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Public Policy and Advocacy Work

United Way is committed to pursuing a more just, fair, and equitable society where one’s background does not predict future outcomes. Our public policy team analyzes the effects of legislation and policies on individuals and communities and helps guide policy formation to expand equity, opportunity, and access for all. Supported by a board-level Public Policy Committee, we advocate for needed investments, governmental action, and community empowerment, and help amplify the voices of others to effect positive change for our region.

 

FOCUS AREAS: 2023 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

 

LEAD

  • Advocate for the adoption of a gradual step-down program to mitigate loss of benefits through administrative policy for SNAP and TANF recipients 

  • Educate policy makers about the benefits and cost savings of holistic approaches to health and human service needs, leveraging our proven ability to address multiple household priorities through a continuum of services rather than one issue at a time through multiple agencies 

ENGAGE 

  • Support legislation to help professionalize and elevate the childcare industry. These essential workers need additional training to qualify for and fill the positions that will be available as part of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future plan. 

MONITOR

  • Long-term strategies for eviction prevention assistance 

  • Funding and implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future plan, specifically as it impacts early childhood education 

 

KEY PRIORITIES: 2023 LEGISLATIVE SESSION 

 

Adopt legislation like that in Massachusetts to address benefit cliffs in Maryland 

  • Mitigate the impact of discontinued benefits (e.g., SNAP, childcare scholarships, medical assistance) when current maximum allowable income levels are reached. 

  • Even $1 over income limits can result in benefit loss, and many recipients will forego income increases or promotions to avoid these benefit cliffs. 

 

Support SB 248: Access to Transcripts for Unpaid Student Accounts at Public Institutions of Higher Education

  • 6.6 million students in the United States can’t obtain their college or university transcripts if they have unpaid school bills, with 65% owing less than $25. For income-constrained households, it could pose a tremendous setback. 

  • The policy prevents students from being able to take their credits with them if they transfer and from going to graduate school or getting jobs that could help them pay their balances. For those living as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), juggling household responsibilities with multiple jobs, even small debts, can pose an insurmountable burden. 

 

Overturn GED age restriction from 18 to 16 years old

  • Prior to the 2016 passage of SB0095/CH0346 which increased the age requirement to obtain a GED from 16 to 18, the high school dropout rate was 2.9%. By 2021, that rate escalated to 7.4%, with much of the increase attributable to the pandemic.  

  • Studies show that those without a high school degree die younger, experience more health issues, are more likely to become incarcerated, have children but not marry, and continue a cycle of poverty in their families than those who graduate from high school.

 

PUBLIC POLICY RESOURCES

 

 

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