MABE’s Legislative Committee holds monthly meetings to guide the association’s lobbying activities in Annapolis, and invites policy and legislative leaders to exchange ideas. MABE’s Director of Governmental Relations, in coordination with MABE leadership, conducts direct lobbying activities including written and oral testimony before the General Assembly. MABE also coordinates the Green Street Coalition, which is comprised of legislative liaisons from school systems and the superintendents association, and produces the GreenSheet newsletter highlighting MABE's positions, bill status updates, and Calls to Action during the legistative session.
2015 Legislative Session
The 2015 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly convened on January 14, 2015 and adjourns 90 days later on April 13, 2015. In advance of the legislative session, MABE annually updates its Continuing Resolutions, which provide the foundation for legislative and policy positions in the coming year. On October 1, 2014 local board members approved Continuing Resolutions for 2014-2015, and on October 20, 2014, MABE's Legislative Committee adopted 2015 Legislative Priorities and Positions.
The 2015 session is underway, and MABE is advocating on behalf of Maryland's twenty-four local boards of educaton and the more than 860,000 prekindergarten through 12th grade students attending our outstanding public schools each day in support of MABE's legislative positions.
MABE's priorities for the 2015 Legislative Session include:
- Support for continued governance autonomy for local boards of education to set education policy and school budgets; and opposition to unfunded mandates – MABE supports continued autonomy for all local boards to adopt education policies that promote high standards for academic and fiscal accountability. Therefore, MABE opposes any legislative or regulatory initiatives which would have the effect of reducing local board governance or budgetary authority, or which create unfunded mandates.
- Support at least a two-year delay in using the new PARCC High School Assessments in English 10 and Algebra I as “high stakes” graduation requirement tests – MABE does not oppose administering the new HSAs developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), but strongly opposes linking student scores on these new tests to high school graduation for at least the next two school years in order to develop cut scores and alternative assessments.
- Support for full State funding for Maryland’s outstanding public schools – MABE urges the Governor and General Assembly to support increased funding of public education in the FY 2016 State Budget. Local boards of education are committed to preparing all students to be globally competitive in college and careers. Increased state investments in public education are essential in these times of rapid change, rising expectations, and increased costs.
- Support for robust State funding for school construction and renovation projects – MABE places a high priority on providing students high quality, healthy, and safe learning environments. Therefore, we greatly appreciate the State’s consistent investment in school construction and renovation projects. The FY 2016 school construction budget should provide at least $350 million to ensure that all Maryland schools are better learning environments to prepare our students to be college and career ready.
- Support for sustained local government investments in education – Funding from Maryland’s twenty-three counties and Baltimore City plays a critical role in combining with state and federal funding to support teaching and learning. MABE strongly supports the Maintenance of Effort reforms enacted in 2012. MABE also supports sustaining adequate local capital funding essential to financing the construction and renovation of high quality school facilities in partnership with the State.
2015 Legislative Positions Publication (adopted October 20, 2014)
Each year MABE adopts legislative priorities and updates policy statements and legislative positions on issues such as Local Board Governance, Educaton Funding, School Safety, Special Educaton, and Charter Schools.
MABE has been actively engaged in advocating on behalf of local boards on priority issues such as charter schools, special education, adequate school funding, and school calendar issues concerning a post-Labor Day start date and later start-time for high schools.
MABE's Legislative Commitee, representing all 24 local boards, meets at least monthly August through April to adopt positions and priorities and lead the association's government relations program.
MABE monitors approximately 350 education related bills during session, and submits written testimony and testifies in person at bill hearings on priority legislation.
MABE pens a newsletter highlighting legislative matters pending before the General Assembly during session.
MABE encourages board members to become familiar with the vast array of legislative and budget information available on the General Assembly's website.
Following each legislative session, MABE issues a comprehensive summary of all education-related bills which passed, and selected bills which did not pass; and highlights operating and capital budget outcomes.
This portable guide is provided to assist local boards in their lobbying local, state, and federal officials on behalf of Maryland’s outstanding public schools and students. Members can obtain a copy of the toolkit by contacting Sandi Barry, email@example.com.
For additional information, contact John Woolums, MABE's Director of Governmental Relations, at (410) 841-5414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.