Thursday, March 23, 2023

Maryland Legislative Report - March 23, 2023

 Crossover date for the Maryland General Assembly 2023 has come and gone. 

            Any bill that has not passed the House of Delegates or the Senate is probably ‘dead’ for this session.  Now the other house has to have a hearing on the bill, and it has to pass in the same form as it was passed in the one house.   Every bill has to be passed by ‘Sine Die’ which is April 11.

             I am keeping track of over 60 bills listed below. About half of the bills have passed one house or the other and have a good chance of passing and being signed into law. Many bills did not get out of their committee and will not be passed this year.  Unfortunately, some of the major initiatives on economic justice, criminal justice, election reform and workers’ rights did not move this year, which is disappointing.

            The bills that passed now have to be voted on by the house.  They still need to make it to the finish line. 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 the list of bills I’m following that have passed one house or the other 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. SB 542 Passed the Senate

·  Ending Debtors Prison - HB 127 Passed the House of Delegates

·  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 - SB 106 Passed the Senate


Criminal Justice

·                      Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practice repeals the crime of committing an unnatural or perverted sexual practice. HB0131 Passed the House and the Senate – House Hearing on Senate Bill Judiciary Committee: 3/22

•          The Child Victims Act of 2023 Altering the definition of "sexual abuse" for purposes relating to civil actions for child sexual abuse to include any act that involves an adult allowing or encouraging a child to engage in certain activities; repealing the statute of limitations in certain civil actions relating to child sexual abuse HB686 – Passed the Senate.

          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 litigation costs. (SB0540, Passed the Senate

·                     Enables Attorney General to Investigate Police Involved Incidents Resulting in Injury – SB 290 Passed the Senate

·                     Decriminalization of Drug Paraphernalia  - HB 173 Passed the House of Delegates


Economic Justice

·        Minimum Wage Expansion - $15 hour Governor’s Initiative Accelerates the timeline from 2026 to Jan 1. 2024.  Unfortunately an amendment stripped out the provision indexing the minimum wage to the cost of living  SB 555 Passed the Senate 31-14

·        The Family Prosperity Act - The legislation would permanently extend the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit   The bill would also expand the state’s Child Tax Credit to cover taxpayers with children 5 and under who have a federally adjusted gross income of $15,000 or less. HB 547 – Passed the House

·        Prohibition On A Person Making Prank or False 911 Calls – HB 745 Passed the House


·      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 Passed the House of Delegates

·         Prohibition on Corporal Punishment in Private Schools prohibits the State Board of Education from issuing a certificate of approval to non collegiate educational institutions that do not have a policy prohibiting the administration of corporal punishment HB 185 Passed the House of Delegates

·         Increase in Money Available for Tax Credits for Student Debt - This bill  increases, from $9 million to $18 million, the maximum amount of student debt relief tax credits each year and  requires that  $5 million go to  graduates of historically black colleges or universities (HBCUs); (3) requires prioritization of tax credit recipients for  low income earners; and (4) extends – from two to five years the timeframe within which the individual who claims the credit must use the credit for the repayment of the individual’s eligible student loan debt.  HB 680 – Passed the House

·         Maryland Educator Shortage Act 2023 – The bill among other actions will provide financial support for college students while doing their student learning. HB 1219 – Passed the House

·         Service Year – Provides a service year as an option for young people to learn professional schools after high school. HB 552 – Passed the House


·        Expanded wind energy bills– Expands the amount of offshore wind projects and transmission lines to transport the energy to areas other than the Eastern Shore, SB 781 Passed the Senate

·        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 Passed the Senate 40-8

·         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 Passed the Senate 33-11

·         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. HB 908 Passed the House

·         Allowing People To Ride a Bicycle on a Sidewalk unless prohibited by local law. – HB 519 Passed the House

·         Regulating Bamboo – Bill allows counties and municipalities to regulate the upkeep and containment of bamboo.  HB 90 – Passed the House


Gun Control

·        Maryland Police Gun Center Protective Orders ensures that local police offices collect and track guns from persons subject to a protective order.  HB 3 Passed the House of Delegates

·        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. SB 1 Passed the Senate


Health Care

·        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 Passed the House

·        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. HB 588 Passed the House


·  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 Passed the House


o   Enabling Union Dues to be Tax Deductible in Maryland – HB 2 Passed the House



·        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. HB 339 Passed House of Delegates



·        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. (HB 352 Passed the House of Delegates

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) Passed the House of Delegates

·        Repeal of Spousal Defense in Criminal Proceedings – HB 4  Passed the House of Delegates and SB 129 Passed the Senate

Bills that Did Not Make It This Year


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

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

·                     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

•          Decriminalization of De Minimis Amount of Drugs -This bill would decriminalize small amounts of drugs.  It has been shown that people who go 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

•          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. SB 88

·         Authorizing Municipalities to Set up Police Accountability Boards: Authorizing a municipality  to have a police accountability board to receive complaints of police misconduct from the public and recommending changes to improve police accountability.  (Only Counties have this authority at this time) HB518, SB409

  •             Petition to Modify or Reduce Sentence (Maryland Second Look Act) Authorizing a person who is serving a term of confinement to petition a court to modify or reduce the sentence under certain circumstances (SB 771, Judicial Proceedings, HB 1263, Rules 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)

·        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


·      Promise Schools - Requires the identification of 10 low-performing schools across the state so they can receive additional annual funding, as promised. (SB0814). 


·        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

·        Ranked Choice Voting in Montgomery County: Authorizing the Montgomery County Council to adopt, by law, a ranked choice voting method (HB 344 ) –

·        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,

·        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,, and SB0039bEnvironment


·        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)

    • 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


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

·        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

·         End of Life Option Act  Authorizing an individual to request aid in dying (SB 845, Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee, HB 933 Housing

·  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 held, 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


·        Tipped workers – Raises the minimum wage for tipped workers from $3.63 to $15 over 4 years (SB803 HB 1256

·        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) Hearings held

·        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) Unfavorable report by House committee – Withdrawn by sponsor

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

o   Seating for Employees - Establishes requirements for employers to have seating for employees employed at retail establishments in the State that have 20 or more retail employees for each working day.. (HB17 – Economic Matters) – Bill failed in Committee.


Social Justice

·        Establishes the Maryland Reparations Commission to develop and administer a program to provide compensatory benefits to the descendants of individuals enslaved in the State (HB 375, Health and Government Operations) Failed in Committee



·        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)–

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

·        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 Transportation

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