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Here’s an update on what’s happening in Annapolis at the end of the eighth week of the 2023 Legislative Session.

Weekly Video Update from Annapolis - Week 8

You can watch my weekly video update – focused on the work that the Maryland Senate Republican Caucus and I are doing to provide real solutions on violent crime by clicking the picture below.

Minimum Wage Increase Bill Heard in Senate Finance Committee

On Thursday, Governor Moore’s proposed Fair Wage Act had a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee. A signature piece in his inaugural legislative package, the Fair Wage Act would accelerate the effective date of the $15/hour minimum wage increase to October 1st of 2023 (it is already set to increase to $15/hour in 2025). The Fair Wage Act would also index future annual increases to inflation – although capped at 5%. This is similar to the terrible way that Maryland’s gas tax is structured and would create an automatic increase to the minimum wage permanently without a vote from the General Assembly. The minimum wage would only increase, and would never come down during times of deflation.

I am deeply concerned about the impact on Maryland’s job creators, especially small businesses, that are already bearing the burden of an increase in cost of doing business due to inflation. Frankly, it could also lead to a loss of jobs for the very people that Governor Moore and the other supporters of the bill say they want to help. Senate Republicans also object to the automatic increase. If the General Assembly wants to increase the minimum wage, it needs to use the transparent legislative process to do so.

The Senate Finance Committee – of which I am a member – will be working on the bill. There does seem to be some openness from my Democratic colleagues to making adjustments and changes but not to defeat the bill. It will be moving in the next week or so to be voted out to the full Senate.

Ready in the Press

Over the past week, I’ve had a lot of press coverage focused on our fight in Annapolis on crime, education reform, parental rights and more. You can access some of these stories by clicking here.

Additionally, the Republican House Caucus joined the Republican Senate Caucus on Thursday for a press conference about legislative initiatives targeting violent crime. The time is now to take action and we need the Democratic Supermajority in the Senate and House to move. We do have some bipartisan support for these initiatives and the Governor has even signaled willingness to sign repeat violent offender legislation – for example. It comes down to willingness on behalf of Senate President, Speaker of the House and Democratic Party leadership. You can watch a portion of the press conference where I give remarks by clicking here.

Finally, I spoke with WJZ-TV on Wednesday about a bill to put abortion all the way up through nine months with essentially no restrictions no matter the stage of pregnancy into the Maryland Constitution. The story which ran on the 5:00 WJZ news can be found by clicking here.

Maryland March for Life

On Monday, thousands of Marylanders marched through Annapolis to the State House to peacefully express their support for the unborn. It was wonderful to see so many people out expressing joy and love of life at every stage. There is so much to be concerned about in our state but a lot to be hopeful for as well.

Senatorial Scholarships Available

If you are or know a high school senior or college student, please consider applying for a Senatorial Scholarship.  For more information or to request an application, email Emily Van Horn at [email protected] and include your full address.  Scholarships will be accepted up to April 15, 2023.