MD Legislative Update – Feb 7, 2022

The 2022 General Assembly has been in session for almost 4 weeks and over 1600 bills have been introduced.  The deadline for introducing bills is the end of next week so we will know about all the legislation that will be considered by the General Assembly.  Soon I’ll be reporting on the bills that are actually moving out of Committee and have a good chance of passage.

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

Here are some of the bills that have been introduced in the last two week and we are following.

No MAGLEV! – 
SB0359/HB0356 State Finance – Prohibited Appropriations – Magnetic Levitation Transportation System – Senator Pinsky/Delegate Williams – Hearing Date February 9th and February 16
This bill would prohibit state funds from being used to create a MAGLEV transportation system in the state.  The MAGLEV project violates the principles of equity in transportation in that it would only serve Baltimore and Washington but pass through underserved black and brown communities in Prince George’s County.

Study for Universal Health Care – 
SB0493 Public Health – Commission on Universal Health Care – Senator Pinsky – Hearing Date February 9th
We all want Universal Health Care.  It’s cheaper – by a LOT – and will provide quality health care to our entire population.  Universal health care is something that the entire rest of the world has had for years.  We, on the other hand, pay a fortune for a fragmented health care system that is not usable or affordable for most people. How do we transition, though, and how much will it really cost?
This bill would establish the Commission on Universal Health Care to develop a plan for the State to transition to a universal health care program to provide health benefits to all residents of the State through a single-payer system.

Medical Licenses for Immigrants –
HB0533 Occupations and Professions – Licenses, Certificates, and Registration – Immigrants – Delegate Pena-Melnyk – Hearing Date February 15th
This bill would prohibit a State occupational or professional licensing board or other government agency in the State from denying a license or certification to an immigrant if the individual meets the requirements for the license or certificate.

Ban on ‘Forever Chemicals’ 
SB0273/HB0275 Environment – PFAS Chemicals – Prohibitions and Requirements (George ‘Walter’ Taylor Act) – Senator Elfreth/Delegate Love – Hearing Date February 2nd and February 9th
PFAS chemicals are ‘forever chemicals’.  They never break down.  They are used in firefighting foam, food packaging, rugs and carpets.  They are polluting our drinking water and are accumulating in our bodies.  They have been linked to cancer and other serious illnesses.
This bill, if passed, would prevent the mass incineration or landfilling of PFAS chemicals.  It would also prohibit the manufacture, sale or distribution of products containing PFAS chemicals, such as rugs and carpets, food packaging and firefighting foam.

Stay of Eviction Waiting for Rental Assistance – 
SB0384 Landlord and Tenant – Stay of Eviction Proceeding for Rental Assistance Determination – Senator Hettleman – Hearing Date February 15th
Marylanders are getting evicted while waiting for rental assistance!  This bill would provide for the stay of eviction proceedings when a tenant is waiting for a determination regarding the tenant’s good faith application for rental assistance.  If a landlord has already received a favorable judgement in an eviction proceeding, they cannot physically evict the tenant until the rental assistance application is resolved.

Filing Suit on Fossil Fuel Companies – 
HB0363 Attorney General – Climate Change Actions – Authorization – Delegate Ruth – Hearing Date February 15th
Our Attorney General does not have the authority to sue fossil fuel companies, even though other states already have lawsuits on the books.  This bill would provide authorization for the Attorney General to investigate, commence, and prosecute or defend any suit against a publicly traded entity with a market capitalization greater than $1,000,000,000 or its subsidiaries for unlawful conduct that has contributed to climate change.

Dental Coverage for Adults

HB6/SB150 MD Medical Assistance Program – Dental Coverage for Adults

Sponsors: Delegate Cullison & Senators Augustine, Guzzone

Requires the Maryland Medical Assistance Program to provide comprehensive dental care for adults whose annual household income is at or below 133% of the federal poverty level

The Juvenile Interrogation Protection Act,

Senate Bill 53, would require that police officers contact a child’s legal guardian and allow them to consult with an attorney before being interrogated; And

Juvenile Court Jurisdiction

Senate Bill 165 would mandate that defendants under 18 — regardless of their alleged offense — enter the criminal justice system through the juvenile courts. Delegate Moon stated at a hearing: “I would argue that in law and criminal justice, imprisoning innocent people is a catastrophe.  It’s the professional equivalent of a doctor amputating the wrong leg.”

Wrongful Convictions

House Bill 249 would require that the Attorney General’s office and professional boards, including the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities and the Attorney Grievance Commission, be notified when the Board of Public Works learns that someone is eligible for compensation because they have been wrongfully convicted or because a judge grants a writ of actual innocence.

 

Climate Solutions Now! – 

SB0528 Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 – Senator Pinsky – Hearing Date February 15th 
This is the big, bold climate solution that we need in Maryland.  It increases our greenhouse gas reduction targets to 60% by 2030 and net zero by 2045.  It establishes and provides an initial appropriation for a Climate Catalytic Capital Fund to fund more climate pollution reduction programs focused on investments in Environmental Justice communities. It also establishes a Just Transition Employment and Retraining Task Force, electrifies the state vehicle fleet, and funds a net zero school program.

For the buildings sector, it establishes high-electrification new construction code beginning in 2023, so we start building greener buildings and also establishes a Building Emissions Performance Standard for buildings 25,000 sq. ft and larger that reaches 20% reductions in 2030, 40% by 2035, and Net-zero by 2040.  Finally, it creates an inter-agency task force to develop a plan to fund wholistic retrofits in the building sector to meet the new 2030 and 2045 state greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Eviction Prevention Services – 

HB0691 Landlord and Tenant and Wrongful Detainer Actions – Eviction Prevention Services Delegate Wells – Hearing Date February 16th

There are various organizations that provide eviction prevention services, such as social workers, counselors, financial assistance companies, civil legal aid services, or alternative dispute resolution services.  This bill allows a party in an eviction proceeding to request a recess for a reasonable amount of time to use the services of an eviction prevention services provider if a provider is available at the court building during the time scheduled for the trial.  Additionally, a continuance can be requested of 5 or more business days if either party seeks attorney representation, or to procure witnesses or obtain documents for their defense, or if a party demonstrates that the interests of justice will be better served by the court’s order of referral of the parties to an eviction prevention services provider.

PBJ –
HB0559 Probation Before Judgement – Probation Agreements – Probation Not Deportation- Delegate Fisher – Hearing Date February 15th
This bill will protect our immigrant community from deportation for small offenses that would otherwise be the catalyst for deportation proceedings.  Minor infractions, such as speeding, failure to have their taillights working, and other small offences will place a sentence on an immigrant’s record, which is often the trigger for federal immigration enforcement to arrest and deport them.

This bill will allow for probation before judgement, rather than sentencing when a person pleads guilty or nolo contender.

Drug Paraphernalia Decriminalization 
SB0509 Drug Paraphernalia for Administration – Decriminalization – Senator Carter – Hearing Dates February 16th
This bill makes it legal to use or possess drug paraphernalia for personal use.  Additionally, the fines and sentences for growing, manufacturing, processing, distributing, concealing, selling controlled dangerous substances are reduced from $2,000 to $1,000 and from 2 years to 1 year.

Greener Schools – 
SB0588 Capital Projects – High Performance Green Buildings – Senator Hettleman – Hearing Date February 15th
For schools or public safety buildings that receive 25% or more of their construction funding from state funds, the Maryland Green Building Council must ensure that those state buildings, public schools, and community colleges meet high performance building standard requirements.

SB0471 FUTURE Act – Senator Rosapepe – Hearing Date February 15th
This bill will require public colleges and universities in Maryland to be carbon neutral by 2035. It will also create an Environmental and Economic Justice scholarship fund for in-state students, establish Offices of Sustainability at each university that collaborates, and lays the groundwork for a Sustainability General Education Requirement.

Use of Credit History in Auto Insurance Rates – 
HB0436 Motor Vehicle Insurance – Use of Credit History Rating Policy – Delegate Wells – Hearing Date February 17th
This bill prohibits an automobile insurer from determining the insurance premium based, in whole or in part, on the credit history of an applicant or insured

Public Financing of Local Elections

HB 488 Delegate Jessica Feldmark – This bill will enable  public financing for all local races.  If this bill passes, all counties in MD can create public financing programs for any and all local races, one cycle AFTER they have used it for council and exec.

Medical Reimbursement Legislation

HB 694 – Delegate Lorig Charkoudian – Hospitals wrongly collected over $60 million dollars per year in 2017 and again in 2018 from patients who were eligible for free care.  The bill establishes a process to identify these patients and requires hospitals to refund patients who should have received free care.

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.

For your Delegates:
My name is _________ and my address is ______________.  I am writing to let you know that the following bill(s) is(are) important to me and to all of your constituents.  I would like to request that you be a champion for these bills and help them get passed quickly.

If you are not on the relevant committee, I would appreciate your voting for them on the House floor.  If you are on the relevant committee, I hope you will fight for them and support the sponsors as much as possible.

Environment and Transportation Committee

  • HB0356 State Finance – Prohibited Appropriations – Magnetic Levitation Transportation System

Economic Matters Committee

  • HB0533 Occupations and Professions – Licenses, Certificates, and Registration – Immigrants
  • HB0436 Motor Vehicle Insurance – Use of Credit History Rating Policy – Delegate Wells


Health and Government Affairs Committee

  • HB 694 Medical Reimbursement Legislation

Judiciary Committee

  • HB0114 Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings Program – Delegate Williams
  • HB0122 Criminal Procedure – Expungement of Records – Expansion – Delegate W. Fisher
  • HB0269 Juvenil Law – Child Interrogation Protection – Delegate Bartlett
  • HB0559 Probation Before Judgement – Probation Agreements – Probation Not Deportation- Delegate Fisher
  • HB0691 Landlord and Tenant and Wrongful Detainer Actions – Eviction Prevention Services – Delegate Wells

Ways and Means Committee

  •     HB 488 – Public Financing of Local Elections

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 the 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.

For your Delegates:
My name is _________ and my address is ______________.  I am writing to let you know that the following bill(s) is(are) important to me and to all of your constituents.  I would like to request that you be a champion for these bills and help them get passed quickly.

If you are not on the relevant committee, I would appreciate your voting for them on the House floor.  If you are on the relevant committee, I hope you will fight for them and support the sponsors as much as possible.

 

Environment and Transportation Committee

  • HB0086 Landlord and Tenant – Residential Leases – Tenant Rights and Protections (Tenant Protection Act of 2022) – Delegate Stewart
  • HB0061 Charter Counties – Enforcement of Local Buildings Performance Laws (Building Energy Performance Standards Act of 2022) – Delegate Stewart
  • HB0141 Equity in Transportation Sector – Guidelines and Analyses – Delegate Ruth

Judiciary Committee

  • HB0083 Family Law – Emancipation of a Minor and Authorization to Marry – Delegate Atterbeary
  • HB0114 Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings Program – Delegate Williams
  • HB0269 Juvenil Law – Child Interrogation Protection – Delegate Bartlett
  • HB0153 Criminal Law – Sexual Crimes – Repeal of Spousal Defense – Delegate Crutchfield

Economic Matters Committee

  • HB8 Labor and Employment – Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program – Establishment (Time to Care Act of 2022) – Delegate Valderrama

Ways and Means Committee

  • HB 344 – Prohibiting Pay to Play Act of 2022 – Delegate Palakovich-Carr

For your Senator:

My name is _________ and my address is ______________.  I am writing to let you know that the following bill(s) is(are) important to me and to all of your constituents.  I would like to request that you be a champion for these bills and help them get passed quickly.

If you are not on the relevant committee, I would appreciate your voting for them on the House floor.  If you are on the relevant committee, I hope you will fight for them and support the sponsors as much as possible.

Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee

  • SB0073 General Assembly – Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in Office – Senator Lam
  • SB0321 Environment – Synthetic Turf and Turf Infill – Chain of Custody – Senator Kagan

Judicial Proceedings Committee

  • SB0129 Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings Program – Senator Hettleman
  • SB0138 Criminal Procedure – Expungement of Records – Expansion – Senator Patterson

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.

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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