Monday, January 9, 2023

New Maryland Laws Effective January 1 2023


Jimmy Tarlau

Mon, Jan 2, 10:20 AM (7 days ago)
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Increase In Minimum Wage

Maryland's rates will increase to $13.25 in 2023. The current wage is $12.50 an hour.

Cannabis changes begin

Starting Jan. 1, possession of up to 2.5 ounces will be considered a civil offense — with maximum fines of $100 for possession of up to 1.5 ounces and $250 for up to 2.5 ounces. Previous law considered possession of less than 10 grams (about a third of an ounce) to be a civil offense and 10 grams or more to be a criminal offense subject to up to six months imprisonment and/or $1,000.

After July 1, adults over age 21 will be allowed to possess up to 1.5 ounces and grow two cannabis plants at home.

The penalty for possession with the intent to distribute is also, as of Jan. 1, reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. People convicted of possessing or distributing cannabis, meanwhile, can file a petition for record expungement, and people incarcerated for a conviction related to cannabis can apply for resentencing.


Insulin costs, dental coverage and more

Health care providers in Maryland will also begin making major changes after Jan. 1 under new laws that set a $30 cap on monthly insulin costs for diabetics and that require dental coverage for Medicaid recipients.

The Insulin Cost Reduction Act in Maryland applies to all state-regulated commercial health insurance plans issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1. It also comes as a similar element in the federal Inflation Reduction Act goes into effect — limiting insulin costs to $35 per month but only for Medicare recipients.

Maryland will join nearly every other state in the country in requiring Medicaid to cover nonemergency dental services for adults. Children in the program were already covered.

About 60% of the roughly $132 million annual cost (half as much for the current, halfway completed fiscal year) will come from federal funds while the rest will come from the state’s general fund. About 800,000 adults in Maryland will be newly eligible for dental benefits, according to estimates as of the bill’s passing.

After a fervent election year that saw Maryland candidates raise millions of dollars for their campaigns, another new law is aimed at preventing a tactic used by former President Donald Trump and others that left supporters inadvertently donating more than they wanted.

Water Assistance Relief Program

A $20 million "Water Assistance Relief Program" will support residents with water bill debt, related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The credits will cover outstanding water debt from residential customers that was accrued between January 2020 and September 2022. The application period for water systems to apply for funding will begin on January 2.

HIV Prevention Drugs:

Managed care organizations and certain insurers, nonprofit health service plans and HMOs are prohibited from applying prior authorization requirements for prescription drugs used as post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV prevention, if the drug is prescribed for use in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines

Restricting Automatic On-Line Donations to Candidates

In online donation pages, a pre-checked box, sometimes in small or difficult to read text, stated the donor would make the same contribution every month or in another recurring period.

Del. Julie Palakovich Carr said it was a proactive measure to stay “up to date with the changing technologies” that led to some candidates “tricking people for failing to uncheck a box that was in the fine print.”

New Federal Tax credits for electric vehicles, climate-friendly home improvements

Starting in the new year, the bill will offer households thousands of dollars to transition over from fossil-fuel burning heaters, stoves, and cars to cleaner versions. On Jan. 1, middle-income households will be able to access over a half-dozen tax credits for electric stoves, cars, rooftop solar and more.  Here are two of the tax credits.

          Heat pumps

Tax credit available on Jan. 1: 30 percent of the cost, up to $2,000

Income limit: None

“Heat pump” is a bit of a misnomer for these machines, which are more like super-efficient combo air conditioning and heating systems. These appliances run on electricity and move heat, instead of creating it, and so can be three to five times more efficient than traditional gas or electrical resistance heaters.

Heat pumps can have enormous cost and carbon savings. According to one analysis using data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, switching to a heat pump can save homeowners anywhere from $100 to $1,200 per year on heating bills and prevent anywhere from 1 to 8 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. For comparison, going vegan for an entire year saves about 1 metric ton of CO2 emissions.


          Electric vehicles

Tax credit available on Jan. 1: Up to $7,500 depending on the make and model of the car

Income limit: <$150,000 for single filers; <$300,000 for joint filers

Starting Jan. 1, a new EV tax credit will offer consumers up to $7,500 off the purchase of an electric vehicle. For the first few months, Americans will get somewhere between $3,751 and $7,500 off their purchase of an EV, depending on the size of the battery in the car.

There are limitations, per the new law. The vehicles will also have to be assembled in North America, and cars that cost more than $55,000 aren’t eligible, nor are vans or trucks that cost more than $80,000. This week, the Internal Revenue Service provided a list of vehicles that are expected to meet the criteria starting Jan. 1.

Beginning about March, however, that $7,500 credit will be split into two parts: Consumers can get a $3,750 credit if the vehicle has a battery containing at least 40 percent critical minerals from the United States (or a country that the United States has a free-trade agreement with) and another $3,750 credit if at least 50 percent of the battery’s components were assembled and manufactured in North America. Those rules haven’t been finalized yet, so the tax credit starting on Jan. 1 is a stopgap measure until the White House has ironed out the final version.

[This material was compiled from a bunch of news sources]

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Happy New Year Everyone!!