Sunday, January 19, 2020

Maryland 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
·         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 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

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