Friday, January 19, 2024

Governor Moore Introduces Budget and Some Interesting New Bills That Have Been Introduced

The 2024 Session of the Maryland General Assembly is a little more than one week old. Already over 800 bills have been introduced. In addition, Governor Moore issued his State Budget plan on Wednesday. Governor’s Budget The $63.1 billion budget plan includes no new taxes but still increases spending on childcare programs, efforts to help juveniles in the justice system, $100 million for construction on the FBI’s new headquarters in Prince George’s County, $270 million in additional funding for the Maryland State Department of Education’s childcare scholarship program and $16 million more for the Department of Juvenile Services. He is also planning to restore $150 million in planned cuts to transportation programs. How is he proposing to do this when there is already an estimated $1.1 billion deficit? He is proposing to pull from the state’s rainy-day fund and to reevaluate funding for programs and funding formulas. There will be ‘trims’ (budget cuts) across the State’s Departments. A number of legislators would rather see new sources of revenue by raising taxes on the wealthiest residents and on corporations but that was not part of the Governor’s budget. There will be a spirited discussion on this in this Session. Some Bills That Have Been Introduced Here are a few interesting bills that have been introduced. If you are in favor (or against) one or more of these bills, consider contacting one of your legislators. You can find who your legislators by clicking on the following link: . When there is a Committee Hearing on A Bill Scheduled, it is important to contact members of the Committee. The General Assembly website lists all the committees, the members of each committee and their contact information. Go to the main page ( ) and click on the Committees tab. Criminal Justice HB0073, Expungement - Completion of Sentence- Delegate Bartlett This bill would reduce the time that a person would have to wait in order to file a petition to have his/her record expunged. HB 27 – No-Knock Warrants – Delegate Acevero establishing that a warrant may not authorize an officer to enter a building, apartment, premises or place without first announcing the officer's purpose and authority; specifying that a warrant may be executed only between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.; and requiring an officer executing a search warrant, prior to entering certain areas to be searched, to give reasonable notice to alert any occupants within the officer's authority and purpose. SB 145 – Maryland Second Look Act – Senator Benson - This bill allows a person serving a term of confinement to file a petition to modify or reduce the person’s sentence if the person has served 25 years of the sentence term. Senate Hearing Judicial Proceeding Feb 1 at 1 PM Elections SB 29, Special Elections - Procedures and General Assembly Vacancies and Ties, Senator Kagan allows for special elections instead of appointments for legislators. Given that Maryland has a high percentage of appointed legislators vs legislators who have been voted in by their constituents, this will allow for a more representative government. Someone appointed in the first year of the four-year term would have to run for an election in the next presidential primary and general election (this way it would not cost any more money to run a special election Environment HB0166/SB0146, The Reclaim Renewable Energy Act of 2024 – Delegate Stewart and Senator Lewis Young eliminates clean energy rebates for incinerator companies. Senate Hearing Educ, Energy and Env Comm: Jan 25 at 1 PM HB 91 Delegate Foley - Prohibition on State Purchase of Fuel Powered Lawn and Garden Care Equipment – House Hearing Health and Government Operations – Jan 23 1 PM Health HB 184 Healthy Maryland Program – Delegate Acevero - 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, 2026 SB 328 – Nursing Home Staffing Crisis Funding Act – Senator Rosapepe - Requiring that the Governor's proposed budget for each of fiscal years 2026, 2027, and 2028 include an 8% reimbursement rate increase for providers of certain health care services Senate Hearing Budget and Taxation Jan 24 1 PM Labor SB0160, A Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers – Senator Ellis, would phase-in the requirement from $3.63 per hour to the current $15 per hour for other employees. Tipped workers were left out of the minimum wage guarantee that was previously passed Senate Haring Finance Committee Feb 1 at 1 PM HB 114 – Arbitration Reform for State Employees – Delegate Jazz Lewis . State employees do not have the right to strike and currently they have to agree to management’s last offer. This would have a neutral person decide between the two sides. House Hearing Appropriations Jan 30 at 1 PM HB 339 – Unemployment Insurance During a Labor Work Stoppage – Del Vogel – Enables workers who are on strike to receive unemployment benefits after 14 days of a work stoppage (This exists in other states). LGBTQ Rights SB0119, Gender Affirming Care Protection Act, extends current shielding protections that protect reproductive health care to cover gender-affirming care. This is necessary to prevent harassment occurring in other states. Renters HB 93 – Limitation on Liability for Rent – Delegate Mireku-North limits a special needs tenant's liability for rent to no more than 2 months' rent after the date on which the tenant vacates a leased premises. House Hearing Environment and Transportation Comm – Jan 30 at 1 PM HOW TO ADVOCATE FOR THESE BILLS Call or send an email to your legislators using the contact information found. Here is where you can find out who are your Delegates and Senator: If you would like to include a short description of the bills, you can include the descriptions shown above. 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 the 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)