Last Updated 25 February 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.
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: Voted favorable with amendments in committee
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: Discussing in committee (Finance)
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: Unfavorable report from Judiciary
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: Moved to House committee (Environment and Transportation)
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 with amendments, currently in House committee (Ways and Means)
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: Discussing in committee (Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs)
Automatic voter registration (SARA)
HB 152 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: In committee (Ways and Means)
Parishioner Protection Act of 2018
SB156 / HB 899 Public Safety - Handgun Permit - Church or Religious Organization Property. Allows parishioners with a state handgun license and the written permission of church officials to carry handguns on church property. The parishioners would not need a concealed-carry permit.
Update: Unfavorable from committee – withdrawn
2019 Budget increases voucher program
HB 160 Budget Bill (Fiscal Year 2019). The FY2018 budget allocated $5.5 million for BOOST (Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today) – a scholarship program for students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch to attend private and religious schools that currently receive state funding for computers and textbooks. This year’s budget increases the allocation to $8,850,000. One of a state’s primary function is to support public school students who must be served regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion age, physical and academic ability and sexual orientation. Schools eligible for these vouchers do not have to comply with those standards.
Update: Currently in committee (appropriations)
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: Found unfavorable by Judicial Proceedings
Expansion of local election campaign finance options
HB174 / SB375 Election Law – Local Public Campaign Financing – Expansion. This bill expands the offices for which the governing body of a county may establish a system of public campaign financing to include an elected member of the county board of education, clerk of the circuit court, register of wills, sheriff, or State’s Attorney.
Update: In committee (Ways and Means)
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: Out of committee with amendments
Campaign Contribution Disclosures
HB 260 Campaign Finance – Disclosure of Contributions and Expenditures – Pre-election Period. This legislation would require that a political committee file a contribution report within 48 hours if it has received a single contribution of $1,000 or more from a donor, transfer from a political committee, or a loan. The report must contain the name of the political committee, the source of the contribution and the amount. The bill further requires a political committee to file an expenditure report within 48 hours of spending $10,000 or more. The report must include the name of the political committee, the name of the vendor or other recipient of the expenditure and the date and amount of the expenditure.
Update: In committee (Ways and Means)
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: In committee (Judiciary)
SB294 HB 347 Government Accountability Act of 2018. A bill that would place a constitutional amendment in front of voters on the 2018 General Election ballot to impose term limits for delegates and senators in the General Assembly. The bill proposes that a person who has been elected to two consecutive terms, as with a delegate or senator, shall be ineligible to be elected to serve a third consecutive term to the same office.
Update: Hearing scheduled for Mar 1 (Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs)
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: Unfavorable from committee (Economic Matters)
Death Penalty Reinstatement
SB346 Criminal Law - Death Penalty – Reinstatement. Reinstates the death penalty in cases of first degree murder after consideration of aggravating or mitigating circumstances (such as age 18 or under, or intellectual incapacity) by a court or a jury. Imposition of a death sentence shall be reviewed by the Court of Appeals.
Update: In Committee (Judicial Proceedings)
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: In committee (Finance)
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: In committee (Economic Matters)
Proposed Constitutional Amendment: Voter Registration
HB532 / SB594 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: In committee (Ways and Means)
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: Hearing scheduled for Feb 22 (Environment, Transportation, and Economic Matters)
Fight for Fifteen
HB 664/SB 543 Labor and Employment – Payment of the Minimum Wage Required (Fight for Fifteen. Increases the state minimum wage annually to $15/hour by July 2023, and increases it annually after that by the percent that the consumer price index increased. The bill would also increase the minimum wage for tipped workers annually (by reducing the tip credit) to $15/hour by July 2025; remove the subminimum wage for youth under 20; and increase reimbursement for community services by 7.5% in 2020 and by 5.5% annually in the years 2021 through 2025.
Update: Scheduled for hearing on 2/27 (Economic Matters)
Expansion of Maryland Renewable Energy Jobs Program
SB732 Renewable Energy and Job Development. Expands Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires utilities to buy a certain percentage of electricity each year from renewable sources, taking it from the current target of 25% by 2020 to 50% by 2030. This bill will strengthen Maryland’s RPS by removing incentives for trash incineration, which jeopardizes public health. This bill will make a substantial investment in training for clean energy jobs for minority and women owned businesses working in this field.
Update: In committee (Finance), hearing scheduled for 3/6
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: Scheduled for hearing on 3/6 in committee (Judiciary)
Securing Elections from Foreign Intervention
HB767 Election Law – Securing Elections from Foreign Interference. Requires the State Board of Elections (SBE) to conduct an annual audit of voter registration infrastructure and to replace or upgrade voter registration technology infrastructure at certain times. The bill prohibits a voting machine from being used in election more than ten years after its manufacture. Maryland was one of 21 states that was notified by the Federal government of potential efforts by a foreign agent to compromise election related data in the state during the 2016 election. The bill also requires the SBE to adopt regulations requiring verification of electronically tabulated ballots, including the number of ballots to be audited which will provide a high level of statistical confidence that an error in tabulation would change the outcome of an election. Additionally, to correct the electronically tabulated result of an election, a full manual recount would have to be performed.
Update: In committee (Ways and Means)
Repeal of the Handgun Review Board in favor of Judicial Review
HB 819 / SB 749 Public Safety - Handgun Permit Review Board - Repeal. Currently, those who are denied a handgun permit in Maryland can petition a Permit Review Board to appeal the decision. The review board is composed of appointees from the Governor. There are no qualifications for appointment to the review board. Members are not required to have any training or knowledge of state or federal gun laws. This law would require that appeals be presented before the Office of Administrative Hearings, where experienced judges who understand Maryland law will determine if the Maryland State Police application denials should be overruled.
Update: Hearing scheduled for 3/15 (Finance)
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: In committee (Judicial Proceedings)
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: In committee (Economic Matters), hearing scheduled for 3/5
Fix the Fund Act
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: In committee (House Rules and Executive Nominations)
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