Our Priorities – the 2013 Maryland General Assembly

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By Cailey Locklair
Director of Government Relations, Baltimore Jewish Council

For the 2013 legislative session in Annapolis, the Baltimore Jewish Council will be lobbying for many items in the budget that will benefit the Jewish community. Three brand new items on their long list include: The Hillel Center for Social Justice, The Elder Abuse Center and Sinai Hospital’s Medical Home Extender Program.

The Baltimore Jewish Council, along with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, will be seeking a total of $2 million over FY14 and FY15 for the construction and renovation of the Hillel Center for Social Justice. The expansion and renovation of the current facility will help alleviate a decrepit, cramped space that can no longer support the amount of students it serves.

Over the past decade the facility has increased student participation by 150 percent, which translates to about 1,000 students each week. With the new expansion, the facility will be able to serve up to 3,000 students per week. Hillel serves as a magnet for the University of Maryland, College Park as it attracts students from across the country.

Due to rising cases of elder abuse in our community and across the country, the Baltimore Jewish Council will be lobbying for $150,000 over FY14 and 15 to create the State’s first Elder Abuse Center. Each year, it is estimated that 80,000 Marylanders experience some form of elder abuse; child to parent, caregiver to senior or instances of domestic violence. The Center is a collaborative ASSOCIATED agency effort between Jewish Community Services, CHANA and Levindale, which will create an effective and coordinated response for victims, perpetrators and their families and will provide prevention education for the entire community.

The final new item on the Baltimore Jewish Council’s budgetary agenda this year is Sinai Hospital’s Medical Home Extender Program. The Council is seeking $500,000 over FY14 and 15 which will create a total of five brand new positions at Sinai hospital: four community health worker positions responsible for coordinating primary care services for uninsured and underinsured patients, as well as a Masters level, supervisory nurse position to oversee the community health workers. This model fits into the Affordable Care Act and Health Enterprise Zone legislation that passed at the state level last year as it creates additional practitioner related resources.

Community involvement and input is critical to ensure these, and many other items, remain in the budget. The Council’s annual Advocacy Day will be held this year on February 26th with legislator meetings beginning at 5 p.m., followed by a reception with speakers from the executive branch.

Please visit http://www.baltjc.org for more information on how you can participate in Advocacy Day.

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Filed under Leadership Development, Philanthropy, Professionals, Volunteering & Advocacy, Young Adults

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