This week, Senator Bailey presented three more of his bills to Senate committees. On Wednesday, the Senator presented Senate Bill 104 and Senate Bill 239 to the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. The first bill, Senate Bill 104, would require schools to install safety sensors on electric retractable room partitions if they are going to be operated in the presence of students. This bill is based off of similar legislation passed in Virginia following the tragic death of a student from injuries that he sustained when he was crushed between an electric retractable room partition and a wall.
The second bill, Senate Bill 239, would prohibit a person under the age of 18 from possessing a tobacco product in school buildings or on school grounds in St. Mary’s County. A violation would be a civil offense, and the penalty for the first offense would be to require the minor to attend a tobacco cessation program. This bill was introduced following a 2019 change in Maryland law that repealed the prohibition on a minor possessing tobacco products or electronic smoking devices, and after discussions between Senator Bailey and St. Mary’s County public schools, as well as the State’s Attorney and Sheriff’s Office. Senator Bailey was joined at the virtual hearing by St. Mary’s County Superintendent Dr. Scott Smith, St. Mary’s County Board of Education member Cathy Allen, and Sheriff Tim Cameron to speak in support of this bill.
On Thursday, Senator Bailey presented Senate Bill 165 to the Senate Finance Committee. This bill corrects an oversight in the paid sick leave law by enacting an exemption for hourly substitute employees of local school systems that is similar to an existing exemption for employees in the health and human services industry. The current requirement to provide paid sick leave is an unfunded mandate on our local school systems, and this requirement has generated a significant cost which could be better spent on other educational needs.
In addition to these three bills, Senator Bailey also testified in support of Senate Bill 324, which he co-sponsored to ensure more transparency regarding how information about Maryland’s natural resources and environmental laws are disseminated.
Citizens Redistricting Commission
Earlier this month, Governor Hogan announced the creation of the Citizens Redistricting Commission, establishing a fair process for citizens to be involved. The Commission will be made up of nine members, with three Republicans, three Democrats, and three unaffiliated voters. The Governor has selected three members, and the remaining six members will be chosen through an application process. Senator Bailey believes that we should do away with the gerrymandered district lines that have been created in the past for individual legislators, and encourages those who are interested in serving as a member of the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission to apply online at http://governor.maryland.gov/redistricting. Senator Bailey looks forward to considering maps with districts that provide fair representation for Southern Maryland and the entire State.