On Jan, 7, 2020, at the Maryland House of Delegates in Annapolis, SAL member Josh Marks was presented with a meritorious citation for his work lobbying for the repeal of the widows tax. Presenting the citation was Delegate Dan Cox of District 4, Secretary George Owings III and Deputy Secretary Robert Finn, both of the Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs. Daniel McHugh of Cox’s legislative staff and Marks' wife,Tatia Marks, an Auxiliary member with Goldstar Post 191 in Mount Airy, were also in attendance.
Marks recruited Cox's help to lobby for the widows tax repeal. Cox wrote to the Maryland state delegates to implore Congressman Steny Hoyer to co-sponsor legislative bill HR 553 to repeal the widows tax. Hoyer was the committee chair where this legislation ended up for review and to be voted on. The bill ultimately became part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 (NDAA). Marks was elated: “Grassroots lobbying does work. Unconventional methodology reaps huge rewards.” Marks also credits success to his lobby partners, Flemming Suzzanne of the Francis Scott Key Auxiliary Post 11 and Becky Lee Larsen of the American Legion Auxiliary Legislative with the Department of Illinois. He added, “Flemming and Becky Lee are tenacious advocates of veteran issues. You would be hard pressed to not capitulate to their requests.”
Marks also received a memorial citation on behalf of the family of Jordan Way, who could not make the ceremony. Navy corpsman Jordan died after a routine surgery on his shoulder through naval medical negligence. His family was precluded from making a claim of negligence under the Feres Doctrine. The NDAA also contained remediation procedures for making a claim for Jordan’s death.
Cox has asked Marks to help lobbying for military/veteran issues in 2020, which Marks enthusiastically agreed to. Francis Scott Key Post 11 is the largest and one of the oldest posts in the state of Maryland.