Maryland Legislative Report – March 24, 2022

Crossover Day has passed and now we know which bills are ‘in play’ and which bills are ‘dead’ for this General Assembly Session.  In the next three weeks bills now have to pass the other house of the legislature, signed by the Governor (or overridden by the General Assembly if vetoed by the Governor.

Some of the big issues that will be decided in the next three weeks are:  climate change legislation, juvenile justice reform, paid family sick leave, abortion rights, and legalization of the recreational cannabis industry. There will also be legislation to provide tax relief for Maryland residents but exactly the nature of the tax relief is to be determined.  It will probably be close to $350 million.

In addition, the General Assembly signed, and the Governor signed a 30 day suspension of the 36 cents Maryland gas tax.  Make sure you fill your tank before the end of the 30-day period

Some of the other bills that passed one of the two houses in the last few days were:

COVID Related Legislation:

  • SB 956 Would provide extra protections to local public health officers, who have been targeted by citizens who resisted masking and vaccine mandates during COVID-19;

Tenant protection legislation

  • SB 384 would require a judge to pause tenant eviction proceedings for up to 30 days if a tenant shows that they have a pending rental assistance application.
  • HB 86, The Tenant Protection Act of 2022. would require landlords to give tenants pro-rated utility bills, based on factors such as unit square footage or the number of bedrooms. It would also require landlords to provide written notice of costs if a landlord withholds a security deposit and allow tenants to use community spaces for organizing tenant unions. The bill passed the Senate in a unanimous vote on Monday and is headed to the House.
  • HB 521  would let tenants petition courts to shield records in some eviction cases where the failure to pay rent was due to an income loss caused by the pandemic.  Even when such filings don’t result in an eviction and a tenant pays everything owed, court records can make it difficult for them to find housing in the future.

Family Leave Act

  • SB 275 legislates 12 weeks of partially paid leave, and up to 24 weeks for certain new parents. The House has settled on a measure that would create a commission to study the issue, but not implement legislation.  It will be argued out in a conference committee between the Senate and the House.  Hopefully the Senate version will be signed into law.

 

Disclosure of corporate contributions to advocacy organizations

  • HB 1343 would require companies with contracts of $1 million or more to disclose donations to so-called “501(c)(4)” organizations that run advertising campaigns on behalf of a particular project.

Clean cars

  • HB 1391 (Clean Cars Act of 2022) would extend an expired tax credit for electric vehicles. The bill was amended to limit the tax credit to exclude hybrid vehicles and apply only to zero-emission vehicles. The tax credit is also limited to vehicles that cost $50,000.

Gun store security

  • HB 1021 would require heightened security measures at gun stores, including alarm systems and security barriers including bars, security screens or grates on the windows and doors. The bill would also set rules for storing firearms when a store is closed and allow the state to suspend a dealer’s license if they don’t comply with the security requirements.

Water pollution enforcement expansion

  • SB 221 would allow the Maryland Department of the Environment to impose stricter penalties on those who violate state water laws

Here is a list of some of the other bills that passed one of the Houses in the General Assembly and have a chance of passage:

  • HB 740 – requires the state’s pension managers to consider climate as part of their fiduciary duty.
  • HB 275 – prohibits PFAS chemicals in fire-fighting foam, carpeting, and food packaging.
  • HB 111 – expands consumer protections for individuals with private student loan debt.
  • HB 52 – prohibits the sale of body parts of endangered animals.
  • HB 22 – bans declawing cats.
  • HB 436 – limits the ability of insurance companies to underwrite risk based on a customer’s credit history.
  • HB 384 – expands access to bronchodilators in schools for students who have asthma
  • HB 154 would require each public school district to adopt and implement guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to food allergens.
  • HB 459 – Juvenile Justice Reform: Makes reforms to the juvenile court and intake process based on the recommendations of the Juvenile Justice Reform Council.
  • HB 16 – Unattended Dogs – Extreme Weather Conditions and Heat: Prohibits a person from leaving a dog outside and unattended without access to suitable shelter or suitable shade during extreme weather conditions and temperatures.
  • HB 19 – Safe Walk to School Act: Requires school boards to develop pedestrian safety plans.
  • HB 43 – Maryland Sustainable Buildings Act of 2022: Requires the State government to establish standards for State-owned buildings to conserve energy.
  • HB 157 – Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicles – Reserved Parking Spaces: Prohibits parking a vehicle in plug-in electric vehicle charging space unless the vehicle is plugged into charging equipment
  • SB0029 – Marriage Law – Minimum Age Requirement
  • SB0073 – General Assembly – Election to Fill a Vacancy in Office
  • HB0153 – Repeal of the Spousal Defense
  • HB0472 – Juvenile Justice Reform
  • HB0001 – Constitutional Amendment – Cannabis
  • HB 254 Requires the State Highway Administration to publish online the safety deficiencies they identify at each site of a pedestrian or bicyclist fatality that occurs on a state roadway.
  • HB 1482 – directing the state’s pension managers to divest from Russian-owned companies.
  • HB 172 – allows a taxpayer to deduct up to $300 in union dues.
  • HB 850 – prohibits schools that receive state funds from discrimination against students on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other factors.
  • HB 1080 – expands Medicaid to cover prenatal and postpartum expenses of pregnant immigrant women and their children up to age 1.
  • HB 323 – Ensures the right of tenants to summon law enforcement or emergency services without fear of reprisal by landlords.
  • HB 707 – proposes a constitutional amendment to allow a gubernatorial candidate to select his or her Lieutenant Governor candidate after the primary election.
  • HB 696 – sets up a pilot program to help school districts purchase electric school buses.
  • HB 404 – allows local governments more autonomy to lower speed limits on local roads.
  • HB 83 – raises the age a person who can get married from 15 to 17.
  • HB 920 – repeals the Governor’s veto power over medical parole decisions.
  • Tax Relief package

o    House Bill 1151 cuts the tax on diabetic care products like testing strips, insulin pumps and glucose monitors.

o    House Bill 288 cuts the sales tax on baby products including car seats, baby bottles and bottle nipples.

o    House Bill 282 cuts the sales tax on diapers.

o    House Bill 492 cuts the tax on dental hygiene products like toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash.

o    House Bill 364 cuts the sales tax on thermometers, pulse oximeters, and blood pressure monitors.

o    House Bill 2 provides a tax credit to businesses that hire and retain workers from underrepresented communities who are chronically unemployed.

There is a particularly good organization that tracks important bills.  It is the Maryland Legislative Coalition.  http://mdlegislative.com .  I am using information from their website for the next few legislative updates.

HOW TO ADVOCATE FOR THESE BILLS

Call or send an email to your legislators.  This includes both your Delegates and your Senator since we have bills in both chambers.  You can find your legislators here or on our website http://mdlegislative.com under Legislators.

If you would like to include a short description of the bills, you can include the descriptions shown above.

If you want to contact your representatives in District 47 about any of the bills, you should email or call:

Senator Malcolm Augustine       Malcolm.augustine@senate.state.md.us 410-841-3745

Delegate Diana Fennell (47A) Diana.fennell@house.state.md.us 301-858-3478

Delegate Julian Ivey (47A) Julian.ivey@house.state.md.us      410-841-3326

Delegate Wanika Fisher (47B) Wanika.fisher@house.state.md.us 410-841-3340

If you do not know who your representatives are, you can go to www.mdelect.net     to find out who are your elected representatives   There is also a very good smart phone application “MD GOV” which lists all the Delegates and Senators, their Committees and their contact numbers.

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