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