2018 MD General Assembly Legislation to Follow

Last Updated 13 April 2018



Termination of rapists’ parental rights
HB 1 / SB 2 Family Law – Child Conceived Without Consent – Termination of Parental Rights. Provides that if a child is born as a result of rape, the parental rights of the assailant can be terminated on the basis of clear and convincing evidence, the same standard applicable to termination of parental rights for other causes.
Update: **PASSED**


 Permanent disability license plates

SB39 Motor Vehicle Administration — Disability Parking Placards: The Maryland Department of Transportation is pushing a bill that would allow the Motor Vehicle Administration to issue permanent handicap parking placards to people with permanent disabilities. Currently, they have to renew every four years. Proponents of the bill believe that’s an “unnecessary burden,” given that their disability, certified by a doctor, is permanent. The Department of Transportation also believes a permanent placard would mean fewer lost cards as it wouldn’t have to be removed.
Update: Passed, Approved by Governor


Tax-Free female hygiene products

SB81 Sales and Use Tax — Hygienic Aids — Exemption: A bill requested by Comptroller Peter Franchot would exempt female hygienic products from the state sales and use tax. Under current law, tampons are exempt from the tax, along with baby oil, baby powder, sanitary napkins and disposable medical supplies. The bill will exempt all female hygiene products from sales and use tax in 2016. Because of concern that retailers would be inconsistent in determining what is a female hygienic product, the bill will use the interpretation of the Comptroller’s Office.
Update: Passed, Awaiting Governor Approval



Automatic voter registration (SARA)

HB 152 / SB1048 Secure and Accessible Registration Act. Legislation will streamline the voting registration process by seamlessly registering voters or updating voter registration when Marylanders interact with state agencies, such as the MVA, the healthcare exchange, or local social service agencies. Seamless registration updates increase security and help ensure clean voting rolls when residents move within the state. Enactment of the bill would basically turn the Maryland voter registration activities of these agencies into an “opt-out” as opposed to an “opt-in” system of voter registration: individuals will be automatically registered to vote unless they decline.
Update: Passed, Moving into law without Governor’s signature



Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Extension Act 

HB 230 / SB 290 Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Withdrawal – Legislative Approval Required (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Extension Act). Requires the General Assembly to pass a law to approve Maryland’s withdrawal from RGGI.  Presently, the State is a full participant in RGGI among MidAtlantic and Northeast states and the Governor can withdraw the State at any time.  This bill requires that if the State’s participation ends the Governor will have to explain why and also produce a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants that considers using Maryland grown, native warm season grasses as a possible method of reducing carbon emissions and the General Assembly will have to pass a law.
Update: Passed House (87-48) Passed Senate (43-3)


Delay Implementation of the Healthy Working Families Act
SB304 Maryland Healthy Working Families Act - Enforcement - Delayed Implementation. After the veto override of the Healthy Working Families Act from last year, the Department of Labor was charged with enforcing the new regulations as of Feb. 11. This bill would push that date back another 60 days.
Update: Failed in Committee


Proposed Constitutional Amendment: Voter Registration
Same Day Voter Registration Elective Franchise - Registration and Voting at Precinct Polling Place. Legislation proposing an amendment to the Maryland Constitution to authorize the General Assembly to allow a qualified individual to register and vote at a precinct polling place on Election Day. Last election cycle, nearly 20,000 eligible Maryland voters used same-day registration to register to vote for the first time or update their registration, yet this key election benefit is not provided on Election Day, making it unnecessarily difficult for people in Maryland to exercise their right to vote. This issue has been considered by Maryland legislators in the past, including during last year’s session.
Update: Approved. Ballot question will be available for vote on Nov. 6th 2018



Supplying Basic Menstruation needs to Inmates
SB 598 / HB 797 Correctional Services - Inmates - Menstrual Hygiene Products. Requires each state and local correctional facility to have menstrual hygiene products available for inmates at no cost.


 Inmate Access to Pregnancy Services
SB 629/ HB 787 Correctional Services - Pregnant Inmates - Medical Care. Requiring requires state and local correctional facilities to have a written policy regarding the medical care of pregnant inmates that includes: access to pregnancy testing; prenatal care; maternal substance abuse disorder; high risk pregnancies; miscarriage management; access to abortion; labor, delivery and postpartum care; and accommodations for pumping and storage of breast milk. The Maryland Commission on Correctional Standards shall review each facility’s policy during regular inspections.
Update: Passed, Approved by Governor



Allowing school employees to carry handguns
HB760 Handguns - School Employees - Handgun Permits and Carrying Weapons on School Property. Legislation allows local school boards to authorize school employees to carry handguns on school property.
Update: Failed to pass before cross-over day


Fix the Fund Act
SB 1122 / HB 1697 Education - Commercial Gaming Revenues - Constitutional Amendment (Fix the Fund). Since 2012, $1.7 billion has gone into the Education Trust Fund from casino revenues, but it hasn’t increased funding for schools and students as intended. Instead, the same amount of money that was already going to education was redirected to other areas of the budget. Passing the Fix the Fund Act would prevent that from ever happening again and result in an increase of $500 million in school funding. It’s a promising first step to closing the funding gap before the legislature passes the new school funding formula in 2019.
Update: Approved. Ballot question will be available for vote on Nov. 6th 2018





MD commitment to Climate Alliance
HB 3 / SB 138 Environment - U.S. Climate Alliance – Membership. Legislation commits Maryland to the standards and expectations to which the US committed in the Paris Climate Alliance, regardless of Federal-level commitment.
Update: Failed to be voted in by sine die


Study of Nursing Home Quality of Care

SB4 Department of Aging - Study of Nursing Home Quality of Care. Requires the Department of Aging to study the quality of care in Maryland nursing homes and report the findings and recommendations by December 1, 2018. The study would include the number and types of reported complaints on patient care; results of scheduled and unscheduled inspections; number and compensation of inspectors; efforts nursing homes have taken to address complaints to comply with findings. The sponsor is willing to move the study requirement from MDoA to the MD Health Department.
Update: Failed to be voted in by sine die


Rape kit testing requirement
HB 8 Criminal Procedure - Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit - Testing Requirement. Requires that any DNA collected as evidence in a sexual assault case be tested within one year.
Update: Failed in Committee


Joint Resolution to petition removal from the Offshore Drilling Leasing Program

SJ 11 Coastal Area - Protection From Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling (Mathias, et al) This resolution expresses the strong and unequivocal opposition of the General Assembly of Maryland to the draft proposed National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024, and the implementation of any offshore oil or gas leasing, exploration, development, or production in the Atlantic Ocean; urging the Secretary of the Interior of the United States to remove Maryland from the proposed leasing program; etc.
Failed to be voted in by sine die



Request for a One-time, State-Wide Air-Quality Study
SB133 Community Healthy Air Act - SB 133 would require the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to conduct a one-time study that identifies air pollutants emitted by large animal feeding operations (AFOs) and assesses any potential public health risks. This information is needed to protect Maryland communities and our efforts to restore local waters and the Chesapeake Bay. The bill simply seeks to provide information that is currently lacking; it does not regulate poultry operations or farmers in any way.
Update: Failed to pass Senate before Cross-over day




Protection against legal retaliation for Public Information requests
SB167 Public Information Act — Suits Filed by Custodians — Prohibition. Protects the requester under the Public Information Act. In rare cases, a custodian of public records has turned around and sued the requester — it’s a way of scaring the requester with potential fees and litigation. Though no such case has happened in Maryland — current law establishes that all are entitled access to information on government affairs and that the Office of the Attorney General must post the contact information for every unit representative — Feldman said he wants Maryland to lead the way in transparency. The bill is not meant to override current law, in which access to some material is illegal, but the opposition argues that it does and would also lead to abuse of rights by the requester.
Update: Failed in Committee


Consent Education

HB 251 / SB 402 Education - Family Life and Human Sexuality Curriculum - Boundaries and Consent. This legislation requires that age-appropriate education be provided to middle and high school students about the importance of obtaining consent before touching someone else.
Update: Failed to be voted in by sine die


Repeated Sexual Prevention Act
HB 301 / SB270 Courts – Evidence of Sexually Assaultive Behavior – Admissibility. Current Maryland law strictly limits introduction of evidence of other sex crimes in sex assault and child molestation trials, making it extremely difficult to rebut false consent defenses or allegations that a child victim is lying. This legislation will enable prosecutors to introduce evidence of a defendant’s sex crimes and allegations of sex crimes against different victims, in addition to introducing this type of evidence in cases with the same victim (as established by the MD Judiciary). This legislation requires a thorough judicial review before the evidence can be used. The State must file a motion to introduce the evidence at least 90 days before trial. The Court must hold a closed door hearing to determine the admissibility of the evidence allowing the defense to challenge evidence’s admissibility. The Court must find that the evidence meets clear and convincing evidence standard. The Court may also consider factors related to similarities between evidence the State wishes to admit and the trial offense.
Update: Failed to be voted in by sine die



Minimum Wage Increase
SB 368 Labor and Employment – State Minimum Wage Rate – Increase. Increases the minimum wage to $15/hour by 2022 for large (more than 50 employees) employers and by 2026 for small employers. After that, it is increased for inflation using the Consumer Price Index. The bill proposes keeping an 85% subminimum wage for youth under 20.
Update: Failed to pass before cross-over day


Prohibiting the use of polystyrene in food service

HB538 / SB651 Environment - Expanded Polystyrene Food Service Products – Prohibition. The fragile nature of EPS foam (polystyrene) causes it to break into millions of tiny pieces upon entering our environment, making it nearly impossible to successfully remove from our waterways. EPS foam can rarely be recycled and municipal curbside collection of EPS foam in Maryland is almost nonexistent. Once EPS foam becomes part of the waste stream, it commonly gets washed or blown into our storm drains and rivers, where it absorbs 10 times more pesticides, fertilizers, and chemicals than other kinds of plastic, increasing exposure to toxins for marine life. This legislation will ban the use of polystyrene in restaurant and catering food containers.
Update: Failed to be voted in by sine die


Vacating criminal charges for victims of human trafficking
SB 869 Criminal Procedure – Motion to Vacate – Human Trafficking. Bill will expand Maryland's current vacatur law to apply explicitly to survivors of labor trafficking, as well as expand the number of crimes eligible for vacatur. Without these changes, Maryland's vacatur law will continue to leave a large number of survivors without the legal relief they so desperately need to heal from the trauma of their exploitation and become productive members of their communities.
Update: Failed to pass before cross-over day


Salary History and Information Disclosure

HB512 / SB377 Labor and Employment - Pay Scales and Wage History Information. Women and minorities are typically isolated in lower paying professions. Therefore, basing salary offers on past employment continues a discriminatory cycle. Also, past employment pay have no relevancy to the current position. Salary offers should be based in current position requirements as well as the skills and experience of the candidate. This bill prevent employers from requiring past salary information as a condition of employment.
Update: Failed to be voted in by sine die



Expands MD Renewable Energy Goal to 100%
HB 878 Public Utilities - Renewable Energy - Electric and Gas Bills (100% Clean Renewable Energy Equity Act of 2018). Will increase Maryland’s renewable energy goal to 100% by 2035. This bill creates two new programs to incentivize the building of solar and offshore wind in Maryland: 1)To spur solar development the bill creates a Megawatt Block program that provides rebates for instate solar installation; the rebate declines as more solar capacity is built, thus incentivizing quick additional build out of solar energy starting in January 2019. 2) The bill also creates a new program that requires Maryland utilities to enter into long-term contracts with offshore wind providers leading to the construction of new offshore wind farms in the waters off the coast of Maryland.
Update: Failed in Committee


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