Monday, January 30, 2023

Maryland Legislative Report - January 30, 2023

 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:

Criminal Justice

  • 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)

Elections 

  • 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)

Environment

  • 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) 

 

Gun Control

  • 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)

 

Taxes 

  • 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.

 

Dear (legislator),

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,

(name)

 

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&registerId=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

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Maryland Legislative Report - Jan 24, 2023

 


The big news in Annapolis last week was the inauguration of Governor Wes Moore. A few days later, he introduced his first budget.

 

Governor Moore $63.1 Billion Budget

 

Education:

The governor is proposing to make a one-time cash payment of $500 million into the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Trust Fund, the state’s savings account for a decade-long education reform effort.

The half-billion-dollar Blueprint payment is in addition to fully funding the state’s public schools at $8.8 billion, a 10% increase from the current year. The proposed education budget also includes $15 million for a new teacher recruitment incentive that will be part of the Maryland Educator Shortage Act. Moore’s budget proposal also includes money for a $1,000 retention bonus for school support professionals.

Transportation

The Budget dedicates $500 million to new transportation projects.  Moore said he hoped the transportation boost would be matched with additional federal funding.  Moore has also pledged to seek significant changes to Hogan’s plan to widen the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270

Other notable items in the budget:

o   $171 million is budgeted for the Family Prosperity Act, which would make permanent an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit passed by lawmakers in 2021.

o   $218 million in state funds are budgeted for additional payments for community health service providers; combined with federal funding, the budget includes a total of $616 million for provider rate increases. The funding is meant to help service providers keep up with the expected acceleration in the effective date of Maryland’s $15 minimum wage,

o   $33 million is budgeted for the Keep Our Heroes at Home Act, which would exempt a portion of military retirement income from taxation.

o   $10 million is budgeted for the Innovation Economy Infrastructure Act, which would incentivize business creation and expansion.

o   Other budgetary items include a 13% increase in funding for state universities to $2.4 billion annually; record funding of $112 million for the Educational Excellence Awards program, the state’s largest need-based student aid program; a $38 million increase in formula funding for the state’s 15 community colleges; and $5 million for the Maryland Apprenticeship Training Program.

o   As the state faces a potential recession, the governor’s budget also includes funding to continue an extra $45 per month payment for Marylanders receiving Temporary Cash Assistance or Temporary Disability Assistance.

o   Another top priority for Moore is “rebuilding state government.” Since 2013, the number of positions budgeted for the executive branch has declined by 2,000 workers. At the same time, the vacancy rate for the spots that remained soared, to about 13.4%, or 6,500 vacant executive branch positions currently. The budget includes funding to drop the vacancy rate by about half. Expansions of the Office of the Attorney General and Office of the Public Defender are among public safety priorities, as is more than $30 million to recruit and retain parole and probation officers, correctional officers and Department of Juvenile Services employees. The budget would add 40 additional employees to help monitor firearm registration in the state.  New positions are also anticipated for state parks and at a new Water Supply Program to increase enforcement of drinking water standards.

 

o   Moore’s budget also includes $18 million, spread across the current fiscal year and the next, to establish a new Cabinet-level agency, the Department of Service and Civic Innovation.

Although over 400 bills have been introduced as of January 20, 2023, some of the most important bills have not been filed yet.  Here are a few new bills that I believe are significant. 

Criminal Justice

•             Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practice repeals the crime of committing an unnatural or perverted sexual practice. (HB0131, Delegate Moon, Judiciary Committee and SB0054, Senator Lam, Judicial Proceedings Committee)

Economic Justice

•             The More Local Tax Relief for Working Families Act of 2023 alters, from 3.2% to 3.7%, the maximum tax rate a county may impose on an individual's Maryland taxable income. This bill will allow more counties to provide tax relief to low- and middle-income residents by increasing the tax rate on high-income residents. (HB0142, Delegate Palakovich Carr, Ways and Means Committee)

 

Marijuana

•             Pardons for Simple Possession of Cannabis Act of 2023 requires automatic expungement of cannabis conviction records for those pardoned by the governor within 60 days of receiving the pardon. (SB0088, Senator Waldstreicher, Judicial Proceedings Committee)

Taxes

•             The Effective Corporate Tax Rate Transparency Act of 2023 requires a publicly traded corporation to attach a statement identifying the corporation's effective tax rate and an explanation of the calculation of the effective tax rate. (HB0039, Delegate Charkoudian, Ways and Means Committee)

Transportation

•             Prohibited Appropriations for Magnetic Levitation Transportation System (MAGLEV) prohibits the state from using any appropriation for a magnetic levitation transportation system. Without improvements to commuter current traffic congestion (bus, automobile, and rail), MAGLEV provides few direct economic benefits to those who live along the proposed routes while benefitting wealthy patrons traveling between Washington and Baltimore. (SB0050, Senators Augustine and Beidle, Budget and Taxation Committee and HB0106, Delegate Williams, Environment and Transportation Committee)

 

HOW TO ADVOCATE FOR THESE BILLS

Call or send an email to your legislators using the contact information found.   You can find who your legislators are on the Maryland Legislative Coalition website http://mdlegislative.com under Legislators. 

If you would like to include a short description of the bills, you can include the descriptions shown above. You are also encouraged to include any details of why you think this bill is important.

Dear (legislator),

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,

(name)

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Maryland Legislative Report - January 17, 2023

 

Jimmy Tarlau via groups.io jtarlau=gmail.com@groups.io

12:38 PM (0 minutes ago)
to me, bcc: MountRainierMD
The 2023 legislative session started last Wednesday with a pre-filing of 250+ bills as we await input from Gov. Elect Moore on his legislative agenda.   As I mentioned in a previous email, I am working this year with the Maryland Legislative Coalition to highlight what we think are important bills in this legislative session.

There have been some important changes in the Senate and house.  Here are some of the new Committee leaders:

·         Melony Griffith is replacing Delores Kelley on the Senate Finance Committee,

·         Brian Feldman is heading up the Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee (formerly the Education, Health, and    Environmental Affairs Committee, formerly headed by Paul Pinsky who has taken a position in the Moore administration), and

·         Ben Barnes is replacing Maggie McIntosh on the House Appropriations Committee.

·         Joseline Pena-Melnyk will be the new Chair of the Health and Government Affairs Committee

Committee hearings will be both virtual  and in person. More specifics concerning process and dates for hearings and testimony are expected from the committees shortly. 

Here are some of the pre-filed bills that caught my eye.

 

Criminal Justice

The Child Victims Act of 2023 allows a person to file a suit for damages against an abuser “at any time” going forward. The bill, which has been introduced three times over the last four years, would also create a two year “lookback window” to allow victims previously barred from filing claims to do so during a limited period of time. (HB0001, Delegate Wilson)

Gun Control

Gun Industry Accountability Act of 2023 prohibits certain firearm industry members from knowingly or recklessly creating, maintaining, or contributing to harm to the public through the sale, manufacture, importation, or marketing of a firearm–related product. (SB0113, Senator Waldstreicher)

Maryland Police Gun Center Protective Orders ensures that local police offices collect and track guns from persons subject to a protective order. (HB0003, Delegate Bartlett)

 

Gun Safety Act of 2023 prohibits a person from knowingly wearing, carrying or transporting a firearm within 100 feet near a place of public accommodation. Such places would include hotels, movie theaters and retail stores. The current law states that a person cannot carry a firearm at places including legislative buildings, state parks, school property, and within 1,000 feet of a demonstration in a public place. (SB0001, Senator Waldstreicher)

Labor

Fight for Fifteen Acceleration Act of 2023 accelerates by 2 years the State minimum wage to achieve $15 per hour starting July 1, 2024 and repeals the authority of the Board of Public Works to temporarily suspend such increases. 85% of the State minimum wage will be in effect if the employee is under 18 years. (SB0081, Senator Waldstreicher)

Universal Basic Income for Transition-Age Youth provides for the economic security of individuals aging out of the out-of-home placement program and provides that payments made under the Program may not be considered income or resources for purposes of determining eligibility for certain benefits. (HB0108, Delegate Acevero)

Transportation

Maryland Rail Investment Act of 2023 establishes the Maryland Rail Authority (MRA) to oversee such operations as MARC service; extending MARC to Newark, DE, Northern Virginia, and Western Maryland; replacing the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel; and constructing the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit System. (HB0074, Delegate Korman)

HOW TO ADVOCATE FOR THESE BILLS

Call or send an email to your legislators using the contact information found.   You can find who your legislators are on the Maryland Legislative Coalition website http://mdlegislative.com under Legislators. 

If you would like to include a short description of the bills, you can include the descriptions shown above. You are also encouraged to include any details of why you think this bill is important.

Dear (legislator),

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,

(name)