Speaker of the House Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) announced Monday that he is creating a House of Delegates Study Group to Study Economic Stability in Maryland.
“The House has not had a comprehensive look at the state of poverty in Maryland this century,” Busch said. “Thousands of Maryland families work hard, pay taxes and consistently find themselves falling further and further behind each year. We need to create opportunity and pathways to the middle class for all Marylanders.”
The study group, which will be led by Del. Stephen W. Lafferty (D-Baltimore County), will focus on improving the economic stability of families that are not consistently eligible for social safety net programs and often hit the benefits cliff. Specifically, the lawmakers will:
- Assess the current and future impacts of poverty of Marylanders, including what factors contribute to and cause poverty
- Assess current state law, policies, programs and practices intended to reduce poverty and recommend ways to provide greater equity, equality and economic opportunity around: employment and economic opportunity; accessible and affordable housing; hunger, nutrition and food security; asset building and financial stability; transportation access; and health care access
It isn’t yet clear whether the study group will yield legislation in this General Assembly session. House leaders envision it as a long-term enterprise that will produce action eventually.
In addition to Lafferty, members of the House appointed to the study group are: Dels. Tony Bridges (D-Baltimore City); Wanika Fisher (D-Prince George’s); Andrea F. Harrison (D-Prince Georges); Shelly Hettleman (D-Baltimore County); Brooke E. Lierman (D-Baltimore City); Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery); Johnny Mautz (R-Middle Shore); Mike McKay (R-Allegany); Pamela Queen (D-Montgomery); Sheree Sample-Hughes (D-Middle Shore); and Charles E. Sydnor III (D-Baltimore County).