Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Maryland Legislative Report - February 21, 2023

   The Maryland General Assembly has now been in session for six weeks (close to halfway).  Almost all the bills have been introduced and been assigned to a committee. Every bill must have a hearing by the assigned committee. Committees will vote on some of the bills, and they will go to the full House and/or Senate.   The deadline (crossover date) for a bill to pass one house to be heard by the other house is March 20th    Many bills will not be voted on by the Committee and will just ‘die’ there.  I am keeping track of over 40 bills listed below and will now try and report their progress through the General Assembly.

            Many of the bills have already had hearings.  If you’re interested in supporting any of the bills here is some information on how to advocate for the bills.

            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 below. You are also encouraged to include any details of why you think this bill is important.

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. Below, you will see the bills we are supporting this week divided by committee to make it easier for you to advocate.           

Thank you for your support,


Here is a list of bills I’m following:


Consumer Protection

·      Emergency Management - Consumer Protections Against Price Gouging prohibits a person from selling an essential good or service for more than a specified increase in price during and after a state of emergency. (HB0775, Economic Matters Committee and SB0542, Finance Committee) House hearing 2/22, Senate hearing 3/2. 

·  Ending Debtors Prison (HB 127 Judiciary Committee, SB 594 – Judicial Proceedings) House hearing held, Senate hearing 2/28

·  Protecting $500 in bank accounts - Exempting up to $500 in a deposit account or other accounts of a judgment debtor from execution on the judgment (HB 42, Judiciary Committee, SB 106), Hearings Held


Criminal Justice

·                     Child Abuse and Neglect - Domestic Violence prevents a woman who is the victim of domestic violence from being charged with criminal child abuse and neglect.  HB0324 – Judiciary – Hearing held.

·                     Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause for Cannabis prevents searches based solely on the odor of cannabis and other circumstantial evidence. (SB0051 – Judicial Proceedings) – Hearing held.

·                      Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practice repeals the crime of committing an unnatural or perverted sexual practice. (HB0131, Judiciary Committee and SB0054, Judicial Proceedings Committee) Hearings held.

·                     Police Accountability Boards – Allowing Boards to Investigate – Authorizes PABs to exercise investigatory and subpoena powers, concurrently with a law enforcement agency investigating the complaint.SB (285 Judicial Proceedings) – Hearing Held

•          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 –Judiciary Committee)– Hearing 2/28

•          The Child Victims Act of 2023 allows a person to file a suit for damages against an abuser “at any time” going forward. The bill, which has been introduced three times over the last four years, would also create a two year “lookback window” to allow victims previously barred from filing claims to do so during a limited period of time. (HB0001 – Judiciary Committee) Hearing 3/2

•          Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practice repeals the crime of committing an unnatural or perverted sexual practice. (HB0131, Delegate Moon, Judiciary Committee and SB0054, Senator Lam, Judicial Proceedings Committee) Hearings Held

•          Pardons for Simple Possession of Cannabis Act of 2023 requires automatic expungement of cannabis conviction records for those pardoned by the governor within 60 days of receiving the pardon. (SB0088, Judicial Proceedings Committee) – Hearing held.

·      Civil Rights Enforcement - Powers of the Attorney General authorizes the AG to investigate, prosecute, and remediate civil rights violations and to establish penalties, obtain relief, and recover investigation and lit`igation costs. (HB0772, Judiciary Committee and SB0540, Judicial Proceedings Committee) Senate hearing 2/28, House hearing 3/1.


Economic Justice

·        Minimum Wage Expansion - $15 hour Governor’s Initiative Accelerates the timeline from 2026 to 2024 and indexes the minimum wage to the cost of living (HB 5429 – Economic Matters and SB 555 – Finance Committee) House hearing 2/27 and Senate hearing 3/2

·        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) – Hearing 3/2

·        Universal Basic Income for Transition-Age Youth provides for the economic security of individuals aging out of the out-of-home placement program and provides that payments made under the Program may not be considered income or resources for purposes of determining eligibility for certain benefits. (HB0108, Economic Matters) -Hearing held.


·      Promise Schools - Requires the identification of 10 low-performing schools across the state so they can receive additional annual funding, as promised. (SB0814, Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee) Hearing 2/24

·      Maryland Sign Language Interpreters Act - The act would establish a licensing and regulatory system for sign language interpreters. Licensing sign language interpreters is a vital step to ensure professionally trained and certified interpreters are providing language access for Deaf and hard of hearing Marylanders. (HB 260, Health and Government Operations – SB 346, Education, Energy, Environment) House Hearing 2/22, Senate Hearing held.


·        Local Public Campaign Financing Authorizing the governing body of a county to establish a system of public campaign financing for the offices of State's Attorney, sheriff, register of wills, judge and clerk of the circuit court, judge of the orphans' court, or an elected member of the county board of education  (HB0176, Delegate Feldmark, Ways and Means Committee) Hearing held

·        Ranked Choice Voting in Montgomery County: Authorizing the Montgomery County Council to adopt, by law, a ranked choice voting method (HB 344 – Ways and Means Committee) – Hearing held.

·        Special Election to Fill a Vacancy requires a special election on the same day as the primary and general elections if a vacancy in the office of Delegate or Senator occurs 55 days before the candidate filing deadline. Currently, if there is a vacancy the person is appointed for the balance of the term. (HB0417, Ways and Means Committee) Hearing held.

·        Affiliating With a Party allows unaffiliated voters to affiliate with a party if the request is received by 5 p.m. on the day before early voting begins.  The new party affiliation will be effective for the upcoming election. Currently, affiliation requests are generally limited to 21 days before an election. (HB0114,, Ways and Means Committee and SB0039; Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee) – Hearings held



·        Expanded wind energy bills Lorig Charkoudian – Expands the amount of off shore wind projects and transmission lines to transport the energy to areas other than the Eastern Shore (HB 793, Economic Matters, SB 781, Education, Energy and Environment) Senate hearing 3/7, House hearing 3/6

·        Energy Performance Targets and Low-Income Housing requires the State to provide energy efficiency and conservation programs and services for low-income residents by 2026. (SB0144 Finance Committee, HB0169 Economic Matters) House hearing 3/2, Senate hearing held

·         The Clean Trucks Act of 2023 requires the Department of the Environment to adopt regulations similar to California’s plan to allow only zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty trucks to be sold starting with the 2040 model year. (SB0224 Education, Health and Environmental Affairs, HB0829 Environment and Transportation) Senate Hearing Held, House Hearing 2/25 

·        Environment – Salt Applicator Certification Program - to encourage efficient winter maintenance of roadways, parking lots, and sidewalks through the use of salt or salt alternatives (HB 216 – Environment and Transportation) Hearing held

  • 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) Senate hearing 3/7,  House Hearing 3/6
  • Reclaim Renewable Energy Act - Alters the definitions of "qualifying biomass", "thermal biomass system", and "Tier 1 renewable source" for purposes of excluding energy derived from certain forest-related resources, animal manure, waste, and refuse and gas produced from the anaerobic decomposition of animal waste or poultry waste from being eligible for inclusion in the renewable energy portfolio standard. (HB 718 – Environment and Transportation Committee, SB 590, Education, Energy and the Environment) House hearing 3/9, Senate hearing 2/28
  • 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, Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee and HB0908, Economic Matters Committee) Senate hearing 2/28, House hearing 2/23
  • Monitoring Particulate and Fine Particulate Matter requires the monitoring of ambient air particulates in environmental justice (think highly polluted) areas of the state, including chicken farms on the Eastern Shore. This bill also requires these data to be taken into account before approving air emissions permits. (HB0473, Economic Matters Committee) Hearing held.

Gun Control

·        The Gun Industry Accountability Act of 2023 prohibits firearm industry members from knowingly or recklessly creating, maintaining, or contributing to harm to the public through the manufacture or sale of a firearm-related product. The Attorney General or an individual may file a public nuisance suit against any industry member who violates this statute. (SB0113, Judicial Proceedings Committee and HB0259 Judiciary Committee) – Hearings Held

·        Maryland Police Gun Center Protective Orders ensures that local police offices collect and track guns from persons subject to a protective order. (HB0003, Judiciary Committee, SB 185 Judicial Proceedings) Hearings Held

·        Gun Safety Act of 2023 prohibits a person from knowingly wearing, carrying, or transporting a firearm within 100 feet near a place of public accommodation. Such places would include hotels, movie theaters and retail stores. The current law states that a person cannot carry a firearm at places including legislative buildings, state parks, school property, and within 1,000 feet of a demonstration in a public place. (SB0001, Senator Waldstreicher) – Hearing 3/2


Health Care

·        Universal Health Care – Establishing the Healthy Maryland Program as a public corporation and a unit of State government to provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care services for residents of the State by January 1, 2025; (HB 25 – Government Operations Committee) – Hearing 3/16

·        Universal Health Care – Study Bill – Establishing the Commission on Universal Health Care to develop a plan for the State, by July 1, 2026, to establish a universal health care program to provide health benefits to all residents of the State through a single-payer system; (HB 329 – Government Operations) – Hearing 3/16

·        End of Life Option Act  Authorizing an individual to request aid in dying (SB 845, Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee, HB 933, Health and Government Operations) – Senate Hearing 3/7, House hearing 3/10

·        The Medical Bill Reimbursement Process requires hospitals to reimburse indigent patients who were charged for health care when it was supposed to be free (HB0333, Health and Government Operations Committee and SB0404, Finance Committee) Senate hearing 2/23, House hearing 2/28

·        The Access to Care Act addresses critical health disparities faced by the immigrant community in Maryland by expanding the Affordable Care Act to all Marylanders who meet the regular eligibility criteria, regardless of their immigration status. This bill also begins to establish a state subsidy program to ensure that newly covered individuals have the funding to receive care. (SB0365, Senator Lam, Finance Committee, HB 588, Health and Government Operations) Senate hearing held, House hearing 2/23


·  Temporary Cash Assistance - Housing Allowance requires local social services offices to provide a housing allowance to needy households that are receiving temporary cash assistance or transitional support services and for at least 6 months following the termination of temporary cash assistance. (HB0562,  Appropriations Committee and SB0420, Finance Committee) Senate hearing 2/23, House hearing 2/28. 

·  Just Cause for Refusing to Renew a Lease allows local jurisdictions to require a just basis for landlords to either refuse to renew or to cut off month-to-month/week-to-week leases. This legislation would enable local legislatures to tailor their own laws that enact the basic requirements of this legislation. (HB0684, Environment and Transportation Committee and SB0504, Judicial Proceedings Committee) House hearing 2/24, Senate Hearing 3/7

·  Tenant Safety Act - Establishing that a landlord that offers a dwelling for rent is deemed to warrant the dwelling fit for human habitation; authorizing a single tenant or tenants' organization to seek remedies on behalf of a group of tenants for a landlord's failure to repair serious and dangerous defects on the leased premises (HB 691, Environment and Transportation, SB 708 Judicial Proceedings) Senate Hearing 2/28, House Hearing 2/24




·        Tipped workers – Raises the minimum wage for tipped workers from $3.63 to $15 over 4 years (SB803 Senator Ellis – Senate Finance Comm, HB 1256 Rules Committee) - Senate Hearing 3/2, No House Hearing scheduled.

·        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. (HB 349 - SB0345, Senator Benson, Finance Committee) House Hearing Held – Senate Hearing 2/23

·        The Four-Day Workweek Act of 2023, 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) Hearings held.

·        Collective Bargaining for Faculty, Part-Time Faculty, and Graduate Assistants grants collective bargaining rights to these workers at state universities and colleges. (HB0275, Delegate Foley, Appropriations Committee and SB0247, Senator Kramer, Finance Committee) – Hearing held

·        Allow Educators to Negotiate Class Size Repealing the prohibition on a public-school employer negotiating the maximum number of students assigned to a class. (HB 85 Ways and Means, SB 206, Finance Committee) Hearings Held

·        The Healthy Working Families Act - Railroad Employees requires a railroad employer to provide a railroad employee with unpaid earned sick and safe leave to address a right that rail workers are willing to strike to obtain. (SB0456, Finance Committee) Hearing 3/2. 




·        Combined Reporting – Forces big companies to pay state taxes on subsidiaries they have in Maryland when the corporate headquarters is out of state.  (HB 46 Ways and Means Committee , SB 576 Budget and Transportation)– House Hearing Held, Senate Hearing 3/7

·        Maryland Estate Tax –Lowers the exemption from $5 million to $1 millions thus reducing the overall tax burden on others. (HB0268, Ways and Means Committee) – Hearing held.

·        The More Local Tax Relief for Working Families Act of 2023 alters, from 3.2% to 3.7%, the maximum tax rate a county may impose on an individual's Maryland taxable income. This bill will allow more counties to provide tax relief to low- and middle-income residents by increasing the tax rate on high-income residents. (HB0142, Ways and Means Committee) – Hearing held.

·        The Effective Corporate Tax Rate Transparency Act of 2023 requires a publicly traded corporation to attach a statement identifying the corporation's effective tax rate and an explanation of the calculation of the effective tax rate. (HB0039, Delegate Charkoudian, Ways and Means Committee) Hearing held.


·        Two Person Crew -   Movement of Freight requires at least 2 crew members to operate a train This means that if one of the crew members was to become unable to perform their duties, the train would still have an operator. (HB0352, Environment and Transportation Committee, SB 915 – Rules Committee) House hearing held, Senate hearing not scheduled.

·        Prohibiting Appropriations for Magnetic Levitation Transportation System (MAGLEV). (SB0050, and HB0106) – Hearings held

Women’s Rights

            •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) House hearing held – Senate hearing 3/1


Testimony Guidelines -
For a refresher of what is required to submit testimony, please check out our website at 
http://mdlegislative.com under Legislative Info/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 - - 
https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Account/Login?returnUrl=%2Fmgawebsite%2FMyMGATracking%2FWitnessSignup&registerId=Tracking.  You must create an MGA account in order to sign up for oral testimony or to upload written testimony.