Tuesday, March 19, 2024

MD General Assembly Update - Bills In Play


We have now passed crossover day.  Many bills have passed one house or the other and have a good chance of passing and becoming law.  If a bill has not passed one chamber or the other, it is effectively ‘dead’ until next year.



Bills that are ‘in play’ (meaning they can still pass and become law) now are heard by the Committee in the other chamber. It has to be voted out of Committee and then pass the other chamber The bill has to pass with the exact same language.  So, if a bill is amended in the other chamber, it has to go back to the first chamber and be amended in the same fashion.  When the two chambers disagree on the amendments, they form a Conference Committee to hopefully settle the differences.  All this has to be done by midnight on Monday April 8th or else the bill will not pass. 



I am putting in the front of the newsletter some of the bills that have made progress.  After those bills, I am listing the bills I have already mentioned and are effective. If you feel strongly about a bill, now is the time to write to your legislators.


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


It is important to contact members of the Committee where the Bill has been assigned.  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.



Passed the House of Delegates or the State Senate


Criminal Justice


SB 132 – Life Imprisonment – Medical Leave –Senator Carter – Prohibits the Governor from overruling the Parole Board if they recommend medical leave – Passed the Senate -Referred to Judiciary Committee


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. Passed the House – Referred to Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee


HB 338 – Facial Recognition – Delegate Moon – Police use of facial recognition technology would be limited to investigations of violent crimes and other serious offenses.  Passed the House – Referred to the Judicial Proceedings Committee


HB814/SB744 – Juvenile Law Reform – Passed Both Houses in Different – Speaker Jones and Senate President Ferguson - This is a very long and complex bill.  Here is one write up of the bill:  https://www.marylandmatters.org/2024/03/02/legislative-notes-house-approves-juvenile-justice-bill-after-fiery-debate-aid-in-dying-stalled-electricity-bill-advances

The two versions of the bill must be reconciled.  Referred to Judiciary and Judicial Proceedings Committees




SB 1145 – Child Sex Offenders – Prohibition on In School Attendance – Senator Salling - Closing a loophole in current law, this legislation would prohibit children on the juvenile sex offender registry from attending public or private schools with other students. Local school boards would be tasked with providing alternative schooling options for those children to continue their education. Passed the Senate –


HB 785 – Freedom to Read Act – Delegate Jones – Library material could not be removed because of the author’s background, origin or views, or for partisan, ideological or religious reasons.  Passed the House – Referred to Senate Education, Environment and Energy Committee





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. Passed the Senate – Referred to Judiciary Committee


SB 29, Special Elections – Filling General Assembly Vacancies Senator Kagan Bill 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. Passed the Senate – Referred to Ways and Means Committee




SB 970/HB 1214 - Energy Storage Systems – Income Tax Credit and Grant Program – Sunset Extension  Would extend for two years limited state tax credits for solar battery storage. Integral part of residential renewable energy system particularly important for fast EV charging – Passed the Senate – Referred to House Economic Matters Committee


HB 836 – Delegate Edelson - The Transportation and Climate Alignment Act would require the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and regional transportation planning agencies to measure and mitigate any increases in climate pollution and vehicle traffic caused by planned highway expansion projects over $10 million.  Passed the House – Referred to Budget and Taxation Committee


HB 457 – Synthetic Turf-Chain of Custody – Delegate Lehman - Requiring the Department of the Environment to establish a system to track the chain of custody of synthetic turf installed on sports and playing fields; requiring the custodian of a synthetic turf sports or playing field in the State to report chain of custody information to the Department by January 1, 2025, or within 30 days after the completion of the installation, whichever is later; requiring a producer or seller of synthetic turf to disclose to a customer certain maintenance and cost information and reporting requirements – Passed the House of Delegates – Referred to Education, Environment and Energy Committee





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. Passed the House of Delegates. Referred to the Senate Finance Committee


HB 673 – Delegate Embry– 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. Passed Out of Committee – Referred to Judicial Proceedings Committee


SB 119/– Legally Protected Health Care – Gender Affirming Treatment –Senator Lam – Alters the definition of "legally protected health care" to include certain gender-affirming treatment, including medications and supplies, Passed the Senate – Referred to Health and Government Operations Committee


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. Passed the House – Referred to Finance Committee

HB 1194– Safe Staffing Act of 2024 – Delegate Wells Requires each hospital licensed in the State to establish and maintain a clinical staffing committee and to implement a clinical staffing plan; Passed the House – Referred to Finance Committee


HB 805 – Cannabis Zoning – Delegate Wilson – Bill would limit local zoning authority on where cannabis dispensaries can open.  It would limit the minimum buffer between dispensaries to 2,000 feet.  Passed the House of Delegates – Referred to the Finance Committee




SB 484 and HB 538 —The Housing Expansion and Affordability Act House Speaker and Senate President— 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. Hearings Held – This is the exception to the rule because it is the Governor’s initiative. They will make a special effort to get this bill passed.




HB 728– 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.    Passed the House of Delegates – Passed the Senate – Bills have to be passed by each of the other chambers.





HB 609- Library Workers Empowerment Act Delegate Solomon – Allows library workers throughout Maryland to have collective bargaining rights (not all counties allow unions to negotiate with management.  Passed the House of Delegates – Referred to Finance Committee



SB 197 – Homecare Workers Employment Act –Senator Ellis - ensuring that home care workers are properly classified as employees and not independent contract – Passed the State Senate – Referred to Health and Government Operations Committee


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.  Passed the House of Delegates – Referred to Senate Finance Committee


LGBTQ Rights

SB0119- Gender Affirming Care Protection Act, - Senator Lam extends current shielding protections that protect reproductive health care to cover gender-affirming care. This is necessary to prevent harassment occurring in other states. Passed the Senate.  Referred to House Health and Government Operations Committee



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. Passed the House of Delegates – Referred to Judicial Proceedings


HB1117 – Delegate Stewart 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. – Passed the House – Referred to Judicial Proceedings


HB 477Just Cause Evictions Delegate Wilkins – 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.  Passed the House of Delegates – Referred to Judicial Proceedings


SB 370 - Community Schools - Rental Assistance for Community School Families Program and Fund –Senator Hettleman – Passed the Senate – Referred to the House Ways and Means Committee


HB 693 - The Renter’s Rights Stabilization Act – Administration Bill is an omnibus bill that creates an Office of Tenant Rights 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. Passed the House of Delegates – Referred to Judicial Proceedings




HB 352 – Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act – Speaker – This is a supplementary budget bill that has to pass both Houses.  Combined Reporting (a bill to eliminate a corporate tax loophole) is part of the amended bill.  Still in Committee. By law it has to pass.  Whether Combined Reporting stays in the bill remains to be seen. It will be reviewed by a Conference Committee form the Senate and the House


HB 1319 – Internet Gaming – This bill would put a referendum on the ballot to allow internet gambling.  Passed the House of Delegates




HB 513 - The Maryland Road Worker Protection Act Administration House Speaker and Senate President 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.  Passed the House of Delegates – Referred to Budget and taxation.


HB 1070 – Toll Fee Expansion - Delegate Korman – Basically a toll hike for out of state drivers. An attempt to raise $75 million for transportation projects Passed the House of Delegates – Referred to the Budget and Transportation Committee


SB 1065 - Surcharge on Electric Vehicles – Senator Guzzone – EV owners would pay an annual $100 surcharge.  The concept is that EV owners don’t pay the gas tax but still use the roads that have to be maintained.  Passed the Senate – Referred to the Environment and Transportation Committee




The bills above have passed one house but not the other. They still have to be passed by the other.  Many of the bills may not pass and are signed into law.  If you care about one or many of these bills, contact your legislators.


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


It is important to contact members of the Committee to ask that the bill be voted out by 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. 



Here is a list of bills that have not passed either house.  These bills are basically ‘dead’ and will have to be introduced in 2025.



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. – Hearing Held


Criminal Justice


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. Hearing Held


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.  Hearing Held


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.  Hearing Held


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



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 Senate Education, Energy and the Environment Committee – Hearing Held




HB0166/SB0146, The Reclaim Renewable Energy Act of 2024 – Delegate Stewart and Senator Lewis Young eliminates clean energy rebates for incinerator companies.   Hearings Held


HB 91 Delegate Foley - Prohibition on State Purchase of Fuel Powered Lawn and Garden Care Equipment –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. – Hearings 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. - Hearings Held


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. Hearing Held


HB 516 – Climate Cris and Environmental Justice Act – Delegate Fennel –– Hearings Held




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 – Hearing Held


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   Hearing Held



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. Hearing Held


HB 403/SB 443 – End of Life Option – Delegate Cullison Authorizes a terminal patient to request medical aid in dying. – Hearing Held


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. Hearing Held


HR 670 / SB 349 – Prescription Coverage for Retired State Workers – Hearing Held





HJ 2 – Resolution Callin for a Cease Fire in Israel and Palestine – Delegate Acevero – Hearing Held


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 Weapons -   Hearing Held



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. Hearing Held



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. Hearing Held



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 – Unfavorable Report


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. Hearings Held



HB 493/SB623 – Collective Bargaining for Faculty and Grad Students at UMD – Delegate Foley and Senator Kramer – Hearings Held


HB 1226/SB 994 – Predictable Scheduling Act – Delegate Foley and 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 Hearings Held




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 Hearing Held


SB 762 Budget Reconciliation and Funding Act  – Senate President– 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. Hearings Held




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 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/HB 1446 – Train Safety Act – Senator Ellis and Augustine and Delegate Stein – 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 – Hearings Held




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,