General Assembly Week 4 and beyond -- all you need to know

The Maryland General Assembly has filed over 1,000 bills and scheduled hearings on many important progressive measures.

Here’s a roundup of legislative alerts and details from social justice allies.



 

General Assembly Week 4 All you need to know

Here’s a roundup of legislative alerts and details from social justice allies.

If Progressive Maryland has edited or added, it’s noted in italics and [brackets]

BEING ACTIVE – go to http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/  and learn the ins and outs of navigating this rather user-friendly site so you can keep an eye on what YOUR legislative delegation members are doing – your response to them and their actions is the most effective because they will be wanting your vote.


This week’s alert from the Maryland Legislative Coalition  [edited]

We are three weeks in and only one week away from the deadline for Senate bill introduction and two weeks from the deadline for House bill introduction.  Almost 1,000 bills have been introduced, which is about a third of all total bills.  Quite a few big bills came out this week. 

There are a few more big Kirwan funding bills that are out.  But, instead of detailing them here, we will have a separate email on Monday to go through all the funding bills to make sure that we make that ask separately to our legislators.

Here are our bills of the week -

 

ENVIRONMENT!

A couple of big environmental bills are now out.  Community Choice Energy is something you should pay attention to.  It is enabling legislation that allows municipalities or towns, cities or counties to aggregate all of their rate payers and negotiate with their energy provider to get 1) lower rates and 2) more clean energy.  So, a county could decide to aggregate their rate payers (all residents) and negotiate with Pepco, or BGE or whatever carrier they have to get lower rates and 100% solar and wind instead of fossil fuels.  It will encourage providers to invest in more clean energy on a more accelerated basis.  The other big bills are plastic reduction bills.

 

HB0561/SB0315 - Electric Industry - Community Choice Energy - Delegate Charkoudian/Senator Beidle - Economic Matters Committee and Finance Committee

Allows any municipal corporation or county or group of counties to aggregate rate payers to negotiate with energy providers for lower rates and a greater percentage of energy from renewable sources.  No Hearing Yet.

 

HB0209/SB0313 - Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act - Delegate Lierman/Senator Augustine -  Environment and Transportation and Finance Committees

Prohibits a store from providing plastic bags (plastic less than 4 mils thick) at point of sale and requires a store to collect $.10 per durable (not plastic) bag that they provide.  Hearing February 20th, 1:00 Finance Committee

 

HB0296 - Environment - Single-Use Plastic Straws - Use in Food Service Business - Delegate Love - Economic Matters Committee

Prohibits businesses from providing plastic straws unless the customer requests one.  No Hearing Yet.

 

 

SOCIAL JUSTICE!

The Trust Act is back (YAY!) along with a great bill that attempts to make schools, hospitals and court houses less fraught for immigrants.  Another great bill that is back this year is a bill designed to help our trans friends by not publicizing their name change in the media.  Finally, there is an important bill that helps protect income for low-income people who are in debt.

 

HB0388 - Criminal Procedure - Civil Immigration Enforcement - Restrictions - Delegate Pena-Melnyk - Judiciary Committee

This bill prohibits police from asking immigration status, citizenship or place of birth during a stop, search or arrest.  Also, without a judicial warrant, an office may not transfer a person to ICE custody, notify ICE as to their address, location or release date, or use law enforcement resources to further civil immigration enforcement.  Hearing February 11th, 1:00 pm.  Judiciary

 

HB0403 - Immigration Enforcement - Public Schools, Hospitals, and Courthouses - Policies - Delegate Wilkins - Judiciary Committee

Requires the Attorney General to work with public schools, hospitals and court houses to develop policies that limit civil immigration enforcement activities on their premises, and ensure their facilities remain safe and accessible to all.  No Hearing Yet

 

HB0427 - Action for Change of Name - Waiver of Publication Requirement - Delegate Shetty - Judiciary Committee

Waives the publication requirement for anyone who is changing their name who also submits a motion to have it waived.  No Hearing Yet

 

HB0365 - Debt Collection - Exemptions from Attachment and Execution - Delegate Dumais - Economic Matters Committee

Increases the amount of wages that a debtor can keep (that are not subject to withholding to pay outstanding debts).  No Hearing Yet

 

HEALTH CARE!

This is an interesting bill that could have a huge impact of poor or undocumented people being able to get access to health care.  It essentially allows school health centers to open their doors to the family members of the children that are enrolled in the school.  So, family members who can't afford health insurance can see a nurse or a nurse practitioner.

 

HB0409 - Maryland Medical Assistance Program - Participation of School-Based Health Centers - Regulations - Delegate Cullison - Health and Government Operations Committee

Requires the Maryland Department of Health to revise its regulations to include school-based health centers that have a written agreement with a sponsoring agency that is a local health department, community health center, hospital, etc.  Hearing February 5th, 1:00 pm Health and Government Operations

 

TRANSPORTATION!

Did you know that Governor Hogan has been removing money from the Maryland Transit Administration for the past 5 years and they are in such dire straits that they can't afford maintenance of buses and light rail?  This bill will allow them to receive funding for all of their outstanding maintenance items.

 

HB0368 - Maryland Transit Administration - Funding (Transit Safety and Investment Act) - Delegate Lierman - Appropriations Committee

Requires the Governor to include appropriations in the State budget from the Transportation Trust Fund to the Maryland Transit Administration or the operating and capital needs of the Administration  No Hearing Yet.

 

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CALL OR EMAIL YOUR LEGISLATORS.  If your legislators are not on the committee hearing these bills, let them know that you want them to support the bill when it comes out of committee.  Information about committee members can be found on our website at http://mdlegislative.com  under Legislative Info/Committees and Members.  If you need to find your legislators, go to the Legislative Info/Legislators tab and click on the link at the top of the page.  Then click on LOOKUP at the top of the map and type in your address.

SUBMIT TESTIMONY ON A BILL.  Email your view to a co-sponsor.  To know what to include in your testimony, check out our website under Legislative Info/Submit Testimony.  The requirements are at the bottom of the page.

Maryland Legislative Coalition is urging support for these bills [not an inclusive list—PM ed]

HB0209 - Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act

HB0296 - Environment - Single-Use Plastic Straws - Use in Food Service Business

HB0388 - Criminal Procedure - Civil Immigration Enforcement - Restrictions

HB0403 - Immigration Enforcement - Public Schools, Hospitals, and Courthouses - Policies

HB0427 - Action for Change of Name - Waiver of Publication Requirement

HB0365 - Debt Collection - Exemptions from Attachment and Execution

HB0409 - Maryland Medical Assistance Program - Participation of School-Based Health Centers - Regulations

HB0368 - Maryland Transit Administration - Funding (Transit Safety and Investment Act)

SB0315 - Electric Industry - Community Choice Energy

SB0313 - Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act

 

We are happy to hear from you, so if you want to contact us, send us an email at mdlegislativecoalition@gmail.com.  If you have friends who want to make a difference from the comfort of their homes, have them sign up by clicking the Join Us! tab on our website at http://mdlegislative.com.

                  

AND HERE ARE MARYLAND LEGISLATIVE COALITION’S LIST OF TOP HEARINGS FOR THE COMING WEEKS

Here are the hearings for the next two weeks.  If you are providing written testimony, please make sure that you get it to the bill sponsor at least 24 hours in advance.  Each of the bills below is linked so you can find the bill sponsor easily. 

You will also be able to submit it electronically if you plan to drive to Annapolis, and the instructions are available on our website.  If you are driving to Annapolis to testify in person, check out the instructions on our website for reserving parking under http://mdlegislative.com.   Go to - Legislative Info/Submit Testimony.


JANUARY 28th 
HB0034 - Campaign Finance - Contributions, Expenditures, or Donations by Foreign-Influenced Corporations or Foreign Principles
HB0086 - Transportation - Maryland Metro/Transit Funding Act - Alterations
HB0193 - Criminal Law - Use of Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance - De Minimis Quantity
HB0205 - Southern Maryland Rapid Transit Project - Requirements and Funding
HB0206 - Unaccompanied Minors in Need of Shelter and Supportive Services
HB0242 - Criminal Procedure - Motion to Vacate Judgment - Human Trafficking (True Freedom Act of 2020)
HB0244 - Criminal Records - Disclosure of Information - Prohibited Acts
SB0087 - Campaign Finance - Contributions, Expenditures, or Donations by Foreign-Influenced Corporations or Foreign Principles
SB0089 - State Board of Elections - Certification of Voting Systems - Standards (Ranked Choice Voting)
SB0091 - Election Law - Individuals Released from Correctional Facilities - Voter Registration
SB0145 - Election Law - References to Absentee Voting in Communications - Mail-In Voting
SB0173 - Vehicle Laws - Driver's Licenses Confiscated for REAL ID Compliance - Failure to Possess or Display

JANUARY 29th
HB0013 - Solid Waste Management - Prohibition on Releasing a Balloon Into the Atmosphere
HB0103 - General Assembly - Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in Office
SB0002 - Digital Advertising Gross Revenues - Taxation
SB0003 - Electronic Smoking Devices, Other Tobacco Products, and Cigarettes - Taxation
SB0017 - Motor Vehicle Insurance - Use of Credit History in Rating Policies
SB0058 - Expansion of Commercial Gaming - Referendum - Sports Wagering
SB0161 - Crimes - Hate Crimes - Use of an Item or a Symbol to Threaten or Intimidate
SB0206 - Criminal Procedure - Motion to Vacate Judgment - Human Trafficking (True Freedom Act of 2020)
SB0311 - Corporate Tax Fairness Act of 2020

JANUARY 30th
HB0028 - Vehicle Laws - Driver's Licenses Confiscated for REAL ID Compliance - Failure to Posses or Display
SB0205 - Public Safety - Crime of Violence - Witness Intimidation

FEBRUARY 4th
HB0225 - Gaming - Sports Wagering - Implementation
HB0231 - Housing Opportunities Made Equal Act
HB0323 - Criminal Procedure - Petition to Modify or Reduce Sentence (Maryland Second Look Act)
SB0168 - Electricity - Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - Qualifying Biomass
SB0229 - Toll Roads, Highways, and Bridges - County Government Consent Requirement - Expansion

FEBRUARY 5th
HB0409 - Maryland Medical Assistance Program - Participation of School-Based Health Centers - Regulations
SB0124 - Maryland Health Benefit Exchange - Establishment of a State-Based Health Insurance Subsidies Program
SB0136 - Transportation - Maryland Metro/Transit Funding Act - Alterations
SB0207 - Unaccompanied Minors in Need of Shelter an Supportive Services
SB0208 - Public Safety - Rifles and Shotguns - Secondary Transactions
SB0325 - Constitutional Amendment - Gaming - Expansion

FEBRUARY 6th
HB0232 - Maryland Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council - Reporting, Membership and Sunset Extension
HB0245 - Election Law - Institutions of Higher Education - Voter Registration and Voting by Students (Student Voter Empowerment Act of 2020)
HB0337 - Election Law - Local Public Campaign Financing - Boards of Education
HB0392 - Election Law - Security of Election Systems
SB0298 - Election Law - Local Public Campaign Financing - Boards of Education

FEBRUARY 7th 
HB0439 - Income Tax - Carried Interest - Additional Tax


UPCOMING LOBBY DAYS - 

Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - 9:00 am - Strong Schools Maryland
January 27th - 6:00 pm - CASA Immigrant Action Night
January 30th - 9:00 am - MOMs Demand Action
February 4th - 6:30 pm - Transit Equity Lobby Night
February 6th - 4:30 pm - MLAW Lobby Night

Thank you for raising your voice in support of a better Maryland.  

The Maryland Legislative Committee

 


 

MARYLAND SIERRA CLUB PRIORITIES AND LOBBY NIGHT

Attend Lobby Night, Monday, Feb. 24, and Help Make It a Success!

 Attend: Join with hundreds of fellow activists in Annapolis on Feb. 24, to make our voices heard for the environment. RSVP for Lobby Night. Speaking directly to your legislators about passing our top priority bills is one of the best ways to support strong environmental action.

Whether you can attend or not, find out about phone banking to build support and make all our voices heard – get more from staff person Lindsey Mendelson at transportation@mdsierra.org

 

  Sierra Club Priority Bills selected by the Maryland Chapter Executive Committee for the 2020 session:

  • retire the state’s six coal power plants with a just transition plan for affected workers and communities;
  • require the Public Service Commission to use a climate “test” when approving power plants;
  • ban plastic carry-out shopping bags and limit utilization of other single-use bags;
  • remedy the funding “cliff” which is endangering public transit in the greater Baltimore area and elsewhere in the state; and
  • require full evaluations of the environmental and financial risks of large highway expansions, by more closely regulating the use of “public-private partnerships” to fund such projects.

 For more detailed information about these bills, please see the Maryland Legislation page on our website.

 


AGENDA AND BILLS SUPPORTED: CHESAPEAKE CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK

Maryland is poised to be a leader in clean energy solutions to climate change, thanks in large part to groundbreaking laws CCAN and our allies have helped to pass — including one of the strongest state-level carbon caps in the country, a clean electricity standard to spur wind and solar power, and landmark offshore wind power legislation.

But Maryland still gets a majority of its electricity from burning dirty fossil fuels — coal, oil and gas. Meanwhile, new dirty energy threats, such as fracking and fracked gas exports, would set us back further in solving climate change.

Learn how you can take action to make Maryland a clean energy leader and keep our communities safe from dirty energy pollution.

Strengthening Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan

In Maryland, climate change is no longer some far-away problem. It’s making life harder right now. And we are just beginning to feel the true impact of fossil fuel pollution and the global warming it continues to unleash. But Maryland’s current climate plan, put forth by Governor Hogan and his administration, fails to match the urgency of the crisis. We need a new climate plan. It starts by strengthening the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act. Learn more>>

A Climate Test for Maryland’s PSC

The world’s leading climate scientists warn that we have 10 short years to drastically move away from fossil fuels. However, gas plants have multiplied in recent years and Governor Hogan wants to “kick-start” a gas pipeline expansion across Maryland. The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) is fueling the fire. It approves new facilities that generate electricity and oversees the gas industry, yet does not take climate into account. It’s long past time to fix that.  Learn more>>

No New Fossil Fuels in Maryland

Despite rapidly intensifying climate change, Maryland is being overrun with proposed dirty energy infrastructure and other projects that will endanger clean water and vulnerable communities while making climate change worse. Right now, multiple pipelines and compressor stations for fracked-gas are being proposed. Already, the state has seen the construction of a massive liquefied natural gas export facility at Cove Point in Southern Maryland. Enough is enough. Communities and legislators are standing together to pledge: No new fossil fuel infrastructure in Maryland. Learn more >>

Community Solar for Everyone

In the spring of 2017, Maryland launched a community solar pilot program, thanks to state legislation that CCAN and our allies helped to pass in 2015. We are partnering with community groups and solar developers to spread the word and connect thousands more Maryland families to the benefits of solar. Learn more >>

Stop the Potomac Pipeline and Gov. Hogan’s Fracked Gas Expansion Plans

TransCanada—the same company behind the Keystone XL pipeline—is threatening Maryland communities and the drinking water of hundreds of thousands with a proposed pipeline. And the Potomac Pipeline, which would transport fracked-gas under the Potomac River and the C&O Canal, is just the beginning: Governor Hogan intends to “kick-start” an expansion of fracked-gas pipelines in Maryland. Learn more >>

Offshore Wind and Onshore Jobs

Maryland could become the East Coast manufacturing hub for this growing industry, putting us at the forefront of clean energy development and reducing our reliance on harmful fossil fuels. Wind farms proposed for Ocean City, Maryland could generate enough energy to power over 500,000 homes. Learn more >>

Moving Maryland Past Dirty Coal

Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel. From mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia, to its transport and burning at power plants across Maryland, to the toxic waste left behind, coal destroys the health of our air, water and climate.  CCAN is working to shut down the Maryland’s dirtiest coal plants, to push for stronger pollution controls in permits for coal mining, transport, processing and export facilities, and to win the strongest standards to clean up coal ash dumps. Learn more>>

Zero Waste and Moving Away from Toxic Trash

Burning trash is a dirty business. Trash-burning incinerators emit high levels of mercury pollution and ultra-fine particulate matter, one of the most dangerous known pollutants to human health. They also worsen climate change: trash-burning emits more carbon dioxide per unit of energy produced than burning coal. CCAN worked with student advocates to successfully block a proposed incinerator in the Curtis Bay neighborhood of Baltimore in 2016. Now we’re working to find solutions for a zero waste future in Maryland. Learn more>


SOCIAL JUSTICE AGENDA FOR JOB OPPORTUNITY TASK FORCE

JOTF/Working Matters, our allies, were a driver for the Fight for $15 and Paid Sick Days and some of their work now is to ensure that the criminalization of poverty – the huge disadvantages that low-income families and their members suffer from discriminatory justice and mass incarceration – are removed from the table by the Assembly.

EYES ON ANNAPOLIS

The following bills have been assigned a bill number, committee, and scheduled for a public hearing this week:


Senate Bill 91 Election Law - Individuals Released From Correctional Facilities - Voter Registration 
The proposed legislation would require a correctional facility to provide individuals with a felony conviction who have completed their sentence with a voter registration form before release and related information regarding their right to vote. JOTF supports this legislation as a means to ensure that eligible voters who are incarcerated and/or formerly incarcerated maintain access to their right to vote as afforded by law.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Tuesday, January 28th at 2:00 p.m. 

Senate Bill 157 Employers of Ex-Offenders - Liability - Immunity
The proposed legislation would remove employers in certain industries from liability from negligent hiring claims for employees with a criminal background. JOTF supports this legislation as it can incentivize reluctant employers to hire individuals with a criminal background. 
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Tuesday, January 28th at 1:00 p.m. 

Senate Bill 177 Motor Vehicle Administration - Authority to Suspend Registration for Violations Recorded by Traffic Control Signal Monitoring Systems - Repeal
The proposed legislation would repeal the MVA’s authority to suspend a vehicle’s registration if the owner or driver fails to pay a traffic fine (e.g. red light, speed camera). JOTF is all too familiar with the costly burden of vehicle fines and fees on low-wage workers, and supports this legislation as a means to ensure workers can afford to stay on road.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Tuesday, January 28th at 1:00 p.m. 

House Bill 244 - Criminal Records - Disclosure of Information
The proposed legislation would prohibit employers and educational institutions from requiring the disclosure of criminal record information that the Governor pardoned in an application; prohibits educational institutions from denying admission to prospective students who refuse to disclose expunged or pardoned records; and prohibits private companies from disclosing expunged and/or pardoned records.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, January 28th at 1:00 p.m. 

House Bill 82 - Pretrial Release - Reimbursement of Special Condition Costs
The proposed legislation would require reimbursement of special pretrial condition costs if the defendant is ultimately found not guilty. Recognizing the cost burden of pretrial fines and fees on low-wage workers, JOTF supports this legislation in our efforts to decriminalize poverty in Maryland.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judicary Committee on Tuesday, January 28th at 1:00 p.m.

Senate Bill 17 Motor Vehicle Insurance - Use of Credit History in Rating Policies 
The proposed legislation would prohibit auto insurers from factoring in one’s credit history when setting insurance rates. JOTF knows that most low-income workers either have no credit history or a lower credit score. Using credit as a determining factor in setting insurance premium rates is a “race neutral” factor that has a disproportionate impact on Black workers. This forces workers to choose between paying for car insurance that they can’t afford but need, by law; or, driving without a car insurance - an incarcerate offense. In effect, this is the criminalization of poverty. The proposed legislation is a JOTF priority, and we look forward to supporting this legislation. Click here to read our fact sheet.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, January 29th at 2:45 p.m.  

House Bill 28 Vehicle Laws – Driver’s Licenses Confiscated for Real ID Compliance – Failure to Possess or Display 
The proposed legislation would prevent penalization for carrying a non-Real ID identification document if one’s license has been confiscated. Upon confiscation of a driver’s license or ID, the driver will have 90 days to collect a new ID from the MVA.  As this will lower the number of potential fines/arrests on the indigent population, JOTF supports this legislation. 
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Environment and Transportation Committee on Thursday, January 30th at 2:00 p.m.  

House Bill 54 - Vehicle Laws - Registration Renewal - Late Fee
The proposed legislation would prohibit the Motor Vehicle Administration from charging more than $25 for vehicle registration renewal that occurs more than one (1) week after the registration has expired. Recognizing the cost burden of motor vehicle registration fines and fees on low-wage workers, JOTF supports this legislation in our efforts to decriminalize poverty in Maryland.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, January 30th at 2:00 p.m.

HB0234 Child Support - Suspension of Payments and Arrears for Incarcerated Obligors - Modifications 
The proposed legislation will prevent the accrual of child support arrears, payments and penalties if the debtor will be incarcerated for longer than 180 days. JOTF recognizes that arrears can be a massive barrier to employment. By having them accrue while incarcerated and earning no income doesn’t make any sense. JOTF led this issue  in 2013 and look forward to supporting this legislation.  
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, January 30th at 2:00 p.m.
 


The following bills have been assigned a bill number, committee, and scheduled for a public hearing in the coming weeks:

Senate Bill 0234 -Vehicle Laws - Suspension of Driver's License or Registration - Unpaid Citations or Judgments
This legislation would remove the MVA's authority to suspend driver's license privileges for unpaid traffic fines and fees and allow individuals who accrue at least $300 in traffic debt to enroll in a payment plan. If the individual defaults on payments, a civil judgment can be imposed as a consequence. JOTF looks forward to working with the bill sponsors, committee members, and advocates to ensure that the legislation covers any individual who seeks to enroll in an installment payment plan and protects low-income workers from punitive enforcement of civil judgments, such as body attachments and wage garnishments. Click here to read our fact sheet.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Tuesday, February 4th at 1:00PM.


 

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