• Status of Important Legislation in Annapolis

    Status of Important Legislation in Annapolis
    The legislative session is a little more than one month old and over 2,000 bills have been introduced.  All bills have to pass both houses by midnight on Monday April 8th.  Every bill has to have a committee hearing and then if approved by the committee voted by the full chamber.  It then has to go to the other house and has to go through the same procedure (committee vote and vote of the full chamber.)  

    I have highlighted  about 30 bills that I personally am tracking.  There are many other good bills but I don’t want to overwhelm everybody.    If there are specific bills that you want to know about let me know.

    If you want to know any more about any of the bills go to the Maryland General Assembly web-site:  www.mgaleg.maryland.gov   and type in the bill number.

    If you want to contact your representatives in District 47 about any of the bills, you should email or call:

    Senator Malcolm Augustine            Malcolm.augustine@senate.state.md.us 410-841-3745
    Delegate Diana Fennell (47A)          Diana.fennell@house.state.md.us 301-858-3478
    Delegate Julian Ivey (47A)               Julian.ivey@house.state.md.us      410-841-3326
    Delegate Wanika Fisher                   Wanika.fisher@house.state.md.us 410-841-3340

    If you do not know who are your representatives,  you can go to www.mdelect.net   to find out who are your elected representatives   There is also a very good smart phone application MD GOV which lists all the Delegates and Senators, their Committees and their contact numbers.

    Minimum Wage to $15 /Hour

    HB 166 (Sponsored by Delegate Fennell) – Committee Hearing Held
    SB 2221 – Committee Hearing: 2/21/19

    Criminal Justice Reform

    Increasing pre-release facility services 
    HB 715 Hearing: 2/26/19
    Expungement of Nonviolent Convictions 
    HB 19 – Hearing Held
    Decriminization of Attempted Suicide 
    HB 77 – Hearing Held
    Hate Crimes – Use of a Noose or Swastika to Threaten or Intimidate 
    HB 4 – Hearing Held
    Occupational Licenses or Certificates – Prohibition on  Use of Criminal Records  
    HB 22 – Hearing Held

    Consumer Rights

    Prohibiting Use of Occupation or Education in Determination of car insurance rates
    HB 329 – Hearing Held
    SB 233 – Hearing 2/13
    Prohibiting Use of credit factors in the determination of car insurance rates
    HB 351 – Hearing Held
    SB 235 –Hearing 2/13
    Banning Discrimination In Discrimination in Underwriting and Rating Because of Status As A Surviving Spouse  
    HB 191 – Hearing Held
    SB 607 – Hearing Not Scheduled


    Money has to be appropriated for at least $325 million in new funding proposals for teacher salary increases, the expansion of community schools and pre-k education, and increased funding for mental health services. The legislature must also  commit to full-funding for all Kirwan Commission recommendations with a requirement that $1.5 billion is put in next year’s budget.

    The money for this year is  being discussed in the Appropriations Committee
    No bill has introduced yet on future years funding for the recommendations

    Environmental Initiatives

    Prohibiting use of plastic bags         
    HB 109                          Hearing Held
    SB 285                           Hearing 2/12
    Clear Energy Act        
    HB 1158                        Hearing 3/8
    SB 516                         No Hearing set
     Pipeline and Water Protection Act
    HB 669                           Hearing 3/7
    SB 387                          Hearing 2/19

    Gun Control Legislation

    Banning of ghost guns:  buying the parts needed to assemble a firearm
    HB 740 – Hearing 2/25
    Prohibition of computer aided firearm fabrication
    SB 8 – Hearing 2/27
    Plugging the Loan Loophole in  the Transfer of Gun Ownership
    HB 96 – Hearing 2/25

    Health Care 

     Prescription Drug Affordability Board        
    HB 768            No Hearing Set
    SB 759            No Hearing Set
    Medicare for All Legislation (First Steps)
    HB 1087         No hearing set
    SB 871           No Hearing Set
    End of Life Option
    HB 399            Hearing 2/15
    SB 311             Hearing 2/19

    Immigration Justice

    Maryland Dream Act 
    This legislation  would protect students that might lose DACA and TPS because of Trump and expand the ability to get in-state tuition.
    HB 318 – Committee Hearing 2/21/19
    U Visa Legislation 
    U-Visa Legislation will ensure that victims of crimes or witness of crimes who help the police can get a visa to keep them in the country
    HB 214 – Hearing Held
    SB 221 – 2/21/19
    Not Keeping Undocumented People in Jail Beyond Their Sentence        
    This bill ensures that undocumented immigrants are not held in jails indefinitely without judicial oversight.
    HB 913 – Hearing not yet scheduled                     
    SB 17 – Hearing not yet scheduled

    Legalization of Marijuana 

    To put legalization of recreational marijuana on the ballot in 2020.
    HB 632 – Hearing 3/5

    Municipal Concerns

    New 5G wireless telephone poles cannot be placed without local agreement
         HB 1020       2/21
    SB 713         2/26


    Majority of Counties Have to Agree Before New Toll Road Are Built Through Their Counties
    HB 102 – Hearing Held
    SB 442 – 2/27

    Railroad Companies – Movement of Freight – Required Crew 
    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.
    HB 66 – Hearing Held
    SB 252 – Hearing 2/13

    Voting Rights 

    Small donor public financing                 
    HB  1017         No Hearing Scheduled
    SB 414             Hearing Feb 28
    Constitutional Amendment repealing Citizens United  
    HJ2         No Hearing Scheduled
    SJ1          Hearing Feb 14
    Special Election to Fill a Vacancy for State Delegate or Senator
    HB 85       Hearing Held
    Repealing a Limitation of Campaign Contributions from Developers to County Executive (I am in opposition to this bill)
    HB 227   Passed the Prince George’s Delegation  – Now has to Pass the full House

    Worker Rights

    Collective Bargaining for community college workers   
    HB 766                  No Hearing Scheduled
    Overtime for Low Paid Salaried Workers 
    HB 1040                3/5

    There are a couple of good websites that also track bills.  You might want to look at QED’s web-site:  https://qedinc.us/legislative-bulletin  and the Maryland Legislative Coalition:  http://mdlegislative.com

  • Important New Bills Introduced in Annapolis

    Important Bills that Have Been introduced in the General Assembly

    The Maryland legislative session is two weeks old and over 300 bills have been introduced. The Maryland Legislative Coalition (www.mdlegislative.com) sends out a list of bills that are introduced each week. These are some of the bills I believe are the most significant.

    If you want to contact your representatives in District 47 about any of the bills, you should email or call:

    Senator Malcolm Augustine Malcolm.augustine@senate.state.md.us 410-841-3745
    Delegate Diana Fennell (47A) Diana.fennell@house.state.md.us 301-858-3478
    Delegate Julian Ivey (47A) Julian.ivey@house.state.md.us 410-841-3326
    Delegate Wanika Fisher Wanika.fisher@house.state.md.us 410-841-3340

    If you do not know who are your representatives, you can go to www.mdelect.net to find out who are your elected representatives There is also a very good smart phone application MD GOV which lists all the Delegates and Senators, their Committees and their contact numbers.

    HB 4 – Crimes – Hate Crimes – Use of a Noose or Swastika to Threaten or Intimidate
    This bill prohibits anyone from putting a noose or a swastika or any other hate symbol on any building or property without the express permission of the owner of the property. A penalty of 3 years in jail or up to $5,000 will be applied to each violation of this law.

    HB 19 – Criminal Procedure – Expungement – Expungement of Nonviolent Convictions
    This bill will allow a person to file for expungement if the person was convicted of a non-violent crime. This will allow people who were convicted of drug possession or theft or sex-related charges to more easily get back into society.

    HB 22 – Occupational Licenses or Certificates – Prohibition on Use of Criminal
    This bill will prohibit certain state licensing departments from denying an application for a license or a certificate based on an applicant’s criminal history if more than 7 years have passed since conviction.

    HB 33 – Medical Cannabis – Provider Applications – Opioid Use Disorder
    This bill allows for the Medical Cannabis Commission to approve provider applications for patients who have opioid use disorder, so that medical marijuana can be used to treat opioid patients.

    HB 35 – Public Health – Opioid Maintenance Therapy Programs – Medical Director Requirements and Qualifications
    This bill requires that any medical director of a therapy program that treats opioid abuse be a licensed physician with at least two years of experience treating individuals addicted to alcohol or drugs, and at least one year of experience treating opioid addictions.

    HB 66 – Railroad Companies – Movement of Freight – Required Crew
    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. This is to ensure that if the person driving the train becomes incapacitated, there is someone who can take over.

    HB 77 – Criminal Law – Decriminalization of Attempted Suicide
    Repeals the designation of attempted suicide as a crime. This means that people who attempt suicide get help, not jail time.
    ******HEARING DATE – January 29th, 1:00 pm – Judiciary Committee******

    HB 85 – General Assembly – Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in Office
    This bill provides for a special election in the case of a vacancy in the General Assembly, and allows for the Governor-appointed replacement to serve out the term until the special election. Currently, there is no provision for a special election and the appointee serves out the term until the next general election.

    HB 109 – Environment – Expanded Polystyrene Food Service Products – Prohibition
    This bill bans the sale of polystyrene packaging for food products after January 1, 2020. Polystyrene never decomposes, so it is an environmental hazard and it also contains a neurotoxin and probable carcinogen. It is mostly used in schools and for packaging fast food. The bill includes a fine of $250 for violations.

    HB 96 -Plugging the Loan Loophole in the Transfer of Gun Ownership –
    Adds to the term “transfer” a temporary gratuitous exchange of a regulated firearm between two individuals who remain in the same location for the duration of the exchange.

    HB 102 Toll Road Expansion– County Government Consent Requirement–
    A prohibition on the construction a toll road, toll highway, or toll bridge without the consent of a majority of the counties where the told road is being built.

    HB 166 $15/Hour Minimum Wage
    The bill phases in a $15/hour minimum wage for all workers by 2023. The legislation also indexes the minimum wage to inflation and include all tipped workers. The proposed legislation does not have exemptions for young people or season workers. Delegate Diana Fennell is the lead sponsor for this legislation in the House of Delegates.

    HB 191 – Homeowner’s Insurance – Banning Discrimination In Discrimination in Underwriting and Rating Because of Status As A Surviving Spouse
    Prohibiting an insurer, with respect to homeowner’s insurance, from increasing the premium for an insured who becomes a surviving spouse based solely on the insured’s change in marital status.

    HB 214 – Granting Victims and Witness of Crimes a U-Visa
    Granting a victim of criminal activity or the victim’s family a visa if if the victim has been helpful in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity;

    HB 227 – PG 409 (Prince George’s County Local Bill) Repealing a Limitation of Campaign Contributions
    Repealing a prohibition on a developer making a campaign contribution to the County Executive of Prince George’s County

    SB 8 – Criminal Law – Computer-Aided Firearm Fabrication – Prohibitions
    This bill prohibits the manufacture, sale or possession of a 3D printed firearm.

    If you want to know more about any of the bills send me an email or go to the General Assembly web-site: www.mgaleg.maryland.gov

  • My Next Project

    Dear Friends and Neighbors:

    I want to wish everybody a happy holiday season.

    At the end of this month I will be ending my four-year term as a Maryland State Delegate. While I was disappointed that I was not re-elected to another term, I am very proud of what I accomplished in the Maryland Legislature.

    In my four years as a legislator I was able to pass over fifteen pieces of legislation. Because I was on the Ways and Means Committee, I spent a lot of time working on tax policies. One of the most significant bills saved Maryland over $60 million by making sure that sixty of the richest families did not each receive a $1 million tax break by removing almost all taxes on inherited estates. I was also able to pass bills to increase tax credits for low-income renters and publicizing existing tax credits—which many people unfortunately do not utilize.

    I also worked with my colleagues to pass a lot of progressive legislation. Some of the most significant bills we passed were:
    A ban on fracking in Maryland
    Restoring the right to vote to former prisoners after they get out of jail
    Same day voter registration
    Justice re-investment, which attempts to take people who are not dangerous out of our jails
    I also spent my time getting to know all of the people in my District. I knocked on over 15,000 doors and talked to more than 7,000 people. I think this might have been the most enjoyable part of my experience as a state delegate. While it was a lot of work, I really enjoyed learning about all the neighborhoods in District 47 and hearing about everyone’s lives, concerns and hopes. It was very fulfilling to see how I could help resolve problems that people discussed with me.

    While I will not be in elected office starting in 2019, I truly believe that one’s work in the community does not begin or end because you are elected or not elected to public office. Many people in our community spend countless hours helping to improve our community.

    I have been thinking of how to make use of what I learned in Annapolis and the relationships I made with other legislators. I have decided to continue my advocacy work and have started a new organization, the People’s Lobbying Group (www.plg.solutions), and will continue to advocate for our community in Annapolis on a pro-bono basis. I have already received some good press for my initiative:



    I will also continue to send out my newsletter (although maybe not as frequently as before) to let people know what is going on in Annapolis and what bills have become laws and when they are effective.

    I will always be an advocate for my neighbors and my community as long as I am able to do the work. If you have any issues you feel should be addressed, please feel free to write me; though I will not be your elected representative, I will be happy to brainstorm with you about how to get problems resolved and who we should talk to in order to address your issues.

    As always, I remain an advocate for you as all of us together try to make our community a better place, move Maryland in a more progressive direction, and change the direction of our country from the nightmare that is going on in Washington.

    I hope to see you soon at a community event, a civic association meeting, or maybe just knocking on your door.

    Wishing the best for all of us,