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Henson’s Priorities

Legislative and
Policy Initiatives

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Housing

Federal and State safety net housing programs are intended to protect the most vulnerable Marylanders - such as the elderly, people with severe disabilities, and young children - and stabilize those who have fallen on hard times. Although housing assistance plays a critical role in the safety net, it is not an entitlement, meaning it does not provide benefits to all deemed eligible.

 

To protect District 30-A, Shaneka Henson advocates for resilience pathways that:

  • Help seniors age in place and protect rental housing indoor air quality.

  • Increase first-time homebuyer assistance funding and programs. 

  • Establish a fund for intermediate maintenance/repair of subsidized and publicly financed multi-family housing.

 

In 2022, Shaneka Henson worked with her peers to put forward  the following legislation on housing:

  • SB744/HB927 - Housing and Community Development - Affordable Housing - Excess Real Property. This legislation requires that, no later than 60 days after receiving a specific surplus property notice from MDP, DHCD must, in consultation with the unit of State government that controls the property, determine if the property is suitable for use or redevelopment as affordable housing. 

  • Department of Housing and Community Development Funding. This legislation provided several significant budget actions about DHCD included in the fiscal 2023 budget bill.

In 2021, Shaneka Henson worked with her peers to put forward the following legislation on housing.

  • HB1213 - Determination of Creditworthiness - Evaluation Rules and Alternative Methods. This legislation prevents housing/loan applicants from being denied if applicants can provide alternative forms of creditworthiness. 

  • HB1178 - First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account. This legislation will create tax-free savings account for first-time homebuyers.

  • HB0105 - Department of Housing and Community Development - Community Development Administration - Compliance Monitoring Report. This legislation would require the Department of Housing and Community Development to publish an annual report of its compliance monitoring of HUD-assisted properties, make the reports available to the public on its website, and receive feedback from affected residents. 

 
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Pro-Choice & Equality

As a woman, wife, and mother, Shaneka Henson passionately believes in each woman having the right to participate equally in society. She also believes in a woman’s right to choose the appropriate medical care services that support her mentally, physically, and emotionally. Under ordinary circumstances, this decision should not be up to others.

In the wake of the SCOTUS’ imminent overturn of Roe v. Wade in October 2021, Delegate Henson voted to authorize $3.8 Million for training new and existing abortion care providers in Maryland. Following this, Shaneka also voted to protect Medicaid funding for abortion care when Delegate Ghrist (R- Caroline) pulled it out for a separate vote at 1:44:00 in the live-streamed voting session. In addition, Del. Shaneka Henson voted again to protect abortion care funding when Delegate Rose (R- Carroll) offered an amendment to strip abortion funding from SB290 on a floor.

During the 2021 - 2022 Legislative Session, Delegate Shaneka Henson voted to send a choice to the ballot to give all Marylanders the chance to engraft women’s bodily autonomy in MD’s constitution. Unfortunately, the MD Senate refused the bill, authored by Speaker Adrienne Jones, and stopped it from being added to the 2022 ballot for referendum.

Shaneka Henson will continue to fight to protect women’s right to choose.

 
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Healthcare

Many Marylanders cannot receive needed healthcare services due to technological barriers, transportation accessibility, finances, etc. There is no reason why with excellent medical systems, Marylanders do not get recommended healthcare services, like cancer screenings, because they don’t have a primary care provider. Shaneka Henson is a passionate advocate for open and equitable access to health and wellness resources and services. 

Shaneka advocates for

  • Increasing wages for home healthcare workers (personal care aides).

  • Assisting seniors with aging in place.

  • Establishing a mental health resource fund for low-cost/no-cost mental health services for individuals affected by crime (paid for by the Opioid Restitution Fund).

In 2022, Shaneka Henson worked with her peers to put forward  the following legislation on healthcare:

  • HB1397- Health Insurance - Prescription Insulin Drugs - Limits on Copayment and Coinsurance (Insulin Cost Reduction Act). In Maryland alone, nearly half a million adults have diabetes, and nearly 2 million are prediabetic. With Maryland consistently having one of the highest diabetes prevalence rates in the nation, this legislation helps reduce barriers to accessing insulin. Insurers, nonprofit health service plans, and health maintenance organizations are now forced to limit the amount a covered individual must pay in copayments/coinsurance for a covered prescription insulin drug to no more than $30 for a 30-day supply.  

  • SB150/HB6 - Expended Dental Coverage for Adults on Medicaid. This legislation expands access to dental care by allowing adults with Medicaid to get dental coverage beginning January 1, 2023. This expanded dental coverage to nearly 800,000 Marylanders without dental care. 

  • HB364 - Sales and Use Tax - Medical Devices Exemption. Sponsored by Delegate Henson, this legislation exempts several medical devices from State sales and use tax the sale of (1) medical or clinical thermometers; (2) pulse oximeters; (3) blood pressure monitors; and (4) N95, China KN95, Japan DS, Korea 1st Class, AS/NZS P2, or European FFP2 filtering facepiece respirator.

  • HB1188 - Public Health - Sickle Cell Disease. Sickle Cell Disease affects an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 Americans. This legislation requires the Maryland Department of Health to establish and implement better communication and care resources for families and individuals affected by the disease. 

In 2021, Shaneka Henson worked with her peers to put forward  the following legislation on healthcare:

  • HB0028 - Implicit Bias Training and the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities. This legislation requires health equity and bias training as part of the accreditation and licensing for all healthcare providers.

  • SB0052/HB078 - The Shirley Nathan - Pulliam Health Equity Act and HB0463 - Maryland Health Equity Resource Act established the Maryland Commission of Health Equity and designated Health Equity Resource Communities, respectively.

  • HB0849 - Public Health - Medical Records Fee. This legislation lessens the financial burden for low-income communities when accessing medical records needed for social security benefits or disability payments.

  • HB588 - Community Action Agencies - Provision of Feminine Hygiene Products. In collaboration with local health departments, this legislation will make feminine hygiene products available to any woman enrolled in the Maryland Medical Assistance program. 

 
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Environment

As infrastructure ages and sea levels rise, we cannot ignore the beautiful threat that the Chesapeake Bay has on our district. Surrounded by over 500 miles of waterway, Shaneka understands that our resiliency plan to make environmental improvements must incorporate several strategies from using the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit and U.S. HUD Comunity Resilience Toolkit as starting points to engage the community in conversations around climate to improving non-motorized connections to education, work, and commercial hubs.

Shaneka Hanson’s resiliency plan for District 30-A includes:

  • Assisting homeowners and businesses in implementing innovative and cost-efficient clean and renewable energy solutions. 

  • Developing and implementing water quality regulations that align with the Climate Solutions Law.

  • Working with local stakeholders such as the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission to support legislation protecting our beautiful coastline and way of life.

 

In 2022, Shaneka Henson worked with her peers to put forward the following legislation on the environment:

  • SB528 - Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022. This legislation strengthens Maryland’s commitment to mitigating the effects of climate change by setting achievable goals to reduce greenhouse gasses and meet the goal of net-zero statewide emissions by 2045. 

  • HB540 - Agriculture - University of Maryland Extension - Urban Farmer Assistance. This legislation, sponsored by Delegate Henson, required the University of Maryland Extension to fully implement its Urban Farm Agricultural Program. This legislation will provide the applied research, and education urban farmers need to ensure that Maryland will never experience a food crisis. Maryland will be able to provide for its residents in need. 

 

​In 2021, Shaneka Henson worked with her peers to put forward  the following legislation on the environment:

  • HB295 - Water Pollution - Stormwater Management Regulations and Watershed Implementation Plans - Review and Update. This legislation updated and modernized the  State’s stormwater management and watershed improvement plans to respond to climate change and more frequent severe weather events. 

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Education

Knowledge and education are the basis for accomplishing all things. For example, teachers help students build confidence, fulfill dreams and ambitions, and simplify complex concepts to make them accessible to students. As a graduate of two top Maryland State Universities and a proud graduate of the Anne Arundel Public School System, Shaneka Henson believes and knows how important it is to learn in an environment where you are inspired, determined, and valued. 

To empower teachers and students, Shaneka advocates for:

  • Increasing teachers' and administrators' salaries to alleviate rises in inflation.

  • Reducing class sizes creates a learning environment where each child feels both seen and heard. 

  • Addressing students' social and emotional needs by providing restorative justice practices and staffing more counselors and social workers in school.

  • Creating a think tank ecosystem between high schools, HBCUs, and other Maryland colleges to provide mentorship.

 

In 2022, Shaneka Henson worked with peers to put forward the following legislation related to education:

  • HB1349 - Education Support Professionals - Workgroup and Bonus. This legislation provided $1,000 cash bonuses to all school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, TAs, and ESPs on the frontline in schools during the COVID-19 crisis. 

  • HB279 - Veterans Affairs - Communications, Outreach, and Advocacy Programs - Veterans Advocacy and Education Act. In collaboration with the Maryland Higher Education Commission, this legislation will assist the Department of Veterans Affairs in actively helping veterans and their dependents to become aware of and access the education and training benefits to which they are entitled. 

  • HB277 - Public Schools - Purple Star Schools Program - Establishment. This legislation recognizes public schools that provide vital services and support for military-connected students and their families. 

 

In 2021, Shaneka Henson worked with peers to put forward the following legislation related to education:

  • HB1268 - Legal Education Success Collaborative Law. To assist in closing the diversity gap in the legal field, in partnership with Maryland's four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the University of Maryland's School of Law, and the University of Baltimore School of Law, to pass HB 1268. This legislation established and funded the Legal Education Success Collaborative to ensure that students who are already on the margins do not fall out of the pipeline. It will provide both scholarship and mentorship opportunities.

 
 
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Public Safety

All our community and Maryland members deserve to be safeguarded and protected from crime, harm, and disasters. As a practicing attorney, Shaneka Henson believes in the universal ideal that guarantees equality and fairness to everyone before the law and works to ensure this impartiality is upheld for all Marylanders. 

Shaneka Henson has worked tirelessly as Delegate and sponsored, co-sponsored or supported with her vote 24 legislative acts aimed specifically at making communities safer.  Among them are efforts to raise the penalties for witness intimidation and reforms to strengthen eye-witness participation in solving crimes. (HB40) Other reforms have increased police accountability and transparency, as well as implemented new practices, such as mandated use of body-worn cameras. (HB670) She also established statewide standards for use of force and included civilian review for instances of officer misconduct. (HB670)

 

Delegate Henson also worked on legislation to empower prosecutors with stronger laws to identify and prosecute gang activity. (HB1083) She and her colleagues closed loopholes in domestic violence laws and hate crimes statutes to keep pace with technology and culture. (HB148HB645, SB134, HB817HB817) They also increased the penalty for sex trafficking and for gun trafficking to protect Maryland residents from these crimes crossing state lines. (HB242, HB541)

 

Delegate Henson worked as part of an effort that passed new laws making both gun dealers and owners more responsible to ensure that lawfully owned guns aren’t surrendered to the illegal market. (HB1021) She supported legislation championed by Attorney General Brian Frosh that banned untraceable “ghost guns.” (HB425) In 2020, in response to the horrific shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom, Delegate Henson worked on legislation that finally closed the long gun loophole and mandated background checks for long gun sales. (HB4

 

Additionally, Delegate Henson worked to bring more oversight, coordination and funding to develop meaningful interventions for youth delinquency. (SB907, SB708) As a member of the Appropriations Committee, as well as the Women’s Legislative Caucus of Maryland, Delegate Henson elevated the needs of women in the justice system and helped authorize funding for the first pre-release center for women to aid their reintegration into society after incarceration. (SB684) For incarcerated Marylanders, she increased job training and education opportunities to equip them with additional job skills and life skills to aid their transition back into the community. (SB86)

 
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Worker Protections & Human Rights

All our community and Maryland members deserve to be safeguarded and protected from crime, harm, and disasters. As a practicing attorney, Shaneka Henson believes in the universal ideal that guarantees equality and fairness to everyone before the law and works to ensure this impartiality is upheld for all Marylanders. 

 

To improve public safety, Shaneka advocates for:

  • Creating community-based public safety solutions that effectively respond to crime but increasingly prevent and deter its occurrence.

  • Keeping bad judges off the bench.

  • Investing in our community by holding cultural events highlighting what makes people remarkable.

 

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STATE OFFICE CONTACT

Delegate Shaneka Henson

6 Bladen Street, Room 154

Annapolis, MD 21401

410-841-3045 | 301-858-3045

800-492-7122

Shaneka.Henson@house.state.md.us

CAMPAIGN CONTACT

Friends of Shaneka Henson

P.O. Box 5743

Annapolis, MD 21430

443-675-7353

info@shanekahenson.com