Safe and Healthy Families
I have spent the last four years in Annapolis advocating for families. In the 2014 legislative session, I passed legislation which protects parents from being fired when they want to start a family. You might be thinking weren’t these mothers and fathers already protected under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act? Not so, in the state of Maryland! There were absolutely no job protections for those mothers who worked at companies with fewer than 50 employees. Women could legally be fired when taking time off to have a child. For this reason, I fought for years to pass legislation to protect these families from losing a job when they need it most.
"Eight weeks before Danelle Buchman’s baby was due, an artery ruptured in her uterus, which nearly killed her and her child. ... When she tried to return to a PR job she loved and had won rave performance reviews for at a Maryland nonprofit a few weeks later, Buchman’s employer first demoted her and cut her salary by a third. Then it fired her." ~from the Washington Post. Read the whole article HERE.
I have spent more than a decade advocating for families, and I don't stop when I'm Annapolis. We need to make it easier to raise children and to grow older in Montgomery County. I support expanding access to childcare and improved family leave policies for new parents and those caring for sick and elderly relatives. I believe that expanding family planning services for low-income families will strengthen our community and make economic sense in the long term. I advocate for the rights of domestic violence and other crime victims. I also supported marriage equality in 2012, because I believe everyone deserves equal rights.
New Jersey, Washington State, and California have all established paid family leave programs to enable people to take time off to care for sick relatives and newborns. I believe we must work together to make it easier for businesses, especially small businesses, to offer this benefit to their employees.
To read Ariana's personal blog on work-life balance as a candidate, click here.
Aging in Place & Senior Villages
Senior citizens are an essential part of the diverse fabric of our community and our families. We must support seniors as they age with strong public transportation and access to medical services. Preserving housing choices, dignity and independence for seniors is priority for me.
The majority of Marylanders want to stay in their homes as they age. Here in District 16, we must work together to support our aging population. One way to do this is through establishing and supporting virtual senior villages. Capitol Village in Washington DC is a nationally recognized model. Establishing senior villages in Montgomery County would be a nearly revenue-neutral way to support our seniors as they age in place, and would also strengthen inter-generational relationships within our communities.
Supporting People with Disabilities
I have worked closely with The Arc of Maryland and others who advocate on behalf of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Read the 2014 Legislative Session Report from The Arc of Maryland.
For my work on getting private insurance companies coving autism treatment, I am proud to have received the Pat on the Back award from Pathfinders for Autism. For more information on autism insurance coverage in Maryland visit the Pathfinders for Autism site.
Maryland law required insurance companies to cover the costs of physical, speech, and occupational therapies, but many of those who qualified were not being covered. In 2012, I passed legislation to increase access to insurance coverage for these necessary therapies and co-chaired on the Workgroup on Access to Habilitative Services. During the 2014 legislative session, I passed legislation from the recommendations of this workgroup to provide parents with Parents’ Guide to Habilitative Services.
Additionally, I co-sponsored legislation to increase funding for Direct Support providers. The increase in Direct Support providers' wages was tied to increasing the minimum wage in Maryland and "Requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to reimburse specified providers at a rate sufficient to ensure that a specified wage factor is not less than 50% above the State minimum wage rate.”
Women's Rights & Civil Rights
Discrimination still exists in the workplace, the legal system, in healthcare, and even in government. In Annapolis I continue to work to protect and advance the rights of all, especially women and minorities.
We need to keep our county safe and ensure that we have a system which makes it easier for victims to be medically treated and press charges against perpetrators if they so choose. For this reason, I passed legislation which requires all hospitals to establish protocol for providing timely access to forensic rape exams for victims of sexual assault. Currently, only one hospital per county has staff trained in using a rape kit, putting the onus on victims to find the "correct" hospital. As a result of this law, now all hospitals will be establishing protocols and sharing them with a statewide Planning Group to ensure rape victims are treated respectfully.
See in-depth news coverage of this important legislation:
- Bill Introduced to Lessen Burden of Rape Victims
- Rape Survivors Burdened by Maryland Law
- DHMH Weighs in on Bill to Provide Forensic Exams for Victims of Rape in Maryland
- MD House of Delegate Passes Rape Kit Expansion Bill
- Rape Kits Not Guaranteed in Maryland, One Victim Speaks Out
To read Ariana's blog about being the only woman candidate running against 10 men in her 2010 primary, click here.
To read her blog on Women's Equality Day, click here.
To watch Ariana and her daughter Maeve advocating for equal pay for equal work for women and people of color, click here.