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AUDIO: 2021 General Assembly Update – From COVID Relief To The Black Agenda

Tom Hall

Midday on WYPR

Today on Middayan update on the 2021 General Assembly Session in Annapolis, now in its second week.  Given the pandemic and the constitutional requirement that lawmakers be physically present in the State House for their annual deliberations, it’s been an unusual legislative session so far.  In some ways, it is progressing at an unusually rapid pace.  

A focus on racial equity is front and center this year, in ways it has not been in the past.  Last August, Senate President Bill Ferguson of Baltimore formed an Advisory Workgroup on Equity and Inclusion, chaired by Senate President Pro Tem Melony Griffith of Prince George’s County to review bills with an equity lens around issues like health care disparities, economic opportunities and environmental justice.  And last week, Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones officially rolled out her “Black Agenda” for the Session, which includes nine pieces of legislation and 30 policy recommendations directed at rectifying wealth disparities, improving minority performance in competition for state contracts, and addressing health outcomes for Black and Brown people.

Today on Middaywe’ll find out which issues have dominated during the busy first two weeks of this year’s 12-week legislative session, and we’ll talk with civil rights leaders about their policy priorities.  Coming up in the show’s second and third segments, we’ll hear from Dayvon Love, director of public policy at the social justice advocacy group, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, and from the Rev. Kobi Littlethe president of the Baltimore Chapter of the NAACP, and Joshua Harris, vice-president of NAACP-Baltimore and the former Green Party candidate for Baltimore Mayor.  All three guests join Tom on Zoom.

But Tom begins the discussion today with Rachel Baye, who covers the Maryland State House in Annapolis for the WYPR News Team. She joins us via TieLine’s Report IT.

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