2019 Legislative Recap

The 2019 Legislative Session is over and here is a re-cap of some of the bills that I have been following.  The last day of the session, ‘Sine Die’ (Latin for: without a fixed date for future action) is usually a day of celebration.  Bills have passed and legislators go home after 90 days of hard work.  This year it was tragically different.  Speaker of the House, Michael Busch, suddenly passed away on Sunday.  He had been the longest serving Speaker of the House in Maryland.  I knew him and respected him during my four years as a Delegate.  We did not always agree but he had the highest level of integrity (something that has to be cherished now a days) and tried to build consensus.  He always encouraged me to express my ideas and gather support from my colleagues as a bill needed 71 votes to pass.  He will be missed in the General Assembly.

Below is my list of bills.  There were hundreds of bills passed and many more that failed to pass.  The bills that passed do not become law until the Governor signs them, vetoes them or many times just lets them become law without his signature.   If you feel strongly about a bill that he is considering you might want to email him by going to his web-site contact page:  https://governor.maryland.gov/contact-the-governor or emailing directly: governor.mail@maryland.gov .  You can also find out more about any of the bills listed by going to the General Assembly web-site:  mgaleg.maryland.gov

If you’re interested in a bill that is not listed, send me an email.

Bills Passed and Are Now Law

$15 Minimum Wage 
HB 166/SB 280   General Assembly over-rode Governor’s veto and is now law.

Flexible School Calendar
Overturns the Governor.’s Executive Order (that mandates all schools to start after Labor Day) to allow a local school board to set the school calendar.
SB 128 General Assembly over-rode Governor’s veto and is now law.

Bills Passed and are Now Waiting for the Governor to Sign or Veto

Banning Discrimination in Underwriting and Rating Because of Status As A Surviving Spouse  (HB191)

Clear Energy Act (SB 516)  
The bill mandates that 50 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources, such as wind and solar power, by 2030.

Education Blueprint for Maryland Future (HB1413/SB 1030)  
Legislation mandates over $725  million in state spending for education over the next three years. The funding follows the recommendations of the Kirwin Commission that has been reviewing the education priorities for the State.  The legislation calls for $255 million in increased funding from state taxpayers for public schools for fiscal year 2020 and overall $750 million in fiscal year 2021 to 2023.

Expanded Tax Credit for Child Care (SB870/HB810)
The bill would allow those Marylanders to claim more in credits, while expanding the credits to residents who make more than $50,000 but less than $141,000. That expands the number of Marylanders eligible for the tax credits from 23,000 to about 114,200 taxpayers.

Johns Hopkins Private Police Force (SB 793)

Maryland Dream Act (HB 537)
Expands the people eligible for in-state tuition

Occupational Licenses or Certificates – Prohibition on use of Criminal Records (HB22)

Option for Gender Neutral Drivers License   (SB 196)
Bill allow residents to apply for licenses with gender identifiers of “M,” “F,” or “X.”

Prohibiting Deceptive Acts by Mortgage Lenders (HB425)

Prohibiting use of Styrofoam  (HB109/SB295) 

Prescription Drug Affordability Board  (HB 768)     
Bill was weakened to make this a study with recommendations. Originally this Board had the power to create “upper payment limits” on drugs that cost more than $30,000 for a single course and those whose costs spike dramatically. It was amended  to adopt a more research-oriented approach in which a panel of experts spends a year looking at what other states are doing to reduce drug prices. The panel would then make recommendations to the legsialture.

Raising the Age of Selling Tobacco to 21 (HB1169/SB 895)

Ignition Interlock System (HB55)
Requiring that an ignition interlock system be equipped with a camera capable of recording still images of the person.

Movement of Railroad Freight – Required Two Person Crew (HB66)
This bill would prohibit the movement of freight in the same rail corridor as a high speed commuter or passenger train unless the freight train has at least two workers.

Patients Bill of Rights (HB145)
Requiring a hospital to provide patients with a patient’s bill of rights andto provide  patients with a translator, a  interpreter

Tax Credits for Grocery Stores in Food Deserts:  (HB188)
This bill authorizes a tax credit in Prince George’s County for new food stores in what are determined to be ‘food deserts’ in the County.

U Visa Legislation (HB214)
This bill will ensure that victims of crimes or witness of crimes who help the police can get a visa to keep them in the country

Some of the Many Bills that Did not Pass This Year

Ban of Chlorpyrifos (HB 275)
This bill would  have banned chlorpyrifos, a brain damage-causing pesticide. The chemical has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, lung cancer, and lower IQs in children

Banning of Computer–Aided Fabrication and Serial Number (3–D Printed Firearms and Ghost Guns (HB740)

Collective Bargaining Rights for Graduate Students at UMD, St. Mary’s and Morgan State University (HB270)

End of Life Option  (HB 399)

Independent Environmental Study for Transportation Projects (HB1091)
This legislation is seen as a way of slowing  Gov. Hogan Jr.’s proposals to widen the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270.

Making  the Use of a Noose or Swastika a Hate Crime (HB 4)

Partial Expungement (HB13)
This bill repeals the prohibition on expungement of a charge or conviction within a “unit” of charges unless all of the charges or convictions in the unit  are eligible for expungement.

Prohibiting  a school district from spending money to arm a teacher with a gun.(HB 367)

Prohibiting non-public schools that receive public funding from discriminating against students who are disabled, LGBTQ+, and other protected classes  (HB 295)

Prohibiting Use of Occupation or Education in Determination of car insurance rates- (HB 329)

Property Tax Credits for Teachers (HB223)
This bill authorizes Prince George’s County to issue a Property tax credit of up to $2,500 for teachers who decide to move into the County.

Repealing a Limitation of Campaign Contributions from Developers to County Executive  (HB277)

Safe Harbor Legislation (HB1273)
Bill Requiring to require schools and hospitals  to establish a policy that limits immigration enforcement on the premises to the fullest extent possible consistent