Maryland Legislative Update – March 19 2020

Legislative Update – March 20, 2020

 

Our world has all changed in the last two weeks and it has changed in Annapolis. 

For the first time since the Civil War, the Legislature adjourned early.

The General Assembly is expected to come back in the last week of May to possibly override vetoes by Governor Hogan and pass some extra legislation.

Over the last few days over 650 bills were passed by the General Assembly.

Here is a list of the bills I am following and are now waiting for the Governor’s signature.

If you want to know any more about any of the bills go to the Maryland

General Assembly web-site:  www.mgaleg.maryland.gov    and type in the bill number.

 

Bills Passed by the General Assembly

Budget

Giving the Legislature the Power to Add to the Budget Voters will vote on a constitutional amendment this November.  Right now only the Governor can add to the proposed budget. The measure, which has been  introduced for more than 25 years, would allow the General Assembly to increase or decrease line items in the state’s budget, but not exceed the overall spending level set by Maryland’s governor. It would also diminish the power the governor has over the budget process, the strongest gubernatorial budget control in the nation.

Coronavirus

  • Emergency Funds for Coronavirus – SB 1079:Allows the Governor to transfer by budget amendment up to $50 million from the Revenue Stabilization Account to fund costs associated with COVID-19. Passed House of Delegates
  • Emergency Bill – This bill gives the governor authority to declare a ‘catastrophic health emergency’. It would also extended unemployment benefits

Consumer Rights

  • Debt Collection – HB 365This bill increases the amount of money a person can keep in his/her pay check protected from a judgment. Too many people can’t buy food and clothes for their family because of the money that is taken out of their check because of debt obligations.
  • Motor Vehicle and Homeowner’s Insurance – Use of Claim History in Rating Policies –SB 470 Prohibits an insurer, with respect to private passenger motor vehicle insurance, from increasing the premium for an insured based on a homeowner’s insurance claim; and prohibiting an insurer, with respect to homeowner’s insurance, from increasing the premium for an insured based on a private passenger motor vehicle insurance claim
  • Repeals the authority of the MVA to suspend a driver’s licensefor nonpayment of a traffic ticket. HB 280

Criminal Justice

  • Requires the creation of a pre-release facilityfor female inmates. Requires the creation of a pre-release facility for female inmates. Maryland does not have any such facilities for women. SB 604.
  • Jailhouse informants – The bill passed tougher restrictions on prosecutors’ use of jailhouse informants after false testimony from such witnesses led to convictions of four men who have since been cleared.

Education

  • Aid to Historically Black Colleges and Universities HB 1260: Requires the Governor in each fiscal year 2022-2031 to include in the annual state budget $57.7 million to be allocated to historically black colleges and universitiesin Maryland.
  • Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (Kirwan Commission Recommendations) HB 1300/SB 1000
    • The bill will
  • Expand pre-kindergarten programs;
  • Increase funding to schools with a high percentage of poor, special education or limited-English students;
  • Add more programs to ensure that students are prepared for college and careers.
  • Raise teacher pay;
  • Hire thousands more educators to increase individual attention for students
  • Expand teacher planning and individualized instruction time;
    • Expand career technical education and community schools
    • Providing more support and staffing for special education and mental health services
    • Create an independent, seven-member “Accountability and Implementation Board” to oversee the overhaul.
  • The bill was amended to provide relief from some of the financial obligations facing local governments. The amendment will result in the state absorbing a greater proportion of the increased education funding in 17 jurisdictions including Prince George’s County. Prince George’s will have to pay $183 million more by 2030, down from $386 million. Prince George’s schools will receive the most new state funding: $724 million more annually by 2030.
    • Build to Learn Act of 2020 HB 1 This bill provides more money to repair and build schools to ease crowding and replace aging buildings The legislation authorizes the Maryland Stadium Authority to issue up to $2.2 billion in school construction bonds, beginning in fiscal 2022, giving priority to districts with the oldest buildings, the highest number of classroom trailers and the most students from poor families. The bonds would be paid off using casino revenues
  • Advertising of Free Digital Materials for College Students HB 318: Requires each public college in Maryland to disclose to students which courses use free digital materials and may provide access to certain low-cost print materials. Passed House of Delegates
  • Prohibits a public library from charging minors a fine for overdue library materials. HB 1000:

Environmental

  • Prohibition on Use of Chlorpyrifos – The pesticide Chlorpyrifos has been proven to cause brain damage in children, harm our environment, and kill wildlife. HB 229/SB 300 Prohibiting the use of Chlorpyrifos in the State –

Ethics

  • Stopping the Revolving Door – HB 350/SB 202 A former secretary of a principal department of the Executive Branch cannot lobby 1 calendar year from the date the secretary leaves State office.
  • Repealing a prohibition on a develop from making a contribution to the County Executive of Prince George’s County or a slate that includes the County Executive HB 282

Gambling

  • Horse Racing:  A $389 million plan to renovate the Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course tracks and keep the Preakness Stakes race in Baltimore. Bonds will be issued for the projects. Those bonds would be paid back over 30 years using $17 million per year from the Maryland Lottery.  SB 987
  • Sports Betting – Maryland voters will decide in November whether to legalize sports betting. After that, lawmakers will decide who many licenses would be issued and who would get to bid on them.

Gun Control

  • Rifles and Shotguns: Secondary Transactions – HB 4 /SB 208 Maryland law requires the regulation of the “sale, transfer, rental, and possession of regulated firearms, which consist of handguns and assault weapons,” However, this regulation does not currently apply to rifles and shotguns, Under the bill, a third-party licensed gun dealer would be involved, and the transfer must be done under three conditions: The sale must be from the owner; there must be a background  and the transfer must comply with all federal and state law that would apply to the transfer.

 

  • Hate Crimes Act HB 5- This bill prohibits a person from inscribing or placing an item or a symbol, including nooses or swastikas, on any public or private property without express permission of the owner with the intent to threaten or intimidate

Housing

  • Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act – HB 231/SB 530 – Provides fair housing to all citizens regardless of source of income; provides additional opportunities for tenants utilizing public subsidies to live in certain neighborhoods and prohibits a person from refusing to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of source of income.

Health

  • Enshrines parts of the Affordable Care Act into state code HB 959 In case it is repealed by Congress or ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
  • Hospitals – Financial Assistance Policies and Bill Collections – HB 1420/ SB 875 Increasing the family income threshold to between 200% and 500% of the federal poverty level at which a hospital’s financial assistance policy must provide free medically necessary care to patients; requiring that a certain financial assistance policy include a certain payment plan and a certain mechanism for a patient to request a certain reconsideration.
  • Requires health care professionals to receive implicit biastraining to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity. HB 837

Revenue

  • Tobacco and nicotine taxes – Per pack tax on cigarettes would increase by $1.75 while vaping products would be taxed for the first time.
  • Digital Advertising – Maryland will be the first step to tax digital advertising.
  • 21st–Century Economy Sales Tax Act – The sales tax would be extended to digital downloads of products such as e-books, songs, movies and streaming TV services. HB 932

Social Justice

  • Repeal of Anti-Sodomy Laws: HB 81 Repeals the crimes of sodomy and unnatural or perverted sexual practice;
  • Hairstyles – A ban on discrimination because of hair texture and hairstyles in order to stop employers from discriminating against employees based on how they wear their hair.

 Voting Rights

  • Election Law – References to Absentee Voting in Communications – Mail-In-Voting – HB0037 – This bill requires changing the reference to Absentee Ballots to ‘Mail-In’ Ballots.
  • Requires authority line to be used in campaign robocalls (i.e. who is paying for the robocall).  HB 216

 

Workers’ Rights

  • Wage History Act – HB 123/SB 217 Requires an employer to provide to an applicant for employment the wage range for the position for which the applicant applied; prohibits an employer from taking negative actions against an applicant for employment because the applicant did not provide wage history or a wage range; prohibiting an employer from relying on wage history and from seeking an applicant’s wage history from former employers or their agents.
  • Heat Stress Standards HB 722 / SB 434 Establishes a health and safety standard for heat stress levels and requires employers to develop, implement, and maintain a certain excessive heat-related illness prevention plan for employees.
  • Prohibiting an employer from taking adverse employment action against an employee for inquiring about the employee’s wages.

 

 

MD Legislative Update – March 2, 2020

Legislative Update – March 6, 2020

 

As we get closer to ‘cross-over’ date more bills are passing through one of the chambers of the Maryland Legislature.  Crossover date is the date that almost all the bills have to pass either the Senate or House of Delegates so they can be heard in a timely fashion by the other legislative body.  Cross-over date this year is March 16th   

I am listing some of the bills that passed one of the legislative bodies this week and then other bills I am tracking. All bills have to be passed by both the State Senate and the House of Delegates and then signed into law. At the end of the report I also list bills that will not pass this year. 

 

Bills That Have Made Progress This Week

 

  • Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (Kirwan Commission Recommendations) HB 1300/SB 1000 – Passed House of Delegates

 

  • The bill will
  • Expand pre-kindergarten programs;
  • Increase funding to schools with a high percentage of poor, special education or limited-English students;
  • Add more programs to ensure that students are prepared for college and careers.
  • Raise teacher pay;
  • Hire thousands more educators to increase individual attention for students
  • Expand teacher planning and individualized instruction time;
    • Expand career technical education and community schools
    • Providing more support and staffing for special education and mental health services
    • Create an independent, seven-member “Accountability and Implementation Board” to oversee the overhaul. Local school systems would be required to submit plans showing how they are implementing the law. In addition to scrutinizing how schools are spending state taxpayers’ money, the board would be required to study student performance and how well the policies are closing an achievement gap among students of different races.
  • The bill was amended to provide relief from some of the financial obligations facing local governments. The amendment will result in the state absorbing a greater proportion of the increased education funding in 17 jurisdictions including Prince George’s County. Prince George’s will have to pay $183 million more by 2030, down from $386 million. Prince George’s schools will receive the most new state funding: $724 million more annually by 2030.
  • The big question is how it will be funded. The bill requires the state  to pay $2.9 billion more annually to local school systems by 2030. Local jurisdictions would have to pay a combined $863 million more by 2030.  A package of revenue bills was voted out of the Ways and Means Committee but  the legislature has not yet voted on the package to fund these improvements

 

  • Debt Collection – HB 365This bill increases the amount of money a person can keep in his/her pay check protected from a judgment. Too many people can’t buy food and clothes for their family because of the money that is taken out of their check because of debt obligations. Passed House of Delegates

 

 

  • Public Financing of School Board Candidates – SB 298 / HB 337 – Passed State Senate

 

  • Prohibiting an employer from taking adverse employment action against an employee for inquiring about the employee’s wages. HB 14 Passed House of Delegates

 

  • Removes prohibitions on prosecuting an individual accused of having raped or committed a sexual offense against their own spouse. HB 590 Passed House of Delegates

 

  • Extends insurance coverage for in vitro fertilization services to unmarried women in order to prevent discrimination on the basis of marital status. HB 781  Passed House of Delegates

 

  • Requires authority line to be used in campaign robocalls.  HB 216 Passed House of Delegates.

 

  • Prohibition on Use of Chlorpyrifos – The pesticide Chlorpyrifos has been proven to cause brain damage in children, harm our environment, and kill wildlife. HB 229/SB 300 Prohibiting the use of chlorpyrifos in the State – Passed the Senate

 

Status of Other Important Bills

Consumer Rights

  • Bans the Use of Credit History in Rating Policies SB 17/HB 431– Prohibits an insurer, from pricing insurance based  on the credit history of an applicant; Senate Hearing Held

 

  • Motor Vehicle and Homeowner’s Insurance – Use of Claim History in Rating Policies – HB 431 / SB 470 Prohibits an insurer, with respect to private passenger motor vehicle insurance, from increasing the premium for an insured based on a homeowner’s insurance claim; and prohibiting an insurer, with respect to homeowner’s insurance, from increasing the premium for an insured based on a private passenger motor vehicle insurance claim. Passed House of Delegates – Senate Hearing Held

 

 

Criminal Justice

 

  • Maryland Second Look Act – HB 323/SB 591 This bill authorizes inmates serving a lengthy term of incarceration to file a petition for modification of sentence after serving greater than 25 years in prison. The judge may modify the sentence if he/she determines that retention is not necessary for the protection of the public. Hearings Held

 

  • Pre-release Unit for Women – HB 608/ SB 682– MD has four pre-release facilities for men but none for women. Hearings Held

 

  • Taking the Governor Out of the Parole System – HB 1219/SB 817 The independent Parole Board recommends whether long term prisoners should be released but for the last twenty years Maryland’s Governors have not followed up on the recommendations of the Parole Board because of politics. Hearings Held
  • Possession of small Amounts of Marijuana – HB 550 Increases from 10 grams to 1 ounce, the amount of marijuana below which possession is a civil offense, rather than a criminal offense and provides that a person may not be charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana based solely on the possession of less than 1 ounce. House Hearing Held

 

  • Partial Expungement SB 589/HB 1336 This bill expands Maryland’s current expungement law to apply to charges which did not end in a conviction even when other charges from the same incident end in a conviction. Senate Hearing Held.  House Judiciary Hearing – March 10

Education

  • Blueprint for Maryland’s Future HB 1300/SB 1100 – In 2016, the Maryland Legislature formed the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, popularly known as the Kirwan Commission. The commission issued a report earlier this year with an aggressive plan to improve Maryland’s schools. This is the bill Implementation of the plan requires increased spending of up to $4 billion per year.  The big question this year is how are we going to raise the money to fund this bill.  There are a lot of good bills that have been introduced to raise revenue.  These bills have also have to be passed to fully implement the recommendations outlined in HB 1300/SB 111. Hearings Held

 

  • Build to Learn Act of 2020 HB 1/SB This bill  provides more money to repair and build schools to ease crowding and replace aging buildings The legislation authorizes the Maryland Stadium Authority to issue up to $2.2 billion in school construction bonds, beginning in fiscal 2022, giving priority to districts with the oldest buildings, the highest number of classroom trailers and the most students from poor families. Passed House of Delegates

 

  • Funding for HBCU Colleges HB 1260 / SB 1043 – Requires the Governor, in each of fiscal years 2022 through 2031, to include in the annual State operating budget $57,700,000 to be allocated to certain historically black colleges and universities.  House Hearing Held

 

  • Ban Lunch Shaming – SB 760 /HB 1173 This bill bans the practice of ‘lunch shaming’ where students have their lunches thrown away and replaced if they have unpaid bills. Hearings Held

 

Environment

  • Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act – HB 209/SB 313 Prohibits a store from distributing plastic carryout bags to a customer at the point of sale; requiring a store to charge and collect at least 10 cents for each durable carryout bag the store provides to a customer Hearings Held

 

 

  • Community Choice Energy – SB 315/HB 561 Allows local jurisdiction to aggregate the residents in their community to negotiate with energy providers for lower rates and a greater percentage of energy from renewable sources. purchase energy at a lower rate. House Hearing Held

 

  • Banning Single Use Plastic Straws HB 296 – Prohibiting a food service business from providing a single-use plastic straw to a customer Hearing Held

 

  • MTA Conversion to Electric Buses HB 432 Mandates that new buses purchased by the state be electric powered. Hearing Held

 

 

  • Consideration of Environmental and Labor Concerns in Public Service Commission Rate Decisions HB 531 Requires the Public Service Commission to incorporate the evaluation of the impact of electric power plants on the environment in their decision making process.  Also, when they are considering regulating and servicing public service companies that they consider maintenance of fair and stable labor standards for affected workers. House Hearing Held

 

  • Clean Jobs Building Act – HB 1490 – Net zero standards for new government buildings and new commercial buildings by 2025. Hearing Held

 

  • Coal Transition Bill – HB 1545/SB 887 Shutting down the six existing coal plants in MD while compensating employees who will lose their jobs because of the plant shutdowns.  Hearing Held

 

  • Carbon Tax HB 1543/SB 912- Establish a greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution charge on all GHG-producing substances distributed or used in the State.  House Hearing Economic Matters – 3/12

 

  • Climate Solutions Act of 2020 – SB 926/HB 1426- Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act Increases the greenhouse gas reductions that the State must achieve by 2030 to 60% and requires the State to achieve net-zero statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and establishes a Climate Jobs Workgroup Senate Hearing Held/ House Hearing March 9

 

  • Taking Incineration out of the Renewable Portfolio Standard – HB 438 / SB 560 – Hearings Held

 

  • Prohibition From Intentionally Releasing a Balloon Into the Atmosphere – SB 28Balloon releases are popular for celebrations and memorials. But proponents of balloon bans argue that what goes up, must come down — and the deflated balloons and strings that land miles away pose a danger to wildlife and contribute to a litter problem. Passed the Senate

 

Gambling

  • Referendum on Sports Betting – HB 169 / SB 325 –Hearings Held

 

Gun Control

 

  • Rifles and Shotguns: Secondary Transactions – HB 4 /SB 208 Maryland law requires the regulation of the “sale, transfer, rental, and possession of regulated firearms, which consist of handguns and assault weapons,” However, this regulation does not currently apply to rifles and shotguns, Under the bill, a third-party licensed gun dealer would be involved, and the transfer must be done under three conditions: The sale must be from the owner; there must be a background  and the transfer must comply with all federal and state law that would apply to the transfer. Passed House of Delegates   Senate Hearing Held

 

 

Health Care

  • Study on Universal Health Care – SB 228 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 Hearing Held

 

  • End of Life Option – HB 643/SB 701 Allows terminally ill patients (specifically patients who have been certified as having six months or less to live) to request medication to end their lives.  There are many safeguards in this bill, such as ensuring that only the terminally ill patient can make the request; that they have to make it three separate times and then have it notarized; that a separate doctor has to certify that they qualify as terminally ill; and that the medication be self administered.  This is an option only.  It will allow those who are suffering to end their suffering. Hearings Held

 

  • Legalization and Taxation of Cannabis – HB 1400 – Hearing Held

 

  • Hospitals – Financial Assistance Policies and Bill Collections – HB 1420/ SB 875 Increasing the family income threshold to between 200% and 500% of the federal poverty level at which a hospital’s financial assistance policy must provide free medically necessary care to patients; requiring that a certain financial assistance policy include a certain payment plan and a certain mechanism for a patient to request a certain reconsideration. Hearings Held

 

Housing

  • Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act – HB 231/SB 530 – Provides fair housing to all citizens regardless of source of income; provides additional opportunities for tenants utilizing public subsidies to live in certain neighborhoods and prohibits a person from refusing to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of source of income;. Passed State Senate – House Hearing Held

 

Immigrant Justice

 

  • Restricting Cooperation with ICE in Civil Matters – HB 388  Prohibits law enforcement agents from making inquiries about an individual’s immigration status, citizenship status, or place of birth or transferring an individual to federal immigration authorities, without a warrant.  Hearing Held

 

  • Safe Areas For Immigration Enforcement – HB 403 To allow public schools, hospitals, and courthouses to draft policies that limit civil immigration enforcement activities on their premises in order to ensure these facilities remain safe and accessible to all;  Hearing Held

 

  • Dignity not Detention – HB 677 – Prohibits state and local jurisdictions (or sheriffs) from entering into any agreement for the detention of individuals in an immigration detention facility owned or managed by a private entity. Additionally, no state or local entity can approve zoning for the construction of an immigration detention facility without public notice or comment. Hearing Held

 

  • Motor Vehicle Administration – Warrant for Personal Information and Reporting HB 892 / SB 649- Denies access to ICE to the part of a Motor Vehicle Administration record that contains personal information without a valid warrant. Hearings Heard

Revenue

 

  • End Ineffective Business Subsidies – HB 223 – Ends ineffective business tax credits. Hearing Held

 

  • Digital Advertising Gross Revenues SB 2/HB 695 This is the first proposal introduced that produces revenue to fund the new educational initiatives proposed by the Kirwan Commission. This bill adds a tax on digital advertising, The tax, would apply a 2.5% to 10% tax (depending on size) to businesses that make money from digital advertising. Senate Hearing  Held  

 

  • Taxing Electronic Smoking Devices – SB 3/HB 695 This bill will make e-cigarettes taxable (they are currently exempted) Senate Hearing Held

 

  • Combined Reporting HB 295Requires large, multistate corporations to pay their fair share in corporate taxes for profits generated from subsidiaries in Maryland. House Hearing Held

 

  • Throwback Rule HB 473Requires large, multistate corporations to pay their fair share in corporate taxes for profits generated related to sales in Maryland. House Hearing Held

 

 

  • Corporate Tax Fairness Act (Combined Reporting & Throwback) – SB 311 A combination of Combined Reporting and the Throwback rule in the same bill. Senate Hearing Held

 

  • Carried Interest HB 439/SB 216Apply 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. Senate and House Hearings Held

 

  • Estate Tax Giveaway Reversal HB 256Reverses handout to wealthy given in 2014 by resetting the estate tax exemption limit at $1 million instead of $5 million. House Hearing Held

 

  • Sunsets All Business Tax Credits – HB 565 – This bill sets dates for certain business tax credits to end (they can always be renewed). Many of these credits are not effective and they need to be reviewed before they are automatically renewed – House Hearing Held

 

  • Enabling Counties to Enact Progressive Taxes – HB 1494 – Counties are going to have to pay more money to support education. This bill enables Counties to change their income tax from a flat tax to a progressive tax.  Counties would still have to enact legislation to implement this. Hearing Held

 

  • Shut the Revolving Door Act of 2020 – HB 315/SB 206Stops senior members of the executive branch from immediately getting jobs as lobbyists after their leave their job. Passed State Senate – Hearings Held

 

Social Justice

  • Sex, Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation – HB 488 -Establishes that the discovery or perception of, or belief about, another person’s sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation, whether or not accurate, does not constitute legally adequate provocation to mitigate a killing or an assault from the crime of assault.  Hearing Held

 

  • Hate Crimes Act HB 5- This bill prohibits a person from inscribing or placing an item or a symbol, including nooses or swastikas, on any public or private property without express permission of the owner with the intent to threaten or intimidatePassed the House of Delegates  – Passed State Senate  (now both bills have to pass the other chamber and if there are differences between the two bills they have to be reconciled)

 

  • Repeal of Anti-Sodomy Laws: HB 81 Repeals the crimes of sodomy and unnatural or perverted sexual practice; Passed the House of Delegates

 

Transportation

  • County Consent for Expansion of Toll Roads – SB 229 HB 292 – Prohibits the  State construction of new toll roads without the consent of a majority of the affected counties. Hearing House Environment and Transportation Comm.  House Hearing Held

 

  • Transit Safety and Investment Act – HB 368 – Governor Hogan has been removing money from the Maryland Transit Administration for the past 5 years and they are in such dire straights that they can’t afford maintenance of buses and light rail.  This bill will allow them to receive funding for all of their outstanding maintenance items. House Hearing  Held

 

Workers Rights

  • Wage History Act – HB 123/SB 217 Requires an employer to provide to an applicant for employment the wage range for the position for which the applicant applied; prohibits an employer from taking negative actions against an applicant for employment because the applicant did not provide wage history or a wage range; prohibiting an employer from relying on wage history and from seeking an applicant’s wage history from former employers or their agents. House Hearing Held
  • Graduate Assistant Collective Bargaining Fairness Act – HB 214 Grants collective bargaining rights to graduate assistants within the University of Maryland system, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland; House Hearing Held
  • Heat Stress Standards HB 722 / SB 434  Establishes a health and safety standard  for  heat stress levels and requires employers to develop, implement, and maintain a certain excessive heat-related illness prevention plan for employees   Senate Hearing Finance – Feb 20

 

  • Family Medical Leave Act – HB 839/SB 539 Bill establishes a private sector family and medical leave insurance fund to provide partial wage replacement for employees who take unpaid leave to care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition. House Hearing Feb 24

 

Voting Rights/Democracy Initiatives

  • Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in the General Assembly – SB 10/HB 103 This bill requires a special election if there is a vacancy in the first year of the term.  The special election would occur on the dates of the Presidential Primary and General Election and would not cost any extra money. Passed the Senate! House Hearing Held

 

  • Election Law – References to Absentee Voting in Communications – Mail-In-Voting – HB0037 – This bill requires changing the reference to Absentee Ballots to ‘Mail-In’ Ballots. Hearing Held

 

  • Election Law – Individuals Released from Correctional Facilities – Voter Registration – HB0051 – HB 568/SB91This bill requires correctional facilities to provide inmates who have completed their sentence with a voter registration form before releasing them and informing them that they will have the right to vote but must register to do so.  Hearing Held

 

  • Prohibition on Foreign Contributions to Campaigns HB34/SB87 Prohibits a foreign-based corporation from making a political contribution to a campaign or making an independent expenditure to the campaign. House Hearing Held

 

  • Authorizing Counties to Allow Public Financing of Local School Board Elections HB 337/SB 298 Hearing Held

 

  • Small Donor Incentive Act for State Legislators – HB 1494 Expands public finding to members of the General Assembly – Hearing Held

 

  • Prohibition on Developers Making Contributions to County Execs – HB 1544 – There are complaints that Prince George’s County is the only County that forbids developers from making contributions to the County Executive.  This bill would make that prohibition state wide.  Hearing Held

 

 

  • Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in the General Assembly – SB 10/HB 103 This bill requires a special election if there is a vacancy in the first year of the term.  The special election would occur on the dates of the Presidential Primary and General Election and would not cost any extra money. Passed the Senate! House Hearing Held

 

Local Bills                                                                      

 

  • Prohibiting a State agency from acquiring or constructing any toll road, toll highway, or toll bridge in Prince George’s County unless authorized by Prince George’s County HB 258 – Hearing Held

 

  • Repealing a prohibition on a develop from making a contribution to the County Executive of Prince George’s County or a slate that includes the County Executive HB 282 (This is not a bill that I support) Hearing Held

 

  • Tax credits for small businesses Impacted by the Purple Lane – HB 540 /SB 645 – Creates a tax credit for a business that is impacted by the construction of the Purple Line light rail project. The credit is equal to the amount of business income lost during the taxable year as a result of the Purple Line construction  Hearomgs Je;d

Bills that Will not Pass this Year

 

  • Constitutional Amendment for Environmental Right – HB 517 Enable voters to choose to amend the state’s constitution to include a right to a clean, safe and healthful environment as a way to protect individuals and communities against the worst possible cases of environmental degradation. Withdrawn

 

  • Prohibition of State Funds for MAGLEV – HB 715 Prohibits the State from using any appropriation for a magnetic levitation transportation system in the State; House Hearing Appropriations Committee – Unfavorable Report by Appropriations Committee – Withdrawn

 

  • Lifeline Low-Cost Auto Insurance Pilot for Prince George’s and Baltimore – HB 660/SB 934 This bill lowers the minimum liability coverage for good drivers. MD has the highest minimum liability coverage in the US. – Referred to an interim study after session

 

  • Medical Debt Protection Act – HB 1081 This would increase protections including ensuring that a person couldn’t lose his/her home because of medical debt. Withdrawn

 

  • Allowing Prince George’s County to Charge A Fee for Use of Disposable Bags HB 321 – Hearing on this bill was cancelled.  (There is a state-wide ban on disposable bags that is being considered in the legislature)

 

  • Capital Gains Tax Increase – HB 222 Providing for an additional State individual income tax rate of 1% on net capital gains of individuals. Will not be voted on by the Ways and Means Committee
  • Close the pass-through/LLC loophole HB 507- 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 Will not be voted on by the Ways and Means Committee

 

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 about these bills is so they can contact their 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 web-site:  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 are your representatives, you can go to www.mdelect.net  .

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

 

MD Legislative Update – February 22, 2020

Legislative Update – February 22, 2020

 

          As we get closer to ‘cross-over’ date more bills are passing through one of the chambers of the MD Legislature.  Crossover date is the date that almost all the bills pass either the Senate or House of Delegates by March 16th so they can be heard in a timely fashion in the other legislative body.  We also know now some bills that definitely will not pass this year because they received an unfavorable vote in their committee.  I am also listing those later in the report.

 

 I am listing the list of some of the bills that passed one of the legislative bodies this week and then other bills that I am tracking.  All bills have to be passed by the State Senate and the House of Delegates and then signed into law.

Bills That Have Made Progress

 

  • Rifles and Shotguns: Secondary Transactions – HB 4 /SB 208 Maryland law requires the regulation of the “sale, transfer, rental, and possession of regulated firearms, which consist of handguns and assault weapons,” However, this regulation does not currently apply to rifles and shotguns, Under the bill, a third-party licensed gun dealer would be involved, and the transfer must be done under three conditions: The sale must be from the owner; there must be a background  and the transfer must comply with all federal and state law that would apply to the transfer. Passed House of Delegates / Senate Hearing Held

 

  • Repeal of Anti-Sodomy Laws: HB 81 Repeals the crimes of sodomy and unnatural or perverted sexual practice; Passed the House of Delegates

 

  • Motor Vehicle and Homeowner’s Insurance – Use of Claim History in Rating Policies – HB 431 / SB 470 Prohibits an insurer, with respect to private passenger motor vehicle insurance, from increasing the premium for an insured based on a homeowner’s insurance claim; and prohibiting an insurer, with respect to homeowner’s insurance, from increasing the premium for an insured based on a private passenger motor vehicle insurance claim. Passed House of Delegates – Senate Hearing Held

 

Status of Other Important Bills

Consumer Rights

  • Bans the Use of Credit History in Rating Policies SB 17/HB 431– Prohibits an insurer, from pricing insurance based  on the credit history of an applicant; Senate Hearing Held

 

  • Debt Collection – HB 365 This bill  increases the amount of money a person can keep in his/her pay check protected from a judgment. Too many people can’t buy food and clothes for their family because of the money that is taken out of their check because of debt obligations. Hearing Held

 

 

  • Lifeline Low-Cost Auto Insurance Pilot for Prince George’s and Baltimore – HB 660/SB 934 This bill lowers the minimum liability coverage for good drivers. MD has the highest minimum liability coverage in the US. – Hearing Held

 

 

  • Medical Debt Protection Act – HB 1081 This would increase protections including ensuring that a person couldn’t lose his/her home because of medical debt. House Hearing Health and Govt Operations Feb 28

 

Criminal Justice

 

  • Maryland Second Look Act – HB 323/SB 591 This bill authorizes inmates serving a lengthy term of incarceration to file a petition for modification of sentence after serving greater than 25 years in prison. The judge may modify the sentence if he/she determines that retention is not necessary for the protection of the public. Hearings Held

 

  • Pre-release Unit for Women – HB 608/ SB 682– MD has four pre-release facilities for men but none for women. House Hearing Held – Senate Hearing Feb 26

 

  • Taking the Governor Out of the Parole System – HB 1219/SB 817 The independent Parole Board recommends whether long term prisoners should be released but for the last twenty years Maryland’s Governors have not followed up on the recommendations of the Parole Board because of politics.  House Hearing Judiciary March 3 / Senate Hearing Judiciary Proceedings March 5

 

  • Possession of small Amounts of of Marijuana – HB 550 Increases from 10 grams to 1 ounce, the amount of marijuana below which possession is a civil offense, rather than a criminal offense and provides that a person may not be charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana based solely on the possession of less than 1 ounce. House Hearing Held

 

 

Education

  • Blueprint for Maryland’s Future HB 1300/SB 1100 – In 2016, the Maryland Legislature formed the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, popularly known as the Kirwan Commission. The commission issued a report earlier this year with an aggressive plan to improve Maryland’s schools. This is the bill Implementation of the plan requires increased spending of up to $4 billion per year.  The big question this year is how are we going to raise the money to fund this bill.  There are a lot of good bills that have been introduced to raise revenue.  These bills have also have to be passed to fully implement the recommendations outlined in HB 1300/SB 111. Hearings Held

 

  • Build to Learn Act of 2020 HB 1/SB This bill  provides more money to repair and build schools to ease crowding and replace aging buildings The legislation authorizes the Maryland Stadium Authority to issue up to $2.2 billion in school construction bonds, beginning in fiscal 2022, giving priority to districts with the oldest buildings, the highest number of classroom trailers and the most students from poor families. Passed House of Delegates

 

  • Funding for HBCU Colleges HB 1260 / SB 1043 – Requires the Governor, in each of fiscal years 2022 through 2031, to include in the annual State operating budget $57,700,000 to be allocated to certain historically black colleges and universities.  House Hearing Feb 25

 

Environment

  • Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act – HB 209/SB 313 Prohibits a store from distributing plastic carryout bags to a customer at the point of sale; requiring a store to charge and collect at least 10 cents for each durable carryout bag the store provides to a customer Hearings Held

 

  • Prohibition on Use of ChlropyrifosHB 229/SB 300 Prohibiting the use of chlorpyrifos in the State House Hearing Held

 

  • Community Choice Energy – SB 315/HB 561 Allows local jurisdiction to aggregate the residents in their community to negotiate with energy providers for lower rates and a greater percentage of energy from renewable sources. purchase energy at a lower rate. House Hearing Held

 

  • Banning Single Use Plastic Straws HB 296 – Prohibiting a food service business from providing a single-use plastic straw to a customer Hearing Hearing Held

 

  • MTA Conversion to Electric Buses HB 432 Mandates that new buses purchased by the state be electric powered. House Hearing Environment and Transporation – Feb 18

 

  • Constitutional Amendment for Environmental Right – HB 517 Enable voters to choose to amend the state’s constitution to include a right to a clean, safe and healthful environment as a way to protect individuals and communities against the worst possible cases of environmental degradation. House Hearing Environment and Transportation Feb 19th

 

  • Consideration of Environmental and Labor Concerns in Public Service Commission Rate Decisions HB 531 Requires the Public Service Commission to incorporate the evaluation of the impact of electric power plants on the environment in their decision making process.  Also, when they are considering regulating and servicing public service companies that they consider maintenance of fair and stable labor standards for affected workers. House Hearing Economic Matters – Feb 27

 

  • Clean Jobs Building Act – HB 1490 – Net zero standards for new government buildings and new commercial buildings by 2025

 

  • Coal Transition Bill – HB 1545/SB 887 Shutting down the six existing coal plants in MD while compensating employees who will lose their jobs because of the plant shutdowns House Hearing Economic Matters – 3/5

 

  • Carbon Tax HB 1543/SB 912- Establish a greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution charge on all GHG-producing substances distributed or used in the State.  House Hearing Economic Matters – 3/12

 

  • Climate Solutions Act of 2020 – SB 926/HB 1426- Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act Increases the greenhouse gas reductions that the State must achieve by 2030 to 60% and requires the State to achieve net-zero statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and establishes a Climate Jobs Workgroup

 

  • Taking Incineration out of the Renewable Portfolio Standard – HB 438 / SB 560 House Hearing Held – Senate Hearing Feb 25

 

  • Prohibition From Intentionally Releasing a Balloon Into the Atmosphere – SB 28Balloon releases are popular for celebrations and memorials. But proponents of balloon bans argue that what goes up, must come down — and the deflated balloons and strings that land miles away pose a danger to wildlife and contribute to a litter problem. Passed the Senate

 

 

Gambling

  • Referendum on Sports Betting – HB 169 / SB 325 –Hearings Held

 

Gun Control

 

  • Rifles and Shotguns: Secondary Transactions – HB 4 /SB 208 Maryland law requires the regulation of the “sale, transfer, rental, and possession of regulated firearms, which consist of handguns and assault weapons,” However, this regulation does not currently apply to rifles and shotguns, Under the bill, a third-party licensed gun dealer would be involved, and the transfer must be done under three conditions: The sale must be from the owner; there must be a background  and the transfer must comply with all federal and state law that would apply to the transfer. Passed House of Delegates   Senate Hearing Held

 

Health Care

  • Study on Universal Health Care – SB 228 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 Senate Hearing Finance Committee Feb 19th

 

  • End of Life Option – HB 643/SB 701 Allows terminally ill patients (specifically patients who have been certified as having six months or less to live) to request medication to end their lives.  There are many safeguards in this bill, such as ensuring that only the terminally ill patient can make the request; that they have to make it three separate times and then have it notarized; that a separate doctor has to certify that they qualify as terminally ill; and that the medication be self administered.  This is an option only.  It will allow those who are suffering to end their suffering. Senate Hearing Judicial Proceedings – Feb 28

 

  • Legalization and Taxation of Cannabis – HB 1400

Housing

  • Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act – HB 231/SB 530 – Provides fair housing to all citizens regardless of source of income; provides additional opportunities for tenants utilizing public subsidies to live in certain neighborhoods and prohibits a person from refusing to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of source of income;. Hearing Environment and Transportation Committee – House and Senate Hearings Held

 

Immigrant Justice

 

  • Restricting Cooperation with ICE in Civil Matters – HB 388  Prohibits law enforcement agents from making inquiries about an individual’s immigration status, citizenship status, or place of birth or transferring an individual to federal immigration authorities, without a warrant.  Hearing Held

 

  • Safe Areas For Immigration Enforcement – HB 403 To allow public schools, hospitals, and courthouses to draft policies that limit civil immigration enforcement activities on their premises in order to ensure these facilities remain safe and accessible to all;  Hearing Held

 

  • Dignity not Detention – HB 677 Phases out and eliminates existing ICE detention facilities and prevent new ones from coming to Maryland. House Hearing Judiciary Committee Feb 25th

Revenue

  • Capital Gains Tax Increase – HB 222 Providing for an additional State individual income tax rate of 1% on net capital gains of individuals. House Hearing Held

 

  • End Ineffective Business Subsidies – HB 223 – Ends ineffective business tax credits. House Hearing Held

 

  • Digital Advertising Gross Revenues SB 2/HB 695 This is the first proposal introduced that produces revenue to fund the new educational initiatives proposed by the Kirwan Commission. This bill adds a tax on digital advertising, The tax, would apply a 2.5% to 10% tax (depending on size) to businesses that make money from digital advertising. Senate Hearing  Held  

 

  • Taxing Electronic Smoking Devices – SB 3/HB 695 This bill will make e-cigarettes taxable (they are currently exempted) Senate Hearing Held

 

  • Combined Reporting HB 295Requires large, multistate corporations to pay their fair share in corporate taxes for profits generated from subsidiaries in Maryland. House Hearing Held

 

  • Throwback Rule HB 473Requires large, multistate corporations to pay their fair share in corporate taxes for profits generated related to sales in Maryland. House Hearing Held

 

  • Close the pass-through/LLC loophole HB 507Apply a 4% entity-level tax on profits over $1 million for LLCs. LLCs are limited partnerships which do not pay a corporate business tax. House Hearing Held

 

  • Corporate Tax Fairness Act (Combined Reporting & Throwback) – SB 311 A combination of Combined Reporting and the Throwback rule in the same bill. Senate Hearing Held

 

  • Carried Interest HB 439/SB 216Apply 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. Senate and House Hearings Held

 

  • Estate Tax Giveaway Reversal HB 256Reverses handout to wealthy given in 2014 by resetting the estate tax exemption limit at $1 million instead of $5 million. House Hearing Held

 

  • Sunsets All Business Tax Credits – HB 565 – This bill sets dates for certain business tax credits to end (they can always be renewed). Many of these credits are not effective and they need to be reviewed before they are automatically renewed – House Hearing Held

 

  • Enabling Counties to Enact Progressive Taxes – HB 1494 – Counties are going to have to pay more money to support education. This bill enables Counties to change their income tax from a flat tax to a progressive tax.  Counties would still have to enact legislation to implement this. House Hearing Feb 25

 

Social Justice

  • Sex, Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation – HB 488 -Establishes that the discovery or perception of, or belief about, another person’s sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation, whether or not accurate, does not constitute legally adequate provocation to mitigate a killing or an assault from the crime of assault.
  • Hate Crimes Act HB 5- This bill prohibits a person from inscribing or placing an item or a symbol, including nooses or swastikas, on any public or private property without express permission of the owner with the intent to threaten or intimidatePassed the House of Delegates  – Passed State Senate  (now both bills have to pass the other chamber and if there are differences between the two bills they have to be reconciled)

 

Transportation

  • County Consent for Expansion of Toll Roads – SB 229 HB 292 – Prohibits the  State construction of new toll roads without the consent of a majority of the affected counties. Hearing House Environment and Transportation Comm.  House Hearing Held

 

  • Transit Safety and Investment Act – HB 368 – Governor Hogan has been removing money from the Maryland Transit Administration for the past 5 years and they are in such dire straights that they can’t afford maintenance of buses and light rail.  This bill will allow them to receive funding for all of their outstanding maintenance items. House Hearing  Held

 

  • Prohibition of State Funds for MAGLEV – HB 715 Prohibits the State from using any appropriation for a magnetic levitation transportation system in the State; House Hearing Appropriations Committee – Feb. 25

 

Workers Rights

  • Wage History Act – HB 123/SB 217 Requires an employer to provide to an applicant for employment the wage range for the position for which the applicant applied; prohibits an employer from taking negative actions against an applicant for employment because the applicant did not provide wage history or a wage range; prohibiting an employer from relying on wage history and from seeking an applicant’s wage history from former employers or their agents. House Hearing Held
  • Graduate Assistant Collective Bargaining Fairness Act – HB 214 Grants collective bargaining rights to graduate assistants within the University of Maryland system, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland; House Hearing Held
  • Heat Stress Standards HB 722 / SB 434 Establishes a health and safety standard  for  heat stress levels and requires employers to develop, implement, and maintain a certain excessive heat-related illness prevention plan for employees   Senate Hearing Finance – Feb 20

 

  • Family Medical Leave Act – HB 839/SB 539 Bill establishes a private sector family and medical leave insurance fund to provide partial wage replacement for employees who take unpaid leave to care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition. House Hearing Feb 24

 

Voting Rights/Democracy Initiatives

  • Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in the General Assembly – SB  10/HB 103 This bill requires a special election if there is a vacancy in the first year of the term.  The special election would occur on the dates of the Presidential Primary and General Election and would not cost any extra money. Passed the Senate! House Hearing Held

 

  • Election Law – References to Absentee Voting in Communications – Mail-In-Voting – HB0037 – This bill requires changing the reference to Absentee Ballots to ‘Mail-In’ Ballots. Hearing Held

 

  • Election Law – Individuals Released from Correctional Facilities – Voter Registration – HB0051 – HB 568/SB91This bill requires correctional facilities to provide inmates who have completed their sentence with a voter registration form before releasing them and informing them that they will have the right to vote but must register to do so.  Hearing Held

 

  • Prohibition on Foreign Contributions to Campaigns HB34/SB87 Prohibits a foreign-based corporation from making a political contribution to a campaign or making an independent expenditure to the campaign. House Hearing Held

 

 

  • Shut the Revolving Door Act of 2020 – HB 315/SB 206Stops senior members of the executive branch from immediately getting jobs as lobbyists after their leave their job. Hearings Held

 

  • Authorizing Counties to Allow Public Financing of Local School Board Elections HB 337/SB 298 Hearing Held

 

 

  • Small Donor Incentive Act for State Legislators – HB 1494 Expands public finding to members of the General Assembly – Hearing Ways and Means Committtee – March 5

 

  • Prohibition on Developers Making Contributions to County Execs – HB 1544 – There are complaints that Prince George’s County is the only County that forbids developers from making contributions to the County Executive.  This bill would make that prohibition state wide. House Hearing Environment and Transportation – Feb 24

 

  • Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in the General Assembly – SB  10/HB 103 This bill requires a special election if there is a vacancy in the first year of the term.  The special election would occur on the dates of the Presidential Primary and General Election and would not cost any extra money. Passed the Senate! House Hearing Held

 

Local Bills                                                                      

  • Allowing the County to Charge A Fee for Use of Disposable Bags HB 321

 

  • Prohibiting a State agency from acquiring or constructing any toll road, toll highway, or toll bridge in Prince George’s County unless authorized by Prince George’s County HB 258 – Hearing Held

 

  • Repealing a prohibition on a develop from making a contribution to the County Executive of Prince George’s County or a slate that includes the County Executive HB 282 (This is not a bill that I support) Hearing House Ways and Means Committee Feb 27

 

  • Tax credits for small businesses Impacted by the Purple Lane – HB 540 /SB 645 – Creates a tax credit for a business that is impacted by the construction of the Purple Line light rail project. The credit is equal to the amount of business income lost during the taxable year as a result of the Purple Line construction House Hearing Hold / Senate Hearing Budget and Taxation Feb 26

 

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 about these bills is so they can contact their 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 web-site:  www.mgaleg.maryland.gov    and type in the bill number.

For the first time ever, you are now able to watch video live-streaming of the House floor proceedings.  The 2020 session is a pilot, with only one in three days being live cast.

Previously, only the audio portion of the floor sessions was available online.  That meant that the only way for the public to watch floor debates was to come to Annapolis and watch in person from the floor viewing gallery.

Archives of video from prior legislative days are available on the General Assembly web-site. In addition, meetings of most committees are available online, as in past years.  To view and listen to proceedings go to the General Assembly web-site:  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 are your representatives, 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 web-site:  www.plg.solutions

 

 

MD Legislative Update – Feb 16, 2020

Legislative Update – February 15, 2020

 

          Most all the bills have introduced.  Now progress is being made on some of the bills that have to be passed by the House of Delegates and State Senate and then signed into law.  Almost all the bills that are going to become law have to pass either the Senate or House of Delegates by March 16th so they can be heard in a timely fashion in the other legislative body. 

 I am listing the list of some of the bills that passed one of the legislative bodies this week and then other bills that I am tracking.  All bills have to be passed by the State Senate and the House of Delegates and then signed into law.

Bills That Have Made Progress

 

  • Build to Learn Act of 2020 HB 1/SB This bill  provides more money to repair and build schools to ease crowding and replace aging buildings The legislation authorizes the Maryland Stadium Authority to issue up to $2.2 billion in school construction bonds, beginning in fiscal 2022, giving priority to districts with the oldest buildings, the highest number of classroom trailers and the most students from poor families. Passed House of Delegates

 

  • Rifles and Shotguns: Secondary Transactions – HB 4 /SB 208 Maryland law requires the regulation of the “sale, transfer, rental, and possession of regulated firearms, which consist of handguns and assault weapons,” However, this regulation does not currently apply to rifles and shotguns, Under the bill, a third-party licensed gun dealer would be involved, and the transfer must be done under three conditions: The sale must be from the owner; there must be a background  and the transfer must comply with all federal and state law that would apply to the transfer. Passed House of Delegates   Senate Hearing Held

 

  • Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in the General Assembly – SB  10/HB 103 This bill requires a special election if there is a vacancy in the first year of the term.  The special election would occur on the dates of the Presidential Primary and General Election and would not cost any extra money. Passed the Senate! House Hearing Held

 

  • Hate Crimes Act HB 5- This bill prohibits a person from inscribing or placing an item or a symbol, including nooses or swastikas, on any public or private property without express permission of the owner with the intent to threaten or intimidatePassed the House of Delegates  – Passed State Senate  (now both bills have to pass the other chamber and if there are differences between the two bills they have to be reconciled)

 

  • Prohibition From Intentionally Releasing a Balloon Into the Atmosphere – SB 28Balloon releases are popular for celebrations and memorials. But proponents of balloon bans argue that what goes up, must come down — and the deflated balloons and strings that land miles away pose a danger to wildlife and contribute to a litter problem. Passed the Senate

 

 

Status of Other Important Bills

Consumer Rights

  • Bans the Use of Credit History in Rating Policies SB 17/HB 431– Prohibits an insurer, from pricing insurance based  on the credit history of an applicant; Senate Hearing Held

 

  • Debt Collection – HB 365 This bill  increases the amount of money a person can keep in his/her pay check protected from a judgment. Too many people can’t buy food and clothes for their family because of the money that is taken out of their check because of debt obligations. Hearing House Economic Matters Feb 12

 

  • Lifeline Low-Cost Auto Insurance Pilot for Prince George’s and Baltimore – HB 660/SB 934 This bill lowers the minimum liability coverage for good drivers. MD has the highest minimum liability coverage in the US. – House Hearing Economic Matters – Feb 20th

 

 

  • Medical Debt Protection Act – HB 1081 This would increase protections including ensuring that a person couldn’t lose his/her home because of medical debt.

 

Criminal Justice

 

  • Maryland Second Look Act – HB 323/SB 591 This bill authorizes inmates serving a lengthy term of incarceration to file a petition for modification of sentence after serving greater than 25 years in prison. The judge may modify the sentence if he/she determines that retention is not necessary for the protection of the public. Hearing Judiciary Committee – Feb 4

 

  • Pre-release Unit for Women – HB 608 HB 828– MD has four pre-release facilities for men but none for women. House Hearing Judiciary Committee – Feb 18th

 

  • Taking the Governor Out of the Parole System – HB 1219/SB 817 The independent Parole Board recommends whether long term prisoners should be released but for the last twenty years Maryland’s Governors have not followed up on the recommendations of the Parole Board because of politics.

 

  • Possession of small Amounts of of Marijuana – HB 550 Increases from 10 grams to 1 ounce, the amount of marijuana below which possession is a civil offense, rather than a criminal offense and provides that a person may not be charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana based solely on the possession of less than 1 ounce.

 

 

Education

  • Blueprint for Maryland’s Future HB 1300/SB 1100 – In 2016, the Maryland Legislature formed the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, popularly known as the Kirwan Commission. The commission issued a report earlier this year with an aggressive plan to improve Maryland’s schools. This is the bill Implementation of the plan requires increased spending of up to $4 billion per year.  The big question this year is how are we going to raise the money to fund this bill.  There are a lot of good bills that have been introduced to raise revenue.  These bills have also have to be passed to fully implement the recommendations outlined in HB 1300/SB 111. – Hearing Feb 17

 

Environment

  • Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act – HB 209/SB 313 Prohibits a store from distributing plastic carryout bags to a customer at the point of sale; requiring a store to charge and collect at least 10 cents for each durable carryout bag the store provides to a customer Hearing Senate Finance Comm Feb 13 1 PM

 

  • Prohibition on Use of ChlropyrifosHB 229/SB 300 Prohibiting the use of chlorpyrifos in the State Hearing Environment and Transportation Feb 12

 

  • Community Choice Energy – SB 315/HB 561 Allows local jurisdiction to aggregate the residents in their community to negotiate with energy providers for lower rates and a greater percentage of energy from renewable sources. purchase energy at a lower rate. House Hearing Economic Matters Feb 13

 

  • Banning Single Use Plastic Straws HB 296 – Prohibiting a food service business from providing a single-use plastic straw to a customer Hearing Economic Matters – Feb 19

 

  • MTA Conversion to Electric Buses HB 432 Mandates that new buses purchased by the state be electric powered. House Hearing Environment and Transporation – Feb 18

 

  • Constitutional Amendment for Environmental Right – HB 517 Enable voters to choose to amend the state’s constitution to include a right to a clean, safe and healthful environment as a way to protect individuals and communities against the worst possible cases of environmental degradation. House Hearing Environment and Transportation Feb 19th

 

  • Consideration of Environmental and Labor Concerns in Public Service Commission Rate Decisions HB 531 Requires the Public Service Commission to incorporate the evaluation of the impact of electric power plants on the environment in their decision making process.  Also, when they are considering regulating and servicing public service companies that they consider maintenance of fair and stable labor standards for affected workers. House Hearing Economic Matters – Feb 27

 

  • Clean Jobs Building Act – HB 1490 – Net zero standards for new government buildings and new commercial buildings by 2025

 

  • Coal Transition Bill – HB 1545/SB 887 Shutting down the six existing coal plants in MD while compensating employees who will lose their jobs because of the plant shutdowns House Hearing Economic Matters – 3/5

 

  • Carbon Tax HB 1543/SB 912- Establish a greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution charge on all GHG-producing substances distributed or used in the State.  House Hearing Economic Matters – 3/12

 

  • Climate Solutions Act of 2020 – SB 926/HB 1426- Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act Increases the greenhouse gas reductions that the State must achieve by 2030 to 60% and requires the State to achieve net-zero statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and establishes a Climate Jobs Workgroup

 

  • Taking Incineration out of the Renewable Portfolio Standard – HB 438 / SB 560

 

Gambling

  • Referendum on Sports Betting – HB 169 / SB 325 –Hearing Ways and Means Feb 4 / Senate Budget and Taxation – Feb 5

 

Gun Control

  • Rifles and Shotguns: Secondary Transactions – HB 4 /SB 208 Maryland law requires the regulation of the “sale, transfer, rental, and possession of regulated firearms, which consist of handguns and assault weapons,” However, this regulation does not currently apply to rifles and shotguns, Under the bill, a third-party licensed gun dealer would be involved, and the transfer must be done under three conditions: The sale must be from the owner; there must be a background  and the transfer must comply with all federal and state law that would apply to the transfer. Passed House Judiciary Committee / Senate Hearing Feb 5

 

Health Care

  • Study on Universal Health Care – SB 228 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 Senate Hearing Finance Committee Feb 19th

 

  • End of Life Option – HB 643/SB 701 Allows terminally ill patients (specifically patients who have been certified as having six months or less to live) to request medication to end their lives.  There are many safeguards in this bill, such as ensuring that only the terminally ill patient can make the request; that they have to make it three separate times and then have it notarized; that a separate doctor has to certify that they qualify as terminally ill; and that the medication be self administered.  This is an option only.  It will allow those who are suffering to end their suffering. Senate Hearing Judicial Proceedings – Feb 28

 

  • Legalization and Taxation of Cannabis – HB 1400

Housing

  • Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act – HB 231/SB 530 – Provides fair housing to all citizens regardless of source of income; provides additional opportunities for tenants utilizing public subsidies to live in certain neighborhoods and prohibits a person from refusing to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of source of income;. Hearing Environment and Transportation Committee – House and Senate Hearings Held

 

Immigrant Justice

 

  • Restricting Cooperation with ICE in Civil Matters – HB 388  Prohibits law enforcement agents from making inquiries about an individual’s immigration status, citizenship status, or place of birth or transferring an individual to federal immigration authorities, without a warrant.  Hearing Held

 

  • Safe Areas For Immigration Enforcement – HB 403 To allow public schools, hospitals, and courthouses to draft policies that limit civil immigration enforcement activities on their premises in order to ensure these facilities remain safe and accessible to all;  Hearing Held

 

  • Dignity not Detention – HB 677 Phases out and eliminates existing ICE detention facilities and prevent new ones from coming to Maryland. House Hearing Judiciary Committee Feb 25th

Revenue

  • Capital Gains Tax Increase – HB 222 Providing for an additional State individual income tax rate of 1% on net capital gains of individuals. House Hearing Held

 

  • End Ineffective Business Subsidies – HB 223 – Ends ineffective business tax credits. House Hearing Held

 

  • Digital Advertising Gross Revenues SB 2/HB 695 This is the first proposal introduced that produces revenue to fund the new educational initiatives proposed by the Kirwan Commission. This bill adds a tax on digital advertising, The tax, would apply a 2.5% to 10% tax (depending on size) to businesses that make money from digital advertising. Senate Hearing  Held  

 

  • Taxing Electronic Smoking Devices – SB 3/HB 695 This bill will make e-cigarettes taxable (they are currently exempted) Senate Hearing Held

 

  • Combined Reporting HB 295Requires large, multistate corporations to pay their fair share in corporate taxes for profits generated from subsidiaries in Maryland. House Hearing Held

 

  • Throwback Rule HB 473Requires large, multistate corporations to pay their fair share in corporate taxes for profits generated related to sales in Maryland. House Hearing Held

 

  • Close the pass-through/LLC loophole HB 507Apply a 4% entity-level tax on profits over $1 million for LLCs. LLCs are limited partnerships which do not pay a corporate business tax. House Hearing Held

 

  • Corporate Tax Fairness Act (Combined Reporting & Throwback) – SB 311 A combination of Combined Reporting and the Throwback rule in the same bill. Senate Hearing Held

 

  • Carried Interest HB 439/SB 216Apply 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. Senate and House Hearings Held

 

  • Estate Tax Giveaway Reversal HB 256Reverses handout to wealthy given in 2014 by resetting the estate tax exemption limit at $1 million instead of $5 million. House Hearing Held

 

  • Sunsets All Business Tax Credits – HB 565 – This bill sets dates for certain business tax credits to end (they can always be renewed). Many of these credits are not effective and they need to be reviewed before they are automatically renewed – House Hearing Held

 

  • Enabling Counties to Enact Progressive Taxes – HB 1494 – Counties are going to have to pay more money to support education. This bill enables Counties to change their income tax from a flat tax to a progressive tax.  Counties would still have to enact legislation to implement this.

 

Social Justice

  • Sex, Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation – HB 488 -Establishes that the discovery or perception of, or belief about, another person’s sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation, whether or not accurate, does not constitute legally adequate provocation to mitigate a killing or an assault from the crime of assault.

 

Transportation

  • County Consent for Expansion of Toll Roads – SB 229 HB 292 – Prohibits the  State construction of new toll roads without the consent of a majority of the affected counties. Hearing House Environment and Transportation Comm.  House Hearing Held

 

  • Transit Safety and Investment Act – HB 368 – Governor Hogan has been removing money from the Maryland Transit Administration for the past 5 years and they are in such dire straights that they can’t afford maintenance of buses and light rail.  This bill will allow them to receive funding for all of their outstanding maintenance items. House Hearing  Held

 

  • Prohibition of State Funds for MAGLEV – HB 715 Prohibits the State from using any appropriation for a magnetic levitation transportation system in the State; House Hearing Appropriations Committee – Feb. 25

 

Workers Rights

  • Wage History Act – HB 123/SB 217 Requires an employer to provide to an applicant for employment the wage range for the position for which the applicant applied; prohibits an employer from taking negative actions against an applicant for employment because the applicant did not provide wage history or a wage range; prohibiting an employer from relying on wage history and from seeking an applicant’s wage history from former employers or their agents. House Hearing Held
  • Graduate Assistant Collective Bargaining Fairness Act – HB 214 Grants collective bargaining rights to graduate assistants within the University of Maryland system, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland; House Hearing Held
  • Heat Stress Standards HB 722 / SB 434 Establishes a health and safety standard  for  heat stress levels and requires employers to develop, implement, and maintain a certain excessive heat-related illness prevention plan for employees   Senate Hearing Finance – Feb 20

 

  • Family Medical Leave Act – HB 839/SB 539 Bill establishes a private sector family and medical leave insurance fund to provide partial wage replacement for employees who take unpaid leave to care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition. House Hearing Feb 24

 

Voting Rights/Democracy Initiatives

  • Election Law – References to Absentee Voting in Communications – Mail-In-Voting – HB0037 – This bill requires changing the reference to Absentee Ballots to ‘Mail-In’ Ballots. Hearing Held

 

  • Election Law – Individuals Released from Correctional Facilities – Voter Registration – HB0051 – HB 568/SB91This bill requires correctional facilities to provide inmates who have completed their sentence with a voter registration form before releasing them and informing them that they will have the right to vote but must register to do so.  Hearing Held

 

  • Prohibition on Foreign Contributions to Campaigns HB34/SB87 Prohibits a foreign-based corporation from making a political contribution to a campaign or making an independent expenditure to the campaign. House Hearing Held

 

 

  • Shut the Revolving Door Act of 2020 – HB 315/SB 206Stops senior members of the executive branch from immediately getting jobs as lobbyists after their leave their job. Hearings Held

 

  • Authorizing Counties to Allow Public Financing of Local School Board Elections HB 337/SB 298 Hearing Held

 

 

  • Small Donor Incentive Act for State Legislators – HB 1494 Expands public finding to members of the General Assembly – Hearing Ways and Means Committtee – March 5

 

  • Prohibition on Developers Making Contributions to County Execs – HB 1544 – There are complaints that Prince George’s County is the only County that forbids developers from making contributions to the County Executive.  This bill would make that prohibition state wide. House Hearing Environment and Transportation – Feb 24

 

 

 

Local Prince George’s County Bills                            

(Local bills go through a different process than other bills.  They are voted on by the Delegates and Senators from the local County and normally if passed by the County Delegation, they are normally approved by the whole House of Delegates.)

  • Allowing the County to Charge A Fee for Use of Disposable Bags HB 321

 

  • Prohibiting a State agency from acquiring or constructing any toll road, toll highway, or toll bridge in Prince George’s County unless authorized by Prince George’s County HB 258 – Hearing Economic and Transportation Committee Feb 20

 

  • Repealing a prohibition on a develop from making a contribution to the County Executive of Prince George’s County or a slate that includes the County Executive HB 282 (This is not a bill that I support) Hearing House Ways and Means Committee Feb 27

 

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 about these bills is so they can contact their 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 web-site:  www.mgaleg.maryland.gov    and type in the bill number.

For the first time ever, you are now able to watch video live-streaming of the House floor proceedings.  The 2020 session is a pilot, with only one in three days being live cast.

Previously, only the audio portion of the floor sessions was available online.  That meant that the only way for the public to watch floor debates was to come to Annapolis and watch in person from the floor viewing gallery.

Archives of video from prior legislative days are available on the General Assembly web-site. In addition, meetings of most committees are available online, as in past years.  To view and listen to proceedings go to the General Assembly web-site:  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 are your representatives, 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 web-site:  www.plg.solutions

 

 

Legislative Update – February 8, 2020

          The legislative bill deadline was this week.  This means that (with some exceptions) only bills that were introduced by the deadline will be guaranteed a bill hearing and have some chance of passing.   In order to meet the deadline legislators introduced over 1,000 bills this week.  The total number of bills that were introduced is now 2,600.  Here are some of the important bills that were introduced this week and the status of other bills that I am following.

New Bills Introduced

Consumer Rights

 

  • Medical Debt Protection Act – HB 1081  This would increase protections including ensuring that a person couldn’t lose his/her home because of medical debt.

 

Criminal Rights

 

  • Taking the Governor Out of the Parole System – HB 1219/SB 817  The independent Parole Board recommends whether long term prisoners should be released but for the last twenty years Maryland’s Governors have not followed up on the recommendations of the Parole Board because of politics.
  • Possession of small Amounts of of Marijuana – HB 550 Increases from 10 grams to 1 ounce, the amount of marijuana below which possession is a civil offense, rather than a criminal offense and provides that a person may not be charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana based solely on the possession of less than 1 ounce.

Democracy Initiatives

 

o   Small Donor Incentive Act for State Legislators – HB 1494  Expands public finding to members of the General Assembly

 

o   Prohibition on Developers Making Contributions to County Execs – HB 1544 –  There are complaints that Prince George’s County is the only County that forbids developers from making contributions to the County Executive.  This bill would make that prohibition state wide.

 

 

Education

 

  • Blueprint for Maryland’s Future HB 1300/SB 1100 – In 2016, the Maryland Legislature formed the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, popularly known as the Kirwan Commission. The commission issued a report earlier this year with an aggressive plan to improve Maryland’s schools.  This is the bill Implementation of the plan requires increased spending of up to $4 billion per year.  The big question this year is how are we going to raise the money to fund this bill.  There are a lot of good bills that have been introduced to fund the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations.  They also have to be passed for these recommendations to be fully implemented.

 

Environment

 

o   Clean Jobs Building Act – HB 1490 – Net zero standards for new government buildings and new commercial buildings by 2025

 

o   Coal Transition Bill – SB 887 Shutting down the six existing coal plants in MD while compensating employees who will lose their jobs because of the plant shutdowns

o   Carbon Tax  HB 1543/SB 912- Establish a greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution charge on all GHG-producing substances distributed or used in the State.

 

o   Climate Solutions Act of 2020  – SB 926- Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act Increases the greenhouse gas reductions that the State must achieve by 2030 to 60% and requires the State to achieve net-zero statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and establishes a Climate Jobs Workgroup.

 

Health

 

          Legalization and Taxation of Cannabis –  HB 1400

 

Revenue

 

o   Enabling Counties to Enact Progressive Taxes – HB 1494 – Counties are going to have to pay more money to support education.  This bill enables Counties to change their income tax from a flat tax to a progressive tax.  Counties would still have to enact legislation to implement this.

Social Justice

  • Sex, Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation – HB 488 -Establishes that the discovery or perception of, or belief about, another person’s sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation, whether or not accurate, does not constitute legally adequate provocation to mitigate a killing  or an assault from the crime of assault.

 

Workers Rights

  • Family Medical Leave Act – HB 839 Bill establishes a private sector family and medical leave insurance fund to provide partial wage replacement for employees who take unpaid leave to care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition

 

Status of Other Important Bills

Consumer Rights

  • Bans the Use of Credit History in Rating Policies  SB 17/HB 431– Prohibits an insurer, from pricing insurance based  on the credit history of an applicant; Senate Hearing Held
  • Debt Collection – HB 365  This bill  increases the amount of money a person can keep in his/her pay check protected from a judgment. Too many people can’t buy food and clothes for their family because of the money that is taken out of their check because of debt obligations. Hearing House Economic Matters Feb 12

 

  • Lifeline Low-Cost Auto Insurance Pilot for Prince George’s and Baltimore – HB 660/SB 934 This bill lowers the minimum liability coverage for good drivers.  MD has the highest minimum liability coverage in the US. – House Hearing Economic Matters – Feb 20th

Criminal Justice

 

  • Maryland Second Look Act – HB 323/SB 591 This bill authorizes inmates serving a lengthy term of incarceration to file a petition for modification of sentence after serving greater than 25 years in prison.  The judge may modify the sentence if he/she determines that retention is not necessary for the protection of the public. Hearing Judiciary Committee – Feb 4

 

  • Pre-release Unit for Women – HB 608 HB 828– MD has four pre-release facilities for men but none for women. House Hearing Judiciary Committee – Feb 18th

 

Education

  • Build to Learn Act of 2020 HB 1/SB 1 Appropriates more money for school construction through the issuance of construction bonds. House Hearing Held

Environment

  • Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act – HB 209/SB 313 Prohibits a store from distributing plastic carryout bags to a customer at the point of sale; requiring a store to charge and collect at least 10 cents for each durable carryout bag the store provides to a customer Hearing Senate Finance Comm Feb 13 1 PM
  • Prohibition on Use of Chlropyrifos – HB 229/SB 300 Prohibiting the use of chlorpyrifos in the State Hearing Environment and Transportation Feb 12
  • Community Choice Energy – SB 315/HB 561 Allows local jurisdiction to aggregate the residents in their community to negotiate with energy providers for lower rates and a greater percentage of energy from renewable sources.  purchase energy at a lower rate. House Hearing Economic Matters Feb 13

 

 

  • Banning Single Use Plastic Straws HB 296 – Prohibiting a food service business from providing a single-use plastic straw to a customer  Hearing Economic Matters – Feb 19

 

  • MTA Conversion to Electric Buses HB 432 – Mandates that new buses purchased by the state be electric powered. House Hearing Environment and Transporation – Feb 18

 

  • Constitutional Amendment for Environmental Right – HB 517 Enable voters to choose to amend the state’s constitution to include a right to a clean, safe and healthful environment as a way to protect individuals and communities against the worst possible cases of environmental degradation. House Hearing Environment and Transportation  Feb 19th

 

  • Consideration of Environmental and Labor Concerns in Public Service Commission Rate Decisions HB 531  Requires the Public Service Commission to incorporate the evaluation of the impact of electric power plants on the environment in their decision making process.  Also, when they are considering regulating and servicing public service companies that they consider maintenance of fair and stable labor standards for affected workers. House Hearing Economic Matters – Feb 27

 

Gambling

  • Referendum on Sports Betting – HB 169 / SB 325 –Hearing Ways and Means Feb 4  / Senate Budget and Taxation – Feb 5

Gun Control

  • Rifles and Shotguns: Secondary Transactions – HB 4 /SB 208 Maryland law requires the regulation of the “sale, transfer, rental, and possession of regulated firearms, which consist of handguns and assault weapons,” However, this regulation does not currently apply to rifles and shotguns,  Under the bill, a third-party licensed gun dealer would be involved, and the transfer must be done under three conditions: The sale must be from the owner; there must be a background  and the transfer must comply with all federal and state law that would apply to the transfer. Passed House Judiciary Committee / Senate Hearing Feb 5

Health Care

  • Study on Universal Health Care – SB 228 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  Senate Hearing Finance Committee Feb 19th

 

  • Ban on Flavored Electronic Smoking Devices – SB  54 Prohibits a person from shipping, importing, or selling electronic smoking device to which an artificial or natural flavoring  – Hearing Finance Committee Feb 13

 

  • End of Life Option –  HB 643/SB 701 Allows terminally ill patients (specifically patients who have been certified as having six months or less to live) to request medication to end their lives.  There are many safeguards in this bill, such as ensuring that only the terminally ill patient can make the request; that they have to make it three separate times and then have it notarized; that a separate doctor has to certify that they qualify as terminally ill; and that the medication be self administered.  This is an option only.  It will allow those who are suffering to end their suffering. Senate Hearing Judicial Proceedings – Feb 28

Housing

  • Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act – HB 231/SB 530 – Provides fair housing to all citizens regardless of source of income; provides additional opportunities for tenants utilizing public subsidies to live in certain neighborhoods and prohibits a person from refusing to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of source of income;. Hearing Environment and Transportation Committee – House and Senate Hearings Held

 

Immigrant Justice

 

  • Restricting Cooperation with ICE in Civil Matters –  HB 388  Prohibits law enforcement agents from making inquiries about an individual’s immigration status, citizenship status, or place of birth or transferring an individual to federal immigration authorities, without a warrant.  Hearing Judiciary Committee Feb 11
  • Safe Areas For Immigration Enforcement – HB 403  To allow public schools, hospitals, and courthouses to draft policies that limit civil immigration enforcement activities on their premises in order to ensure these facilities remain safe and accessible to all;  Hearing Judiciary Committee Feb 11

 

  • Dignity not Detention – HB 677  Phases out and eliminates existing ICE detention facilities and prevent new ones from coming to Maryland. House Hearing Judiciary Committee Feb 25th
  •  

Revenue

  • Capital Gains Tax Increase – HB 222 Providing for an additional State individual income tax rate of 1% on net capital gains of individuals. Hearing Ways and Means – Feb 12
  • End Ineffective Business Subsidies – HB 223 – Ends ineffective business tax credits. Hearing Ways and Means – Feb 12

 

  • Digital Advertising Gross Revenues SB 2/HB 695 This is the first proposal introduced that produces revenue to fund the new educational initiatives proposed by the Kirwan Commission.  This bill adds a tax on digital advertising, The tax, would apply a 2.5% to 10% tax (depending on size) to businesses that make money from digital advertising. Senate Hearing  Held  

 

  • Taxing Electronic Smoking Devices – SB 3/HB 695 This bill will make e-cigarettes taxable (they are currently exempted) Senate Hearing Held
  • Combined Reporting HB 295– Requires large, multistate corporations to pay their fair share in corporate taxes for profits generated from subsidiaries in Maryland. Hearing Ways and Means Feb 12
  • Throwback Rule HB 473 –Requires large, multistate corporations to pay their fair share in corporate taxes for profits generated related to sales in Maryland. House Hearing Ways and Means Feb 12
  • Close the pass-through/LLC loophole HB 507– 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. House Hearing Ways and Means – Feb 12

 

  • Corporate Tax Fairness Act (Combined Reporting & Throwback) – SB 311 A combination of Combined Reporting and the Throwback rule in the same bill.  Senate Hearing Held
  • Carried Interest HB 439/SB 216– 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. Senate Hearing Held / House Hearing Ways and Means – Feb 12
  • Estate Tax Giveaway Reversal HB 256– Reverses handout to wealthy given in 2014 by resetting the estate tax exemption limit at $1 million instead of $5 million. Hearing Ways and Means Feb 13

 

  • Sunsets All Business Tax Credits – HB 565 – This bill sets dates for certain business tax credits to end (they can always be renewed).  Many of these credits are not effective and they need to be reviewed before they are automatically renewed – Hearing Ways and Means Feb 12

 

Social Justice

  • Hate Crimes Act HB 5 This bill prohibits a person from inscribing or placing an item or a symbol, including nooses or swastikas, on any public or private property without express permission of the owner with the intent to threaten or intimidate Passed the House of Delegates  – Senate Hearing Held

Transportation

  • County Consent for Expansion of Toll Roads – SB 229 HB 292  – Prohibits the  State construction of new toll roads without the consent of a majority of the affected counties. Hearing House Environment and Transportation Comm.  Feb 13 at 1 PM
  • Transit Safety and Investment Act –  HB 368 – Governor Hogan has been removing money from the Maryland Transit Administration for the past 5 years and they are in such dire straights that they can’t afford maintenance of buses and light rail.  This bill will allow them to receive funding for all of their outstanding maintenance items. House Hearing  Held
  • Prohibition of State Funds for MAGLEV – HB 715 Prohibits the State from using any appropriation for a magnetic levitation transportation system in the State; House Hearing Appropriations Committee – Feb. 25

 

Workers Rights

  • Wage History Act – HB 123/SB 217    Requires an employer to provide to an applicant for employment the wage range for the position for which the applicant applied; prohibits an employer from taking negative actions against an applicant for employment because the applicant did not provide wage history or a wage range; prohibiting an employer from relying on wage history and from seeking an applicant’s wage history from former employers or their agents. House Hearing Held
  • Graduate Assistant Collective Bargaining Fairness Act – HB 214 Grants collective bargaining rights to graduate assistants within the University of Maryland system, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland;  House Hearing Held
  • Heat Stress Standards HB 722 / SB 434  Establishes a health and safety standard  for  heat stress levels and requires employers to develop, implement, and maintain a certain excessive heat-related illness prevention plan for employees   Senate Hearing Finance – Feb 20

 

Voting Rights/Democracy Initiatives

  • Election Law – References to Absentee Voting in Communications – Mail-In-Voting – HB0037 –  This bill requires changing the reference to Absentee Ballots to ‘Mail-In’ Ballots. Hearing Held

 

  • Election Law – Individuals Released from Correctional Facilities – Voter Registration – HB0051 – HB 568/SB91 – This bill requires correctional facilities to provide inmates who have completed their sentence with a voter registration form before releasing them and informing them that they will have the right to vote but must register to do so.  Hearing Held

 

  • Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in the General Assembly SB0010/HB 103 This bill requires a special election if there is a vacancy in the first year of the term.  The special election would occur on the dates of the Presidential Primary and General Election and would not cost any extra money. Passed the Senate! House Hearing Held

 

  • Prohibition on Foreign Contributions to Campaigns HB34/SB87 Prohibits a foreign-based corporation from making a political contribution to a campaign or making an independent expenditure to the campaign. House Hearing Held

 

 

  • Shut the Revolving Door Act of 2020 – HB 315 – Stops senior members of the executive branch from immediately getting jobs as lobbyists after their leave their job. Hearing Environment and Transportation – Feb 12

 

  • Authorizing Counties to Allow Public Financing of Local School Board Elections HB 337/SB 298 House Hearing Ways and Means Feb 6th

 

 

Local Prince George’s County Bills

(Local bills go through a different process than other bills.  They are voted on by the Delegates and Senators from the local County and normally if passed by the County Delegation, they are normally approved by the whole House of Delegates.)

  • Allowing the County to Charge A Fee for Use of Disposable Bags  HB 321
  • Prohibiting a State agency from acquiring or constructing any toll road, toll highway, or toll bridge in Prince George’s County unless authorized by Prince George’s County  HB 258
  • Repealing a prohibition on a develop from making a contribution to the County Executive of Prince George’s County or a slate that includes the County Executive HB 282 (This is not a bill that I support)

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 about these bills is so they can contact their 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 web-site:  www.mgaleg.maryland.gov    and type in the bill number.

For the first time ever, you are now able to watch video live-streaming of the House floor proceedings.  The 2020 session is a pilot, with only one in three days being live cast.

Previously, only the audio portion of the floor sessions was available online.  That meant that the only way for the public to watch floor debates was to come to Annapolis and watch in person from the floor viewing gallery.

Archives of video from prior legislative days are available on the General Assembly web-site. In addition, meetings of most committees are available online, as in past years.  To view and listen to proceedings go to the General Assembly web-site:  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 are your representatives, 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 web-site:  www.plg.solutions

Legislative Update – February 2, 2020

          The General Assembly is in the fourth week of its 2020 Session.  The big news this week was the over-ride of five of Governor Hogan’s vetoes (listed below).  These bills have become Maryland law. 

Bills continue to be introduced.  The number is now over 1,500.  After reviewing the bill over-rides, I have listed few of the newly introduced bills and the status of other bills I am following.

 

General Assembly Overrides Five Bills Passed in 2019

 

Dream Act alterations

This measure removes the requirement that someone must go to community college before going to a four-year college.   Students and their parents must still show a record of paying taxes to be eligible for in-state tuition.

“Ban the Box” criminal record screening,

This measure prohibits private employers from including a checkbox about criminal history on job applications and would prohibit companies with 15 or more employees from asking an applicant about their criminal history at any time before the first in-person interview.

Oyster management plans

This measure establishes a consensus-based process to create a new oyster fishery management plan for the state involving environmentalists, watermen and seafood sellers.  Environmental advocates say the measure maintains sustainable oyster fisheries by taking a scientific approach to harvests, while watermen are worried about restrictions on their haul.

Repeal of the Handgun Review Board,

This bill repeals the board and direct appeals through the Office of Administrative Hearings instead.  Advocates said that repealing the board would take politics out of handgun permit decisions by putting them in the hands of judges.   Right now the Board has five people appointed by the Governor.

 

State personnel grievance procedures

This bill allows state employees to expand their ability to file  grievances related to collective bargaining agreements instead of having to go to the State Labor Relations Board

 

No Override on Two Person Crew

One bill that the legislature did not override was the bill passed in 2019 that mandated there be at least two people on all freight trains.   CSX had threatened to stop the contribution of  $113 million toward the Howard Street Tunnel project in Baltimore, which state leaders have said will greatly help the Port of Baltimore because the enlarged tunnel will be able accommodate double-stack trains and the State Senate could not come up with the 29 votes needed to override the veto.  I was disappointed by not having a vote on this bill.

 

New Bills Introduced

 

Consumer Rights         

 

  • Lifeline Low-Cost Auto Insurance Pilot for Prince George’s and Baltimore – HB 660 This bill lowers the minimum liability coverage for good drivers. MD has the highest minimum liability coverage in the US.

 

Criminal Justice

  • Pre-release Unit for Women – HB 608 – MD has four pre-release facilities for men but none for women. House Hearing Judiciary Committee – Feb 18th

 

Immigration Justice

  • Dignity not Detention – HB 677 Phases out and eliminates existing ICE detention facilities and prevent new ones from coming to Maryland. House Hearing Judiciary Committee Feb 25th

 

Environment

                  

  • Constitutional Amendment for Environmental Right – HB 517 Enable voters to choose to amend the state’s constitution to include a right to a clean, safe and healthful environment as a way to protect individuals and communities against the worst possible cases of environmental degradation. House Hearing Environment and Transportation Feb 19th

 

  • Consideration of Environmental and Labor Concerns in Public Service Commission Rate Decisions HB 531 Requires the Public Service Commission to incorporate the evaluation of the impact of electric power plants on the environment in their decision making process.  Also, when they are considering regulating and servicing public service companies that they consider maintenance of fair and stable labor standards for affected workers.

Revenue

  • Sunsets All Business Tax Credits – HB 565 – This bill sets dates for certain business tax credits to end (they can always be renewed). Many of these credits are not effective and they need to be reviewed before they are automatically renewed – Hearing Ways and Means Feb 12

Social Justice

 

  • End of Life Option – HB 643 Allows terminally ill patients (specifically patients who have been certified as having six months or less to live) to request medication to end their lives.  There are many safeguards in this bill, such as ensuring that only the terminally ill patient can make the request; that they have to make it three separate times and then have it notarized; that a separate doctor has to certify that they qualify as terminally ill; and that the medication be self administered.  This is an option only.  It will allow those who are suffering to end their suffering.

 

Transportation

 

  • Prohibition of State Funds for MAGLEV – HB 715 Prohibits the State from using any appropriation for a magnetic levitation transportation system in the State; House Hearing Appropriations Committee – Feb. 25

 

Workers Rights

 

  • Heat Stress Standards HB 732 / SB 434 Establishes a health and safety standard  for  heat stress levels and requires employers to develop, implement, and maintain a certain excessive heat-related illness prevention plan for employees   Senate Hearing Finance – Feb 20

 

 

           

Status of Other Important Bills

Consumer Rights

  • Bans the Use of Credit History in Rating Policies SB 17/HB 431– Prohibits an insurer, from pricing insurance based  on the credit history of an applicant; Senate Hearing Held
  • Debt Collection – HB 365 This bill  increases the amount of money a person can keep in his/her pay check protected from a judgment. Too many people can’t buy food and clothes for their family because of the money that is taken out of their check because of debt obligations. Hearing House Economic Matters Feb 12

Criminal Justice

 

  • Maryland Second Look Act – HB 323/SB 591 This bill authorizes inmates serving a lengthy term of incarceration to file a petition for modification of sentence after serving greater than 25 years in prison. The judge may modify the sentence if he/she determines that retention is not necessary for the protection of the public. Hearing Judiciary Committee – Feb 4

Education

  • Build to Learn Act of 2020 HB 1/SB 1Appropriates more money for school construction through the issuance of construction bonds. House Hearing Held

Environment

  • Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act – HB 209/SB 313 Prohibits a store from distributing plastic carryout bags to a customer at the point of sale; requiring a store to charge and collect at least 10 cents for each durable carryout bag the store provides to a customer Hearing Senate Finance Comm Feb 13 1 PM

 

  • Prohibition on Use of Chlropyrifos – HB 229/SB 300 Prohibiting the use of chlorpyrifos in the State Hearing Environment and Transportation Feb 12

 

  • Community Choice Energy – SB 315/HB 561 Allows local jurisdiction to aggregate the residents in their community to negotiate with energy providers for lower rates and a greater percentage of energy from renewable sources. purchase energy at a lower rate. House Hearing Economic Matters Feb 13

 

 

  • Banning Single Use Plastic Straws HB 296 – Prohibiting a food service business from providing a single-use plastic straw to a customer Hearing Economic Matters – Feb 19

 

  • MTA Conversion to Electric Buses HB 432 Mandates that new buses purchased by the state be electric powered. House Hearing Environment and Transporation – Feb 18

 

 

Gambling

Referendum on Sports Betting – HB 169 / SB 325 –Hearing Ways and Means Feb 4  / Senate Budget and Taxation – Feb 5

 

Gun Control

  • Rifles and Shotguns: Secondary Transactions – HB 4 /SB 208 Maryland law requires the regulation of the “sale, transfer, rental, and possession of regulated firearms, which consist of handguns and assault weapons,” However, this regulation does not currently apply to rifles and shotguns, Under the bill, a third-party licensed gun dealer would be involved, and the transfer must be done under three conditions: The sale must be from the owner; there must be a background  and the transfer must comply with all federal and state law that would apply to the transfer. Passed House Judiciary Committee / Senate Hearing Feb 5

 

Health Care

  • Study on Universal Health Care – SB 228 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 Senate Hearing Finance Committee Feb 19th

 

  • Ban on Flavored Electronic Smoking Devices – SB 54 Prohibits a person from shipping, importing, or selling electronic smoking device to which an artificial or natural flavoring  – Hearing Finance Committee Feb 13

Housing

  • Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act – HB 231 – Provides fair housing to all citizens regardless of source of income; provides additional opportunities for tenants utilizing public subsidies to live in certain neighborhoods and prohibits a person from refusing to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of source of income;. Hearing Environment and Transportation Committee – Feb 4 at 1 PM

Immigrant Justice

 

  • Restricting Cooperation with ICE in Civil Matters – HB 388  Prohibits law enforcement agents from making inquiries about an individual’s immigration status, citizenship status, or place of birth or transferring an individual to federal immigration authorities, without a warrant.  Hearing Judiciary Committee Feb 11

 

  • Safe Areas For Immigration Enforcement – HB 403 To allow public schools, hospitals, and courthouses to draft policies that limit civil immigration enforcement activities on their premises in order to ensure these facilities remain safe and accessible to all;  Hearing Judiciary Committee Feb 11

Revenue

  • Capital Gains Tax Increase – HB 222 Providing for an additional State individual income tax rate of 1% on net capital gains of individuals. Hearing Ways and Means – Feb 13

 

  • End Ineffective Business Subsidies – HB 222 – Ends ineffective business tax credits. Hearing Ways and Means – Feb 13

 

  • Digital Advertising Gross Revenues SB 2 This is the first proposal introduced that produces revenue to fund the new educational initiatives proposed by the Kirwan Commission. This bill adds a tax on digital advertising, The tax, would apply a 2.5% to 10% tax (depending on size) to businesses that make money from digital advertising. Senate Hearing  Held  

 

  • Taxing Electronic Smoking Devices – SB 3/HB 695 This bill will make e-cigarettes taxable (they are currently exempted) Senate Hearing Held

 

  • Combined Reporting HB 295Requires large, multistate corporations to pay their fair share in corporate taxes for profits generated from subsidiaries in Maryland. Hearing Ways and Means Feb 12

 

  • Throwback Rule HB 473Requires large, multistate corporations to pay their fair share in corporate taxes for profits generated related to sales in Maryland. House Hearing Ways and Means Feb 12

 

  • Close the pass-through/LLC loophole HB 507Apply a 4% entity-level tax on profits over $1 million for LLCs. LLCs are limited partnerships which do not pay a corporate business tax. House Hearing Ways and Means – Feb 12

 

  • Corporate Tax Fairness Act (Combined Reporting & Throwback) – SB 311 B&T 1/29 1 PM A combination of Combined Reporting and the Throwback rule in the same bill. Senate Hearing Held

 

  • Carried Interest HB 439/SB 216Apply 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. Senate Hearing Held / House Hearing Ways and Means – Feb 7

 

  • Estate Tax Giveaway Reversal HB 256Reverses handout to wealthy given in 2014 by resetting the estate tax exemption limit at $1 million instead of $5 million. Hearing Ways and Means Feb 13

 

Social Justice

  • Hate Crimes Act HB 5- This bill prohibits a person from inscribing or placing an item or a symbol, including nooses or swastikas, on any public or private property without express permission of the owner with the intent to threaten or intimidatePassed the House of Delegates  – Senate Hearing Held

 

Transportation

  • County Consent for Expansion of Toll Roads – SB 229 HB 292 – Prohibits the  State construction of new toll roads without the consent of a majority of the affected counties. Hearing House Environment and Transportation Comm.  Feb 13 at 1 PM

 

  • Transit Safety and Investment Act – HB 368 – Governor Hogan has been removing money from the Maryland Transit Administration for the past 5 years and they are in such dire straights that they can’t afford maintenance of buses and light rail.  This bill will allow them to receive funding for all of their outstanding maintenance items. House Hearing Appropriations Feb 4

 

Workers Rights

  • Wage History Act – HB 123/SB 217 Requires an employer to provide to an applicant for employment the wage range for the position for which the applicant applied; prohibits an employer from taking negative actions against an applicant for employment because the applicant did not provide wage history or a wage range; prohibiting an employer from relying on wage history and from seeking an applicant’s wage history from former employers or their agents. Hearing Economic Matters Feb 4
  • Graduate Assistant Collective Bargaining Fairness Act – HB 214 Grants collective bargaining rights to graduate assistants within the University of Maryland system, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland; House Hearing Held

 

Voting Rights/Democracy Initiatives

  • Election Law – References to Absentee Voting in Communications – Mail-In-Voting – HB0037 – This bill requires changing the reference to Absentee Ballots to ‘Mail-In’ Ballots. Hearing Held

 

  • Election Law – Individuals Released from Correctional Facilities – Voter Registration – HB0051 – HB 568/SB91This bill requires correctional facilities to provide inmates who have completed their sentence with a voter registration form before releasing them and informing them that they will have the right to vote but must register to do so.  Hearing Held

 

  • Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in the General Assembly SB0010/HB 103 This bill requires a special election if there is a vacancy in the first year of the term. The special election would occur on the dates of the Presidential Primary and General Election and would not cost any extra money. Passed the Senate! House Hearing Held

 

  • Prohibition on Foreign Contributions to Campaigns HB34/SB87 Prohibits a foreign-based corporation from making a political contribution to a campaign or making an independent expenditure to the campaign. House Hearing Held

 

 

  • Shut the Revolving Door Act of 2020 – HB 315 – Stops senior members of the executive branch from immediately getting jobs as lobbyists after their leave their job. Hearing Environment and Transportation – Feb 12

 

  • Authorizing Counties to Allow Public Financing of Local School Board Elections HB 337/SB 298 House Hearing Ways and Means Feb 6th

 

 

Local Prince George’s County Bills

(Local bills go through a different process than other bills.  They are voted on by the Delegates and Senators from the local County and normally if passed by the County Delegation, they are normally approved by the whole House of Delegates.)

  • Allowing the County to Charge A Fee for Use of Disposable Bags HB 321
  • Prohibiting a State agency from acquiring or constructing any toll road, toll highway, or toll bridge in Prince George’s County unless authorized by Prince George’s County HB 258

 

  • Repealing a prohibition on a develop from making a contribution to the County Executive of Prince George’s County or a slate that includes the County Executive HB 282 (This is not a bill that I support)

 

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 about these bills is so they can contact their 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 web-site:  www.mgaleg.maryland.gov    and type in the bill number.

For the first time ever, you are now able to watch video live-streaming of the House floor proceedings.  The 2020 session is a pilot, with only one in three days being live cast.

Previously, only the audio portion of the floor sessions was available online.  That meant that the only way for the public to watch floor debates was to come to Annapolis and watch in person from the floor viewing gallery.

Archives of video from prior legislative days are available on the General Assembly web-site. In addition, meetings of most committees are available online, as in past years.  To view and listen to proceedings go to the General Assembly web-site:  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 are your representatives, 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 web-site:  www.plg.solutions

 

 

Legislative Update – January 27, 2020

            The Legislative Session has completed 20 days of its 90 day session.  Over 1,000 bills have been  introduced.  Here are the bills I am tracking.  I am adding the new bills in the front and giving a status of other bills I am following after that.

 

New Bills Introduced

 

 

Consumer Rights

 

  • Debt Collection – HB 365 This bill  increases the amount of money a person can keep in his/her pay check protected from a judgment. Too many people can’t buy food and clothes for their family because of the money that is taken out of their check because of debt obligations. Hearing House Economic Matters Feb 12

 

Criminal Justice

 

  • Maryland Second Look Act – HB 323 This bill authorizes inmates serving a lengthy term of incarceration to file a petition for modification of sentence after serving greater than 25 years in prison. The judge may modify the sentence if he/she determines that retention is not necessary for the protection of the public. Hearing Judiciary Committee – Feb 4

 

Democracy Initiatives

 

  • Shut the Revolving Door Act of 2020 – HB 315 – Stops senior members of the executive branch from immediately getting jobs as lobbyists after their leave their job. Hearing Environment and Transportation – Feb 12

 

  • Authorizing Counties to Allow Public Financing of Local School Board Elections HB 337/SB 298

 

Environment

  • Community Choice Energy – SB 315/HB 561 Allows local jurisdiction to aggregate the residents in their community to negotiate with energy providers for lower rates and a greater percentage of energy from renewable sources. purchase energy at a lower rate.
  • Banning Single Use Plastic Straws HB 296 – Prohibiting a food service business from providing a single-use plastic straw to a customer Hearing Economic Matters – Feb 19

 

 

  • MTA Conversion to Electric Buses HB 432 Mandates that new buses purchased by the state be electric powered.

 

Immigrant Justice

 

  • Restricting Cooperation with ICE in Civil Matters – HB 388  Prohibits law enforcement agents from making inquiries about an individual’s immigration status, citizenship status, or place of birth or transferring an individual to federal immigration authorities, without a warrant.  Hearing Judiciary Committee Feb 11

 

  • Safe Areas For Immigration Enforcement – HB 403 To allow public schools, hospitals, and courthouses to draft policies that limit civil immigration enforcement activities on their premises in order to ensure these facilities remain safe and accessible to all;  Hearing Judiciary Committee Feb 11

           

 

 

Revenue

 

Finding revenue to fund the Kirwan Commission Recommendations is a necessity for our children and our state.  And there is money to fund these recommendations.  A package of bills has been introduced by legislators to close some corporate loopholes, special interest tax breaks, and other ways to raise money.  Here are some of the bills:

           

  • Combined Reporting HB 295Requires large, multistate corporations to pay their fair share in corporate taxes for profits generated from subsidiaries in Maryland. Hearing Ways and Means Feb 13

 

  • Throwback Rule HB 473Requires large, multistate corporations to pay their fair share in corporate taxes for profits generated related to sales in Maryland.

 

  • Close the pass-through/LLC loophole HB 507- 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.

 

  • Corporate Tax Fairness Act (Combined Reporting & Throwback) – SB 311 B&T 1/29 1 PM A combination of Combined Reporting and the Throwback rule in the same bill. Hearing Senate Budget and Taxation – Jan 29

 

  • Carried Interest HB 439/SB 216- 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. Senate Hearing B&T Comm Jan 29 / House Ways and Means – Feb 7

 

  • Estate Tax Giveaway Reversal HB 256- Reverses handout to wealthy given in 2014 by resetting the estate tax exemption limit at $1 million instead of $5 million. Hearing Ways and Means Feb 13

 

Transportation

 

  • Transit Safety and Investment Act – HB368 – Governor Hogan has been removing money from the Maryland Transit Administration for the past 5 years and they are in such dire straights that they can’t afford maintenance of buses and light rail.  This bill will allow them to receive funding for all of their outstanding maintenance items.

 

 

Status of Other Important Bills

Consumer Rights

  • SB 17/ HB 431 – Bans the Use of Credit History in Rating Policies – Prohibits an insurer, from pricing insurance based  on the credit history of an applicant; Hearing Jan 29 Finance Committee – 2:45 PM

Education

  • HB001/SB001 – Build to Learn Act of 2020 – Appropriates more money for school construction through the issuance of construction bonds. House Hearing Held

Environment

  • Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act – HB 209/SB 313 Prohibits a store from distributing plastic carryout bags to a customer at the point of sale; requiring a store to charge and collect at least 10 cents for each durable carryout bag the store provides to a customer Hearing Senate Finance Comm Feb 13 1 PM

 

  • Prohibition on Use of Chlropyrifos – HB 229/SB 300 Prohibiting the use of chlorpyrifos in the State Hearing Environment and Transportation Feb 12

 

Gambling

Referendum on Sports Betting – HB 169 / SB 325 –Hearing Ways and Means Feb 4 1 PM / Senate Budget and Taxation – Feb 5 1 PM

 

Gun Control

  • Rifles and Shotguns: Secondary Transactions – HB 4 /SB 208 Maryland law requires the regulation of the “sale, transfer, rental, and possession of regulated firearms, which consist of handguns and assault weapons,” However, this regulation does not currently apply to rifles and shotguns, Under the bill, a third-party licensed gun dealer would be involved, and the transfer must be done under three conditions: The sale must be from the owner; there must be a background  and the transfer must comply with all federal and state law that would apply to the transfer.

 

Health Care

  • Study on Universal Health Care – SB 228 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

 

  • Ban on Flavored Electronic Smoking Devices – SB 54 Prohibits a person from shipping, importing, or selling electronic smoking device to which an artificial or natural flavoring  – Hearing Finance Committee Feb 13

Housing

  • Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act – HB 231 – Provides fair housing to all citizens regardless of source of income; provides additional opportunities for tenants utilizing public subsidies to live in certain neighborhoods and prohibits a person from refusing to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of source of income;. Hearing Environment and Transportation Committee – Feb 4 at 1 PM

Revenue

  • Capital Gains Tax Increase – HB 222 Providing for an additional State individual income tax rate of 1% on net capital gains of individuals. Hearing Ways and Means – Feb 13 a

 

  • End Ineffective Business Subsidies – HB 222 – Ends ineffective business tax credits. Hearing Ways and Means – Feb 13

 

  • Digital Advertising Gross Revenues SB 2 This is the first proposal introduced that produces revenue to fund the new educational initiatives proposed by the Kirwan Commission. This bill adds a tax on digital advertising, The tax, would apply a 2.5% to 10% tax (depending on size) to businesses that make money from digital advertising. Hearing  Budget and Taxation – Jan 29

 

  • Taxing Electronic Smoking Devices – SB 3 This bill will make e-cigarettes taxable (they are currently exempted) Hearing Budget and Taxation – Jan 29

 

 

Social Justice

  • Hate Crimes Act HB 5- This bill prohibits a person from inscribing or placing an item or a symbol, including nooses or swastikas, on any public or private property without express permission of the owner with the intent to threaten or intimidateHOUSE HEARING HELD – Senate Hearing Judicial proceedings Jan 29 1 PM

 

Transportation

  • County Consent for Expansion of Toll Roads – SB 229 HB 292 –  Prohibits the  State construction of new toll roads without the consent of a majority of the affected counties. Hearing House Environment and Transportation Comm.  Feb 13 at 1 PM

 

Workers Rights

  • Wage History Act – HB 123/SB 217 Requires an employer to provide to an applicant for employment the wage range for the position for which the applicant applied; prohibits an employer from taking negative actions against an applicant for employment because the applicant did not provide wage history or a wage range; prohibiting an employer from relying on wage history and from seeking an applicant’s wage history from former employers or their agents. Hearing Economic Matters Feb 4
  • Graduate Assistant Collective Bargaining Fairness Act – HB 214 Grants collective bargaining rights to graduate assistants within the University of Maryland system, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland; Hearing Appropriations Committee Jan 28 2 PM

 

Voting Rights

  • Election Law – References to Absentee Voting in Communications – Mail-In-Voting – HB0037 – This bill requires changing the reference to Absentee Ballots to ‘Mail-In’ Ballots. HEARING Held

 

  • Election Law – Individuals Released from Correctional Facilities – Voter Registration – HB0051/SB0091This bill requires correctional facilities to provide inmates who have completed their sentence with a voter registration form before releasing them and informing them that they will have the right to vote but must register to do so.  Hearing Held

 

  • Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in the General Assembly SB0010/HB 103 This bill requires a special election if there is a vacancy in the first year of the term. The special election would occur on the dates of the Presidential Primary and General Election and would not cost any extra money. House Hearing Ways and Means January 29 1 PM

 

  • Prohibition on Foreign Contributions to Campaigns HB34/SB87 Prohibits a foreign-based corporation from making a political contribution to a campaign or making an independent expenditure to the campaign. House Hearing Ways and Means – January 28 1 PM

 

Local Prince George’s County Bills

(Local bills originally have different bill numbers and  go through a different process than other bills.  They are voted on by the Delegates and Senators from the local County and normally if passed by the County Delegation are approved by the whole General Assembly.)

  • Allowing the County to Charge A Fee for Use of Disposable Bags HB 321
  • Prohibiting a State agency from acquiring or constructing any toll road, toll highway, or toll bridge in Prince George’s County unless authorized by Prince George’s County HB 258
  • Repealing a prohibition on a develop from making a contribution to the County Executive of Prince George’s County or a slate that includes the County Executive HB 282

 

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 about these bills is so they can contact their 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 web-site:  www.mgaleg.maryland.gov    and type in the bill number.

For the first time ever, you are now able to watch video live-streaming of the House floor proceedings.  The 2020 session is a pilot, with only one in three days being live cast.

Previously, only the audio portion of the floor sessions was available online.  That meant that the only way for the public to watch floor debates was to come to Annapolis and watch in person from the floor viewing gallery.

Archives of video from prior legislative days are available on the General Assembly web-site. In addition, meetings of most committees are available online, as in past years.  To view and listen to proceedings go to the General Assembly web-site:  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 are your representatives, 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 web-site:  www.plg.solutions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legislative Update – January 20, 2020

 

            The Legislative Session has completed its second week.  Close to 500 bills have introduced.  Here are the bills I am tracking.  I am adding the new bills in the front and giving a status of other bills I am following after that.

 

New Bills Introduced

Environment

  • Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act – HB 209 Prohibits a store from distributing plastic carryout bags to a customer at the point of sale; requiring a store to charge and collect at least 10 cents for each durable carryout bag the store provides to a customer

 

  • Prohibition on Use of Chlropyrifos – HB 229 Prohibiting the use of chlorpyrifos in the State

 

Gun Control

  • Rifles and Shotguns: Secondary Transactions – HB 4 /SB 208 Maryland law requires the regulation of the “sale, transfer, rental, and possession of regulated firearms, which consist of handguns and assault weapons,” However, this regulation does not currently apply to rifles and shotguns, Under the bill, a third-party licensed gun dealer would be involved, and the transfer must be done under three conditions: The sale must be from the owner; there must be a background  and the transfer must comply with all federal and state law that would apply to the transfer.

Health Care

  • Study on Universal Health Care – SB 228 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

 

  • Ban on Flavored Electronic Smoking Devices – SB 54 Prohibits a person from shipping, importing, or selling electronic smoking device to which an artificial or natural flavoring  – Hearing Finance Committee Feb 13

Housing

  • Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act – HB 231 – Provides fair housing to all citizens regardless of source of income; provides additional opportunities for tenants utilizing public subsidies to live in certain neighborhoods and prohibits a person from refusing to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of source of income;. Hearing Environment and Transportation Committee – Feb 4 at 1 PM

Revenue

  • Capital Gains Tax Increase – HB 222 Providing for an additional State individual income tax rate of 1% on net capital gains of individuals

 

  • End Ineffective Business Subsidies – HB 222          Ends ineffective business tax credits.

Transportation

  • County Consent for Expansion of Toll Roads – SB 229 –  Prohibits the  State construction of new toll roads without the consent of a majority of the affected counties.

 

Workers Rights

 

  • Secure Maryland Wage Act – SB 2 Hearing Feb 6 1 PM Senate Finance Committee Imposes a tax on annual gross revenues derived from digital advertising

 

  • Wage History Act – HB 123/SB 217 Requires an employer to provide to an applicant for employment the wage range for the position for which the applicant applied; prohibits an employer from taking negative actions against an applicant for employment because the applicant did not provide wage history or a wage range; prohibiting an employer from relying on wage history and from seeking an applicant’s wage history from former employers or their agents.

 

  • Graduate Assistant Collective Bargaining Fairness Act – HB 214 Grants collective bargaining rights to graduate assistants within the University of Maryland system, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland; Hearing Appropriations Committee Jan 28 2 PM

 

Status of Other Important Bills

Consumer Rights

SB 17 – – Bans the Use of Credit History in Rating Policies  – Prohibits an insurer, from pricing insurance based  on the credit history of an applicant; Hearing Jan 29 Finance Committee – 2:45 PM

Education

HB001/SB001 – Build to Learn Act of 2020 – Appropriates more money for school construction through the issuance of construction bonds.

SB002 – Digital Advertising Gross Revenues This is the first proposal introduced that produces revenue to fund the new educational initiatives proposed by the Kirwan Commission.  This bill adds a tax on digital advertising, The tax, would apply a 2.5% to 10% tax (depending on size) to businesses that make money from digital advertising.

SB003 – Taxing Electronic Smoking Devices This bill will make e-cigarettes taxable (they are currently exempted)

Social Justice

HB005 – Crimes – Hate Crimes – Use of an Item or Symbol to Threaten or Intimidate  This bill prohibits a person from inscribing or placing an item or a symbol, including nooses or swastikas, on any public or private property without express permission of the owner with the intent to threaten or intimidate HOUSE HEARING HELD – Senate Hearing Judicial proceedings Jan 29 1 PM

 

Voting Rights

HB0037 – Election Law – References to Absentee Voting in Communications – Mail-In-Voting –  This bill requires changing the reference to Absentee Ballots to ‘Mail-In’ Ballots. HEARING Held

HB0051/SB0091 – Election Law – Individuals Released from Correctional Facilities – Voter Registration – This bill requires correctional facilities to provide inmates who have completed their sentence with a voter registration form before releasing them and informing them that they will have the right to vote but must register to do so.  Hearing Held

SB0010/HB 103 – General Assembly – Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in Office This bill requires a special election if there is a vacancy in the first year of the term.  The special election would occur on the dates of the Presidential Primary and General Election and would not cost any extra money. House Hearing Ways and Means January 29 1 PM

HB34/SB87 Prohibition on Foreign Contributions to Campaigns Prohibits a foreign-based corporation from making a political contribution to a campaign or making an independent expenditure to the campaign. House Hearing Ways and Means – January 28 1 PM

 

Local Prince George’s County Bills

(Local bills originally have different bill numbers and  go through a different process than other bills.  They are voted on by the Delegates and Senators from the local County and normally if passed by the County Delegation are approved by the whole General Assembly.)

Allowing the County to Charge A Fee for Use of Disposable Bags (401-20)

Prohibiting a State agency from acquiring or constructing any toll road, toll highway, or toll bridge in Prince George’s County unless authorized by Prince George’s County (402-20)

Repealing a prohibition on a develop from making a contribution to the County Executive of Prince George’s County or a slate that includes the County Executive (PG 407-20)

 

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 about these bills is so they can contact their 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 web-site:  www.mgaleg.maryland.gov    and type in the bill number.

For the first time ever, you are now able to watch video live-streaming of the House floor proceedings.  The 2020 session is a pilot, with only one in three days being live cast.

Previously, only the audio portion of the floor sessions was available online.  That meant that the only way for the public to watch floor debates was to come to Annapolis and watch in person from the floor viewing gallery.

Archives of video from prior legislative days are available on the General Assembly web-site. In addition, meetings of most committees are available online, as in past years.  To view and listen to proceedings go to the General Assembly web-site:  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 are your representatives, 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 web-site:  www.plg.solutions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maryland Legislative Update – January 13, 2020

 

The Maryland General Assembly convened on Wednesday January 8.  The legislative session lasts for 90 days.  In the first few days 300 bills were introduced.

These are some of the bills I am following.  When more bills are introduced, I will add them to the list along with the Bill number and the status of the bill (i.e. Hearing Date and/or Passage in the House or Senate). 

 

Consumer Rights

            SB 17 – – Bans the Use of Credit History in Rating Policies

Education

HB001/SB001 – Build to Learn Act of 2020 – Appropriates more money for school construction through the issuance of construction bonds.

Revenue

SB002 – Digital Advertising Gross Revenues This is the first proposal introduced that produces revenue to fund the new educational initiatives proposed by the Kirwan Commission.  This bill adds a tax on digital advertising, The tax, would apply a 2.5% to 10% tax (depending on size) to businesses that make money from digital advertising.

SB003 – Taxing Electronic Smoking Devices This bill will make e-cigarettes taxable (they are currently exempted)
Social Justice

HB005 – Crimes – Hate Crimes – Use of an Item or Symbol to Threaten or Intimidate  This bill prohibits a person from inscribing or placing an item or a symbol, including nooses or swastikas, on any public or private property without express permission of the owner with the intent to threaten or intimidate HEARING – January 16th, 1:00 pm Judiciary Committee

Voting Rights

HB0037 – Election Law – References to Absentee Voting in Communications – Mail-In-Voting –  This bill requires changing the reference to Absentee Ballots to ‘Mail-In’ Ballots. HEARING – January 16th, 1:30 pm Ways and Means Committee

HB0051/SB0091 – Election Law – Individuals Released from Correctional Facilities – Voter Registration – This bill requires correctional facilities to provide inmates who have completed their sentence with a voter registration form before releasing them and informing them that they will have the right to vote but must register to do so.  HEARING – January 16th, 1:30 pm Ways and Means Committee

SB0010 – General Assembly – Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in Office This bill requires a special election if there is a vacancy in the first year of the term.  The special election would occur on the dates of the Presidential Primary and General Election and would not cost any extra money.

HB34/SB87 Prohibition on Foreign Contributions to Campaigns Prohibits a foreign-based corporation from making a political contribution to a campaign or making an independent expenditure to the campaign.

 

 

Local Prince George’s County Bills

(Local bills originally have different bill numbers and  go through a different process than other bills.  They are voted on by the Delegates and Senators from the local County and normally if passed by the County Delegation are approved by the whole General Assembly.)

Allowing the County to Charge A Fee for Use of Disposable Bags (401-20)

Prohibiting a State agency from acquiring or constructing any toll road, toll highway, or toll bridge in Prince George’s County unless authorized by Prince George’s County (402-20)

Repealing a prohibition on a develop from making a contribution to the County Executive of Prince George’s County or a slate that includes the County Executive (PG 407-20)

 

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 let people know about these bills is so they can contact their state legislators and let them know how you feel about legislation they’re going to vote on.

If you want to know any more about any of the bills go to the Maryland General Assembly web-site:  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 are your representatives, 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.

New Laws Effective January 1 2020

Minimum wage goes from $10.15 an hour to $11 an hour (MD State Law)

In  2019 Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that gradually increases the state’s minimum wage from $10.10 an hour to $15 over a period of five years for companies with more than 15 employees (smaller businesses have six years to get there). The first required increase, which boosts the rate to $11 for all companies, takes effect Jan. 1.

New Overtime Rule (National Regulation)

Hourly workers receive time and a half pay after 40 hours of work.  Professionals, technical employees and managers had previously been exempted from overtime rules unless they made less than $12.27/hour ($445 a week or $23,600 annually).  Starting in January the threshold for professionals, technical employees and managers who have to be paid overtime increases to $17.78/hour ($684 weekly or $35,568 annually).  This means a lot of low paid managers (e.g. at fast food restaurants), professional (e.g. reporters at small newspapers), and technical workers (e.g. at internet companies) will have to be paid premium pay if they work more than 40 hours a week.  This does not apply to people who are paid as ‘independent contractors’.  But there are state and national laws that prohibit employers from paying people as independent contractors if they should be really classified as employees.  (Email me if you are in that situation and want some guidance about whether you’re being incorrectly classified.)

New Law Affecting Retirement Income (Federal Law)

A part of the huge budget deal recently passed by Congress and signed into law last month was the Secure Act.    This bill makes a number of changes affecting retirees.  A few of the significant provisions of the law are

Increases the age that a required minimum distribution (RMD) must start from 70½ to 72. Currently, people reaching 70½ must begin taking RMDs from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and workplace retirement plans. The new rule applies to people who turn 70 1/2 after Dec. 31.

Repeals the maximum age for making traditional IRA contributions, which is currently 70½. Workers will now be able to contribute to their IRAs past this age as long as they have earned income.

Another provision allows parents to withdraw up to $5,000 from their individual 401(k) or similar workplace plans for each new child without incurring a 10 percent additional tax for early retirement plan distributions. However, you still have to pay ordinary income taxes on the withdrawal, which has to be done within a year of the birth or adoption of a child. Parents can later put the money back into their retirement accounts.

Mandatory rape kit testing (MD State Law)

This bill requires that law enforcement agencies submit sexual assault evidence collection kits to forensic laboratories for testing within 30 days of receipt and calls for kit tests to be processed in a timely manner.

 

Beer franchise agreements (MD State Law)

Previously, a Maryland brewery that produced 20,000 or fewer barrels of beer per year had to provide distributors with 180 days’ notice before moving to terminate or renew a franchise agreement. Further, breweries were obligated to show good cause and provide distributors with 180 days to rectify deficiencies. This bill cuts the notice to 45 days and relieves sellers from having to show good cause or give a franchisee an opportunity to fix any problems.

 

Insurers banned from penalizing organ donors (MD State Law)

Insurers of life, disability and long-term care can no longer hike premiums, enforce surcharges, cancel policies or flat-out reject someone from coverage based on their status as an organ donor.

 

Reduction on Fees on Food Trucks (Prince George’s County Law)

Eliminates fees for businesses apply for food truck licenses.  Previously food truck owners had to pay $500 if they operated for few than two months and $3,400 if they operated for more than two months.  There is still a fee (reduced from $75 to $35) for inspections performed for the fire department.

 

Happy New Year Everyone and email me if you have any questions about any of these new laws!