Tuesday, February 13, 2024

More Bills Introduced

The General Assembly is through one month of its three-month session and over 3,000 bills have been introduced.  The deadline for introducing bills in the Senate has passed and the House deadline is Monday Feb 9th so there will not be that many new bills. 


There are really three phases of the General Assembly’s work.  In the first month, bills are introduced, and committee hearings start.  In the second month that ends in the beginning of March all the bills have to pass out of committee and one of the two chambers (House or Senate) to be heard in a timely fashion by the other chamber.  In the last month all the bills have to be passed by the other chamber and then reconciled and then sent to the Governor.  Any bill that is not approved by both chambers in the same exact form by midnight on Monday April 8th (Sine Die) is ‘dead’ until next year.


I am putting in the front of the newsletter some of the bills that have been introduced since the last newsletter.  After those bills, I am listing the bills I have already mentioned and the status of those bills.


You can find who your legislators by clicking on the following link:  https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Members/District.


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 (https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite) and click on the Committees tab.



Criminal Justice


HB 61 - Reentry Service for Returning Citizens – Delegate Taveras Establishing a program that provides formerly incarcerated individuals and individuals on probation with needed services and appropriating $3 million for the program.  House Judiciary Committee


HB 706 Drug Paraphernalia Decriminalization – Delegate Cardin – House Judiciary Committee – Hearing Feb 13





HB 423 – Ranked Choice Voting Montgomery County – Authorizes Montgomery County if they want to allow ranked choice voting for local elections. House Ways and Means Committee- Hearing Held





HB 357/SB 193 – Better Confinement of Hens –  Delegate Terreza and Senator Lewis Young. Banks the use of cages in egg factory farms that confine hens so severely that they can’t spread their wings. House Environment and Transportation Committee Hearing Feb 14 Senate Education Energy and the Environment – Hearing Held


HB 735/SB 642  – Beverage Container Recycling Refund Program – Delegate Terrasa The bill would create a beverage container deposit program in Maryland with a 10- or 15-cent refundable deposit on metal, glass, and plastic beverage containers, depending on container size. The deposit is refunded to the customer when the beverage container is returned for recycling. House Environment and Transportation Committee -  Hearing Feb 28 at 1 PM


SB 1023 – Better Buildings Act – Senator Brooks Requiring the Maryland Department of Labor to adopt, on or before certain dates and as part of the Maryland Building Performance Standards, a requirement that new buildings meet all water and space heating demands of the building without the use of fossil fuels, energy   conservation requirements, and an electric- and solar-ready standard for certain buildings; etc. Senate Committee on Education, Energy and the Environment





HB 328 Access to Hospital Care  Delegate Lopez - The bill will (1) Prohibit private hospitals in Maryland from using asset tests to make financial assistance determinations, and (2) Prohibit private hospitals in Maryland from restricting patient eligibility for financial assistance based on geographic determinants, including place of residency. House Health and Government Operations Committee – Hearing Feb 14 at 1 PM


HB 1194 / SB 1020 – Safe Staffing Act of 2024 – Delegate Wells and Senator A. Washington Requires each hospital licensed in the State to establish and maintain a clinical staffing committee and to implement a clinical staffing plan;  House Health and Government Operations Committee / Senate Finance Committee


HB 619 - Commission on Universal Health Care Delegate Ruth– Establishes a commission to study how one could implement a Universal Health Care model in Maryland. Health and Government Operations Committee


HB 673/SB 630 – Delegate Embry/Senator Kelly – Prohibiting the creation of a lien on owner-occupied residential property by contract or as a result of a breach of contract for the payment of medical debt.Health and Government Operations Committee – Hearing Feb 14 at 1 PM – Judicial Proceedings Committee Hearing Feb 16 at 1 PM




HB 728/SB 705 – Access to Care Act – Delegate Cullison & Senator Hayes - 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  Health and Government Operations Committee – Hearing Held




HB 189 - Homecare Workers Employment Act of 2024 – Delegate Robyn Lewis  -Bill ensures  that home care workers are properly classified as employees and not independent contract.  Health and Government Operations Committee – Hearing Held


HB 609/SB 609 - Library Workers Empowerment Act Delegate Solomon  and Senator Lam – Allows library workers throughout Maryland to have collective bargaining rights (not all counties allow unions to negotiate with management).Senate Finance Committee- Hearing Feb 29 at 1 PM


SB 944 – Predictable Scheduling Act – Senator Benson – Requires certain requirements on food service establishments, hospitality establishments, and retail establishments  to give advance notice for changing the work schedules for its employees  Senate Finance Committee




SB 946 – Tenant Safety Act of 2024 – Senator Kelly This bill will make the “rent escrow” process more accessible to renters and groups of renters who want to hold their landlord accountable for severe conditions of disrepair that threaten life, health, or safety. Landlords who fail to make repairs will face significant financial penalties. Senate Judicial Proceedings




HB 1007/SB 766 Fair Share Maryland Act of 2024 – Delegate Palakovich-Carr and Senator Hettleman – A package of proposals that would raise over $1.5 billion to fund some of the state’s education and transportation needs by doing some of the following: 1)A 7% tax increase on people whose income is $1 million a year or more; 2) Reversing a 2014 estate tax exemption and reinstate a $2 million exemption. The change would generate an estimated $84 million annually. Abd “Significantly increase” the number of state tax auditors and adding a 1% surcharge on capital gains, generating an estimated $157 million annually. House Ways and Means Committee Hearing Feb 22 at 1 PM; Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Hearing  Feb 21 at 1 PM





HB 89 – One Less Car Act – Delegate Robyn Lewis - This bill establishes a $1,000 refundable credit against the State income tax  if, for at least six months during the tax year, (1) the qualified taxpayer did not own or lease a motor vehicle and was not listed as an insured on another individual’s personal motor vehicle liability insurance policy; and (2) no entity in which the qualified taxpayer or a dependent of the qualified taxpayer holds a controlling interest owned or leased a motor vehicle  House Ways and Means Committee – Hearing Held


SB 1060 – Train Safety Act – Senator Ellis and Augustine – A comprehensive train safety act that requires two people on every freight train and other requirements that make freight travel safer through our communities. Senate Finance Committee



Other Bills I’m Following


Here are a bunch of interesting bills that I am following.  I’m currently listing the status of each bill.   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:  https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Members/District .


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 (https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite ) and click on the Committees tab. 



Consumer Protection


HB 661 – Exemption from Debt Collection – Delegate Charkoudian – Increases the amount a person can have in his/her bank that is protected from a debtor. House Economic Matters Committee – Hearing Feb 20 at 1 PM


Criminal Justice


HB 73, Expungement - Completion of SentenceDelegate Bartlett This bill would reduce the time that a person would have to wait 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.


HB 145/SB 132 – Life Imprisonment – Medical Leave – Delegate Barlett/Senator Carter – Prohibits the Governor from overruling the Parole Board if they recommend medical leave – Senate Judicial Proceedings – Hearing Feb 7 at 2 PM



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




HB 412/ SB 29, Special Elections – Filling General Assembly VacanciesDelegate Linda Foley/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. Hearing Ways and Means Committee- Feb 6 at 1 PM/Senate Education, Energy and the Environment Committee – Hearing Held


HB 585/SB 480        The Protecting Election Officials Act - Administration— creates a new misdemeanor charge in state election law for threats against election officials or their families.



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 – Hearing Held



HB 516 – Climate Crisis and Environmental Justice Act – Delegate Fennell





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


SB 119/HB 691 – Legally Protected Health Care – Gender Affirming Treatment – Delegate Moon/Senator Lam – Alters the definition of "legally protected health care" to include certain gender-affirming treatment, including medications and supplies, Senate Finance Committee- Hearing Feb 15 at 1 PM -House Government Operations Committee


SB 453 and HB 576 Mental Health Emergency Evaluation and Involuntary Admission Procedures and Assisted Outpatient Treatment  This bill is an omnibus behavioral health bill that would allow court-ordered outpatient treatment for individuals with severe mental illness who are not compliant with treatment and whose lack of compliance poses a potential danger to themselves or others.



HB 340/ SB 388 – Drug Affordability Board -Authority - for Upper Payment Limits – Delegate Cullison/Senator Gile  Requires the Board to establish a process for setting upper payment limits for all purchases of prescription drug products in the State that the Board determines will lead to affordability challenges. House Government Operations Committee Hearing Feb 8 at 1 PM / Senate Finance Committee Hearing Feb 7 at 2 PM


HB 403/SB 443 – End of Life Option – Delegate Cullison Authorizes a terminal patient to request medical aid in dying. – Hearing at House Government Operations Committee – Feb 28 at 1 PM


HB 462/SB 328 – Nursing Home Staffing Crisis Funding Act- Senator Rosapepe – This bill would dedicate money form Medicaid to improve the conditions for direct care workers Senate Budget and Taxation Committee – Hearing Held





SB 484 and HB 538 —The Housing Expansion and Affordability Act — The bill incentivizes the construction of highly targeted new housing. The bill proposes modernizing local land use law; expedite and simplify approval for transit-oriented development; allow for development on former state-owned complexes; and allow housing development by nonprofit organizations.




HJ 2 – Resolution Callin for a Cease Fire in Israel and Palestine – Delegate Acevero – House Rules Committee


SJ 2 - Use of Nuclear Weapons Senator Carter - Stating that the General Assembly joins seven other state legislative bodies in urging among other items, the U.S. President and the U.S. Senate to endorse the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear WeaponsSenate Education, Energy and the Environment Committee



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 609 -  Library Workers Empowerment Act – Delegate Solomon -


HB 114/SB 188 – 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 Hearing Held


HB 39/SB 197 – Homecare Workers Employment Act – Delegate Robyn Lewis/Senator Ellis - ensuring that home care workers are properly classified as employees and not independent contract – House Health and Government Operations – Hearing Held - Senate Finance Committee – Feb 6 at 1 PM


HB 339/SB 841 – Unemployment Insurance During a Labor Work Stoppage – Del Vogel and Senator Kramer– Enables workers who are on strike to receive unemployment benefits after 14 days of a work stoppage (This exists in other states). House Economic Matters Committee – Hearing Feb 14 at 1 PM


HB 559/SB 569 – Pilot Program on Four Day Workweek For State Employees – Delegate Stewart -  Requiring a study  to identify units of State government for which a transition to a 4-day workweek is feasible for 60% of State employees; requiring the Department to implement a 4-day workweek for certain State employees by October 1, 2027; and prohibiting State employees who transition to a 4-day workweek from, as a direct result of the transition, having work hours reduced to less than 36 hours per week or having a reduction in pay or benefits. House Appropriations Committee/Senate Finance Committee- Hearing Feb 29 at 1 PM


LGBTQ Rights

SB0119/HB 691 -  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.




HB 93/SB 162 – Limitation on Liability for Rent – Delegate Mireku-North/Senator Waldstreicher  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 Environment and Transportation Comm / Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee – Hearings Held


HB 477/SB Just Cause Evictions Delegate Wilkins and Senator Muse– Allows local jurisdictions to require a just cause basis for landlords to either refuse to renew or to cut off month to month or week to week leases. House Environment and Transportation Committee Hearing Feb 13 at 1 PM / Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee – Hearing Feb 16 at 1 PM


HB 428/SB 370 - Community Schools - Rental Assistance for Community School Families Program and Fund – Establishment – Delegate Stewart and Senator Hettleman – House Environmental and Transportation Hearing Feb 6 at 1 PM/ Senate meeting held


SB 481 - The Renter’s Rights Stabilization Act is an omnibus bill that creates an Office of Tenant Rights in the Department of Housing and Community Development responsible for providing renters with information about their rights under law and creating a tenant’s bill of rights; attempts to lower evictions by increasing the eviction filing fee and preventing it from being passed on to renters; mandating the reduction of security deposits from two months rent to one month; gives renters the right to purchase their home if it’s being sold; prioritizes families with children under 5 years old and pregnant women in the state’s new rental voucher program. Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee – Hearing Feb 16 at 1 PM




HB 470 -  Making the County Income Tax More Progressive – Delegate Julie Palkovich-Carr:  Allows Counties to change the percentage income tax in order to lower the tax rate for lower income and raise it for higher income residents.  House Ways and Means Committee – Hearing Feb 8 at 1 PM




HB170/SB 179 – Prohibition on ‘State Appropriations for MAGLEV  High speed rail from Baltimore to DC – Senator A. Washington – Senate Budget and Taxation - Hearing Held


HB 513/SB479 -The Maryland Road Worker Protection Act Administration  This bill  would increase work zone speed camera fines from $40 to $290 and impose a $1,000 fine for offenders with three or more citations. The bill also eliminates the need for cameras to be manned. Fines collected would fund highway and work zone safety programs.




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:  https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Members/District

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,