Thursday, April 13, 2023

Maryland Legislative Report April 13, 2023 - End of Session

 The 2023 General Assembly is over and the bills that passed are now on the Governor’s desk to be signed.  Unlike previous years, Governor Wes Moore will probably sign almost all the bills passed since it is a Democratic controlled General Assembly. 

There were a lot of  very good bills passed.  Unfortunately, I continue to be disappointed on the lack of progress made on the issues of economic fairness (reforming our tax code), immigration rights (expanding coverage of the Affordable Care Act), labor issues (expanding collective bargaining, two person crews on freight trains), election reform (public financing of elections) and criminal justice concerns (decriminalization  of drug paraphernalia).


Here is just a small list of some of the important bills that passed this year. If you want to know the outcome of other bills, please let me know.

I hope you found these updates informative.  Please feel free to email me if you want to be taken off the list.


Consumer Protection

·         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

·         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. HB 775

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

·         Cannabis Reform:  The bill creates a licensing, taxing and regulatory framework for the new cannabis industry.  HB 556

Criminal Justice

·        Unnatural or Perverted Sexual Practice repeals the crime of committing an unnatural or perverted sexual practice. HB0131

·        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. HB1

·        Repeal of Spousal Defense in Criminal Proceedings – HB 4

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

·        Prohibiting a Police Officer from Searching a Car or Person Solely on the base of smell of marijuana – HB 1071

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

·        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

·        Paid Family Leave - A bill to implement the state’s paid family and medical leave law, which was approved last year. It will require the cost of premiums for the program to be split evenly between workers and employers. The program will allow workers to take up to 12 weeks of partially paid time off to deal with family health issues.SB 828



·        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 

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

·        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

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

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



·         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

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

·         Offshore Wind Energy:  Increases Maryland’s offshore wind capacity.  The bill supports the expansion of offshore wind power by setting an offshore wind goal of 8.5 GW (billions of watts) by 2031.  HB 793/SB 781


            Ballot Pre-Processing:  Requires local board to start ballot canvassing eight day before early voting and gives voters the opportunity to fix a missing signature up to ten days after Election Day.  HB535

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 

·        The 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  


Health Issues

·        Trans Health Equity Act - The bill will require Maryland Medicaid to provide coverage for additional gender-affirming treatments, which are currently disallowed in the state’s plan but commonly covered by private insurance. The expanded treatments include hormone therapy, hair alteration, voice therapy, physical alterations to the body, and fertility preservation. HB 283

·        The Medical Bill Reimbursement Process requires hospitals to reimburse indigent patients who were charged for health care when it was supposed to be free HB 333


·        Requiring Landlords to Have Valid Rental License Who Want to Evict Tenants - Bill will stop landlords who do not have an operating license from using streamlined court processes (Failure to Pay Rent, Tenant Holding Over, and Breach of Lease) from evicting tenants. HB 36   

·        Notification of Rent Increase – Landlords must inform tenants 90 days before a rental increase and 60 days before on a month to month lease.  HB 151



·        Enabling Union Dues to be Tax Deductible in Maryland – HB 2


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. (HB705)