Opening day of the Maryland General Assembly 2021 session is tomorrow, Wednesday, January 13, 2021. They will open with modified operating procedures and practices, and some new website interface features, to manage COVID-19 conditions and maintain opportunities to allow for civic engagement. (See Reopening Guidelines for details.) Public participation and testimony will take place through virtual tools and member participation and schedules will be different than in previous years.
I am happy to be available to provide assistance to f/Friends upon request about how the MGA will operate this session, how you can use the website tutorials and new interface pages to get engaged this year, and how to contact members and testify this year. I believe Molly Finch at Quaker Voice is working on setting up a time for an educational work session in the next couple of weeks that will be available to all our f/Friends.
In the mean time, or in preparation for this session, I would like to share some introductory training material I recently developed and presented about the state legislative process and advocacy for my children’s Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) at Mount Hebron High School (MHHS). Some of you may have already seen these, but this is just a reminder since session starts tomorrow. These workshop videos have a few comments specific to the MHHS community in them, but mainly they are applicable and intended for anyone in our community who may be interested in learning how to engage in the state legislative process. (The slides from the presentations are also provided in the links below as reference.)
How to Create Change (Part 1): Advocacy and the State Legislative Process (Slides Part 1)
How to Create Change (Part 2): Beginning Your Advocacy Journey (Slides Part 2)
If you have not watched the MGA Video Tutorials about using the site and the new witness testimony procedures this year, I strongly recommend you watch them. They are short and cover a lot of useful information about how to use the website and interpret and track what’s there during the 2021 session. Each committee will have new procedures for virtual testimony and written testimony submission. Review these guidelines available on each committee’s webpage for the most up-to-date and specific information for that committee. (The procedures for the standing committees in the Senate are attached.)
Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to discuss this further. I look forward to seeing you soon to explore some of these topics and how we can advocate effectively this session, despite COVID-19!
Erinn Camp Mansour
Co-clerk, Peace Committee, Sandy Spring Friends Meeting