Reznik Report from Annapolis – Week 5

February 13, 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of the Reznik Report.

We have now passed all of the submission deadlines for the 2020 session, and we have a record-the most bills ever filed before the “drop” deadline. Under Maryland rules, every bill is entitled to a hearing if filed before the deadline, so all of the committees have a lot of work to do. Any bills submitted after this point are considered late, and have to go before the Rules Committee, where the sponsor must make the case that the bill should be considered.

My Bill Hearings

My office has had two bill hearings so far, with 5 more coming up in the next two weeks. We’re busy writing testimony, wrangling advocates, and figuring out the new submission guidelines.

Last week, we had the hearing for HB134, which would establish an out of pocket price cap of $100 for a 30 day supply on insulin, regardless of the type or amount needed. Did you know that when insulin was discovered and patented in 1923, the scientists involved sold that patent to the University of Toronto for $1? They did this so that it would be accessible to all.

Unfortunately, costs for insulin have risen exponentially, mostly in the last decade or so. It’s our hope that we can make this life-saving and sustaining drug affordable for all those who need it. So far Colorado and Illinois have passed this bill with super-majority, bi-partisan votes, and last week, the Virginia House of Delegates did the same on a vote to 98-1. It is my hope that the Virginia Senate and the House legislature both pass this life saving legislation.

We’ll have another bill hearing this week to establish a Medicare “birthday rule” in Maryland. This would allow those enrolled in supplemental Medicare plans to switch to a plan of equal or lesser coverage during the 30 days after their birthday, without having to undergo medical underwriting, which can be a barrier to affordable care.

State of the State

Last week, we heard Governor Hogan’s 2020 “state of the state” address, which you can find the text of here. While I may not agree with many of his priorities, it was good to hear his emphasis on the concept of bipartisanship with which we both agree. It is a refreshing contrast to some of what we see on Capitol Hill that we all get along so well here in Annapolis.

Witnesses to History

The Maryland General Assembly celebrated a momentous occasion this week with the unveiling of statues of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass in the Old House Chamber. We were honored to have descendants of both historical icons present for the ceremony. Former Speaker Busch and President Emeritus Miller began this process back in 2016 to honor their legacies and provide valuable teaching moments to the hundreds of school groups that come through the State House on a yearly basis. Now, both Tubman and Douglass will forever stand in the same room where slavery was banned in Maryland in 1864.

FDouglass
HTubman

Built To Learn

Earlier this week, the Appropriations committee voted to approve HB1, the “Built To Learn” Act. This landmark legislation will put $2.2 billion towards school construction across the state. It prioritizes schools with the oldest buildings in the system with significant facility deficiencies, schools with high concentrations of students eligible for free and reduced price meals, and schools with a high number of relocatable (trailer) classrooms. D39 and Montgomery County as whole stands to benefit, given the wide variation in economic situations we see in our MCPS families.

It was voted out of the Appropriations Committee unanimously, and will go to the House floor for a final vote today. This bill, along with HB2, the “Blueprint for Maryland” are the top priorities for the Democratic caucus. Hopefully, I will have a happy update to provide to you all in the next edition of the Reznik Report.

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