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Our 2019 Maryland Jewish Advocacy Day was canceled due to the snow. However, the important issues advocates were going to discuss are still being considered by the Maryland General Assembly. This year, our legislative priorities are:
You can still make your voice heard in Annapolis on these important legislative issues by taking action now!
Jewish Advocacy Day Issues
Dear [Decision Maker],
As you know due to the snowy weather on Wednesday, February 20th, the Maryland Jewish advocacy day was unfortunately canceled. Therefore, I am writing to you as a member of my Jewish community about some important issues that we had hoped to discuss with you in person. I understand that for some of you these issues may not have hearings or be discussed in your respective committees. However, when these issues come to the floor of the House and Senate, I would ask for your support.
BUDGET ISSUES SUPPORT Funding for Increased Security Measures at Schools and Child Care Centers At-Risk of Hate Crimes and Places of Worship- $2,000,000 in increase funding for the "Schools and Child Care Centers State Grant Program Security Upgrades for Facilities at Risk of Hate Crimes or Attacks," within the Maryland Center for School Safety. This continued funding is important to help protect schools and child care centers of any faith or ideology that are at risk of a hate crime or attack.- $3,000,000 in new funding to protect houses of worship that are at-risk of hate crimes. This new competitive grant program will be administered by the Office of Crime Control and Prevention. Houses of worship will be eligible for funding regardless of religious affiliation. A $1,000,000 grant for the University of Maryland's Hillel Student Center, which provides a place for students of all faiths, cultures and ethnicities. A $225,000 grant in the Department of Aging's budget to support aging in place programs in the DC suburban area.A $350,000 grant in the Department of Aging's budget for the Jewish Social Services Agency to help continue to meet the acute and growing needs of Holocaust survivors.A $75,000 grant in the Department of Aging's budget to assist the Charles E. Smith Life Communities with providing general operating support for the ElderSAFE Center's activities.A $275,000 grant in the Department of Commerce's budget to support the Maryland-Israel Development Center's (MIDC) work.A $150,000 Bond Bill for the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes to purchase and renovate two apartments in an appropriate retirement community to allow seniors with mobility challenges the opportunity to transition from group homes into a thriving and inclusive senior community. A $150,000 Bond Bill for the Sunflower Bakery to move their operations to a new 3000 square foot warehouse in Rockville to meet their growing programmatic and production needs. LEGISLATIVE ISSUES Senate Bill 416 "Education Curriculum Holocaust and Genocide Unit (Lessons of the Holocaust and Genocide Act)" - In April 2018 a survey conducted by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany found a startling number of American adults lack basic knowledge of what happened during the Holocaust. 22% percent of millennials said they haven't heard of the Holocaust or are not sure if they've heard of it. However, 93% percent said that Holocaust education was necessary in our schools. This survey clearly underscores the importance of Holocaust and Genocide education. If there are gaps in awareness while our Holocaust survivors are still here, it's hard to imagine how hard it will be when they are no longer with us to tell their stories. Senate Bill 232/House Bill 240 "Hate Crimes Threats and Penalties" - In recent years, several schools, synagogues, churches, mosques, and other local institutions saw a drastic increase of hate incidents and threats, including bomb threats against individuals and members of our community. These threats currently do not fall under the hate crime statute. Senate Bill 232/House Bill 240 would help to strengthen our current hate crime laws by punishing individuals who make these heinous threats. Even though no physical harm may result from a hate threat, they are very personal crimes, which leave the victims with emotional and psychological impacts. Senate Bill 473 "Hate Crimes Civil Remedy" - According to the Anti-Defamation League's data, of the 45 states and the District of Columbia that have state hate crime laws, 33 also permit civil actions for violation of the criminal statutes. We think that it's time Maryland join DC and the other 32 states that already have civil remedies in place for violation of state hate crime statutes. Senate Bill 209/House Bill 122 "Protective Orders Relief Eligibility Rape and Sexual Offenses" - Shalom bayit--peace in home--is a central tenet of Judaism. However, it is not the reality in many homes where the constant threat of abuse continues to erode both family and community life. The Jewish Community Relations Council, together with Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse, have been long-time supporters of measures to aid and protect victims of domestic violence. This legislation builds on measures we have supported in the past.
Thank you for your consideration of all these issues that are important the Jewish community.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP][Your Email]