Sen. Eckardt's update: Millions for Maryland public safety

By Addie Eckardt
Posted 8/23/21

ANNAPOLIS — On Aug. 19, I toured downtown Easton with Governor Hogan, Delegate Adams, Delegate Mautz, Mayor Willey, and other local elected officials. Earlier that morning, I attended his …

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Sen. Eckardt's update: Millions for Maryland public safety

Posted

ANNAPOLIS — On Aug. 19, I toured downtown Easton with Governor Hogan, Delegate Adams, Delegate Mautz, Mayor Willey, and other local elected officials. Earlier that morning, I attended his dedication of a portion of MD 404 to Assistant Fire Chief Daniel Lister of the Queen Anne-Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Company, who died in the line of duty while responding to a motor vehicle incident along that highway in September 2018.
$4.6M for Public Safety
The Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services has released a Notice of Funding Availability for the Edward J. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (BJAG). This grant provides critical resources for organizations and law enforcement agencies to strengthen public safety while also promoting initiatives like officer wellness. More than $4.6 million in grant funds will be available for the FY 2022 fiscal year.
The Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services awards funds to support the coordinated efforts of local governments, state agencies, private entities, faith-based and community organizations, institutions of higher education, and non-profit organizations in achieving realistic goals and carrying out jurisdictional strategic plans that increase public safety and address the needs of Maryland’s communities.
State priorities for providing this year’s BJAG funding were identified by utilizing Maryland’s crime data, stakeholder surveys, federal recommendations, and new state legislation. Priority areas include:
• Crime/Violence Reduction
• Gun Violence Reduction Strategies
• Community Violence Intervention (CVI) programs
• Wellness, Mental Health and Crisis Intervention programs
• Officer Wellness initiatives and law enforcement employee assisted programs
• Crisis intervention teams/mental health/suicide prevention programs
• Prevention, early intervention, crisis and behavioral intervention programs including ACEs
• Law Enforcement Enhancements
• Body Worn Cameras (BWC) equipment
• National Incident-Based Reporting System compliance programs
• Specialized law enforcement training programs
• Planning and evaluation of programs
• Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Launches Emergency Rental Assistance Data Dashboard
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development last week announced the launch of the Emergency Rental Assistance Data Dashboard to track the progress local jurisdictions are making in distributing relief funds for tenants and landlords affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Viewers of the dashboard can select information on specific county programs, see demographic information and get data on department marketing and outreach efforts. To access the information, visit rentrelief.maryland.gov and click on “Data Dashboard.” The dashboard will be updated on a monthly basis to show progress.
The above are items from Sen. Eckardt’s weekly update. To see more, visit baytobaynews.com.
How to Apply:
Tenants and landlords should visit rentrelief.maryland.gov or call 877-546-5595 to get connected to rental assistance programs. All jurisdictions in Maryland are currently accepting applications. In addition to local programs, tenants in eligible properties may qualify for DHCD’s Assisted Housing Relief Program, which serves rental units in multifamily projects financed by the department’s Community Development Administration using state funds or federal resources. Tenants in those properties should contact their property management company for application information.

New Vaccination Protocols
During Wednesday’s COVID-19 Update Press Conference, Governor Hogan announced the following new vaccination protocols:
• Nursing home and hospital staff to show proof of vaccination or adhere to ongoing screening and testing
• Increase of fines and civil penalties for nursing homes that fail to comply with protocols and reporting vaccination data
• Pressing the Federal Administration to make booster shots available immediately for seniors and vulnerable populations
• Pushing for full FDA approval of vaccines, including expediting approval for 5-11 year old’s
• Launching a Statewide antibody testing program for nursing home residents
Van Hollen: $700M for Maryland

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced the Committee’s passage of three funding bills including major wins for Maryland and nearly $700 Million in funding for projects within the state. The legislation will now move to consideration by the full Senate.
Here is some funding that will positively impact District 37:
Energy and Water
• $3.88 million for Chesapeake Bay Oyster Recovery & language to encourage the Army Corps to support Oyster Recovery Program efforts.
• $4.2 million for Poplar Island Construction, along with an additional $15 million for Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration that could be used for Poplar Island.
• $5.75 million for Chesapeake Bay Environmental Restoration.
• $40 million for other Army Corps Operations and Maintenance Projects in Maryland.
Agriculture
• $138,000 for the Packing House – 411 Kitchen project in Cambridge, Maryland. Funds will be used to build out a shared-use commercial kitchen to provide job training, technical assistance, and access to equipment for small businesses at the center of the revitalization of the Historic Pine Street Neighborhood in Cambridge.
• $784.812 million for Conservation Technical Assistance, in which Natural Resources Conservation Service staff work one-on-one with farmers to conserve resources and prevent run-off. The bill also includes language expressing the Committee’s view that additional technical assistance should be provided to Critical Conservation Areas like the Chesapeake Bay Watershed because a lack of planning capacity can slow down projects in our region.
• Funding for programs at 1890 Institutions like the University of Maryland Eastern Shore:
- Research: $73 million
- Extension Services: $62 million
- Education Grants: $26 million
- Facility Improvements: $21.5 million
- Scholarships: $10 million
Military Construction and VA
• Funding for VA homelessness prevention programs. Funding includes:
- $395.4 million for the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program,
- $270.4 million for the Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program, and
- $483.9 million for case management and supportive services as administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) under the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program.
• Language to encourage the Department of Defense to use Energy Resilience and Conservation Program funds to support stormwater management projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed in order to better protect and conserve the health of the Bay.

USDA Rural Housing Service
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a grant notice on August 4, 2021 for the Healthy Home Production Program. USDA Rural Housing Service – Multi-family Housing encourages current and eligible property owners to consider this funding opportunity.
The purpose of the grant is to:
• Identify and remediate multiple housing-related health and safety hazards in low-income rental housing (including radon testing and mitigation);
• Promote cost-effective and efficient healthy home methods and approaches that can be replicated and sustained;
• Support public education and outreach that furthers the goal of protecting children and other vulnerable populations from housing-related health and safety hazards;
• Build local capacity to operate sustainable programs that will prevent and control housing-related environmental health and safety hazards in low- and very low-income residences and develop a professional workforce that is trained in healthy homes assessment and principles.
Eligible Applicants Include:
• Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized);

• County, city, township, or state governments;
• Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education.
Closing date for applications is September 21, 2021 at 11:59:59 PM Eastern Standard time. The complete notice and more information on this funding opportunity from HUD can be found here.

$500M Emergency Rural Health Care Grant
USDA is providing up to $500 million in grant funding for eligible applicants and eligible facilities to help broaden access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines, health care services, telehealth services, food assistance through food banks and food distribution facilities, and collaborative, evidence-based support for the long-term sustainability of rural health care.
USDA will make this $500 million in grant funding available to be distributed between two tracks of funding to eligible applicants:
• Track One: Provides immediate relief to address the economic conditions arising from the COVID-19 emergency. Grant funds must be used in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and to support immediate health care needs, to help prepare for a future pandemic event, or to increase access to quality health care services and improve community health outcomes. Grant awards range from $25,000 - $1 million.
• Track Two: Impact Grants advance ideas and solutions to solve regional rural health care problems to support the long-term sustainability of rural health care. Long-term sustainability is defined as “improved health outcomes, improved access to quality health care, and creating and maintaining sustainable economic development for small communities.” Grant funds must be used in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant awards range from $5 million - $10 million.
To learn more about the Community Facilities emergency pilot program and the American Rescue Plan, visit their website.

Maryland Insurance Administration
Virtual Events
• Wednesday, August 25, 12 pm
Annuities 101
Join the Maryland Insurance Administration for a presentation to learn the basics of annuities. This presentation will include: What is an annuity? How does an annuity earn interest? What fees are associated with annuities? Get your questions answered during this free consumer presentation.
For more information: https://tinyurl.com/2xpjd4uj
• Tuesday, September 21, 1 pm
Listening Session: Insurance Considerations for Rural Marylanders
Throughout 2021, Commissioner Birrane and the MIA is holding a series of Listening Sessions to help the MIA more fully understand the experiences of specific communities relating to certain kinds of insurance. In this session, we will take an in-depth at all lines of insurance in Maryland’s rural communities.
For more information: https://tinyurl.com/zw759yvy
• Tuesdays in September, 12 pm
Homeowners Insurance Seminar Series
Join the Maryland Insurance Administration on Sept. 7, 14, 21 and 28 for an informative Seminar Series to learn about homeowners insurance and to get your questions answered.
For more information: https://tinyurl.com/26r5xbdn.
Public Hearings
• Monday, August 30, 10 am-1 pm
Mental Health Parity Regulations Virtual Public Hearing
The Maryland Insurance Commissioner is required, in consultation with interested stakeholders, to adopt regulations implementing the provisions of § 15-144, which requires health carriers to report on compliance with the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA).
For more information: https://tinyurl.com/34jvjjsa

Recent Consumer Advisories
• Receiving a COVID-19 vaccination does not imperil life insurance benefits

https://insurance.maryland.gov/Pages/newscenter/NewsDetails.aspx?NR=2021301
• Maryland health carriers required to cover the administration of FDA-authorized antibody therapies for COVID-19 with no cost-sharing for patients
https://insurance.maryland.gov/Pages/newscenter/NewsDetails.aspx?NR=2021300
• Protect yourself against mail delivery delays
https://insurance.maryland.gov/Pages/newscenter/NewsDetails.aspx?NR=2021294
• Maryland Insurance Administration launches Spanish and Korean website sections https://insurance.maryland.gov/Pages/newscenter/NewsDetails.aspx?NR=2021291
• Marylanders are eligible for ‘no-cost’ COVID-19 vaccinations
https://insurance.maryland.gov/Pages/newscenter/NewsDetails.aspx?NR=2020290

Consumer Resources
• A Consumer Guide to Auto Insurance
https://insurance.maryland.gov/Consumer/Documents/publicnew/autoinsuranceguide.pdf
• A Consumer Guide to Homeowners Insurance
https://insurance.maryland.gov/Consumer/Documents/publications/homeownersinsguide.pdf
• Health Insurance Shopping Tool
https://insurance.maryland.gov/Consumer/Documents/publicnew/Health-Insurance-Shopping-Tool.pdf
• Medicare Supplement FAQs
https://insurance.maryland.gov/Consumer/Documents/publicnew/Medicare-Supplement-FAQs.pdf
• A Consumer Guide to Auto Insurance for Teen & Young Drivers
https://insurance.maryland.gov/Consumer/Documents/publications/teenautoinsguide.pdf
• Insurance Complaints
If you would like to file an insurance complaint, please visit our online portal:
https://insurance.maryland.gov/Consumer/Pages/FileAComplaint.aspx
Call 1-800-492-6116.
Special note: The Maryland Insurance Administration is available to give virtual presentations on insurance-related topics to community groups.

District 37 Senatorial Scholarship
The Maryland Higher Education Commission has given my office additional funds to award students in District 37 with my Senatorial Scholarship. If you live in District 37 and go to a Maryland school (or have a unique major out of State), you may be eligible to apply!
If you would like to learn more about this application process, please email my office at Adelaide.Eckardt@senate.state.md.us. My office will accept application up until August 25. If you have received my scholarship within the past four years, you do not need to reapply as my scholarship is renewable for up to 8 semesters.
Ms. Eckardt represents District 37 in the Maryland State Senate.