Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Maryland Legislative Report - February 15, 2023

 You can say that the 90 day Maryland General Assembly Session can be described as having three parts.  The first part ended on Thursday which is the deadline for almost all the bills to be introduced.  (After that deadline there has to be an exceptional reason for a Bill to be heard in Committee.  There were over 2,500 bills introduced (some of them were the same because they were introduced both in the Senate and House.

The second part of the session ends on March 20th.  That is called crossover date. After that date if a bill is not passed one of the two houses of the legislature it will very unlikely be heard in the other house and is probably ‘dead’.  Every bill has to have a hearing by a committee and that is going on right now.  We’ll know by March 10th which bills are still ‘in play’.

The third part goes from March 21st until the end of the legislature (called ‘Sine Die’).  Every bill that has passed one house has to pass the other in the same fashion.  If there are any amendments in one house the other house has to agree to the amendments or is a conference committee to work out the differences.  Bills get passed up until the last minute of the last day of the session.

After the Session the Governor has to sign all the bills that are passed.  It is assumed that since the Governor and the Legislature are from the same party that almost all the bills that are passed by the General Assembly will be signed into law.

Since we still don’t know which Bills will be passed yet, I will highlight a few of the  newly introduced bills that I feel are important and then keep track of important bills that are being heard by the legislative Committees.

Starting next week, I will start highlighting the progress of some of the bills I’ve pointed out over the last few weeks.


·        The Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Payment Program makes businesses that extract fossil fuels or sell refined petroleum products in Maryland pay a fee to support climate change adaptive or mitigation infrastructure projects, especially for vulnerable populations. (SB0843-  Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee and HB0915 -  Economic Matters and Environment and Transportation Committees)

·        Reclaim Renewable Energy Act - The Reclaim Renewable Energy Act  would remove trash incineration, factory farm gas, and woody biomass from qualification in the state’s renewable portfolio standard.

Since 2008, Maryland’s renewable energy credits and millions of ratepayer dollars have gone to polluting, carbon-intensive fuel sources, threatening public health and undermining climate goals. In 2020, about 25 percent of Maryland’s “clean” energy came from dirty sources. (HB 718 – Environment and Transportation Committee)

Economic Justice

•          Payment of Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees which requires, by July 1, 2027, that    tipped workers get the $15 minimum wage (gradually increases the current $3.73   minimum wage to $15 over 4 years. (SB0803, Senator Ellis, Finance Committee)


Criminal Justice

·        Decriminalization of De Minimis Amount of Drugs -This bill would decriminalize small amounts of drugs.  It has been shown that people who ago to jail for these kinds of possessions end up becoming more addicted than they were before going to jail.  Treatment is the better alternative.  (HB 927 – Sheila Ruth)


·        The Community Solar Energy Generating Systems Pilot Program requires a community solar energy generating system to serve at least 40% of its kilowatt-hour output to low-income and moderate-income subscribers and also eliminates dual billing (from the regular energy supplier and separately from the solar supplier) which prevents low- and moderate income homeowners from using community solar. (SB0613, Senator Brooks, Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee and HB0908, multiple delegates, Economic Matters Committee)

Health Care

·        The Medical Bill Reimbursement Process establishes requirements for the reimbursement of out-of-pocket costs paid by hospital patients who were eligible for free care but did not receive it.  It also requires the hospital to share the information used to make such a determination. (HB0333, Delegate Charkoudian, Health and Government Operations Committee and SB0404, Senator Hershey, Finance Committee)


·        The Maryland Fair Scheduling Act addresses the problem of unpredictable, unfair, and inflexible work scheduling practices of “just-in-time” scheduling algorithms that change shift assignments in real time, with little warning to workers, to maximize their company profits and spend as little as possible paying workers for the cost of their labor. Unsurprisingly, the burden of these practices falls disproportionately on low-income workers. (SB0345, Senator Benson, Finance Committee)

·        The Four-Day Workweek Act of 2023, characterized as win-win, this pilot program incentivizes both public and private employers to experiment with a shortened workweek without cutting pay and benefits. Under the program, businesses that shift at least 30 employees from a 40-hour week down to 32-hour workweek could get a state tax credit of up to $750,000 per year. (SB0197 - Finance Committee and HB0181- Economic Matters and Ways and Means Committees)

Women’s Issues

·        The Right to Reproductive Freedom is a state constitutional amendment that codifies Roe v. Wade for Marylanders to vote on by referendum during the 2024 general election. (SB0798 - Finance Committee and HB0705 - Health and Government Operations Committee


Here are some upcoming Hearings coming up in case you want to write a letter or submit testimony:


The general guidelines for the House and Senate are listed below for reference.  

The Senate will have testimony due starting at 8:00 am until 3:00 pm the day before the hearing.  For hearings on Mondays, testimony will be due the previous Friday.

For the House, testimony is still due two business days before the hearing date between the hours of 8:00 am and 3:00 pm.  For hearings set for Tuesdays, testimony is due on the previous Friday, and for hearings set for Mondays, testimony is due the previous Thursday. 

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 - -  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 16th, 1:00 pm - DUE February 15th
SB0039 Ballot Access – Affiliating With a Party – Unaffiliated Voters – Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee
SB0366 General Assembly Vacancy -Political Party Central Committees - Procedures – Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee
SB0379 Election Law – Ballots – Processing and Reporting Procedures – Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee
February 21st, 1:00 pm - DUE February 17th
HB0572 Election Law – Postelection Tabulation Audits – Risk-Limiting Audits – Ways and Means Committee
HB0580 Election Law – Polling Sites – Firearms Prohibitions – Ways and Means Committee

Environment Bill Hearings

February 15th, 1:00 pm - DUE February 13th
HB0253 Environment – On-Farm Composting Facilities – Permit Exemption – Environment and Transportation Committee
HB0299 Environment – Synthetic Turf – Chain of Custody – Environment and Transportation Committee
HB0310 Environment and Energy – Investment in Communities With Low- to Moderate- Income Households – Environment and Transportation Committee
HB0473 Environment – Ambient Air Monitoring – Particulate and Fine Particulate Matter – Economic Matters
February 15th, 1:00 pm - DUE February 14th
SB0360 Public School Construction – Grant Programs, Approvals, and Administration – Alteration – Budget and Tax Committee
February 16th, 1:00 pm - DUE February 14th
HB0493 Department of Commerce – Office of Climate Change Assistance for Small Business – Establishment – Ways and Means Committee
HB0692 Public Service Commission – Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity – Local Permits – Economic Matters Committee
February 21st, 1:00 pm - DUE February 17th
HB0319 Pesticide Regulation – PFAS Testing – Requirements – Health and Government Operations Committee
February 21st, 1:00 pm - DUE February 20th
SB0143 Electricity – Net Energy Metering – Accrual of Net Excess Generation (Net Metering Flexibility Act) – Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee
SB0489 Public Service Commission – Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity – Local Permits – Education, Energy, and the Environment

Health Care Bill Hearings

February 15th, 1:00 pm - DUE February 14th
SB0281 Commission on Public Health – Establishment – Finance Committee
SB0308 Health Insurance – Utilization Review – Revisions – Finance Committee
SB0365 Health Insurance – Qualified Resident Enrollment Program (Access to Care Act) – Finance Committee
SB0398 Health Insurance – Reimbursement and Use of Specific Pharmacies and Dispensaries – Prohibitions – Finance Committee
February 16th, 1:30 pm - DUE February 14th
HB0363 Maryland Health Benefit Exchange and Maryland Department of Health – Health Care Coverage for Undocumented Immigrants – Report – Health and Government Operations Committee
Labor Bill Hearings

February 16th, 1:00 pm - DUE February 15th
SB0247 State Personnel – Collective bargaining – Faculty, Part-Time Faculty, and Graduate Assistants – Finance Committee
Miscellaneous Topics Bill Hearings

February 15th, 1:00 pm - DUE February 13th
HB0165 General Provisions – Standard Time – Year-Round Daylight-Saving Time – Health and Government Operations Committee
February 16th, 1:00 pm - DUE February 14th
HB0551 Broadband Expansion Incentive Act of 2023 – Finance Committee
Social, Criminal and Economic Justice Bill Hearings

February 14th, 1:00 pm – DUE February 13th
SB0290 Office of the Attorney general – Independent Investigations Division – Authority to Prosecute – Judicial Proceedings Committee
SB0292 Criminal Law – Victims of Child Sex Trafficking and Human Trafficking – Safe Harbor and Service Response – Judicial Proceedings Committee
February 15th, 1:00 pm – DUE February 14th
SB0450 Real Property – Limitations on Summoning Law Enforcement or Emergency Services – Prohibition – Judicial Proceedings Committee
February 17th, 1:00 pm – DUE February 15th
HB0556 Cannabis Reform – Economic Matters Committee
February 21st, 1:00 pm – DUE February 17th
HB0430 Police Immunity and Accountability Act – Judiciary Committee
HB0452 Food Supplement Benefits – Students – Eligibility (SNAP for Students) – Appropriations Committee
HB0523 Correctional Services – Pregnancy and Postpartum Support (Prevention of Forced Infant Separation Act) – Judiciary Committee

Schools Bill Hearings

February 15th, 1:00 pm – DUE February 14th
SB0360 Public School Construction – Grant Programs, Approvals, and Administration – Alterations – Budget and Tax Committee

Transportation Bill Hearings

February 16th, 1:00 pm - DUE February 14th
HB0352 Railroad Company – Movement of Freight – Required Crew – Environment and Transportation Committee
February 21st, 1:00 pm – DUE February 17th
HB0341 Transportation – Statewide Transportation Improvement Programs and Transportation Improvement Programs – Equity Impacts – Appropriations Committee
HB0491 Transportation – Commission to Study Establishing a Baltimore Regional Transportation Authority – Appropriations Committee


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, organization)

 An email, phone call, or social media posting is even more powerful if your legislator is on one of these committees. When you are writing to legislators, it is best to write to your Senator or Delegate about bills on the committee that he or she serves on.  The committee assignments can also be found here.