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AFT Healthcare and AFT Public Employees will sponsor their 2013 Joint Conference April 25-27 at the Hilton Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland.

Under the theme “Solution Driven Unionism,” the conference will feature workshops and presentations on topics of interest to healthcare professionals such as Status Report: National and State Initiatives Resulting from The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, New Roles for RNs and Other Healthcare Providers, Addressing and Preventing Substance Abuse in Healthcare Workers, Best Practices in Safe Patient Handling, and Preparing for Joint Labor


After winning a 107-30 vote in the Maryland House of Delegates last week, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee unanimously passed the Baltimore City School Construction bill March 27.  

Members of the AFT-Maryland legislative team testified March 26 before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, supporting the legislation that would finance new school construction in Baltimore. Modified by legislators, the bill now proposes only $1.5 billion for new school construction.

Originally the bill proposed $2.5 billion for that purpose. The new version of the bill also eliminates the creation of a


The Executive Board of the American Federation of Teachers held its first meeting of 2013 March19.

President Marietta English reported to the board on the federation’s activities, emphasizing the work done on bills now before the Maryland state legislature. The president reported that the AFT-Maryland legislative team had presented testimony on several bills of importance to labor and working families and cited the federation’s support for the Voting Rights Act in a demonstrations before the Supreme Court in February.

The president also noted that several pieces of national legislation—the Fair


The Baltimore City Public Schools Construction and Revitalization Act of 2013 was passed in the Maryland House of Delegates March 20, but only after having been completely rewritten by Maryland legislators.

Several pages of amendments significantly change the bill’s original proposals. Originally, the bill proposed establishing a Baltimore City Public Schools Construction Authority authorized to issue bonds to finance new school construction. The bill also called for the state to provide a block grant each year for school construction projects in Baltimore City.

The revised bill proposes the


The Maryland Senate passed Governor O’Malley’s budget with overwhelming support March 21. Only five Republicans voted against the budget, with seven Republicans joining 35 Democrats voting to support the budget.

The Maryland House of Delegates approved the governor’s proposed state budget March 15. The Democratic-controlled House voted 101-36 for the bill, largely along party lines. Both houses have approved a $36.8 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2014.

The budget bill now goes to a conference committee where legislators will resolve the differences between the House and Senate versions of the


Members of the AFT-Maryland legislative team testified in opposition to four charter school bills for which hearings were held March 13. The bills proposed making a study of ways to improve to charter schools, allowing charter schools to directly hire school personnel, establishing an independent charter school advisory council, and proposing that charter schools be allowed to certify their own principals.

Speaking on behalf of President Marietta English in hearings before the house Ways and Means Committee, AFT-Maryland representatives testified that charter schools were public schools and