Maryland Legislative Report – March 6, 2021

MD Legislative Report – March 6, 2021

     The 2021 Session of the Maryland General Assembly is now more than halfway through its three-month session.    Most of the bills have had committee hearings and are now being reviewed by the various House and Senate Committees.  Almost all the bills must pass by ‘crossover’ day.  This means it must pass one house or the other to be heard in a timely fashion by the other house and then sent to the Governor.  Crossover date this year is March 22.  Here are some of the bills that have passed one house or the other.   I am recording the latest developments in the front of the newsletter.   Later in the report I have listed below some of the bills I am following and the status of those bills If there is another bill you are interested in knowing about, please let me know. 

New Developments

 Bills that Passed both the Senate and the House of Delegates

 Expanding Earned Income Tax Credit to Non-Citizens – SB 218 – This bill was neither vetoed by the Governor nor signed by him and is now the law. This bill extends the earned income tax credit, and the state COVID relief payments, to individuals filing taxes with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). Many taxpayers filing with an ITIN are immigrants who have been excluded from other federal and state relief payments and have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic and subsequent recession.

          

Bills that Passed the Senate

 

          Criminal Justice Package

  • SB71, which would mandate that all law enforcement agencies use body-worn cameras.
  • SB74, which would require all law enforcement agencies across the state to provide employee mental health assistance program for all their officers.
  • SB419, which would limit the use of no-knock warrants.
  • SB599, which would restrict law enforcement agencies’ ability to procure weaponized military equipment.
  • SB600, which would establish that police incidents resulting in civilian fatalities undergo independent investigations.
  • SB786, which would re-establish local control of the Baltimore Police Department.
  • SB627 – Repeal of the Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights – This bill passed the Senate but was amended and there will be an attempt to eliminate some of the amendments in the House of Delegates. The amendments to do the following:
      • Allow officers to exercise the same right to engage in political activity as other state employees while off-duty.
      • Permit officers to seek secondary employment.
      • Restrict income or property disclosures.
      • Prevent officers from being fired, disciplined, demoted or denied a promotion or transfer for exercising their constitutional rights or the rights provided for them under the bill.
      • Prohibit agencies from denying officers their right to file a lawsuit for incidents that arise while on duty.
      • Enable officers to request that formal complaints be expunged from their record if they are exonerated, the allegations were not sustained or they were acquitted by a hearing board and three years have passed since the department’s decision; and
      • Keep formal complaints from being admissible in court if they were not sustained or the officer was exonerated or acquitted by a hearing board.
  • Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in Office of the General Assembly – HB 265 / SB 6 Right now when there is a vacancy the Democratic Committee appoints the person to fill the term. This bill a person would be appointed only until the next Federal or State election

 

  • Utility Regulation – Consideration of Climate and Labor – HB 298/SB 83 – Public Service Commission must consider climate and labor in the regulating of utilities. Passed Senate
  • Black Liquor SB 65 This bill removes “black liquor” ― the gooey, pulpy byproduct of paper production ― from the roster of fuels that qualify for tax breaks under the state’s Renewable Fuels Standard.

 

  • Public Information Act – Personnel Records – Investigations of Law Enforcement Officers (Anton’s Law) SB 178 When you file a complaint of police misconduct, you cannot find out how the department investigates your complaint. All you can find out is the outcome and any discipline; you cannot find out whether the department conducted a thorough or lackluster investigation of your complaint. This is because the complaint file is considered a “personnel record” under Maryland’s Public Information Act, and personnel records may never be disclosed. THE SOLUTION. Remove the complaint file from the personnel record category, thereby allowing the police department to disclose the inappropriate situations.

 

Bills That Passed the House of Delegates

  • HB 77: The Safer Sealant Act of 2021 prohibits certain coal tar pavements with high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which have contributed damaging runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.
  • HB 81: Prohibits leaving dogs outside in extreme weather.
  • HB 130: Establishes a commission on LGBTQ affairs in the Governor’s Office.
  • HB 146: Extends the state fund to help spay and neuter pets by providing grants to lower-income pet owners.
  • HB 208: Closes a loophole to prevent non-farmers from using dangerous neonicotinoid pesticides.
  • HB 247: Ensures election judges are thoroughly trained in how to provide accommodations to voters who may need assistance and requires certain voters (e.g., people with mobility-related disabilities) to be given voting order priority.
  • HB 293: Prohibits organized animal killing contests that have monetary prizes.
  • HB 322: Allows homeowners to have low-impact landscaping, such as a rain garden, and bars a homeowner’s association from prohibiting such landscaping.
  • HB 391: This bill seeks to protect the environment from balloons that are released and later return to the ground as litter.
  • HB 400: Ensures education continuity for juveniles in detention facilities awaiting court proceedings. This bill requires public schools to keep these students enrolled in their original school and provide them with educational materials while awaiting disposition of the student’s case.
  • HB 398 would require employers to provide employees with two hours of paid time off to vote on Election Day or during early voting if they are scheduled to work the entire time that the polls are open that day.
  • HB 156: Student and Military Voter Empowerment Act, which make it easier for college students and members of the military to vote.
  • HB 205: Requires public schools to provide free menstrual hygiene products in bathrooms.
  • HB 207: Requires nursing homes to provide immediate notifications of changes in a resident’s condition to the resident and, as applicable, their family.
  • HB 429: Requires pharmacists to notify consumers if lower-cost alternatives are available to fill their prescriptions.
  • HB 460: The Transfer with Success Act will make it easier for college students to transfer credits between institutions of higher education.
  • HB 318, the Local Tax Relief for Working Families Act of 2021, gives county governments more flexibility in setting their local income taxes. Instead of the flat tax required under current state law, this bill would allow counties to create multiple income tax brackets.  This would provide counties with the opportunity to provide tax relief to low- and middle-income taxpayers.
  • HB 641 protects consumers from losing their homeowners insurance because of weather-related claims. Under current state law, insurance companies can cancel a person’s homeowners insurance policy if they make three weather-related claims in a three years span.  This bill would prohibit insurance carriers from counting a weather-related claim that does not result in a payout to the homeowner towards the three-strike rule.
  • {Thanks again to Delegate Julie Palakovich-Carr for putting this summary in her newsletter}
  • HB 3 Removing the Governor from Parole Decisions – There is already a Parole Review Board that makes recommendations on who should be paroled. In the last 20 years the number of people being let out on parole has gone down as Governors have brought politics in that decision.  Governors interested in running for higher office have been overly cautious on paroling some criminals.
  • HB 492 Two Man Crew: This bill would prohibit the movement of freight in the same rail corridor as a high-speed commuter or passenger train unless the freight train has at least two workers.

 

 

Status of Other Important Bills that I am Following

 

Confronting the COVID CRISIS

 

o COVID-19 Eviction and Housing Relief Act of 2020

* Prohibits rent increases and late fees during the pandemic and allocates funds to landlords to allow for rent forgiveness; ensures landlords demonstrate just cause in order to stop the renewal of a lease. HB 1312 Hearing Held

 

o MD Essential Workers Protection Act

* During state of emergency essential employees 1) Receive $3/hr. hazard pay; 2) 14 day paid sick leave; 3) Right to refuse dangerous work; 4) Free COVID testing; 5) PPE at no cost to employees. HB 581 / SB 486 – House Hearing Held

 

o Foreclosure Protection Bill

* The bill: 1) extends foreclosure moratorium through state of emergency; 2) requires services to grant forbearance; 3) sets default (opt-out) repayment option as deferring missed mortgage payments to the end of the loan; 4) requires prompt notice of all these rights; and 5) creates private right of action to sue if any rights are violated. HB 1009/SB 724 Hearing Held

 

o Unemployment Insurance Reforms:

* Unemployment insurance is crucial, both as a safety net and as a countercyclical stimulus to prevent a deeper recession. This year far too many people struggled with accessing their unemployment benefits. These bills make several fixes to the system including requiring increased staffing so people who need assistance can speak to a human being, timelines for completion of claims and resolution of appeals, improved language access, and greater transparency. This bill also develops a seamless connection from the unemployment insurance process to allow applicants to connect to health benefits, in a process the bill changes the benefit calculation so that people who work multiple jobs and lose one, don’t lose out on unemployment income their family needs. Small businesses would also be protected by freezing the rates they paid from before COVID, so they do not pay higher rates for having to lay off workers due to the emergency. Finally, these bills require the state to study several other structural issues and to recommend changes for future legislative sessions.  HB 907, 908 – Hearings Held

 

 

Criminal Justice Reform

 

o Repeal of the Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights – It would put police officers under the same rules that cover other government employees who come under investigation;(e.g., Police officers have 5 days before they are allowed to be investigated in a disciplinary matter) – Passed the Senate

o Public Information Act – Personnel Records – Investigations of Law Enforcement Officers (Anton’s Law) When you file a complaint of police misconduct, you cannot find out how the department investigates your complaint. All you can find out is the outcome and any discipline; you cannot find out whether the department conducted a thorough or lackluster investigation of your complaint. This is because the complaint file is considered a “personnel record” under Maryland’s Public Information Act, and personnel records may never be disclosed. THE SOLUTION. Remove the complaint file from the personnel record category, thereby allowing the police department to disclose the inappropriate situations. HB 120/ SB 178 – Passed the Senate

  • Removing the Governor from Parole Decisions HB 3 –There is already a Parole Review Board that makes recommendations on who should be paroled. In the last 20 years the number of people being let out on parole has gone down as Governors have brought politics in that decision.  Governors interested in running for higher office have been overly cautious on paroling some criminals.  Passed the House of Delegates

 

 

 

Consumer Rights

 

o Increasing the amount of money low-wage workers can protect from Garnishment:  Currently it is $11,000 a year.  The bill would increase it to $26,000. HB 660 – Hearing Held

o Medical Debtors Protection Act – Expand consumer protections for individuals sued for medical debt and to create an income-based repayment plan before a lawsuit can be filed; prohibit lawsuits for all medical debts below $1000. HB 565/SB 514 Hearings Held

o Drivers Bill of Rights – Limit the use of zip code in auto insurance rates and requires insurance companies to provide rebates to drivers through the state of emergency.  Hearing Held

  • Prohibiting Use of Credit History in Auto Insurance Rating Policies – HB 221 – Hearings Held

 

Democracy and Voting Rights

  • Voting Rights for Imprisoned FelonsHB 53 Hearing Held
  • Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in Office of the General Assembly – HB 265 / SB 6 Right now when there is a vacancy the Democratic Committee appoints the person to fill the term. This bill a person would be appointed only until the next Federal or State election.  Passed the Senate
  • Public Financing for Candidates Running for General Assembly – HB 536 – Hearing Held

 

Education

 

o Funding for Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) This bill would provide an additional $577 million to Maryland’s historically Black colleges and universities over 10 years to end the state’s lengthy lawsuit over inequitable funding of the schools. – HB 1 / SB 1 – Passed the Senate and House

  • : Prohibiting fees for summer school courses in public schools HB 394: Passed the House of Delegates
  • The School Pedestrian Safety Act increases road safety near public schools. This bill requires school boards to create pedestrian safety plans when building new schools or renovating existing ones. HB 487: Passed the House of Delegates

 

 

Environmental/Climate Initiatives

 

* Climate Solutions Now Act, this is a comprehensive bill, which will increase the statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction requirement from 40% by 2030 to 60% and requires the State to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045.  It also sets targets for electrifying state vehicle fleets, supporting solar on buildings and planting trees.  Finally, it has justice/equity provisions which will support already burdened communities. HB 583/ SB 414 Hearings Held

* Community Choice Energy, which will be enabling legislation for each county that will allow them to aggregate their rate payers to negotiate for better rates and for the kind of energy (solar, wind, fossil fuel) that their residents want to use.

* Climate Crisis Act, (a tax on carbon) Charges a fee for fossil fuel use in the state. The fee is used to fund: 1) Kirwan, 2) a benefit fund to offset any costs to low-income Marylanders, and 3) clean energy and resilience infrastructure improvements – HB 33 – Hearing Held

* Constitutional Amendment for Environmental Rights, which will give everyone in Maryland the right to clean air, water and a pollution free environment. HB 82/SB 151 – Hearings Held

* Right to Repair – Our electronics are manufactured with a large environmental footprint which is intentionally amplified when manufacturers produce products that either cannot be repaired, or for which repair information is not disclosed.  This bill will require manufacturers to publicly disclose repair information, decreasing waste and aiding small businesses. HB 84/SB 412 – Unfavorable Report in House Committee (Bill is dead)

* Utility Regulation – Consideration of Climate and Labor – HB 293/SB 83 – House Hearing Held

* Climate Crisis and Education Act – Tax on carbon products – HB 33/SB 76 – Hearing Held

*Plastic Bag Reduction Act State-wide ban on plastic bags – HB 314/SB 223- Hearings Held

  • Black Liquor – This bill removes “black liquor” ― the gooey, pulpy byproduct of paper production ― from the roster of fuels that qualify for tax breaks under the state’s Renewable Fuels Standard. SB 65 – Passed the Senate

 

 

Ethics

Limits on Lobbyist Spending – Limits the amount a lobbyist can spent on taking legislators out to dinner to $50 per person!  HB 292 – Hearing Held

 

 

 

Health Care

 

o Study on Universal Health Care –Establishes a Commission on Universal Health Care to develop a plan for the State to establish, a universal health care program to provide health benefits to all residents of the State through a single-payer system.  HB 470/SB 522 – House Hearing 3/11 – Senate Hearing Held

o Healthy Maryland Act – Establishes a comprehensive, universal single payer health care program to provide health coverage for every Maryland resident.

Housing – HB 534 – Hearing 3/11

  • Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis – HB 32 – Hearing House Judiciary Comm – House Hearing Held
  • Funding for Behavioral Health Crisis Response Services which would be channeled through the Department of Health This is a way to decrease police interactions with mental health situations. SB 286 Hearing Held

 

Housing

 

o Social Housing Legislation – This bill includes tenant protections, affordable housing and zoning changes that allow for duplexes, triplexes and quarterplexes. HB 1090 – Hearing Held

o Right to Counsel in case of evictionHB 18/SB 154 – Hearings Held

o Tenant Protection Act of 2021

* Make utility bill charges more accessible and transparent for tenants whose landlords use a ratio utility billing statement (RUBS)

* Require landlords to provide documentation for materials and services used when using security deposit funds to fix damages.

* Allow tenant associations to use apartment/living complex meeting rooms for tenant organizing meetings.

* Allow a tenant to break their lease if they are a victim of stalking.

* Allow a therapist or third-party professional to certify that a tenant is a victim of stalking or abuse, instead of just cops or a judge.

HB 50 – House Hearing Held

 

  • Mobile Laundry for the Homeless Pilot program. – HB 189 Passed the House of Delegates

 

 

Immigration and Social Justice

 

  • Trust Act – End partnership between local and state enforcement and ICE. HB 304 / SB 88 – Hearing Senate Judicial Proceedings Comm – Hearing Held
  • Termination of Private Immigration Detention Centers: This bill, often referred to as “Dignity not Detention,” will prevent the state’s detention centers – or any private facility – from initiating or renewing existing contracts with ICE -Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (There are currently three such circumstances in the state where immigrants are warehoused, in Howard, Frederick, and Worcester Counties.) The bill will also prevent ICE from coming into Maryland in the future to build its own detention centers. It would go into effect on 1 July 2021.Required local entities that have existing immigration detention agreements to terminate their contracts.  HB 16 – Hearing House Judiciary Comm. – 3/13 1:30 PM
  • Driver Privacy Act – Protects the privacy of MD drivers by requiring ICE and other Federal agencies to obtain a warrant in order to access personal information that the MVA gathers about drivers. HB 23 / SB 234 – Hearing Held
  • Action of Change of Name Waiver of Publication Requirement HB 39– Passed the House
  • Energy Supplier Low-Income Act – This bill will prohibit deregulated, third party energy suppliers, who target low-income zip codes, to charge OHEP customers higher rates than the standard energy supplier rate.  These suppliers have stepped up their door-to-door selling game during COVID and their predatory practices have reached an all-time high. SB 31/HB 397 – Passed the House of Delegates
    • The Love Is No Defense to Sexual Crimes Act. This bill prohibits the spousal defense for sexual offenses, ensuring that individuals cannot use the fact that they are married to their victim as a defense for sexual crimes including rape. HB 147 – Passed the House of Delegates

Labor and Working Rights

                       

  • Time to Care Act establishes a family and medical leave insurance program that employees may take up to 12 weeks of paid leave in Maryland. The funding would come from both the employer and employee. It’s estimated to cost the employee $3 to $6 a week which would come as a payroll deduction. HB 375 / SB 211 – Hearing Held
  • Collective Bargaining for Workers at Community Colleges HB 894/SB 746 – House Hearing Held / Senate Hearing Finance Committee March 4 1 PM

Prince George’s Local Bills (these are bills that only pertain to Prince George’s County) and are voted on by the Delegates and Senators from Prince George’s County

 

  • HB 624.  Elected School Board – 9 members elected by district.  Right now, there is a hybrid school board. Some are appointed and some are elected. The school superintendent will be appointed by the board.  The board selects the chair and vice chair. Hearing Held

 

  • HB 622 – Prohibition on MAGLEV coming through Prince George’s County – Hearing Held

 

  • HB 621 – Prince George’s County – Elementary School Students – Daily Physical Activity (Student Health and Fitness Act) – Hearing Held

 

  • HB 617 – Prince George’s County – Alcoholic BeveragesLicenses for Supermarkets – Hearing Held

 

 

Raising Revenue Through Fair Funding Initiatives

 

Little can be done without a realistic plan to raise revenue.  A group of legislators are proposing a package of revenue proposals that would raise close to $3 billion a year by taxing corporations and the super-wealthy in Maryland and not working people.  Some of these proposals are:

 

o Combined Reporting – Requires large, multistate corporations to pay their fair share in corporate taxes for profits generated from subsidiaries in Maryland. HB 172 – Hearing Held

o Throwback Rule -Require large, multistate corporations to pay their fair share in corporate taxes for profits generated related to sales in Maryland. – HB 229 – Hearing Held

o Close the pass-through/LLC loophole– Apply a 4% entity-level tax on profits over $1 million for LLCs.  LLCs are limited partnerships which do not pay a corporate business tax. – HB 357 Hearing Date 1/21 – Ways and Means Comm

o Restructure personal income tax brackets and rates – Lowers income tax rates on income earners below median, raise rates on income earners above, restore millionaire tax at 7%.  HB 357 Hearing Held

o Capital gains surtax- Apply a 1% surtax on capital gains income to partially offset special treatment in federal tax code. HB 201 – Hearing Held

o Carried Interest – Apply a 19% state income surtax on the distributive or pro-rata share of a pass-through entity’s taxable income that is attributable to investment management services provided in the State. HB 215/SB 288 – House Hearing Held – Senate Budget and Taxation 1/28

o Estate Tax Giveaway Reversal – Reverses handout to wealthy given in 2014 by resetting the estate tax exemption limit at $1 million instead of $5 million. HB 165 – Hearing Held

o Effective Corporate Tax Rate Transparency Act of 2020 -Requiring a publicly traded corporation that is required to file a Maryland income tax return to attach a statement identifying the corporation’s effective tax rate and an explanation of the calculation of the effective tax rate; requiring that the statement be made under oath, signed in a certain manner, subject to audit by the Comptroller, and treated as confidential taxpayer information; requiring the Comptroller to submit a certain report to the Governor and the General Assembly by March 1 each year; etc.- HB 330 – House Ways and Means Comm – Hearing Held

o Country Club Bill   Would provide $100 million in additional revenue over the next 10 years by taxing country clubs statewide at the same property tax rates that other property owners pay, $10 million in one year. HB 1120 – Hearing Held

o Decouple from federal CARES Act tax breaks:  The Federal CARES Act contains several major changes to tax policy.  These changes will reduce Maryland’s revenues by $110 million in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.  This legislation would decouple from these costly federal provisions that disproportionately benefit wealthy taxpayers. HB 495 – Hearing Held

*Make MD Tax Structure More Progressive – Changes the tax brackets to raise more revenue from wealthier individuals and less from people with less income.  HB 275 – Hearing Held

*Allowing Counties to Have Different Income Tax Rates Based on Income:  SB 133/HB 319 -Passed House of Delegates

 

Transportation

 

Purple Line Tree Replacement: Construction of the Purple Line required the removal of large mature trees. While the overall plan required replacement of these trees, they were replaced in areas far from the communities that lost them. Many of the areas that lost trees are already suffering from heat island effects and poor air quality. Walking and biking along these corridors for transit-dependent individuals is even hotter and more unpleasant without these trees. While these trees cannot be replaced in the exact locations they were removed, they can be replanted in the same neighborhoods on a combination of state, county, and private land. This legislation requires the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Department of the Environment to coordinate this effort to replant trees in these communities, prioritizing communities suffering multiple environmental health harms. Lorig Charkoudian is introducing this bill. HB 80 /SB 286 – Hearings Held

 

Two Man Crew: This bill would prohibit the movement of freight in the same rail corridor as a high-speed commuter or passenger train unless the freight train has at least two workers. HB 492 – Passed the House of Delegates

 

 

 

There is a good website that tracks bills.  You might want to look at the Maryland Legislative Coalition:  http://mdlegislative.com

 

Please remember, the reason I inform people about these bills is so you can contact your state legislators and let them know how you feel about legislation they’re going to vote on.

General Information

 

If you want to know any more about any of the bills go to the Maryland General Assembly website:  www.mgaleg.maryland.gov     and type in the bill number.

 

To view and listen to proceedings go to the General Assembly website:  www.mgaleg.maryland.gov.

 

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.

 

You can read all my past newsletters at my Peoples Lobbying Group website:  www.plg.solutions .

 

 

Older Developments – Bills That Are Now Law

 

COVID Relief Bill

 

           
A $1.5 billion relief package to help struggling Marylanders and businesses.

Stimulus payments.  Individuals who qualified for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in 2019 and/or 2020 will receive one-time stimulus payments.  Eligibility is dependent on your income and number of children.  For instance, a married couple with two kids making up to $53,330 a year is eligible.  A single person with no kids can earn up to $15,820 a year and still qualify for the stimulus payment.  For people who qualified for the EITC in 2019, they will receive $500 for families or $300 for individuals.  People who qualify for the EITC in 2020 will receive $250 for families or $150 for individuals.

Expansion of the EITC.  The legislation also includes an ongoing expansion of the EITC program, which is a highly targeted and effective way of helping low-income workers and raising people out of poverty.  Maryland will now have the most generous EITC credit in the nation and low-income workers may receive hundreds of dollars more in tax refunds.  This change takes effect with tax year 2020 and will be reflected on taxpayers’ refunds.

If you think that you are eligible for the EITC in 2020 and therefore also eligible for a stimulus payment, you should file your 2020 taxes soon.  People must file their tax returns in order to receive this money.  You can get free tax preparation help through the County by calling (240) 777-1123.

Unemployment benefits.  Unemployment benefits will be exempt from the State income tax, keeping over $225.0 million in the pockets of unemployed Marylanders.  People whose claim for unemployment benefits is pending and who have been waiting in adjudication for at least 30 days will each receive $1,000.

 

Aid for businesses.  Small businesses will be allowed to keep sales tax collections of up to $9,000 over three months.  Up to 100,000 small businesses and nonprofits will be able to defer paying unemployment insurance taxes until early 2022 to help with cash flow.  Additionally, layoffs during FY 2020 and FY 2021 will not impact the employer’s experience rating–saving businesses money on their unemployment taxes.  Loans of up to $50,000 provided through the Minority and Small Business Loans program will be converted to grants.  State taxes on COVID-related loans and grants from the state will be forgiven.

Other aid.  The RELIEF Act also includes $300 million in additional relief.  People receiving benefits from the Temporary Disability Assistance Program will get an extra $100 a month through June.  Food banks will receive $10 million.  $83 million is directed to paying overdue utility bills for Marylanders.  Over $100 million in grants will be distributed to hard-hit business sectors and non-profits.

(Thanks to Delegate Julie Palakovich-Carr for providing a good summary of the legislation)

 

 

Governor Vetoes that Were Over-riden by the General Assembly

 

* Kirwan Commission Reforms: The “Blueprint for Maryland’s Future” required billions in extra spending on public schools to carry out education reforms recommended by the Kirwan Commission on education. The programs included expanded prekindergarten, higher teacher pay, improved career- and college-prep and more support for schools with concentrations of students from poor families. The veto of this bill meant that another bill on school construction will not go into effect. Hogan allowed the Built to Learn Act to become law, generating $2.2 billion in extra funding for school construction over the next five years using bonds that would be paid back with casino revenues.  But a provision in the bill tied the two education measures together. Until the Kirwan bill becomes law, the school construction bill does not go into effect.

* Digital downloads: This bill extends the state’s 6% sales tax to digital downloads of products such as e-books, songs, movies and streaming TV services. This bill will raise $150 million

* Long guns: This bill requires background checks on private sales and transfers of rifles and shotguns. The buyer and seller would have to go to a licensed dealer to have a federal background check completed.

* Prescription drug review board: This bill charges a fee to companies that sell prescription drugs and used the money to run the state’s Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

* Tobacco, nicotine and digital ads: Multiple taxes were rolled into one bill: an increase in the per-pack tax on cigarettes, new taxes on nicotine vaping systems and a first-in-the-nation tax on digital advertising.

 

 

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