While Maryland HBCU Coalition plaintiffs are in formal settlement negotiations with the state, the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland (LBCM), is following through on a promise made at the start of the 2018 session to, “actively promote legislation to support HBCUs” in the halls of the Maryland General Assembly.
“We must use all of the Democratic tools available to us to bring justice to Maryland’s HBCUs and the communities served by them,” said Rev. Kobi Little, political action chair of the Maryland NAACP Conference.
“We only have to look at the State’s federal appeal of Judge Blake’s decision to see that we can’t afford to limit our approach to the court,” Little said.
A half-dozen pieces of legislation impacting the state’s four HBCUs are under consideration in the Maryland General Assembly his year, including the HBI Comparability Program, presented each year for the past decade by Sen. Joan Carter Conway (D-43). Conway’s bill has not been voted out of committee yet, nor has its companion bill on the House of Delegates side, HB-450, whose primary sponsor is Del. Nick Mosby (D-40).
“At this stage of the legislative process, if a Senate or House bill has not reached the General Assembly floor, the bill is not “dead” but has a longer process to become law in the state of Maryland,” Little said.
Bills and amendments in support of HBCU’s proposed in the 2018 session of the Maryland General Assembly include:
HB450/SB252 –Blount-Rawlings-Britt HBI Comparability Program Establishing the Blount-Rawlings-Britt HBI Comparability Program to provide supplemental funding assistance to the State’s public 4-year historically Black institutions (HBIs) ensuring HBIs are comparable and competitive with other State 4-year public institutions of higher education. Primary sponsors: Senator Joan Carter Conway/Delegate Nick Mosby
HB1062/SB827 –Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Appointment of a Special Advisor – Development of a Remedial Plan (HBCU Equity Act of 2018). Primary sponsors: Delegate Charles E. Sydnor/Senator Joan Carter Conway
HB1753/SB776 -HBCU Internship in Maryland Government Scholarship Program: Establishing the HBCU Internship in Maryland Government Scholarship Program to award scholarships to HBCU students so that they may explore State government career opportunities: Primary sponsors: Delegate Cheryl Glenn/Senator Joanne C. Benson
HB1819/SB615 -Higher Education Cyber Warrior Diversity Program: Establishing the program at Baltimore City Community College, Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (Senate Amended language): Primary Sponsors: Delegate Michael A. Jackson/Senator Barbara Robinson
HB1665 – Income Tax Credit – up to $250,000 of income tax credits for certain donations to Endowments of Maryland Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Primary sponsor: Nick Mosby
HB1630 -Higher Education – James Proctor Scholarship Program – Established. Primary Sponsors: Delegate Joseph F. Vallario (passed House of Delegates with amendments on 3/12/2018)
“This is where constituents of my district and Maryland residents across the state must become involved in the legislative process if they wish to see the change they want in the world,” said Mosby.
“Your presence here in Annapolis counts,” said Del. Charles E. Sydnor, III (D-44B), primary House of Delegates sponsor of the HBCU Equity Act of 2018 (HB 1062).
Sydnor said when Attorney General Brian Frosh filed a motion to have Judge Catherine Blake’s ruling in favor of HBCU plaintiffs set-aside, he knew legislation would be necessary to reinforce the ruling in the HBCU Equity lawsuit.
“To make Judge Blake’s ruling the law of the land, lawmakers need to see the people whom it matters to,” Sydnor said. ‘Testifying orally [at General Assembly hearings] means an awful lot to the General Assembly,” Sydnor told HBCU advocates.
MLBC Chair Del. Cheryl Glenn (D-45), urged citizens to contact their Delegates and Senators directly to support HBCU legislation.