Saturday, April 1, 2017

General Assembly Passes Legislation and Sends

The Bills to The Governor

There is only a little more than a week left in the 2017 legislative session.  Last week the General Assembly sent about two dozen bills to Gov. Larry Hogan. He has only six days  to sign, veto or let the bills become law.  The legislature will have to override any veto by the time it adjourns on April 10.  There are other important bills (such as Sick Days and the Trust Act) that are still being debated by the General Assembly.

Here are some of the more significant bills.

*Maryland Defense Act of 2017  HB 913 mandates that the administration fund five new attorneys in the Office of the Attorney General to sue the federal government if there are Federal polices that have a negative impact on Maryland residents.  The bill was inspired by President Donald Trump’s promises to deport undocumented citizens, repeal Obamacare, impose travel restrictions from Muslim countries and defund the Chesapeake Bay Cleanup Plan, actions that Attorney General Brian Frosh says could threaten the welfare of Marylanders or violate the constitution.

*Fracking Ban  HB 1325 will make it illegal to use hydraulic fracturing to mine natural gas. Maryland is the third state  to ban the practice.

*Prohibition on Opening Up  Oyster Sanctuaries to Harvesting HB 924 prohibits the administration from reducing or altering oyster sanctuaries until a thorough assessment of the species is completed in 2018.

*Law Requiring the State to Make Up for Any Federal Money
Withheld from Planned Parenthood 
HB 1083  requires Governor Hogan to back fill $2.7M in state funding if President Trump defunds Planned Parenthood.

*An Extension of the Statute of Limitations for Child Victims of Sex Abuse to File Civil Lawsuits Against Their Abusers. HB 641 allows victims of child abuse to file lawsuits until they're 38 years old — 13 years later than current law allows.  The bill was championed by Delegate C.T Wilson who himself was a victim of child abuse.

* Protect Our Schools Act HB 978 creates a system to rate and identify failing schools and protects the state’s public schools from privatization.  The legislation would balance testing and opportunity to learn indicators in our state’s school accountability system, give educators a voice in how their schools are improved, and prevent the privatization of low-performing schools. Under new Federal Legislation (Every Student Succeeds Act), states are required to consider a wide variety of factors  in measuring school success.  This legislation assigns less weight (65%) to achievement measures (i.e. testing) than in the past and more to school quality measures like the availability of AP classes, the presence of highly qualified teachers and the result of school climate surveys.

Other Legislation That Passed the House of Delegates
The Home Act  HB 172 bans discrimination in housing based on the renter’s source-of-income, ending practices that keep low-income people from being boxed out of housing options.

Extra Funds for Public Television SB 103 would fill any funding shortfalls to Maryland Public Television if the Trump administration succeeds in major cuts to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

You can find out more information about any of these bills by going to:

Scholarships are available for constituents living in District 47A who are attending or will be attending a Maryland undergraduate, graduate, or professional school during school year 2017-2018.  If you haven’t requested an application yet, please contact me at and request one by email.  Or you may call my office at 301-858-3326 and leave your email address.  This year, my scholarship application is due Friday, April 15th.