Coming Down to the Wire In Annapolis

There are only 8 days to go in the 2019 Legislative Session and we’re getting down to the wire.  Bills will be passing and dying quickly over the next week.

The big news this week was the veto and over-ride of the $15 Minimum Wage bill.  This is now law.  The minimum wage will go to $15 per hour by 2025.  The next increase will be January 1, 2020 when the minimum wage goes to $11 an hour from the current $10.10.

Another bill that went into law after a veto and an over-ride was the flexible school year calendar which will allow local school districts to decide the beginning and end of the school year.  (The Governor had previously passed an executive order mandating that all schools start after Labor Day.

The General Assembly also passed a state budget that includes $255 million more for education this year and are still debating mandating more money to be used for the following year.

Governor Hogan also signed into law that would provide interest-free loans to feds working without pay because of the Government shutdown. The bill arose from this winter’s prolonged federal government shutdown, when thousands of Maryland residents were required to work without pay — and were therefore ineligible for unemployment benefits because they weren’t available to look for another job

One controversial bill that failed was the End of Life Option.  The Senate had a tie-vote 23 to 23 and it needed a majority to pass.

I have listed the bills that I am tracking and have put them into four categories: 1) signed (or veto over-ridden) and are now law; 2) bills before the Governor; 3) bills that are still ‘in play’ and have to pass this week and 4) bills that will definitely not pass this year.  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 Hweb-site:  www.mgaleg.maryland.gov   and type in the bill number.

Since there is only one week to go you may want to contact your representatives in District 47 and tell them how you feel about a bill of interest to you. 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 number.

1 – Bills Passed and Are Now Law

$15 Minimum Wage 
HB 166/SB 280   General Assembly over-rode Governor’s veto and is now law.

Flexible School Calendar
Overturns the Governor.’s Executive Order (that mandates all schools to start after Labor Day) to allow a local school board to set the school calendar.
SB 128 General Assembly over-rode Governor’s veto and is now law.

2 – Bills Waiting for the Governor to Sign or Veto

Banning Discrimination in Underwriting and Rating Because of Status As A Surviving Spouse
HB 191 – Passed the House and the Senate

Maryland Dream Act
Expands the people eligible for in-state tuition
SB 537 – Passed the Senate and House – Waiting for Governor to sign/veto

Option for Gender Neutral Drivers License
Bill allow residents to apply for licenses with gender identifiers of “M,” “F,” or “X.”
SB 196 The House of Delegates and the Senate passed this bill.   It now goes to the Governor for signature or veto.

3 – Bills Still Moving Forward in the General Assembly

Consumer Rights

Prohibiting Deceptive Acts by Mortgage Lenders
HB 425 – Passed the House – Senate hearing held

Criminal Justice

Occupational Licenses or Certificates – Prohibition on use of Criminal Records 
HB 22 – Passed the House – Senate Hearing held

Johns Hopkins Private Police Force 
SB 793 Passed the Senate  and the House – two bills have to be reconciled

Making  the Use of a Noose or Swastika a Hate Crime
  HB 4 Passed the House – Senate hearing held

Partial Expungement 
This bill repeals the prohibition on expungement of a charge or conviction within a “unit” of charges unless all of the charges or convictions in the unit  are eligible for expungement.
HB 13 – Passed the House – Senate hearing held

Education

Legislation mandates over $1 billion in state spending for education over the next two years. The funding follows the recommendations of the Kirwin Commission that has been reviewing the education priorities for the State.  The legislation calls for $325 million in increased funding from state taxpayers for public schools for fiscal year 2020 and $750 million in fiscal year 2021.
Some of the spending over two years are:

HB 1413 – Hearing Held
SB 1030 – Hearing Held

(While these bills have not been passed by either house.  They are a priority of leadership and are still being discussed even though the deadline for other bills has passed.)

Prohibiting  a school district from spending money to arm a teacher with a gun.
HB 367 – Passed the House

Prohibiting non-public schools that receive public funding from discriminating against students who are disabled, LGBTQ+, and other protected classes.
HB 295 – Passed the House

Environmental Issues

Prohibiting use of styrofoam
        HB 109                          Passed the House – Two bills have to be reconciled
SB 285                          Passed the Senate

Ban of Chlorpyrifos
This bill would ban chlorpyrifos, a brain damage-causing pesticide. The chemical has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, lung cancer, and lower IQs in children
House Bill 275             Passed the House

Clear Energy Act       
SB 516                       Senate passed the bill – Held up in House Rules Committee

Gun Control

Banning of Computer–Aided Fabrication and Serial Number (3–D Printed Firearms and Ghost Guns)
HB 740 –Passed the House

Requiring background checks for all purchases of long guns, including shotguns and rifles
HB 786 – Passed the House

Health Care

 Prescription Drug Affordability Board       
HB 768          Passed the House – Waiting for a Senate Hearing

Raising the Age of Selling Tobacco to 21
SB 895            Passed the Senate – Two bills have to be reconciled
HB 1169          Passed the House

Patients Bill of Rights 
Requiring a hospital to provide patients with a patient’s bill of rights andto provide  patients with a translator, a  interpreter
HB 145 – Passed the House

Tanning Beds – Prohibition of Use by Minors (under 18)
HB 124 – Passed the House
SB 299 – Passed the Senate – Two bills have to be reconciled after one of them was amended

Immigration Rights

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 – Passed the House

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 – Passed the House

Other Topics

Ignition Interlock System
Requiring that an Ignition Interlock System be equipped with a camera capable of recording still images of the person
HB55 Passed the House

Expanded Tax Credit for Child Care
The bill would allow those Marylanders to claim more in credits, while expanding the credits to residents who make more than $50,000 but less than $141,000. That expands the number of Marylanders eligible for the tax credits from 23,000 to about 114,200 taxpayers.
SB 870  – Passed the Senate
HB 810 – Passed the House

Elimination of Statute of Limitations for sex abuse against minors and create a two-year window to file suit for victims where a previous statute of limitations has expired.
House Bill 687  Passed the House – Senate hearing 3/28

Prince George’s County Local Bills

Tax Credits for Grocery Stores in Food Deserts:
This bill authorizes a tax credit in Prince George’s County for new food stores in what are determined to be ‘food deserts’ in the County.
           HB188 – Passed the House – Hearing held in the Senate

Property Tax Credits for Teachers
This bill authorizes Prince George’s County to issue a Property tax credit of up to $2,500 for teachers who decide to move into the County.
HB 223 – Passed the House  – Being voted on by the Senate

Repealing a Limitation of Campaign Contributions from Developers to County Executive (I am in opposition to this bill)
HB 227   Passed the House – Senate hearing held

Transportation

Movement of Railroad Freight – Required Two Person 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 – Passed the General Assembly – Being voted on this week

Independent Environmental Study for Transportation Projects
This legislation is seen as a way of slowing  Gov. Hogan Jr.’s proposals to widen the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270.
HB 1091 – Passed the House

Workers Rights

Collective Bargaining Rights for Graduate Students at UMD, St. Mary’s and Morgan State University
HB 270 – Passed the House – Senate hearing held

4 – Bills Not Moving This Year

Prohibiting Use of Occupation or Education in Determination of car insurance rates
HB 329 – Voted down by the Senate Finance Committee

End of Life Option
HB 399           Voted down by the Senate (it did not receive of majority of 24 Senators needed to pass)

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