Tuesday, March 6, 2018

So many people to thank

The support letters for HB1110 overflowed in the House Ways & Means hearing folder on Friday, March 2.  There is no opposition to this bill. It has 32 co-sponsors representing both parties, from across the state. And the fiscal policy note indicates it will not cost the state or local districts a dime.

Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood submitted a petition signed by over a hundred of their Maryland members - mostly from Montgomery County - along with their organization's firm endorsement. 

Common Sense Media sent a letter of support, as did Prevent Blindness, the Queen Anne's County Commissioners, the Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi) and the American Academy of Pediatrics' Maryland Chapter. The Mental Health Association of Maryland also endorses HB1110.

Parents Across America submitted written testimony. The Baltimore County PTA Council and Advocates for Baltimore County Schools sent letters of endorsement and testified at the hearing. International eye care specialists Reticare and TreeHouse Eyes of Bethesda endorsed HB1110 in their written testimony. Child development experts and concerned parents across the state submitted their written support as well.

It was a long day for everyone - especially Committee members - as several bills lasted well into the evening. Our sincere thanks to Chair Anne Kaiser, Vice Chair Frank Turner and all the Committee members for their patience after such a long day, and their professional attention to this matter.

And hats off to those who stayed during the windstorm to testify on behalf of the bill, especially Delegate Steve Arentz, Leslie Weber, Julie Sugar, Pam Kasemeyer and the indomitable Ms. Rachel Faulkner. Representing the Maryland Occupational Therapy Association, Ms. Faulkner stayed all afternoon just to ask that her profession be included in this critical effort to protect Maryland students from avoidable harm in their classrooms.

Here's the video testimony. (It begins at 4:55:15) 

Let's hope that the education subcommittee members will appreciate the gravity of the public health risks facing our children, recognize the overwhelming support for this bill from the medical community, parents and child health experts, and recommend its approval. 

Cindy Eckard