2021 Legislative Session Accomplishments

County Secures More Than $1.6 Billion in State Aid

Dear Prince Georgians:

Earlier this month, we held a reporter’s roundtable and discussed our accomplishments from the 2021 Legislative session. Overall, we had an extremely successful session in Annapolis, and I’m excited to share those accomplishments with you. I am very proud of the work that Team Prince George’s accomplished over the last several months. Despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19, our House and Senate Delegation delivered on our 2021 Legislative Priorities and I’m confident their hard work will continue to move the County and our State forward.

In total, we brought home over $1.6 billion in aid to the County, an increase of $34.6 million from last fiscal year.

Health Equity

I want to thank the Maryland Citizens Health Initiative for all they did to ensure the passage of the Maryland Health Equity Act. This bill creates and funds Health Equity Resource Communities across the State, which qualify for tax credits, grants, and health care provider loan repayment assistance to incentivize health care providers to set up or extend services in poor and rural communities. As we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, this legislation will be an extremely helpful tool for our communities as we work to address the health care inequities that played a major role in how hard our County was hit by the pandemic.

Education

We’re also happy the General Assembly voted to override the Governor’s veto of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, also known as the Kirwan Commission bill. This very important law will provide more education funding for students throughout the State, but especially those attending school in Prince George’s County. This 10-year education plan increases the number of pre-kindergarten programs and funding for schools with high concentrations of poverty, which directly impact families in Prince George’s County. Further, it provides increased salaries for teachers, a clearer career trajectory for them and establishes new career pathways for high school students who don’t attend college.

The bill also provides funding for digital devices and behavioral health support, local tutoring and summer school programs. After seeing the devasting effect the COVID-19 pandemic had on school enrollment and learning loss, the revised bill adjusts for the impacts of the pandemic. While we don’t know exactly how the funding shift will impact us, we want to ensure our children have access to a high-quality education, regardless of where they live. We will know the full impact of this bill in the coming months.

Addressing Food Deserts

While we were very successful in many areas, one piece of legislation that did not pass was the bill that would have allowed light beer and wine sales in some of our grocery stores. We know that this legislation would help attract grocers into our food deserts and provide more healthy food options inside the beltway. Currently, more than 50 percent of our food options inside the beltway are fast food. Although we are disappointed that the legislation did not pass, we will continue pushing forward with other incentives for grocers to serve our residents in healthy food priority areas. We look forward to putting together a strategy to go back to Annapolis next year and pursue the light beer and wine sales again.

Police Reform

We supported House Bill 670, sponsored by Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones, that, among other things, repeals the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBR). This legislation also requires police officers to disclose their name, ID number, and reason for a stop when making a traffic stop or any other stop. In addition, the bill establishes scholarships and loan repayment programs for police officers which is important because even as we hold bad officers accountable, we want to do all we can to support the men and women who work tirelessly each day to protect us and do so in the right way.

The legislation also creates a statewide use of force policy for law enforcement and orders certain police departments in Maryland to provide body-worn cameras by 2025. As you know, body cameras were a top priority of mine when I took office, and that’s why I made sure that we provided the funding needed for every officer in our Bureau of Patrol to be outfitted with a camera by the end of last year, a goal that I am proud to say we met. As we move forward, we will continue to equip more officers with body cameras in the coming years as we look at other officers who interact with the community, such as our Wave Teams and our Carjacking Task Force officers.

These changes, along with the 46 reforms we are implementing through our Police Reform Work Group, will help us ensure that our Police Department has access to the resources it needs to keep our community safe, while also remaining transparent and being able to hold officers accountable for misconduct.

Additional Resources

In addition to securing needed resources in our key priority areas, we also secured additional resources in the capital budget, including:

  • $24.1 million toward renovations of Marlboro Hall at Prince George’s Community College.
  • $1.5 million for the Central Avenue Connector Trail project (part of the Blue Line Corridor project).
  • $11.0 million toward a new Amphitheater in Downtown Largo.
  • $9.2 million toward turf fields for Prince George’s County Public Schools.
  • $8.9 million towards infrastructure and road improvements along the Blue Line Corridor, which runs from the D.C. line, down Central Avenue, all the way into Downtown Largo.
    • These funds will allow us to complete road and infrastructure work along this important corridor. In turn, we expect to see more interest in development along the Corridor.
    • In addition to the $8.9 million in the capital budget for road and infrastructure improvements for the Corridor, we also received an additional $8.7 million in a supplemental budget from the Governor, for a total of $17.6 million.

Lastly, we helped secure passage of legislation that will help us preserve affordable housing options even as redevelopment continues across the County. The Affordable Housing PILOT legislation could be particularly useful along the Purple Line where the County will be able to work with non-profits and others to ensure that we maintain affordable housing as development continues in and around the new Purple Line stations.

As you can see, we had a very successful session for Prince George’s County, and we are proud of our Delegation and what we were able to accomplish. I truly believe the best is yet to come for our County, and by working together, we will continue to deliver results for Prince Georgians.

Yours in Service,

Angela Alsobrooks

Prince George’s County Executive

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