General Assembly Advocacy News for History and Heritage Bills

February 1, 2024

Our friends at Maryland Museums Association (MMA) have shared the following update:

1. Senator Guy Guzzone and Delegate Ben Barnes have sponsored and filed a bill to fund the Museums Assistance Program again, afterb a hiatus of more than 10 years:

“Maryland Historical Trust – Historical and Cultural Museum Assistance Program – Funding (SB0616/HB0688) calls for authorizing the Governor beginning in fiscal year 2025 and each fiscal year thereafter, to include in the annual budget bill an appropriation of $5,000,000 to the Maryland Historical Trust to be used to provide grants to museums under the Historical and Cultural Museum Assistance Program.”

MMA is tracking the bill and there will be hearings on February 7 and February 13. They say they will reach out for testimony and/or letters of support.

2. A bill to authorize annual funding to the Strengthening the Humanities Investment in Nonprofits for Equity (SHINE) Grantmaking Initiative at Maryland Humanities has also been filed. SB0596 and HB0504 are sponsored by Senator Guzzone and Delegate M. Courtney Watson respectively. SHINE grants give much-needed operating support to humanities nonprofits.

3. Other bills:

— A bill was introduced to add Tubman to the official name of the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis.

— A bill has been introduced to stand up a Commission to Study African American Civil War Soldiers.

— A bill was introduced to create an Office of Burial Sites of the Maryland Enslaved.

Please note: “Tourism Day” is February 9 in Annapolis, hosted by the Maryland Tourism Council. Maryland Citizens for the Arts is hosting “Arts Day” on February 13th in Annapolis. Maryland Center for History & Culture and Preservation Maryland are hosting a legislative gathering on Valentine’s Day.

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