• Important Bills Start Moving In Annapolis – March 5 2019

    There are now five weeks to go in the Legislative session and more bills are now being voted out of Committee and moving to a vote on the House and Senate floors.

              The big news this was the passage of the $15 minimum wage bill (HB 166) out of the House of Delegates and the censuring of a House Delegate for using a racial slur.

              HB 166 ($15 minimum wage) was passed by the House of Delegates on Friday and now goes to the State Senate.  Unfortunately it was weakened by the Economic Matters Committee.  The implementation was pushed back 18 months (to Jan 2025),  automatic cost of living increases was removed, tipped workers were excluded, and a sub-minimum wage( (85% of the minim wage) or those people under 18 years of old was created.  Hopefully some of these amendments will be taken out of the bill in the Senate.

              Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti from Hartford County was censured by the House of Delegates for using a racial slur when describing one of the legislative districts in Prince George’s County.  While there were many calls for her to resign she has stated that she will stay as a Delegate.  She was stripped of all Leadership and committee positions.

    Here is a  report on a few other bills that made progress this week:

    • A Senate Bill (SB 285) that bans Styrofoam containers made progress in the State Senate.  The legislation would ban the use of foam products by restaurants and grocery stores starting in July 2020.   County governments would be responsible for enforcing the ban and could impose fines of up to $250 per violation, after first giving a written warning.  The Senate Bill is expected to pass on Monday. 
    • Making  the Use of a Noose or Swastika a Hate Crime (HB 4)  passed the House of Delegates.
    • A bill (HB55) Requiring that an Ignition Interlock System be equipped with a camera capable of recording still images of the person taking the test of the person’s blood alcohol level passed the House of Delegates by a unanimous vote.
    • The End of Life Option (also known as Death with Dignity), HB 399, passed out of Committee on Friday and is scheduled for a full vote by the full House of Delegates next week.  The vote will be very close.
    • HB 708 passed the House.  It would study the under-identification of traumatic brain injuries among school-aged children and would make recommendations on how to identify such injuries.
    • HB 251 would provide grants to help seniors age in place. It also passed the House of Delegates.  
    • HB 110 sets a goal of 150 minutes per week of physical activity for school students, including 90 minutes of physical education. It will be voted on by the full House this week.
    • HB 295 prohibits non-public schools that receive public funding from discriminating against students who are disabled, LGBTQ+, and other protected classes.  It will also be voted on by the House of Delegates  this week.
    Here is the status of the other 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.

    Criminal Justice Reform

    Increasing pre-release facility services
    HB 715 Hearing held
    Expungement of Nonviolent Convictions
    HB 19 – 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 held
    Prohibiting Use of credit factors in the determination of car insurance rates
    HB 351 – Hearing Held
    SB 235 –Hearing held
    Banning Discrimination in Underwriting and Rating Because of Status As A Surviving Spouse
    SB 607 – Hearing Not Scheduled
    Prohibiting Deceptive Acts by Mortgage Lenders
    HB 425 – Hearing held

    Education

    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.

    No bill has introduced yet on funding for the recommendations

    Environmental Initiatives

    Prohibiting use of styrofoam
    HB 109                          Hearing Held
    SB 285                           Being voted on by the Senate Monday
    Clear Energy Act
    HB 1158                       Hearing 3/8
    SB 516                        Hearing 3/5
    Pipeline and Water Protection Act
    HB 669                           Hearing 3/7
    SB 387                          Hearing held

    Gun Control Legislation

    Banning of ghost guns:  buying the parts needed to assemble a firearm
    HB 740 – Hearing held
    Prohibition of computer aided firearm fabrication
    SB 8 – Hearing held
    Plugging the Loan Loophole in  the transfer of gun ownership
    HB 96 – Hearing held

    Health Care 

    Prescription Drug Affordability Board
    HB 768           Hearing 3/6
    SB 759            Hearing 3/6
    Medicare for All Legislation (First Steps)
    HB 1087         Hearing 3/14
    SB 871           No Hearing Set
    End of Life Option
    HB 399           Being voted by the full House this week
    SB 311            Hearing held
    Raising the Age of Selling Tobacco to 21
    SB 378            No hearing set

    Immigration Justice

    Maryland Dream Act
    This legislation  would protect students that might lose DACA and TPS because of President Trump and expand the ability to get in-state tuition.
    HB 318 –  Hearing  held
    U Visa Legislation
    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
    HB 214 – Hearing Held
    SB 221 – Hearing held
    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 3/5
    SB 17 –   Hearing held
    Safe Harbor Legislation
    Bill Requiring to require schools and hospitals  to establish a policy that limits immigration enforcement on the premises to the fullest  extent possible consistent
    HB 1273 – Hearing  3/5
    SB 599 – Hearing held

    Other Topics

    New 5G wireless telephone poles placement has to follow local zoning laws
    HB 1020       Hearing held
    SB 713         Hearing held

    Allowing the Legislature to Add Items to the Governor’s Budget
    HB 1108 Hearing 3/12

    Transportation

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

    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 held

    Voting Rights 

    Small donor public financing
    HB  1017        Hearing 3/5
    SB 414            Hearing held
    Constitutional Amendment repealing Citizens United
    HJ2         Hearing 3/4
    SJ1          Hearing held
    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
    Presidential Tax Transparency Act –
    Candidate Has to release tax returns to be on the Maryland ballot
    HB 925 – Hearing held

    Worker Rights

    Collective Bargaining for community college workers
    HB 766      Hearing 3/1
    Minimum Wage to $15 /Hour
    SB 2221     Hearing Held
    HB 166      Voted on by the full House
    Overtime for Low Paid Salaried Workers
    HB 1040     Hearing 3/5
    Expanding Prohibition Against Discrimination in Employment to Small Employers
    HB 661      Hearing held

    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

  • Progress Report From Annapolis – Halfway Point in the 2019 Legislative Session

    The 2019 legislative session is at its mid-point.  There are six weeks to go.  Almost all the bills introduced have to be voted out of Committee and voted by the House or Senate by March 18th to have any chance to be voted on by the other legislative body.  This means that over the next three weeks we will see a lot of bills moving out of Committee and to the House and/or Senate floor for vote.  Bills that are not voted out of Committee will probably not be passed this year.  

    Important bills that have made some progress are:

    HB 77 – Decriminalization of Attempted Suicide                 
          Passed the House 103-38

    HB 4 – Hate Crimes – Use of a Noose or Swastika   
          Will be voted on by the House this week

    HB 191 – Prohibiting Discrimination in Home Insurance Rate as Surviving Spouse – 
          Will be voted on by the House this week

    SB  285 – Prohibition on Use of Polystyrene (Styrofoam) Food Service Products
          Will be voted on the Senate this week

    HB 166 – $15 Minimum Wage
           It is expected that the bill will be voted out of Committee this week and voted by the full House later in the week.  There will  be an important vote on Monday on amendments that might weaken the bill. 

    HB 632 – Legalization of Marijuana 
            A House & Senate workgroup tasked with making recommendations on how to roll out cannabis legalization in Maryland was created. The bipartisan group will complete work by the end of the year, with potential action in the 2020 legislative session
              
    Here is the status of the other 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.

    Criminal Justice Reform

    Increasing pre-release facility services
    HB 715 Hearing held
    Expungement of Nonviolent Convictions
    HB 19 – 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 held
    Prohibiting Use of credit factors in the determination of car insurance rates
    HB 351 – Hearing Held
    SB 235 –Hearing held
    Banning Discrimination in Underwriting and Rating Because of Status As A Surviving Spouse
    SB 607 – Hearing Not Scheduled
    Prohibiting Deceptive Acts by Mortgage Lenders
    HB 425 – Hearing held

    Education

    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.

    No bill has introduced yet on funding for the recommendations

    Environmental Initiatives

    Prohibiting use of styrofoam
    HB 109                          Hearing Held
    Clear Energy Act
    HB 1158                       Hearing 3/8
    SB 516                        Hearing 3/5
    Pipeline and Water Protection Act
    HB 669                           Hearing 3/7
    SB 387                          Hearing held

    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           Hearing 3/6
    SB 759            Hearing 3/6
    Medicare for All Legislation (First Steps)
    HB 1087         Hearing 3/4
    SB 871           No Hearing Set
    End of Life Option
    HB 399           Hearing held
    SB 311            Hearing held
    Raising the Age of Selling Tobacco to 21
    SB 378            No hearing set

    Immigration Justice

    Maryland Dream Act
    This legislation  would protect students that might lose DACA and TPS because of T           rump and expand the ability to get in-                         state tuition.
    HB 318 –  Hearing  held
    U Visa Legislation
    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
    HB 214 – Hearing Held
    SB 221 – Hearing held
    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 3/5                           
    SB 17 –   Hearing held
    Safe Harbor Legislation
    Bill Requiring to require schools and hospitals  to establish a policy that limits immigration enforcement on the premises to the fullest                   extent possible consistent
    HB 1273 – Hearing  3/5
    SB 599 – Hearing 2/27

    Other Topics

    New 5G wireless telephone poles placement has to follow local zoning laws
    HB 1020       Hearing held
    SB 713         Hearing 2/26

    Allowing the Legislature to Add Items to the Governor’s Budget
    HB 1108 Hearing 3/12

    Transportation

    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 held

    Voting Rights 

    Small donor public financing
    HB  1017        Hearing 3/5
    SB 414            Hearing held
    Constitutional Amendment repealing Citizens United
    HJ2         Hearing 3/4
    SJ1          Hearing held
    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
    Presidential Tax Transparency Act –
    Candidate Has to release tax returns to be on the Maryland ballot
                HB 925 – Hearing 2/26

    Worker Rights

    Collective Bargaining for community college workers
    HB 766      Hearing 3/1
    Minimum Wage to $15 /Hour
    SB 2221     Hearing Held
    Overtime for Low Paid Salaried Workers
    HB 1040     Hearing 3/5
    Expanding Prohibition Against Discrimination in Employment to Small Employers
    HB 661      Hearing held

    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

  • 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

    Education

    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

    Transportation

    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