Baltimore, MD – Governor Wes Moore, alongside Lieutenant Governor Miller, presided over the Moore-Miller Administration’s seventh bill signing ceremony today, showcasing the administration’s dedication to securing a brighter future for Maryland’s children through education and ensuring community safety. The event highlighted key legislation aimed at protecting children from gun violence, improving education, and expanding access to essential services.

Signing SB 858

Under the theme of safeguarding Maryland’s youth, Governor Moore expressed his commitment to the state’s prosperity, stating, “Today is about protecting the future and ensuring the education and safety of every Marylander—that’s what our administration is committed to.” Lt. Gov. Miller echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of investing in children and community safety for the state’s long-term growth and prosperity.

A notable guest at the ceremony was Melissa Willey, the mother of Jaelynn Willey, a 16-year-old victim of gun violence who tragically lost her life in a school shooting on March 20, 2018. In remembrance of Jaelynn, Governor Moore signed into law S.B. 858, known as Jaelynn’s Law. Melissa Willey was presented with the ceremonial pen used to sign the bill, symbolizing the administration’s commitment to preventing similar tragedies.

Among the significant bills signed by Governor Moore were:

S.B. 858: Firearm Safety – Storage Requirements and Youth Suicide Prevention (Jaelynn’s Law) Jaelynn’s Law modifies provisions regarding the storage of firearms and ammunition accessible to unsupervised children. It mandates the Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services to develop a guide on youth suicide prevention and firearm safe storage in collaboration with a stakeholder committee.

H.B. 1219: Maryland Educator Shortage Reduction Act of 2023 This legislation addresses the shortage of highly trained educators in Maryland by implementing measures to recruit, train, and retain educators for schools and child care facilities. It also focuses on enhancing behavioral health services for students by recruiting and retaining mental health professionals in schools.

S.B. 148: Victim Services Programs – Supplementing Federal Funding and Support (Victim Services Stabilization Act) The Victim Services Stabilization Act ensures the stable funding and support of trauma-informed programs and services for crime victims. It requires the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services to assist in supporting programs that serve victims of crime, consulting with relevant individuals and organizations for funding allocation, and including specific funding in the state budget.

Governor Wes Moore signing SB 1

S.B. 542: Public Safety – Emergency Management – Consumer Protections Against Price Gouging This legislation prohibits the price gouging of essential goods and services during and after a state of emergency. It also establishes an electronic notification system, managed by the Secretary of State, to inform individuals about the declaration of a state of emergency and subsequent executive orders.

S.B. 622: Medicaid Waiver Programs – Waitlist and Registry Reduction (End the Wait Act) The End the Wait Act mandates the utilization of certain Medicaid funding to provide community services to individuals awaiting services through designated waiver programs. Additionally, it permits the allocation of Medicaid funding to expand provider capacity within these programs, thereby reducing wait times. The legislation also amends the uses of specific funding allocated in the fiscal year 2023 budget bill.

S.B. 789: Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits – Preservation and Storage This bill revises requirements for the storage and preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits. It mandates the retention and transfer of kits collected before January 1, 2000, according to specified guidelines. Furthermore, the Maryland Sexual Assault Evidence Kit Policy and Funding Committee, in consultation with the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General, will present recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly by December 1, 2023, regarding sexual assault evidence collection kit policies.

S.B. 1: Gun Safety Act of 2023 The Gun Safety Act of 2023 prohibits the wearing, carrying, or transportation of firearms in certain locations. It specifically prohibits individuals from bringing firearms onto specified properties unless granted permission by the owner or owner’s agent.

The signing of these bills represents a comprehensive approach by the Moore-Miller Administration to address critical issues affecting Maryland’s communities. By prioritizing education and public safety, Governor Moore aims to create a thriving environment for Marylanders to prosper.

The bill signing ceremony also served as an opportunity for Governor Moore to reaffirm his commitment to protecting Maryland’s youth and ensuring their well-being. With S.B. 858, Jaelynn’s Law, the administration is taking proactive measures to prevent tragedies like the school shooting that claimed Jaelynn Willey’s life. The law emphasizes responsible firearm storage and provides resources for youth suicide prevention, thereby enhancing community safety.

H.B. 1219, the Maryland Educator Shortage Reduction Act of 2023, addresses the pressing issue of educator shortages in the state. By investing in recruitment, training, and retention initiatives, the legislation aims to attract highly qualified educators and improve the quality of education for Maryland students. Additionally, it recognizes the importance of mental health support by prioritizing the recruitment and retention of mental health professionals in schools.

Recognizing the need to support victims of crime, S.B. 148, the Victim Services Stabilization Act, ensures consistent funding and high-quality services for individuals affected by crime. By consulting with relevant stakeholders and allocating funding effectively, the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services will enhance support programs for crime victims across the state.

S.B. 542 addresses consumer protections during emergencies, particularly against price gouging. By implementing measures to prevent unreasonably high prices for essential goods and services, the legislation aims to protect Maryland residents during times of crisis.

The passage of S.B. 622, the End the Wait Act, demonstrates the administration’s commitment to improving access to healthcare services. By utilizing Medicaid funding to provide community services and expanding provider capacity, the legislation aims to reduce wait times for individuals awaiting critical services through waiver programs.

The signing of S.B. 789, the Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits Preservation and Storage Act, ensures proper storage and preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits. This legislation emphasizes the importance of preserving evidence and seeks to improve the handling and processing of sexual assault cases.

Governor Moore’s commitment to public safety is further underscored by the signing of S.B. 1, the Gun Safety Act of 2023. By implementing stricter regulations on the possession and transportation of firearms, the legislation aims to enhance community safety and prevent potential harm.

As Governor Moore concludes the bill signing ceremony, his focus on education, public safety, and the overall well-being of Marylanders is evident. Through these legislative measures, the Moore-Miller Administration takes significant steps toward building a safer and brighter future for Maryland’s children and communities.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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