Over 850 Bills have been introduced in the General Assembly Still bills are being introduced at a slower rate this year. We are just over half of where we were this time last year. Many people in Annapolis are awaiting the new Governor’s legislative agenda.
Thus, many important bills have yet to be submitted. We are a week away from the Senate Bill Introduction Deadline, which is on February 6, and two weeks from the House Bill Introduction deadline on the 10th. Bills submitted after these dates must make it through the Rules Committee, and very few of them will ever get out of the committee!!!
Here are a few of the important bills that have been introduced:
- Probation Before Judgment protects our immigrant community from deportation for small offenses by authorizing a court to stay the entering of judgment, or defer further proceedings, and place a defendant on probation. (HB0193, Delegate Moon, Judiciary Committee and SB0211, Senator West, Judicial Proceedings Committee)
- Child Abuse and Neglect – Domestic Violence prevents a woman who is the victim of domestic violence and unable to protect her children from being charged with criminal child abuse and neglect. (HB0324, Delegate Lopez, Judiciary Committee)
- Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause for Cannabis prevents a determination of reasonable suspicion or probable cause (for searches) based solely on the odor of cannabis and other circumstantial evidence. (SB0051, Senator Carter, Judicial Proceedings Committee)
- Local Public Campaign Financing allows public campaign financing for the local offices of State’s Attorney, Sheriff, Register of Wills, Judge and Clerk of the Circuit Court, Judge of the Orphans’ Court, or an elected member of the county Board of Education. This legislation addresses the influence by special interests in campaign financing. (HB0176, Delegate Feldmark, Ways and Means Committee)
- Ranked Choice Voting in Montgomery County: Ranked choice and approval voting help ensure that election results truly reflect the electorate’s desires by taking into account their top preferences, not just their first-choice candidate. This local bill is enabling legislation to allow Montgomery County to adopt ranked choice voting or approval voting for local elected offices.
- General Assembly – Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in Office – If there is a vacancy in the first year of the legislative term of a Delegate or Senator, there would be a special election at the next Congressional election. (HB417, Delegate Palakovich-Carr, Ways and Means Committee)
- Energy Performance Targets and Low-Income Housing requires the Department of Housing and Community Development, through the EmPOWER program, to procure or provide energy efficiency and conservation programs and services to achieve an annual incremental gross energy savings of at least 1% for low-income residents by 2026. (SB0144, Senator Feldman, Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee and HB0169, Delegate Charkoudian, Economic Matters Committee) Hearing: 1/31 at 3:30 p.m. Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee, testimony due 1/30/23 3 p.m.
- The Clean Trucks Act of 2023 requires the Department of the Environment to adopt regulations similar to California’s plan to allow only zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty trucks to be sold starting with the 2040 model year. (SB0224, Senator Augustine, Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee and HB0230, Delegate Love, Environment and Transportation Committee)
- Maryland Voluntary Do Not Sell Firearm Registry requires 1) the Department of State Police to create and maintain a Maryland Voluntary Do Not Sell Firearm Registry in which a person may voluntarily enroll for the purpose of being prohibited from obtaining a firearm; and 2) prohibits a dealer or other person from selling, renting, loaning, or transferring a firearm to anyone who is on the registry. (SB0159, Senator Hettleman, Judicial Proceedings Committee and HB0162, Delegate Moon, Judiciary Committee)
- Maryland Estate Tax – Unified Credit lowers the exemption so that an additional $4 million in estate taxes are paid by the descendants of a wealthy resident, thus reducing the overall tax burden on others. (HB0268, Delegate Wilkins, Ways and Means Committee)
HOW TO ADVOCATE FOR THESE BILLS
You can find out who your legislators are here. Call or send an email to your legislators using the contact information found here. While an email is preferred, the following template provides some idea of the material you can use for a phone call or social media posting – excluding any personal information, of course! If you would like to include a short description of the bills, you can include the descriptions above. You are also encouraged to include any details of why you think this bill is important and that you are a member of the Maryland Legislative Coalition and, if applicable, one of our affiliated organizations.
My name is _________ and my address is ______________. I am writing to let you know that the following bill(s) is(are) important to me and to all Marylanders. I would like to request that you be a champion for these bills and help them get passed quickly.
Each of these bills is important for Maryland, and I support them and would like your help in getting them passed. If you are not on the relevant committee, I would appreciate your voting for them during Session. If you are on the relevant committee, I hope you will fight for them and support the sponsors as much as possible.
Thank you for your consideration,
If you are interested in testify on any bills coming up in Annapolis here are some important dates for upcoming bills.
The DUE DATES for testimony are shown below next to the Hearing Date.
Upload your testimony (or sign up for virtual or in-person testimony) on the Maryland General Assembly site here – – https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Account/Login?returnUrl=%2Fmgawebsite%2FMyMGATracking%2FWitnessSignup®isterId=Tracking. You must create an MGA account in order to sign up for oral testimony or to upload written testimony.
Elections and Ethics Bill Hearings
February 7th, 1:00 pm – DUE February 3rd
HB0213 Election Law – Local Public Campaign Financing – Boards of Education – Ways and Means Committee
HB0334 Voting Systems – Ranked Choice Voting– Ways and Means Committee
Environment Bill Hearings
February 8th, 1:30 pm – DUE February 6th
HB0147 Environment – Climate Crisis Plan -Requirement – Environment and Transportation Committee
February 9th, 1:00 pm – DUE February 8th
SB0222 Environment – Reducing Packaging Materials – Producer Responsibility – Education, Energy and the Environment Committee
Gun Control Bill Hearings
February 7th, 1:00 pm – DUE February 6th
SB0001 Criminal Law – Wearing, Carrying, or Transporting Firearms – Restrictions (Gun Safety Act of 2023) – Judicial Proceedings Committee
SB0086 Rifles and Shotguns – Possession – Age Requirement (Raise the Age Act of 2023) – Judicial Proceedings Committee
SB0113 Civil Actions – Public Nuisances – Firearm Industry Members (Gun Industry Accountability Act – Judicial Proceedings Committee
SB0159 Firearms – Maryland Voluntary Do Not Sell Firearm Registry – Establishment – Judicial Proceedings Committee
SB0185 Maryland State Police Gun Center – Firearms Surrendered Under Final Protective Orders – Judicial Proceedings Committee
Social, Criminal and Economic Justice Bill Hearings
February 1st, 1:30 pm – DUE January 31st
SB0054 Criminal Law – Unnatural of Perverted Sexual Practice – Repeal – Judicial Proceedings Committee
February 2nd, 2:30 pm – DUE January 31st
HB0174 Criminal Procedure – Victims of Sexually Assaultive Behavior – Judiciary Committee
February 2nd, 1:00 pm – DUE February 1st
SB0088 Criminal Procedure – Automatic Expungement – Pardoned Conviction of Possession of Cannabis (Pardons for Simple Possession of Cannabis Act of 2023) – Judicial Proceedings Committee
February 9th, 1:00 pm – DUE February 7th
HB0297 Criminal Law – Victims of Child Sex Trafficking and Human Trafficking – Safe Harbor and Service Response – Judiciary Committee
HB0324 Child Abuse and Neglect – Domestic Violence – Judiciary Committee
Taxes Bill Hearings
February 2nd, 1:00 pm – DUE January 31st
HB0039 Effective Corporate Tax Rate Transparency Act of 2023 – Ways and Means Committee
HB0046 Corporate Income Tax – Combined Reporting – Ways and Means Committee
HB0142 More Local Tax Relief for Working Families Act of 2023 – Ways and Means Committee
February 9th, 1:00 pm – DUE February 7th
HB0268 Maryland Estate Tax – Unified Credit – Ways and Means Committee
HB0337 Income Tax – Capital Gains, Dividends, and Foreign-Derived Intangible Income – Alterations (Investing in Marylanders Act of 2023) – Ways and Means Committee
Transportation Bill Hearings
February 1st, 2:30 pm – DUE January 31st
SB0019 Equity in Transportation Sector – Guidelines and Analysis – Finance Committee
February 2nd, 1:00 pm – DUE January 31st
HB0009 Equity in Transportation Sector – Guidelines and Analysis – Environment and Transportation Committee
HB0012 Equitable and Inclusive Transit-Oriented Development Enhancement Act – Environment and Transportation Committee