UPCOMING IN ANNAPOLIS -- an annex to the Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Here's a complete roundup of progressive efforts in the legislative session in Annapolis in this and upcoming weeks. Many upcoming lobby days are included.

 

PROGRESSIVE MARYLAND WEEKLY MEMO FOR Tuesday, February 18, 2020 ANNAPOLIS ANNEX

We consolidate some allies’ material on this week’s (and future weeks’) important moments as bills move through the legislative process and activists and allies set lobby events to support the good and oppose the bad.

LOBBY DAYS

Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - 9:00 am - Strong Schools Maryland
Tuesday, February 18th - 9:00 am - Lobby Day for End-Of-Life Option Act
Thursday, February 20th - 9:30 am - Lobby Day for End-Of-Life Option Act
Monday, February 24th - 4:00 pm - Sierra Club Lobby Night
Tuesday, February 25th - 9:00 am - Lobby Day for End-Of-Life Option Act
Wednesday, February 26th - 8:30 am – Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform Lobby Day
Thursday, February 27th - 9:30 am - Lobby Day for End-Of-Life Option Act

All these proposed bills have to jostle for room inside some form of state budget. Kevin Kinnally of Conduit Street, the newsletter of the Maryland Association of Counties, has a roundup on the Budget Briefing presented to legislators early in the session by the Department of Legislative Services. It is more than you ever wanted to know, but features outstanding explanatory graphics. https://conduitstreet.mdcounties.org/2020/01/20/fiscal-briefing-highlights-budget-big-picture/

Progressive Maryland’s BlogSpace and Weekly Memos will follow the Assembly session – but when that ends in April, we’ll keep going with our advocacy for progressive efforts in Maryland and, sometimes, how they are echoed in the wider region and nation.

And speaking of helpful emails – you can sign up to get this Weekly Memo by email.

ROUNDUP OF PROGRESSIVE ADVOCACY AND ACTION IN ANNAPOLIS DURING THE SESSION

The Job Opportunities Task Force (JOTF) is focused on justice in the workplace and the parts of the justice system that make criminalize poverty through unjust bail assessments and other impediments.

 

JOTF EYES ON ANNAPOLIS


The following are JOTF priorities that have been assigned a bill number, committee, and are scheduled for a public hearing:

Senate Bill 589 / House Bill 1336: Criminal Procedure - Partial Expungement (Unit Rule Repeal)
The proposed legislation would repeal the notorious "unit rule" that prohibits expungement of eligible non-convictions if an ineligible convictions is attached without the unit of charges. A person to file a petition for a "partial expungement" of certain criminal records; requiring a court to order that certain records may not be included on the public website, Maryland Judiciary Case Search, or within records submitted to the Central Repository; repealing a provision of law establishing that, if a person is not entitled to expungement of one charge or conviction in a certain unit, the person is not entitled to expungement of any other charge or conviction in the unit; etc.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Wednesday, February 19th at 12:00PM.

House Bill 280: Suspension of Driver's License or Registration - Unpaid Citations or Judgments

The proposed legislation alters the requirements and procedures governing certain programs that authorize installment payments for certain motor vehicle traffic citations or judgment debts under certain circumstances; repealing the requirement that the Motor Vehicle Administration suspend a person's driver's license and vehicle registration for failure to pay a traffic citation or request a trial; authorizing the Administration to initiate an action for a certain civil judgment for an unpaid traffic citation under certain circumstances.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, February 19th at 1:00PM. (The Senate Bill - SB 234 - was heard in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on February 4th.)

Senate Bill 513 / House Bill 1377: Conditions of Pretrial Release - Home Detention Monitoring

The proposed legislation exempts certain defendants placed in private home detention as a condition of pretrial release from the requirement to pay a certain monitoring fee if the defendant qualifies as an indigent individual under certain circumstances or if a private home detention monitoring device is provided by the State or a local jurisdiction.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Wednesday, February 19th at 12:00PM.

Senate Bill 847 / House Bill 946: Child Support - Guidelines

The proposed legislation authorizes a court, in determining whether the application of the child support guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case to consider whether an obligor's monthly obligation would leave the obligor with a monthly actual income below the 2019 federal poverty level for an individual; authorizing the court to decline to establish a child support order under certain circumstances; etc.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, February 20th at 1:00PM.

House Bill 608: Prerelease Unit for Women - Requirement to Operate

The proposed legislation would require the Commissioner of Correction to operate a prerelease unit for women within the Division of Correction (DOC). 
This bill had a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, February 18th at 1:00PM.

HB 658 Requirement for Prerelease Program
JOTF opposes the proposed legislation as it would require the collection of the earnings of an inmate participating in the prerelease program. The following are allowable deductions under the proposed legislation: (1) the cost to the county for food, lodging, and clothing for the inmate; (2) actual and necessary food, travel, and other expenses incidental to the inmate’s participation in the program; (3) an amount the inmate is legally obligated or desires to pay for the support of a dependent; (4) if applicable, a reasonable amount to repay the State or the county for an attorney appointed by the court; and (5) court-ordered payments for restitution. Incarcerated individuals participating in a pre-release program, or under mandatory correctional supervision, should not be required to cover the costs of their incarceration and reentry services.
This bill had a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, February 18th at 1:00PM.

House Bill 1021: Maryland Healthy Working Families Act - Seasonal Temporary Workers
Increasing, from 106 to 120 days, the period during which an employer is not required to allow an employee to use earned sick and safe leave; altering the circumstances under which an employer is required to reinstate certain unused sick and safe leave; and altering the circumstances under which an employer is authorized to require an employee who uses earned sick and safe leave to provide certain verification. JOTF opposes the proposed legislation, and any effort, to reduce or delay access to paid sick and safe leave for Maryland’s low-wage workers.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee on Tuesday, February 25th at 1:00PM.

Senate Bill 682: Prerelease Unit for Women - Requirement to Operate
The proposed legislation would require, instead of authorizing, the Commissioner of Correction to operate a prerelease unit for women. 
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Wednesday, February 26th at 12:00PM 

Senate Bill 683: Women's Prerelease Unit - Requirements (Women's Prerelease Equity Act)
The proposed legislation would define the term "prerelease unit for women" as it relates to prerelease services provided by the Division of Correction; requiring the Commissioner of Correction to determine where to place a prerelease unit for women; requiring a certain prerelease unit to be placed in a location determined by zip codes where the largest percentage of inmates are likely to be released; and authorizing a certain inmate to have certain community access.  
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Wednesday, February 26th at 12:00PM 

House Bill 801 / Senate Bill 684: Prerelease Unit for Women - Facilities and Services (Gender-Responsive Prerelease Act)
The proposed legislation would require the Commissioner of the Division of Correction to provide a comprehensive rehabilitative prerelease facility for female inmates; requiring the Commissioner to provide evidence-based and gender-responsive prerelease services for certain female inmates; establishing the content for certain services provided by the Commissioner
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, February 25th at 1:00PM. The cross-filled Senate bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Wednesday, February 26th at 12:00PM

House Bill 698: Food Supplement Employment and Training Program - Benefits and Funding
The proposed legislation would require a certain food supplement program to include the Food Supplement Employment and Training Program; requiring the food supplement program to provide Food Supplement Employment and Training Program benefits to eligible individuals for whom federal funding is not available; requiring the Governor to include $1,000,000 in the annual budget for fiscal year 2022 and each fiscal year thereafter for the Food Supplement Employment and Training Program
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee  on Thursday, February 27th at 1:00PM

Senate Bill 539 / House Bill 839: Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program - Establishment
The proposed legislation would establish the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program to provide temporary benefits to a covered individual who is taking leave from employment; establishing the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Fund; requiring, beginning January 1, 2021, certain employees, employers, and self-employed individuals to pay certain contributions; authorizing, beginning July 1, 2022, a covered individual taking certain leave from employment to submit a claim for benefits; authorizing the establishment of private employer plans.
House Bill 839 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee on Monday, February 24th at 1:00PM. 
Senate bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, February 27th at 1:00PM


Senate Bill 17: Use of Credit History in Rating Policies
The proposed  legislation prohibits an insurer, with respect to private passenger motor vehicle insurance, from rating a risk based, in whole or in part, on the credit history of an applicant or insured in any manner; repealing certain provisions of law authorizing an insurer to use the credit history of an applicant or insured to rate a new policy of private passenger motor vehicle insurance; applying the Act to all private passenger motor vehicle insurance policies issued, delivered, or renewed in the State on or after October 1, 2020
This bill was heard on January 29th in the Senate Finance Committee and is awaiting a committee vote


The following are bills that we are monitoring closely. These bills have been assigned a bill number, committee, and are scheduled for a public hearing in the coming weeks:

House Bill 712: Leave With Pay Bereavement Leave (Family Bereavement Act)
The proposed legislation would authorize employees of certain employers to use certain leave with pay for bereavement leave in the event of the death of an immediate family member or pet of the employee.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee on Tuesday, February 25th at 1:00PM.

House Bill 985 / Senate Bill 797: Compensation to Individual Erroneously Convicted, Sentenced, and Confined or Whose Conviction or Adjudication Is Reversed
The proposed legislation would alter a provision of law to require, rather than authorize, the Board of Public Works to pay certain compensation to a certain individual who has been erroneously convicted, sentenced, and confined on a finding of eligibility by an administrative law judge within 60 days after receiving the order; authorizing an administrative law judge to issue a certain order of eligibility under certain circumstances; requiring certain compensation made by the Board to be equal to a certain amount.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, February 26th at 1:00PM. The cross-filled Senate bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Wednesday, February 26th at 12:00PM

Senate Bill 709: Canceled, Revoked, and Suspended Driver's Licenses - Penalties
The proposed legislation would alters the penalties for a person who displays a canceled, revoked, or suspended driver's license, and for a person who violates the prohibition against driving a motor vehicle while the person's driver's license or privilege to drive is suspended for failure to satisfy a motor vehicle judgment.
This bill is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on Thursday, February 27th at 12:00PM

MARYLAND LEGISLATIVE COALITION

The Maryland Legislative Coalition has a broad social justice agenda and follows many bills, as you see. In their discussion they group some apparently random bills together as affecting the same broad issues. Here’s their discussion for this week and beyond.

 

ALMOST HALF WAY THROUGH.  It will be a crazy time until crossover.  Pretty much all the bills are out, except for a few late ones, and now our goal is to get through the hearings process and get to voting.  ALL BILLS MUST HAVE FLOOR VOTES BEFORE CROSSOVER ON MARCH 16.  We have four weeks to get that done.  

This week will be another HUGE week for hearings. 
This week, we are going to focus on health care and social justice.  There are other bills to pay attention to and to support, including some big elections and environment bills as well as the BLUEPRINT IMPLEMENTATION bill this week.  Get your testimony in a day before the hearing to the sponsor.  Check out our Hearings email to keep up with the hearings and to know when to get your testimony in. 
Here are our bills of the week - 


HEALTH CARE:
For health care, we take a now and later approach - shore up what we have now and make it more comprehensive and cost-effective, and as well look for new approaches that get us to a universal health care system.  This week, there will be several big bills that will affect both now and later.

TO SHORE UP THE HEALTH CARE WE HAVE:
HB0959 - Health Insurance - Consumer Protections - Delegate Pendergrass - Health and Government Operations Committee
One thing that needs to be protected is the pre-existing conditions aspect of the ACA.  This bill prohibits carriers from excluding or limiting benefits or denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
Hearing February 20th, 1:00 pm

HB0196 - Maryland Health Benefit Exchange - Establishment of a State-Based Health Insurance Subsidies Program - Delegate Pena-Melynk - Health and Government Operations Committee
A Health Insurance Subsidies Program will be established to provide subsidies to individuals for the purchase of health benefit plans in the individual market.  This will lower the cost of those plans.  Hearing February 20th, 1:00 pm

HB1120 - Health Care Providers and Health Benefit Plans - Discrimination in Provision of Services - Delegate Kelly - Health and Government Operations Committee
Prohibits hospitals or other related institutions from discriminating in providing care or refusing to provide services to an individual based on  race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or disability of the individual.  Hearing February 20th, 1:00 pm 

NEW APPROACHES FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE:
SB0228 - Public Health - Commission on Universal Health Care - Senator Pinsky - Finance Committee
Are you frustrated that we can't seem to pass any kind Universal Health Care?  The reason is that most people are afraid of the cost and the transition.  An important step forward is to establish a Commission on Universal Health Care to study the costs and the transition and figure out a viable solution and a package of legislation by January 1, 2023.  Hearing February 19th, 1:00 pm

HB0188 - Public Health - State-Provided Health Care Benefits - Delegate Reznik - Health and Government Operations Committee
This is an alternative Single Payer bill.  It relies on the infrastructure that is already in place as the single payer administrator.  Residents, except anyone who does not receive benefits through Medicare, TRICARE or ERISA, would enroll in the health care plan, which would be administered by the Medical Assistance offices.  Hearing February 20th, 1:00 pm


SOCIAL JUSTICE!

HB0608 - Correctional Services - Prerelease Unit for Women - Requirement to Operate - Delegate Crutchfield - Judiciary Committee
Requires instead of authorizes, the Commissioner of Correction to operate a prerelease unit for women.  Hearing February 18th, 1:00 pm

SB0907 - Public Safety - Crime Plan and Law Enforcement Councils (Maryland State Crime Plan) - Senator Smith - Judicial Proceedings Committee
Establishes the Law Enforcement Coordinating Council to prevent and reduce crime by coordinating and focusing State resources and ensuring interagency communication and intelligence-sharing.  It also requires the Council to prepare a comprehensive crime plan for the State.  Hearing February 20th, 12:00 pm

 

Hearings on the full range of bills -- ANOTHER BIG WEEK COMING UP! KIRWAN - Implementation of the Blueprint had four hearings in Monday, two in the House and two in the Senate.  The Kirwan bills moving through are HB1300 - Blueprint for Maryland's Future – Implementation and SB1000 - Blueprint for Maryland's Future – Implementation. Here are accounts of the hearings from The Sun, from the WaPo, and an account of the accompanying demo outside the hearings (parents, teachers, students) from Maryland Matters. Other accounts and op-eds on the big day for Kirwan are rounded up expertly in Maryland Reporter.


Wednesday is a huge environmental day and Thursday is a huge day for health care.

Please note that there are a LOT of hearings.  This is a good thing.  It means our bills are moving.  Higher profile, or harder fought bills are in bold.

If you are providing written testimony for any of these bills, 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 - just click on the link. 

You will also be able to submit testimony electronically in Annapolis if you plan to testify in person, and the instructions are available on our website. Be sure to reserve parking.  See instructions at http://mdlegislative.com.   Go to - Legislative Info/Submit Testimony.



FEBRUARY 18th
HB0432 - Maryland Transit Administration - Conversion to Electric Buses (Electric Bus Transition Act)
HB0559 - Family Investment Program - Temporary Cash Assistance - Funding
HB0608 - Correctional Services - Prerelease Unit for Women - Requirement to Operate
HB0744 - Landlord and Tenant - Residential Leases - Tenant Rights and Protections (Tenant Protection Act)
HB0881 - Election Law - Voting by Absentee Ballot - Prepaid Postage for Return of Ballots
SB0473 - Discrimination in Employment - Reasonable Accommodations for Applicants with Disabilities

FEBRUARY 19th
HB0296 - Environment - Single-Use Plastic Straws - Use in a Food Service Business
HB0457 - Environment - Drinking Water Outlets in School Buildings - Testing for Elevated Level of Lead
HB0517 - Constitutional Amendment - Environmental Rights
HB0589 - Solid Waste Management - Organics Recycling and Waste Diversion - Food Residuals
SB0228 - Public Health - Commission on Universal Health Care
SB0423 - Maryland Transit Administration - Conversion to Electric Buses (Electric Bus Transition Act)
SB0589 - Criminal Procedure - Partial Expungement  
SB0592 - State Funded Construction and Major Renovation Projects - Solar Panels - Requirement
SB0644 - Income Tax Checkoff - The Blueprint for Maryland's Future Fund
SB0926 - Climate Solutions Act of 2020 - Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act
SB0928 - Environment - Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Construction or Expansion - Manure Transport Plan Requirement

FEBRUARY 20th
HB0098 - Electricity - Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - Qualifying Biomass
HB0188 - Public Health - State-Provided Health Care Benefits
HB0196 - Maryland Health Benefit Exchange - Establishment of a State-Based Health Insurance Subsidies Program
HB0438 - Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - Eligible Sources
HB0959 - Health Insurance - Consumer Protections
HB0974 - Civil Actions - Child Sexual Abuse - Definition and Statue of Limitations (Hidden Predator Act of 2020)
HB1120 - Health Care Providers and Health Benefit Plans - Discrimination in Provision of Service
SB0313 - Plastics and Packaging Reduction Act
SB0400 - State Employment - Wage History and Wage Range 
SB0613 - Public Financing Act - Candidate and Matching Fund Revisions (Maryland Fair Elections Act)
SB0647 - Election Law - Institutions of Higher Education - Voter Registration and Voting by Students (Student Voter Empowerment Act of 2020)
SB0666 - Election Law - Time Off for Employee Voting
SB0816 - Public Safety - Licensed Firearms Dealers (Firearms Dealer's Safety Act)
SB0907 - Public Safety - Crime Plan and law Enforcement Councils (Maryland State Crime Plan)
SB0947 - Public Financing Act - State Senate and House of Delegates Candidates and Matching Fund Revisions

FEBRUARY 21st
HB1176 - Agriculture - Maryland Healthy Soils Grant Program

FEBRUARY 24th
HB0839 - Labor and Employment - Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program
HJ0001 - Declaration of a Climate Emergency  and Implementation of a Climate Mobilization Effort

FEBRUARY 25th
HB0677 - Correctional Services - Immigration Detention - Prohibition (Dignity Not Detention Act)
HB0801 - Correctional Services - Prerelease Unit for Women - Facilities and Services (Gender-Responsive Prerelease Act)
SB0315 - Electric Industry - Community Choice Energy
SB0560 - Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - Eligible Sources
SB0656 - Utility Regulation - Consideration of Climate and Labor
SB0887 - Electric Generation - Transition from Fossil Fuels - Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rate and Transition Account

FEBRUARY 26th
HB0910 - Criminal Law - Untraceable Firearms
HB0975 - State Department of Education and Maryland Department of Health - School Based Health Centers - Ombudsmen
SB0623 - Health Insurance - Out of Pocket Maximums and Cost-Sharing Requirements - Calculation
SB0682 - Correctional Services - Prerelease Unit for Women - Requirement to Operate
SB0684 - Correctional Services - Prerelease Unit for Women - Facilities and Services (Gender-Responsive Prerelease Act)
SB0738 - Health Care Providers and Health Benefit Plans - Discrimination in Provision of Services
SB0850 - Correctional Services - Immigration Detention - Prohibition (Dignity Not Detention Act)
SB0872 - Health Insurance - Consumer Protections
SB0901 - State and Local Government - Participation in Federal Immigration Enforcement
SB0902 - Coal - Tax Credits and Exemption - Repeal
SB0903 - Immigration Enforcement - Public Schools, Hospitals, and Courthouses

FEBRUARY 27th
HB0531 - Utility Regulation - Consideration of Climate and Labor
HB0892 - Public Information Act - Motor Vehicle Administration - Warrant for Personal Information and Reporting
HB0932 - 21st - Century Economy Sales Tax Act
HB1159 - Central Maryland Regional Transit Plan and Commission - Alterations
HB1172 - Election Law - Postelection Tabulation Audits - Risk-Limiting Audits
HB1178 - Vehicle Laws - Fines - Pilot Project for Income-Based Fines (Fair Fines Act of 2020)
HB1351 - Public Financing Act - State Senate and House of Delegates Candidates and Matching Fund Revisions
SB0539 - Labor and Employment - Family Medical Leave Insurance Program - Establishment
SB0649 - Public Information Act - Motor Vehicle Administration - Warrant for Personal Information and Reporting

FEBRUARY 28th
HB0695 - Digital Advertising Gross Revenues - Taxation
HB1081 - Health Facilities - Hospitals - Medical Debt Protection
HB1149 - Department of Housing and Community Development - Social Housing Subprogram (Social Housing Act)
HB1223 - Clean Cars Act of 2020
SB0701 - End-Of-Life Option Act