Policy Successes

Racial Equity

Approximately $11 million for the new Lakefront Library, which will allow the Howard County Library System to expand its racial equity initiatives and resource center and help community organizations forge new partnerships with one another.

$1.3 million in the FY 2023 budget to launch a Maternity Partnership Program, which would make quality prenatal and postpartum care accessible to uninsured and underinsured women. This program would primarily serve Hispanic and Black Howard County moms.

The state legislature passed the Healthy Babies Equity Act to provide prenatal and postnatal care for uninsured pregnant women, regardless of immigration status, through Medicaid. It will also provide sustainable funding for prenatal/postnatal care in future years.

The Howard County Equity Collaborative came together to successfully advocate for changes to Howard County School System’s Educational Equity Policy 1080. The included amendments were a great first step to eliminating barriers that prevent children of color from achieving their full potential (including access to educational opportunity, good health and other determinants of well-being).

Mental Health

Several pieces of state legislation to improve behavioral health and crisis services, including funding the 988 Trust Fund by an additional $12 million, boosting the state’s behavioral health workforce and expanding access to behavioral health services under the state’s Collaborative Care Model.

Nearly $2 million in county funds, plus support from the Horizon Foundation and the Kahlert Foundation, expanded HCPSS’s school-based mental health program to ALL Howard County public schools over the next two years. This program, which the Foundation helped establish, provides an enhanced set of mental health supports that includes 1:1 counseling services – offered to students (with parent permission) by licensed professionals during the school day.

$10.5 million approved by the state legislature to support Maryland’s 24/7 crisis call center operations for the launch of 988, the new official crisis number for mental health and substance user emergencies.

The Howard County Public School System expanded its school-based mental health program to 50 schools (up from 30).

Complete Streets

$8+ million in the FY 2023 capital budget for bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects that will make roads, intersections, sidewalks and paths better, safer and more accessible.

The county’s Complete Streets Design Manual was also approved, which will guide future construction and planning of all projects to be more inclusive of all users of the road.

$5.375 million for bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects in the FY 2022 capital budget.

$2.2 million for bike routes in the FY 2020 capital budget. Howard County also passed its complete streets policy, which will guide future planning of streets, sidewalks, paths, and crosswalks to be more friendly for all users of the road, including pedestrians and bicyclists.

Howard County approved its first Bicycle Master Plan with amendments that required the county to create a complete streets policy and design manual.


The Howard County Public School System created and expanded the Let’s Rethink Lunch program to serve all 26,000 students in Howard County’s elementary schools with 10 new quality entrees and fresh fruit and salad bars in the lunch line.

Howard County passed legislation to expand healthy snack and drink options in county vending machines.

The Howard County Public School System established a new, world-class wellness policy.

Maryland passed legislation for licensed child care facilities to serve better beverages (including water and milk), to reduce screen time and to promote breastfeeding.

Advance Care Planning

The state legislature enacted a bill to improve Maryland health care providers’ ability to access and use patients’ advance directives in electronic form.