ANNAPOLIS — With exactly three weeks left in the Maryland General Assembly, lawmakers approved dozens of bills Monday that included permanent protective orders for domestic violence, renaming a bridge in Charles County after Sen. Thomas “Mac” Middleton and child sexual abuse training for school employees, volunteers and even students.
Monday also marked “Crossover Day,” a self-imposed deadline for lawmakers to approve legislation in the House and Senate and send them to the respective chamber for approval, with the reasoning that meeting the deadline allows a better chance for any legislation to be signed by the governor.
Locally, a bill from the Prince George’s delegation to establish an Affordable Housing Commission received unanimous approval Monday.
According to the legislation, the commission would review procedures and practices used in the county’s Department of Community and Housing Development.
Because the department doesn’t have the resources to provide expertise for the commission, the county must hire a housing analyst to study reports and census data and examine the state of affordable housing in the county.
The commission would cost $154,000, including $80,500 for salary and fringe benefits, $60,000 consulting services, $9,000 for travel and food, and $5,000 for communications.
The money would only be used for next fiscal year with a report given to the county’s delegation, General Assembly and governor by Jan. 1.
“There’s concern that a lot of millennials and low-income folks may not be able to afford the county they grew up in,” said Delegate Jazz Lewis (D-District 24) of Landover. “This is trying to bridge that gap to help people who can’t afford to live in the county.”
If Amazon chooses to house its second headquarters in Maryland, Darryl Barnes (D-District 25) of Upper Marlboro said those workers will seek housing in Prince George’s.
“Although it would be in Montgomery County, some of those workers will seek housing in Prince George’s County,” he said.
The House recessed at 1:15 p.m. and reconvened to approve remaining bills at 4 p.m. The Senate is scheduled meet again at 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, the county continues working on a comprehensive housing strategy to assess its stock based on current and future needs. While the commission will mainly review affordable housing for workers, the county also handles housing needs for seniors and the homeless.
Additional county housing sessions will take place April 11 at Laurel High School and May 16 at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville.