Saturday, January 25, 2020

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

·         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 296Prohibiting 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


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 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 13

·         Throwback Rule HB 473 -Requires 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


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

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 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
·         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 intimidate HOUSE HEARING HELD – Senate Hearing Judicial proceedings Jan 29 1 PM

·         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/SB0091 - 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. 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:
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:    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:

If you want to contact your representatives in District 47 about any of the bills, you should email or call:

Senator Malcolm Augustine 410-841-3745
Delegate Diana Fennell (47A) 301-858-3478
Delegate Julian Ivey (47A)      410-841-3326
Delegate Wanika Fisher (47B) 410-841-3340

If you do not know who are your representatives, you can go to   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: