. If implemented, this bill will address urgent funding needs, as well as extend the life of the Competitive Commercial program which encourages the rehabilitation of large keystone projects across the state.
- The University of Maryland Extension is a premier source of research and education for Maryland farmers. SB0437 Agriculture – University of Maryland Extension – Urban Farmer Assistance will ensure that the University of Maryland Extension includes two statewide extension agents dedicated to providing technical assistance and training. This measure will bolster support for urban farmers in their initiatives.Reading, at a young age, is fundamentally important and a foundational part of education. SB0438 Young Readers Programs – Establishment (Young Readers Program Expansion establishes the Baltimore City Young Readers Program, a program which will create an imaginary library and provide youth with access to high-quality books for their own edification and entertainment.
- Makerspaces have boosted economic, educational, and workforce development opportunities throughout to State. Witnessing their beneficial impact, I proposed SB0453 Economic Development – Maryland Makerspace Initiative Program to support the establishment of a robust network of makerspaces within Maryland’s communities.
- SB0536 Income Tax – Film Production Activity Tax Credit – Digital Animation Projects extends the eligibility for credit against State income tax to include digital animation works in efforts to create a fair and equal opportunity for filmmakers who record their projects in Maryland. Through this extension, more filmmakers will be encouraged to produce projects in the State—providing an increase in revenue and creating job opportunities to employ more Marylanders.
- As Baltimore continues to face unique issues within public safety, regulation of crime, and the management of its jails, there is a pressing need for effective legislation that can combat and resolve roadblocks—promoting better coordination and communication amongst our public safety agencies. I introduced SB0585 Public Safety – Warrants and Absconding and SB0586 Criminal Procedure and Public Safety – Courts and Criminal Justice in Baltimore to increase funding for warrant apprehension efforts, mandate reporting on weapons, and establish a Jobs Courts Pilot Program within the City’s district courts. These measures will encourage efficiency, accountability, and awareness across the board.
- By modifying the Maryland Electricians Act to remove barriers to practice, SB0604 Maryland Electricians Act – Revisions will accommodate, support, and provide experienced electricians with streamlined access in obtaining the licenses and/or certifications requisite to working within their occupations.
- Acting against the discrimination of youths in Maryland, SB0666 Schools, Prekindergarten Programs, and County Boards of Education – Discrimination prohibits local boards of education, public and non-public pre-kindergarten programs, primary schools, and secondary schools that receive State funds from taking discriminatory actions against any prospective student, and prohibits retaliatory actions against a student, parent, and/or guardian of a student who files a complaint alleging specified discrimination. Additionally, the bill establishes a complaint, mediation, and appeal process for violations.
- It is crucially important that local governments receive the requisite funding to properly address issues like roads, bridges, and transportation, which impact highway user revenues. Under SB0726 Transportation – Highway User Revenues – Revenue and Distribution, the funds from the Gasoline and Motor Vehicle Revenue Account which are provided annually to local governments by the Maryland Department of Transportation through capital transportation grants will increase.
- In efforts to safeguard access to transportation for Baltimore City Public School students, SB0862 Baltimore City – Maryland Transit Administration – Transit Services for Public will require the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to provide ridership to Baltimore City Public School students throughout the school year and duration of the YouthWorks program.
- If enacted, SB0953 Commission on African American History and Culture – Alterations (Senator Verda Welcome Act) will invest in institutions that promote African American tradition and culture within the State of Maryland. The provision of funding to historical museums will assist in the preservation of history for future generations, so that they, too, understand the significance of African American history.
NOTEWORTHY PIECES OF LEGISLATION
Senator Hayes’ SB0275 Time to Care Act of 2022 establishes the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Program and FAMLI Fund to provide up to 12 weeks of benefits to a covered individual taking leave from employment due to specified personal and family circumstances. The FAMLI Fund consists of contributions from employees and employers of at least 15 employees and pays for benefits, a public education program, and implementation and administrative costs.
Senator Pinsky’s SB0528 Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 makes broad changes to the State’s approach to reducing statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and addressing climate change. Among other things, the bill increases the statewide GHG emissions reduction requirement and requires the State to achieve net-zero statewide GHG emissions by 2045; establishes new and alters existing energy conservation requirements for buildings; increases and extends specified energy efficiency and conservation program requirements; establishes requirements for the purchase of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in the State fleet; and establishes new entities and new special funds to support related activities.
The Senate’s Bill 1010 Motor Fuel Taxes – Tax-Free Period abates the impact of motor fuel inflation and its resulting consequences by temporarily waiving the state’s gasoline tax for a 30-day period. In effect, this emergency piece of legislation continues to provide relief to hundreds and thousands of Maryland constituents—workers, students, and families—who are affected by the rising gas prices.
MAJOR CAPITAL INVESTMENTS
This legislative session, we secured additional funding for projects and initiatives taking place in our community. Here is a glance at the capital investments successfully secured this year for acquisition, planning, design, construction, repair, renovation, reconstruction, and site improvement:
• East Baltimore Transfer Station: $4 million
• The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum: $2 million
• Nathaniel McFadden Learn and Play: $1 million
• The Somerset Grocery Store: $1 million
• Johnston Square Football Field Greenmount Park: $500, 000
• East Baltimore Development Fund: $500,000
• Roberta’s House: $300,000
• Banner Neighborhood: $300,000
• Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition: $250,000
• HLMS Property Reclamation & Rejuvenation Program: $200,000
• Johnston Square Elementary School: $200,000
• Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle School: $200,000
• Dr. Bernard Harris Sr. Elementary School: $200,000
• Mr. Mack Lewis Gym: $175,000
• Hamilton Elementary Middle School Play Yard: $100,000
• Men and Family Center: $50,000
• Bear Community Outreach Center: $25, 000
Keep an eye out for the upcoming improvements and progress to take place within the 45th!
Although this year’s session has ended, over the next nine months, I look forward to prioritizing my time to provide more constituent services and address pressing matters impacting the 45th district.
I anticipate learning from you and listening to your concerns as the year progresses. If I can provide any further information about the Session or assist you with a constituent service matter, please do not hesitate to contact me. As always, I remain grateful for the honor, privilege, and opportunity to be of service to you.
Listening. Learning. Leading.
Cory V. McCray
Senator, 45th Legislative District
This 2022 Legislative Session, I put forth numerous pieces of legislation to remedy, restore, and relieve. After receiving favorable reports in the Senate, several bills successfully crossed over to the House Chambers on Monday, March 21.
Here is a brief, chronological overview of the bills that crossed over:
SB0013 Vehicle Theft Prevention Fund – Allocation of Grants takes a targeted approach to reducing, averting, and deterring theft of motor vehicles throughout Maryland by altering the calculation and distribution of grants allocated from the Vehicle Theft Prevention Fund. If SB0013 passes successfully, grant funds will be reasonably proportioned based on relevant vehicle theft statistics, putting money where it is needed most.
To ensure streamline communication and shared understanding amongst community partners, legislative bodies, and constituents, SB0046Housing and Community Development – Programs and Projects – Requirements directs individuals to provide the General Assembly with access to important information regarding housing and community development projects and programs. This bill will help to cultivate an environment of transparency, clarity, and awareness by keeping constituents abreast of accessible, developing opportunities and projects within their neighborhoods.
To reassign responsibility to the agency and alleviate the sudden financial burdens placed on its customers, SB0059 Maryland Transportation Authority – Public-Private Partnerships and Options for the Payment of Tolls and Civil Penalties directs the Maryland Transportation Authority to provide account-holding users of E-Z Pass with extended options to satisfy payment of delinquent accounts resulting from suspended toll, video toll, and penalty charges. This measure will provide relief to thousands of drivers impacted by the suspension and the subsequent backlog in processing tolls.
Maryland’s drivers need access to cost-effective insurance premiums and fairer payment plan options. Considering this, I proposed SB0278 Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund – Installment Payment Plans to make effective changes to the way Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund places premiums on installation insurance plans.
SB0289 Historic Revitalization Tax Credit – Funding and Extension is centered on Maryland’s Historic Revitalization Tax Credit—a catalyst of economic growth and a key tool for neighborhood revitalization. If implemented, this bill will address urgent funding needs, as well as extend the life of the Competitive Commercial program which encourages the rehabilitation of large keystone projects across the state.
The University of Maryland Extension is a premier source of research and education for Maryland farmers. SB0437 Agriculture – University of Maryland Extension – Urban Farmer Assistance will ensure that the University of Maryland Extension includes two statewide extension agents dedicated to providing technical assistance and training. This measure will bolster support for urban farmers in their initiatives.
Reading, at a young age, is fundamentally important and a foundational part of education. SB0438 Young Readers Programs – Establishment (Young Readers Program Expansion establishes the Baltimore City Young Readers Program, a program which will create an imaginary library and provide youth with access to high-quality books for their own edification and entertainment.
Makerspaces have boosted economic, educational, and workforce development opportunities throughout to State. Witnessing their beneficial impact, I proposed SB0453 Economic Development – Maryland Makerspace Initiative Program to support the establishment of a robust network of makerspaces within Maryland’s communities.
SB0536 Income Tax – Film Production Activity Tax Credit – Digital Animation Projects extends the eligibility for credit against State income tax to include digital animation works in efforts to create a fair and equal opportunity for filmmakers who record their projects in Maryland. Through this extension, more filmmakers will be encouraged to produce projects in the State—providing an increase in revenue and creating job opportunities to employ more Marylanders.
As Baltimore continues to face unique issues within public safety, regulation of crime, and the management of its jails, there is a pressing need for effective legislation that can combat and resolve roadblocks—promoting better coordination and communication amongst our public safety agencies. I introduced SB 585 Public Safety – Warrants and Absconding and SB 586 Criminal Procedure and Public Safety – Courts and Criminal Justice in Baltimore City to increase funding for warrant apprehension efforts, mandate reporting on weapons, and establish a Jobs Courts Pilot Program within the City’s district courts. These measures will encourage efficiency, accountability, and awareness across the board.
SB0601 Baltimore City Soil Conservation District – Establishment – Requirements will establish a soil conservation district within the boundaries of Baltimore City, which will bolster environmental sustainability efforts, restore natural resources, and provide new opportunities for the constituents of the City to impact and interact more with their environment.
By modifying the Maryland Electricians Act to remove barriers to practice, SB0604 Maryland Electricians Act – Revisions will accommodate, support, and provide experienced electricians with streamlined access in obtaining the licenses and/or certifications requisite to working within their occupations.
In efforts to safeguard access to transportation for Baltimore City Public School students, SB0862 Baltimore City – Maryland Transit Administration – Transit Services for Public will require the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to provide ridership to Baltimore City Public School students throughout the school year and duration of the YouthWorks program.
In closing, I trust that these solutions will address, impact, and benefit Maryland’s constituents. Looking forward to the progression of these bills as they move through the House! #Working4MD
Listening. Learning. Leading.
Cory V. McCray
Senator, 45th Legislative District
The first quarter of the year is flying by, as we are already more than halfway through March! Things are moving fast, and so much is being done on your behalf. I’d like to keep you abreast of a few efforts that have taken place within the last few weeks.
Here are a couple of updates:
As Baltimore continues to face unique issues within public safety, regulation of crime, and the management of our jails, there is a pressing need for effective legislation that can combat and resolve roadblocks—promoting better coordination and communication amongst our public safety agencies. I introduced Senate Bills 585, 586, and 587, three legislative initiatives to increase efficiency, accountability, and awareness within our courts, law enforcement and state agencies.
Senate Bill 585- Warrant Apprehension Reduction Grant focuses on fostering greater communication between our courts and police departments. Senate Bill 586- Criminal Procedure – Pretrial Release of Defendant – Notice will increase transparency and notice amongst our law enforcement agencies as it pertains to violent offenders within our communities. Senate Bill 587 — Division of Parole and Probation – Duties – Offenders Under Supervision Parole and Probation Performance Act brings about accountability within state agencies and ensures we’re setting measurable goals in supervising offenders. I am happy to have the support of the Senate President, Mayor, and the Police Commissioner on this, and look forward to the progression of these bills as the legislative process continues.To hear what I had to say about this bill package on WBFF FOX45, click here!
The E-Z Pass Debacle is ongoing and the fight for the relief of Maryland’s drivers continues! The MDTA Board is considering different toll bill relief options. It is imperative great consideration is paid to waiving penalties for backlogged bills, and Senate Bill 59 is a reinforcing measure to ensure that. Fortunately, Senate Bill 59 – Maryland Transportation Authority – Options for the Payment of Tolls and Civil Penalties passed through the Senate Chambers with a vote of 47-0! As this legislation makes it way to the House, I will continue to push to address and resolve this issue—it’s only fair! To read more about this effort, check out WMAR’s report here.
In February, the CIAA basketball tournament was held in Baltimore for the first time in 70 years. Major, historical events are key attractions that bring more opportunities to our City, and I was glad to welcome the CIAA back to Baltimore. Bringing joy and excitement to the area, the CIAA reminded all those, who may have forgotten, why Baltimore is called “Charm City”. We are beautiful city with so much to offer, and it was my pleasure highlighting that at the CIAA Basketball Tournament & Stakeholders Reception last month!
Great news! Governor Hogan recently proposed a $480 million supplemental budget, $99 million of which will be allocated to Baltimore City Public Schools. This decision was made after critiques were made on his failure to uphold the required budget for the blueprint of Maryland’s future education reform plan. I am so glad that this investment is finally being made and am truly grateful for those who relentlessly advocated for our youth, pressuring the Governor to take accountability and make the right decision. For more information on this, here is an article by The Washington Informer.
As Chair of the Baltimore City Senate Delegation, I have the pleasure of hosting our weekly virtual bill hearing. In case you missed it, here is the link to the Delegation’s meeting that took place on February 4th. For more on 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, click here to see a live recording.
The youth are the promise of our City and I believe they deserve to have the best opportunities and exposure. It was an honor and privilege to be able to sponsor a trip to Ski Liberty for the students at Baltimore Design School. It was genuinely heartwarming to receive such a wonderful thank you letter from the students, who expressed how they enjoyed and benefitted from the new experience. We must do all that we can to make sure that Baltimore’s youth grow to be all they can be and want to be. I look forward to continuing to pay it forward for our City’s students in the future!
I recently featured as a guest on the podcast “Diversity Be Like” with Sequoia Houston. Sequoia’s podcast is about the nuances and complexities that revolve around diversity in our current society. This podcast has a special way of tackling diversity issues in their various forms and delving into how individuals can create spaces that are comfortable and safe for all. During the interview, I spoke about my life story—highlighting the blessing that is this position and the work I am doing to ensure the progress of our city. For more, listen to the episode by clicking here.
It was awesome to receive a visit from some of the folks within the Maryland Association of Counties and be surprised with an award. I appreciate MaCo’s acknowledgement of my efforts, and they’re continued partnership with the General Assembly in producing wins for the counties that make up our great State.
It was great to formally recognize the Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical H.S. Football Team and their milestone achievements on the Senate Floor, earlier this session. The Mervo Mustangs won the 4A/3A State Championship—bringing home the school’s very first state title in history! The team went through a lot this past year, facing the passing of teammate Elijah Gorham, yet still soldiered on to secure the #1 rank in the division. They’re efforts are commendable and deserving of praise! Congratulations to Mervo H.S., Coach Nixon and this talented, perseverant team.
I was especially proud to formally recognize the 45th’s own home team, the Paul Laurence Dunbar High School Football Team, on the Senate Floor a few weeks ago. The Poets secured their eleventh 2A/1A State Championship title under the leadership of Coach Smith. The players wrapped up their season with a record of 13-0, ranking them as #1 in division! Kudos to the Dunbar Poets for achieving this great feat, yet again! I cannot wait to see their continued path to success.
In closing, I am exceedingly proud of the progress we are making as a city, and especially proud of the accomplishments of our brilliant youth. I hope the rest of the month of March yields more wins, and the April springs forth opportunities and growth for the 45th District!
Listening. Learning. Leading.
Cory V. McCray
Senator, 45th Legislative District
Happy New Year! I hope you all have had a positive start to 2022.
Here are a few updates of events and progress being made:
The Maryland legislative session started on Wednesday, January 12, 2022.
In an op-ed for The Afro, Senator McFadden and myself urge Baltimore City Public Schools to keep Dr. Bernard Harris Elementary School open. It is critical that our school system works with our communities, in doing all we can to support the growth and success of our youth. It would be a shame to withdraw the chance for accessible education from Oliver—a community that has seen so much progress in recent years. It is important that we continue to insist on holding City Schools and its leaders accountable for maintaining these academic spaces for our youth. To read the op-ed, click here.
In an op-ed for Maryland Matters, I highlight the progress we have made in Northeast Baltimore, in relation to public safety and how we should be framing work in other districts this way as well in order to cultivate change. With help from my team and constituents, as well as Baltimore City’s Northeastern Police Department team, homicide rates, fatal shootings and crime have dropped significantly in the area. I hope that the success in the Northeast can open Governor Hogan’s eyes to this method of improvement. With cooperation from all sides of the issue, as well as organizations like Safe streets, run by Dante Johnson, our city has witnessed progress thought to be impossible by many. Public safety revolves not only around the decrease in crime and homicides, but in providing housing, well-paying jobs, efficient transport, quality food sources and so much more— which ensure our citizens have what they need to live, where they live. Many factors indirectly impact the issues of public safety related to crime and homicide, and I call for Governor Hogan to address them in ways that prove successful. To access and read the op-ed, click here.
In the past year, the Northeastern Police District has seen overall success in the decrease in crime, most notably, shootings and homicides. Through our work in addressing issues, like unemployment, pay, food scarcity, housing, education, violence intervention and more, we’ve made significant progress on decreasing crime. None of this would be possible without cooperation amongst our police officers, community members, and the various organizations and coalitions in our communities that work unrelentingly at improving public safety.
Due to the outstanding work of community leader and Director Dante Johnson, and the Safe Streets program, the Belair-Edison community has seen 365 days with 0 homicides. Through community building, outreach to mediate, and work to minimize conflict they have successfully addressed one of the city’s most pressing public safety concerns, gun violence. This work would not be possible if not for the members of the community and its leaders, demand and fight for a safer environment. “Peace is like a disease; it spreads slowly but surely.” – Safe Streets Belair-Edison Director Dante Johnson
Through the work done in 2019, with Senate Bill 280, by Diana Fennel and myself, there has been an increase from $11.75 to $12.50, and we will see a continuous rise in upcoming years. It is critical we pay livable wages, supporting our essential workers, workers with disabilities, student workers, and working families.
I have pre-filed various bills for this year’s legislative session. It is important to be as transparent and strongly communicative as possible with the citizens I am so honored to be working for. I plan to advocate for bills addressing vehicle theft protection, housing development and Neighborhood Revitalization Programs, MTA toll payments and civil penalties, occupational licenses or certificates in relation to pre-application determinations and criminal convictions, wages, and community solar energy generating systems.
The bills I have pre-filed can be found here:
I hope with the work of my team, and our communities, to continue on a path of such abundant progress and growth this year, and in the years to come.
Listening. Learning. Leading.
Cory V. McCray
Senator, 45th Legislative District
This week we began a week-long special session in Annapolis to fulfill our constitutional obligation to reapportion Maryland’s congressional districts to reflect the results of the 2020 national census. While convened in Annapolis, the General Assembly is also acting to override the Governor’s vetoes of crucial and urgent legislation, including laws that depoliticizing the parole process and several bills strengthening our state’s response to COVID. On a very personal note, I am very proud to report that the Transit Safety and the Investment Act, which I have previously written to you about, was also sustained by an override of Governor Hogan’s veto. I am so very proud to have led the effort to restore the Transit Safety and Investment Act in the Senate and I am certain this law will make a real difference in our lives by truly making full and comprehensive investments in our state’s transportation infrastructure.
In our other work, the month of November kept me busy planning for the upcoming 2022 legislative session and keeping in-touch with our communities and neighbors at the doors. After nearly two terms as a state legislator, I squarely believe a key element of successful legislating and oversight is done in the period of recess and preparation before the start of sessions, and this brief and unusual session reminds me of this fact. Representing you is a great honor and I take our preparation work seriously and make it a part of our work and routine. We are a month away from the annual start of the Maryland General Assembly session, the impending transition to the full-time work of the General Assembly full-time in Annapolis is wrestling in the back of my mind and our staff is putting its final touches on our legislative and oversight package.
I remain keenly aware that while life is seemingly returning to what it looked and felt like before COVID, we have a duty to remain guarded of new activity and must act to remediate the craters and gaps left by its disruption in our economy and health. You will notice this theme as you peruse the highlights my recent activities—I seek to learn and listen as you speak to our community’s needs.
Finally, I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers as we celebrate our holidays this season! I am ever grateful for your support and friendship.
Please encouraging Baltimore City High School Seniors to apply for the Maryland General Assembly Page Program! The 2022 program is virtual and will be a dynamic opportunity for our young people to represent their school and our City while learning in a hands on way about our democratic process and the work of the General Assembly.
In my role as chair of Baltimore City’s Senate Delegation, the Delegation we held a roundtable discussion on the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) with Melody Simmons, a journalist with the Baltimore Business Journal, moderating the event. We were also joined by other important leaders, including:
- Faith Leach, Deputy Mayor, Baltimore City
- Angela Whitaker, Director, Baltimore City Community Action Partnership
- Danielle Meister, Senior Policy Officer, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
- Matt Hill, Attorney, Public Justice Center
As Senator Washington noted, “Our residents are really suffering- they’re suffering from this crisis… The thought and the fear of having nowhere to go… is really terrifying.” Our delegation is actively seeking to follow the work to protect our vulnerable neighbors with legislative oversight to of the government funds appropriated to avoid a dramatic increase in evictions as a result of COVID’s affects to our economy. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development received $401 million in federal ERAP funds, and it can anticipate receiving an additional $352 million. Senator Mary Washington noted that statewide, 27,000 applications were received for rental assistance and only 9,800 have been processed.
It remains a steadfast priority for our Delegation to ensure that our government efficiently and proficiently distribute these funds to secure housing for our vulnerable neighbors. We will continue tracking this activity for the foreseeable future, especially as a part of the legislative session.
I do my best to visit a few of our district’s schools each month to keep a pulse of ongoing activities in the district and be informed about trends in education. I was delighted to spend time this month at the Baltimore Design School and truly was blessed by the insight, concerns, and courage our young shared with me. Additionally, our Senate Delegation hosted an Education Roundtable with WBAL-TV 11’s Ashley Hinson moderating the session. Two highlights of the discussion was the Baltimore City Public Schools’ return to in person learning and its ARP Spending Plan.
I spoke with the Baltimore Positive Podcast, hosted by Nestor Aparicio and former Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler, to highlight our work addressing crime and supporting the positive activities happening in our district for our seniors and young people. I truly appreciate Nestor’s effort to connect our community in substantive dialog and the County Executive’s depth of experience and vast perspective as we converse about these important public matters.
I joined Aaron Dante for his podcast, No Pix After Dark, which seeks out to build a community using discussions in human experience, storytelling and conversation. His efforts is to learn from our common experiences by conversing with folks as a way “of simply telling a memorable tale, sharing a passion or project, or explaining an experience that changed a life”. Aaron has a natural knack of pulling out the best in people – and their stories. Our conversation was very engaging and sincere. I hope you find something useful from our conversation and learn a bit more why, and how, I do the work to represent our community.
I was deeply honored to travel to Santa Fe last weekend as a part of the Council of State Governments to receive its 20 Under 40 Leadership Award to state legislators. It is a significant recognition and award to just 20 of America’s young state legislators who are recognized from among our colleagues of all state legislators. This is a proud moment for me as I hope is reflects my dedication and commitment to you and our communities. Thank you for electing me to serve you!
I recently wrote an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun questioning the decision to end the Hopkins Medicare Advantage program. Our seniors made an investment in our community and their investment should be matched. As I noted, “They have not only given their time to Hopkins, but to our communities, strengthening health care and education for people who come from all over the world. So, I have been pondering this question: Would the leadership of this powerful institution and the largest employer in the State of Maryland please consider rescinding this decision?
The seniors negatively affected by this decision were abruptly notified their medical coverage would be interrupted by cost and service by Hopkins Health Advantage Inc., a Maryland health insurer affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine. I suspect that cost will force many seniors affected by this decision to choose other health plans that will not offer them the same quality service as the Hopkins Medicare Advantage program.”
One Last Thing…
As we move closer to 2022, can you consider making a contribution of $5, $10, 0r $25 to our campaign? It’s crucial that we have the resources to keep our work and momentum going.
Listening. Learning. Leading.
Cory V. McCray
Senator, 45th Legislative District
The 2021 Maryland General Assembly session is in full swing. This year’s activities are a marked difference from years past, our interpersonal interaction is limited because of COVID, but we remain attentive to the pressing issues that affect the daily lives of our communities.
My days are similar to our ordinary session routine: each morning we convene in the Senate and use afternoons for our committees as we ordinarily would, but legislative testimony and related activities are limited to video conferencing. A great deal of the work of the Senate is done in the committees that form the body of our legislative work. I serve as a member of Budget and Taxation Committee and its capital budget subcommittee, pensions subcommittee, and Chair the public safety, transportation & environment subcommittee. Our work in the committee is simple in that we work to set the budget of Maryland and the subcommittees set the particular budget for that area of our government. Each of the subcommittees allows me to pay particular attention to the needs of our district and those of Baltimore.
This year, I also began my new role as the Chair of Baltimore City’s Senate Delegation. The Delegation is where the six state senators whom represent the City in the Maryland General Assembly gather to discuss the matters affecting Baltimore and act on our agenda. The Delegation is focused on representing the interests, needs, and concerns of the city and its residents. One priority is ensuring that sufficient state funds are appropriated to support Baltimore City Public Schools’ academic, infrastructure, and operational needs. Additionally, the Delegation holds hearing on important legislation that affects the City, such as those related to public safety and transportation. The Mayor of Baltimore annually unveils a list of budget priorities for state consideration, which the Delegation works to secure. We have also created a new website for the Delegation, please tell us your thoughts so we keep you informed of our work. Below I have also provided links to our recent weekly briefings.
Baltimore City Senate Delegation Briefings
- January 18, 2021 – Resources for Local Small Businesses
- January 25, 2021 – COVID’s Impact to our Colleges and Universities with Dr. McCurdy – BCCC, Dr. Wilson – Morgan State University, Dr. Jenkins – Coppin State University, and Ron Daniels – Johns Hopkins University
- February 1, 2021 – Housing Resources
COVID Vaccination Information
We are currently in Phase 1C of the vaccination process. If you or a loved one is looking for an appointment, vaccination interest forms for older adults are available at the Baltimore City Health Department’s website at coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov/covax. You can also call the Maryland Access Point hotline at 410-396-2273 if you are without internet access.
Local area hospitals and medical providers listed on coronavirus.maryland.gov, under Find a Vaccine, have created interest forms for vaccinations as they become available, and residents in eligible Priority Groups are encouraged to visit those websites and sign up. As of February 1, some Baltimore-area Giant, Safeway, and Rite Aid locations have begun posting appointment links on the same website.
Higher Education Scholarships
The application for the annual scholarship awards directed by our office is now open! Please email our office at email@example.com for an application.
Celebrating Black History Month: Honoring Our First Senators
50 years ago, Senator Robert Dalton made history as the first Black State Senator from East Baltimore.
I am humbled to build on the legacies of Senators Dalton, Douglass, Irby, and McFadden.
“When we look at our folks that are in pretrial centers, these are people that are more than likely to have misdemeanors, may not be able to pay their bails, but they have also not been convicted of a crime. We should be making sure that they have the same type of access that myself and you both have because they have the right to vote,” said Sen. Cory McCray.
Among the legislation I am sponsoring this year is a proposal to further protect the voting rights of all Marylanders. On January 25, 2021, I introduced Senate Bill 525 to ensure all Marylanders have fair access to the ballot box and are free from disenfranchisement that is solely determined by a longstanding policy that serves no true public good.
Senate Bill 525, Baltimore City – Centralized Booking Facility – Voting Information and Early Voting Polling Place, requires the Baltimore City centralized booking facility to disseminate written information on voter registration and instructions directly to each eligible voter incarcerated in the facility. The legislation further requires the local board of elections for Baltimore City, in collaboration with the State Board and the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, to establish an early voting polling place at the Baltimore City centralized booking facility so that individuals incarcerated in a pretrial capacity or serving a sentence related to a misdemeanor violation may still exercise their right to vote as currently provided by state law.
Maryland is the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner and Justice Thurgood Marshall. We see the power and weight of freedom and know all too painfully the pulse of Democracy denied. The events of this month’s insurrection, just a few miles south of us, reminds us evermore that we must be at the forefront of protecting our democracy. Those whom can should be provided reasonable access to the ballot box. Maryland must be proactive, and follow the actions of other leading communities, in removing all barriers that stop legally eligible citizens from exercising their right to vote.
SB 199 – Maryland Transit Administration – Funding – Transit Safety and Investment Act
I previously mentioned that our state’s investment in public transportation is crucial to its economic growth and long-term viability. We recent held the Senate hearing for the bill. ”The state of Maryland had the greatest numbers of bus, Light Rail and Heavy Rail breakdowns in 2019 compared to any other state, said Sen. Cory McCray, D-Baltimore, calculated by major mechanical failures per 100,000 revenue miles.”
The bill requires a minimum level of funding each fiscal year from 2023 to 2028 for “good repair needs” at the transit agency, going from $361 million in 2023 and ending with $531 million in 2028. Maryland’s bus, Heavy Rail and Light Rail breakdown numbers are leading the country “not in a good way,” McCray said on Wednesday. With this legislation, we will make substantive change to sustain and advance the MTA.
SB 2 – Maryland Environmental Service Reform Act of 2021
I previously mention efforts to reform the Maryland Environmental Service since we learned that the agency’s former director spent lavishly and negotiated a significant payout when he left to become the governor’s chief of staff over the summer. The Maryland Environmental Service Reform Act is designed in part to establish stronger oversight of the agency and protect the investment of Maryland’s taxpayers. “Sen. Cory McCray, one of the bill’s lead sponsors, said during a video hearing on Wednesday that the environmental agency is due for a “course correction” following the revelations of financial issues under McGrath’s leadership. MES provides environmental and public works services such as operating landfills and dredging waterways, primarily for local and state government agencies. It gets 95% of its revenues from other government agencies. “MES serves a very good purpose. It does great good with local and state government,” said McCray, a Baltimore Democrat.
Listening. Learning. Leading.
Cory V. McCray
Senator, 45th Legislative District
While this message finds us at a tough time in our history, I remain steadfast and hopeful. As Congressman John Lewis modeled for us—with hard work and a commitment to justice—this too shall pass and we shall see our best days ahead. Our office is diligently tracking the effects of the COVID-19 crisis in our community, especially the changes and challenges to our schools, public health, and economic well-being. While the COVID-19 virus is demanding a great deal of my attention, I remained focused on the long-term needs and improvement of our community. Below I share a brief update on the activities that I have been engaged in for the last few weeks and hope you find the information helpful and encouraging.