Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland

The Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, Inc. (also known as The Maryland Legislative Black Caucus) is an American political organization composed of African Americans elected to the Maryland General Assembly.[1] Incorporated in 1970, the Caucus membership has grown from 17 to 64 and is the largest state legislative black caucus in the country.[2]

Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland
TypePolitical organization
Legal status501(c)(4)
Purposepublic policies
HeadquartersLowe House Office Building
Region served
Maryland, United States of America
64 members, 2023–26 Maryland Assembly:
Official language
Jheanelle Wilkins
Parent organization
National Black Caucus of State Legislators
AffiliationsMaryland Legislative Black Caucus Foundation

Founding Edit

The Caucus was incorporated in 1970 by Lena King Lee, then a member of the Maryland House of Delegates.[3][4][5]

Role Edit

By drafting and sponsoring legislation to address constituent needs and by examining all bills that affect the Black populace, the Caucus acts as a legislative body on behalf of all African Americans in Maryland. Currently, of Maryland's 24 sub-divisions, only Baltimore City, Prince Georges, Baltimore, Montgomery, Howard and Wicomico Counties have elected members to the Maryland Black Caucus. So additionally the Caucus presents a Black perspective from the entire state to the Legislature and advocates public policies that promote Black social, cultural and economic progress, statewide. In addition, the Caucus serves as a research study group to generate pertinent data in support of appropriate public policies.

Current membership Edit

Members of the 2023 Maryland Legislative Black Caucus at the Maryland Statehouse

Officers 2022–2024 Edit

District Officers Position
20 Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins[6] Chair
40 Delegate Melissa Wells[7] 1st Vice-chair
25 Delegate Karen Toles[7] 2nd Vice-chair
40 Delegate Marlon Amprey[7] Treasurer
26 Delegate Jamila Woods[7] Secretary
8 Senator Mary L. Washington[7] Financial Secretary
24 Senator Joanne C. Benson Chaplain
45 Delegate Stephanie M. Smith Parliamentarian
43 Senator Mary L. Washington Historian

Senators Edit

District County(s) represented Member Senator Party First elected Committee
10 Baltimore County   Benjamin Brooks Democratic 2022 Education, Energy, and the Environment
20 Montgomery   Will Smith Democratic 2016 Judicial Proceedings (Chair)
22 Prince George's   Alonzo T. Washington Democratic 2022 Budget and Taxation
23 Prince George's   Ron Watson Democratic 2021 Education, Energy, and the Environment
24 Prince George's   Joanne C. Benson Democratic 2011 Budget and Taxation
25 Prince George's   Melony G. Griffith Democratic 2019 Finance (Chair)
26 Prince George's   C. Anthony Muse Democratic 2022 Judicial Proceedings
27 Calvert, Charles, and Prince George's   Michael Jackson Democratic 2021 Budget and Taxation
28 Charles   Arthur Ellis Democratic 2019 Finance
40 Baltimore City   Antonio Hayes Democratic 2019 Finance
41 Baltimore City   Jill P. Carter Democratic 2019 Judicial Proceedings
43 Baltimore City and County   Mary L. Washington Democratic 2019 Education, Energy, and the Environment
44 Baltimore County   Charles E. Sydnor III Democratic 2020 Judicial Proceedings
45 Baltimore City   Cory V. McCray Democratic 2019 Budget and Taxation
47 Prince George's   Malcolm L. Augustine Democratic 2019 Education, Energy, and the Environment (President Pro Tem)

Delegates Edit

District County represented Member Delegate Party First elected Committee
8 Baltimore County   Carl W. Jackson Democratic 2019 Economic Matters
10 Baltimore County   Adrienne A. Jones Democratic 1997[8] House Speaker
10 Baltimore County   N. Scott Phillips Democratic 2023 Judiciary
10 Baltimore County   Jennifer White Democratic 2023 Health & Government Operations
11A Baltimore County   Cheryl Pasteur Democratic 2023 Judiciary
12A Howard   Terri L. Hill Democratic 2015 Health & Government Operations
12B Anne Arundel   Gary Simmons Democratic 2023 Judiciary
13 Howard   Vanessa Atterbeary Democratic 2015 Ways & Means (Chair)
14 Montgomery   Pamela E. Queen Democratic 2016 Judiciary
14 Montgomery   Bernice Mireku-North Democratic 2023 Ways & Means
19 Montgomery   Charlotte Crutchfield Democratic 2019 Judiciary
20 Montgomery   Jheanelle Wilkins Democratic 2017[9] Ways & Means (Vice Chair)
21 Anne Arundel and
Prince George's
  Joseline Peña-Melnyk Democratic 2006 Health & Government Operations (Vice Chair)
22 Prince George's   Nicole A. Williams Democratic 2019 Judiciary
22 Prince George's   Ashanti Martinez Democratic 2023 Health & Government Operations
23 Prince George's   Marvin E. Holmes Jr. Democratic 2002 Environmental Matters
23 Prince George's   Adrian Boafo Democratic 2022 Economic Matters
23 Prince George's   Kym Taylor Democratic 2022 Judiciary
24 Prince George's   Tiffany T. Alston Democratic 2022 Health & Government Operations
24 Prince George's   Andrea Harrison Democratic 2019 Economic Matters
24 Prince George's   Jazz Lewis Democratic 2017 Appropriations
25 Prince George's   Nick Charles Democratic 2019 Ways & Means
25 Prince George's   Karen Toles Democratic 2022 Judiciary
26 Prince George's   Jamila Woods Democratic 2023 Health & Government Operations
26 Prince George's   Veronica L. Turner Democratic 2019 Ways & Means
27A Prince George's and
  Kevin Harris Democratic 2023 Appropriations
27B Calvert and
Prince George's
  Jeffrie Long Jr. Democratic 2023 Environment & Transportation
28 Charles   C. T. Wilson Democratic 2010 Economic Matters (Chair)
28 Charles   Edith J. Patterson Democratic 2015 Ways & Means
28 Charles   Debra Davis Democratic 2018 Environment & Transportation
30A Anne Arundel   Shaneka Henson Democratic 2019 Appropriations
32 Anne Arundel   J. Sandy Bartlett Democratic 2019 Judiciary
32 Anne Arundel   Mike Rogers Democratic 2019 Economic Matters
34A Anne Arundel   Andre Johnson Jr. Democratic 2023 Economic Matters
37A Dorchester and
 Sheree Sample-Hughes Democratic 1998 Health & Government Operations/ Speaker Pro Tem
39 Montgomery   Gabriel Acevero Democratic 2019 Appropriations
39 Montgomery   W. Gregory Wims Democratic 2023 Ways & Means
40 Baltimore City   Frank M. Conaway Jr. Democratic 2006 Judiciary
40 Baltimore City   Melissa Wells Democratic 2019 Ways & Means
40 Baltimore City   Marlon Amprey Democratic 2021 Economic Matters
41 Baltimore City Malcolm Ruff Democratic 2023 Appropriations
44B Baltimore County   Aletheia McCaskill Democratic 2023 Appropriations
45 Baltimore City   Caylin Young Democratic 2023 Judiciary
45 Baltimore City Jackie Addison Democratic 2022 Environment & Transportation
45 Baltimore City  Stephanie M. Smith Democratic 2019 Appropriations
46 Baltimore City   Robbyn Lewis Democratic 2017[9] Health & Government Operations
47A Prince George's   Diana M. Fennell Democratic 2015 Economic Matters
47A Prince George's   Julian Ivey Democratic 2019 Appropriations
47B Prince George's   Deni Taveras Democratic 2023 Health & Government Operations

History Edit

Former chairmen Trotter and Anderson with Rev. Jesse Jackson during a Caucus meeting in Annapolis, Maryland (1988)

The Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland was formed in 1970 as the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus. The Caucus has increased from it original membership of 17 to its present membership of 44.[10] From its inception to the 1990s, only Prince George's County and Baltimore City had sent members to the Caucus. The present membership of the Legislative Black Caucus now includes elected representatives from Baltimore, Montgomery, and Charles counties as well as the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Former chairs Edit

Parren Mitchell receiving a Maryland House of Delegates citation from the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland and House Speaker Ben Cardin on the occasion of his retirement. (from l-r: Delegates Elijah Cummings, Clarence Davis, Hattie Harrison, John Douglass, Nathaniel Oaks, Ben Cardin, Pete Rawlings, Parren Mitchell, Curt Anderson, Ruth Kirk, Ralph Hughes, Larry Young, Wendell Phillips, Margaret "Peggy" Murphy
The 1992 Members of Maryland's Legislative Black Caucus:
Front row l-r J. Jeffries, C. Jones, H. Harrison, M. Murphy
2nd row: J. Proctor, N. Exum, T. Fulton, B. Tignor, R. Kirk, C. Howard
3rd row: J. Benson, C. Anderson, S. Parham, N. Irby
back row: J. Douglass, C. Davis, S. Marriott, C. Blount, L. Young

List of Chairpersons of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland:[11]

Chamber Name Tenure County
Delegate Arthur King 1970–1972 Prince George's
Delegate Lloyal Randolph 1972–1975 Baltimore City
Senator Robert Douglas 1976–1978 Baltimore City
Delegate Arthur G. Murphy Sr. 1978 Baltimore City
Senator Robert Douglas 1978–1980 Baltimore City
Delegate Frank Conaway Sr. 1981–1982 Baltimore City
Senator Clarence W. Blount 1982–1984 Baltimore City
Delegate   Elijah Cummings 1984–1985 Baltimore City
Senator   Decatur "Bucky" Trotter 1986–1988 Prince George's
Delegate   Curt Anderson 1988–1990 Baltimore City
Delegate   Christine M. Jones 1991–1992 Prince George's
Delegate John D. Jefferies 1992–1994 Baltimore City
Delegate   Joanne C. Benson 1995–1996 Prince George's
Senator Larry Young 1996–1997 Baltimore City
Delegate   Carolyn J. B. Howard 1998–2000 Prince George's
Delegate   Talmadge Branch 2000–2002 Baltimore City
Delegate Obie Patterson 2002–2004 Prince George's
Delegate   Rudolph C. Cane 2004–2006 Wicomico
Senator   Verna L. Jones 2006–2008 Baltimore City
Delegate   Veronica L. Turner 2008–2010 Prince George's
Senator   Catherine Pugh 2010–2012 Baltimore City
Delegate   Aisha N. Braveboy 2012–2014 Prince George's
Delegate   Barbara A. Robinson 2014–2016 Baltimore City
Delegate   Cheryl Glenn 2016–2018 Baltimore City
Delegate   Darryl Barnes 2018–2022 Prince George's

2007 legislation Edit

During the 2007 session of the Maryland General Assembly the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland pushed several bills through both Houses and had them signed into law. One of which was a bill that required state contractors to pay their employees a "living wage." For fiscal year 2008, the living wage is set at $11.30 in Montgomery, Prince George's, Howard, Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties and Baltimore City. It is set at $8.50 for all other areas of the State. Additionally, the Caucus pushed for SB 488. This bill allows an individual convicted of any crime, with the exception of buying or selling votes, to register to vote if not actually serving a court-ordered sentence of imprisonment, including any term of parole or probation, for a felony conviction.[12] Another Caucus bill, SB 543-2007 Darfur Protection Act-Divestiture from the Republic of Sudan, requires the Board of Trustees of the State Retirement and Pension System to encourage companies hold actively traded accounts in its portfolio that conduct business in Sudan to act responsibly and avoid actions that promote or enable human rights violations in Sudan.[13] Additionally, the Caucus pushed for Senate Joint resolution 6 which requires the state to express regret for the role that Maryland played in instituting and maintaining slavery and for the discrimination that was slavery's legacy.[14] The Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland also supported the creation of state debt for funding towards the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C., leading to a $500,000 donation (equivalent to $706,000 in 2022) to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Foundation.

2009 legislation Edit

During the 2009 session of the Maryland General Assembly, the following Caucus general priorities were passed: SB 186- Correctional Facilities-Released Inmates-Identification Cards Sponsored by Senator Catherine Pugh. This bill will require the Commissioner of Correction to issue an identification card to an inmate before being released from confinement in a State Correctional facility. The identification card must comply with the requirements for secondary identification for the purpose of an identification card issued by the Motor Vehicle Administration.

SB 489- Minority Business Enterprise Certification-Cap on Personal Net Worth Sponsored by Senator Catherine Pugh. This bill requires that the personal net worth cap for eligibility in the State's Minority Business Enterprise program be adjusted annually according to the Consumer Price Index. Personal net worth does not include up to $500,000 of the cash value of any qualified retirement savings plan or individual retirement account. The Maryland Department of Transportation, in consultation with the Attorney General's office and specified legislative committees must evaluate whether the personal net worth cap should be further adjusted, and report its findings to the General Assembly by December 1, 2010.

SB 568-Minority Business Enterprise Program-Directory of Minority Business Enterprise Sponsored by Senator Catherine Pugh. This bill requires the Maryland Department of Transportation to include in its directory of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) a list of all MBEs that are ineligible to participate in the State's MBE program because (1) one or more of its owners has a personal net worth that exceeds the statutory cap; or (2) the MBE no longer qualifies as a small business under federal guidelines.

HB 637- Task Force on Prisoner Reentry Sponsored by Delegate Gerron Levi, this emergency bill establishes a Task Force on Prisoner Reentry. The Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services, or the Secretary's designee, must chair the task force and provide staff support for the taskforce from the Department. An interim report to the Governor and the General Assembly is required by December 31, 2010 and final report of findings and recommendation is required by December 31, 2011.

During the 2009 session of the Maryland General Assembly, the following Caucus budgetary priorities were passed:

  • Bowie State University received the $34 million needed for their new fine and performing arts building;
  • Coppin State University received $4.1 million of the $9.4 million needed for their science and technology center;
  • Morgan State University received $43.5 million of the $45 million needed for campus-wide renovations, new environment studies and business schools;
  • The Minority Outreach and Technical Assistance program funding remained in the budget; and
  • The Office of Minority Health received $335,000 out of $1 million set aside for infant mortality programs.

Notes Edit

  1. ^ "Maryland General Assembly Caucuses - Legislative Black Caucus". www.msa.md.gov. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  2. ^ Ford, William J. (January 26, 2023). "Cannabis, education top priorities for state's Legislative Black Caucus". Maryland Matters. Retrieved March 6, 2023.
  3. ^ "'She stood very tall': Educator was one of first black women in General Assembly: Lena K. Lee 1906-2006". The Baltimore Sun. August 26, 2006.
  4. ^ "The Lena Lee Collection". Thurgood Marshall Law Library. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  5. ^ Clark, Eric L. (February 1996). "Attorney Lena S. King Honored for Life's Work". The Crisis. 103 (2): 32–33.
  6. ^ Kinnally, Kevin (December 7, 2022). "MD Black Caucus Announces New Chair". Maryland Association of Counties. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d e Ford, William J.; Kurtz, Josh (January 14, 2023). "Political Notes: Four more for the Moore team, plus the roster of Black Caucus leaders and an MLK Day fair housing event". Maryland Matters. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  8. ^ Originally appointed to office to fill an open seat. Each member so marked has been elected in their own right since their appointment.
  9. ^ a b Originally appointed to office to fill an open seat, rather than elected.
  10. ^ "About Us". Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  11. ^ "General Assembly - Caucuses - Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland - Chairs". Maryland State Archives. Government of Maryland. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  12. ^ "SB488". Maryland Legislative Information System. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
  13. ^ "BILL INFO-2007 Regular Session-SB 543". mlis.state.md.us. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Maryland issues apology for its role in slavery". NBC News. 27 March 2007. Retrieved 18 May 2017.