2024 Second Bill Signing Ceremony

Published: 4/25/2024

Remarks as prepared
Delivered on Thursday, April 25, 2024​​

This is a great day for Maryland… Because it’s bring your child to work day!

Let’s give a round of applause for the parents and children in the room.

Dawn and I had our first child thirteen years ago. And Mia and James are the loves of my life.

I want to say to the families something I’ve said to my own kids for as long as I can remember: There is not a single room you don’t belong in.

It’s not lost on me that one day, the children in this room will look back at us – and judge our actions.

Did we have the courage to do the right thing?

Did we make the choice to live bold and brave?

Did we raise our hands to serve when duty called?

I look at this room – I look at these bills – and I can say with confidence that the answer to these questions is “yes.”

We’re Maryland. 

We win.

And I want to thank everyone who has been a part of our success in this legislative session:

Our Presiding Officers, President Ferguson and Speaker Jones – 

Our cabinet, including the best partner any governor could ask for, Aruna Miller –

Leaders across all levels of government – including our Attorney General, Anthony Brown. 

The AG is here because we are signing a few of his bills – and I want to thank him for working with me and my team every step of the way.

Most importantly, I want to thank the advocates. You have busy lives, and you’ve made the choice to serve people you don’t even know.

There’s a special group of advocates I want to recognize – and that’s our unions.

We’re joined by The International Association of Machinists – The Maryland AFT – AFSCME Maryland – and SEIU Local 500.

Because of them, I will sign legislation to support collective bargaining in the State of Maryland. And in this moment, we are going to be Maryland Strong because we are going to be Union Strong.

Now – at the start of this session, we said we would focus on four priorities:

Make Maryland safer –

Make Maryland more affordable –

Make Maryland more competitive –

And continue to make Maryland the State that Serves. 

Today, we sign legislation to make our state more affordable. And our housing agenda is at the center of these bills.

We made the choice to put housing front-and-center this year – because we know this issue can’t wait.

Building a stronger housing market can’t wait.

Tackling a housing shortage of 96,000 units in Maryland can’t wait.

Addressing the fact that 30% of younger Marylanders are considering moving to another state because of housing can’t wait.

We refuse to turn away from housing – because you cannot have a growing and thriving state if people can’t afford to live here.

We introduced the most comprehensive housing package of any Maryland administration in recent history – and we were unapologetic about it.

We introduced the Housing Expansion and Affordability Act. It’s going to help us tackle the housing shortage by investing in responsible development.

We introduced the Housing and Community Development Financing Act. It’s going to help us marshal the resources we need to tear down vacant properties and build new units.

We introduced the Renters Rights and Stabilization Act. It’s going to help us protect our renters from eviction.

All three of these bills passed with votes from both Democrats and Republicans – and today, I will sign all three bills into law.

Look: It’s not lost on me that when we entered session, everyone told us: “Don’t touch housing.”

They said negotiations would get too partisan. They said legislating would get too complex.

Well in Maryland, we don’t run away from the hard things. We run toward them – and we run toward them together.

And by moving in partnership, we didn’t just enact the most aggressive housing package in recent Maryland history… We changed the way housing legislation gets passed in the first place.

We built a table big enough to include everyone: Democrats, Republicans, the private sector, the public sector, local leaders, state leaders, advocates, business — la-dee, da-dee, everybody.

We’ve been able to build a strong coalition because people understand who this legislation will benefit.

It will benefit the teacher in Rockville who can’t afford to buy a home in the same neighborhood where they teach.

It will benefit the police officer in Baltimore City with three kids who can’t make the family budget work this month.

It will benefit the senior in Cheverly who struggles to keep pace with rising prices.

It will benefit the children in this room, who are going to grow up and save for a down-payment one day.

It will benefit people like Baltimore City Sheriff Sam Cogan.

One of the communities we kept hearing from when we said we would invest in housing this year was our men and women in uniform.

Because our officers see both sides of the housing crisis: They are often the ones who seek more affordable places to live – and they’re often the ones enforcing evictions when people can’t make rent. 

Sam has been working in the Sheriff’s office for over twenty-five years. Many of his colleagues over the years have struggled with housing. And Sam has spent more and more of his time serving evictions to tenants. And he hates it.

So he decided to make a change. He came to Annapolis. He testified on behalf of our affordable housing package. And we would not be here today without Sherriff Sam Cogan.

I want to thank Sheriff Cogan for his advocacy on behalf of everyday Marylanders –

And I’d be honored to present him with the first pen of today’s bill signing.