News From Annapolis – March 11, 2019

This is one more month in the 2019 legislative session and there is also only one more week until cross-over day in which bills have to pass either the House or Senate to be heard  in a timely fashion by the other house.  (There are  some exceptions to this rule.)  Therefore there will be a lot of bills voted out of Committee and voted on in the next week.
A few of the big pieces of legislation made progress.

$15 Minimum Wage (HB 166/SB280) Passed Out of the Senate Committee.  This billwhich had already been voted on by the House of Delegates was voted out of the Finance Committee in the Senate and is scheduled for a vote by the full Senate next week.  Unfortunately it was further weakened when an amendment passed that delayed full implementation for small business (less than 15 employees) until 2028!  There will probably be amendments to try and strengthen the bill on the Senate Floor

End of Life Option (HB399) passed the House of Delegates.  The bill allows a doctor to prescribe drugs to a patient that the patient could take to end his or her life. The patient would be required to have a terminal illness with a diagnosis of less than six months to live. The patient would also have to be at least 18 years old and ask for the prescription on three separate occasions, including at least once in writing with witnesses. The person also would have to be able to take the medicine by themselves.

Education Funding Bills Are Introduced (Blueprint for the Future HB 1413/SB 1030) :  Legislation was introduced this week which will mandate over $1 billion in state spending for education over the next two years. The funding follows the recommendations of the Kerwin 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:

» $80 million over two years to expand full-day prekindergarten in the state for 4-year-olds;

» $150 million to provide a 1.5 percent average raise for teacher salaries;

» $46 million for more services for struggling learners;

» $110 million in grants for schools with high concentrations of poverty;

» $275 million more for special education.
Delaying the Expansion of 270 and the Beltway  – The House Appropriations Committee approved language that eliminated funding this year for Hogan’s plan to add express toll lanes to three of Maryland’s most congested highways the Capital Beltway, the  I-270 spur connecting Frederick to the Washington area, and Interstate 295, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.  This will delay the construction of the projects for at least one year.  The amendment will be voted on by the full House of Delegates later this week.

A few of the other bills that made progress this week

HB188 – 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.  Passed the House of Delegates

HB 223 – 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 214 – U Visa Bill – Will be passing the House of Delegates early next week.   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 295 prohibits non-public schools that receive public funding from discriminating against students who are disabled, LGBTQ+, and other protected classes.

HB 367 would prohibit a school district from spending money to arm a teacher with a gun.

HB 1020/SB 713 – Bills to Regulate the Placement of 5G Wireless Poles was referred to a summer study and there will be no action on these bills this year.  The debate in Annapolis was whether local jurisdictions could regulate the placement of new telephone poles (which will bring wireless wifi  to homes) or if the telecom companies could place the poles without getting permission from local government.

Here is the status of the other bills that I personally am tracking.  There are many other good bills but I don’t want to overwhelm everybody.    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 web-site:  www.mgaleg.maryland.gov   and type in the bill number.

If you want to contact your representatives in District 47 about any of the bills, 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 numbers.

Criminal Justice Reform

Increasing pre-release facility services
HB 715 Hearing held
Expungement of Nonviolent Convictions
HB 19 – Hearing Held
Occupational Licenses or Certificates – Prohibition on use of Criminal Records
HB 22 – Hearing Held

 Consumer Rights

Prohibiting Use of Occupation or Education in Determination of car insurance rates
HB 329 – Hearing held
SB 233 – Hearing held
Prohibiting Use of credit factors in the determination of car insurance rates
HB 351 – Hearing Held
SB 235 –Hearing held
Banning Discrimination in Underwriting and Rating Because of Status As A Surviving Spouse
SB 607 – Hearing Not Scheduled
Prohibiting Deceptive Acts by Mortgage Lenders
HB 425 – Hearing held

Education

Money has to be appropriated for at least $325 million in new funding proposals for teacher salary increases, the expansion of community schools and pre-k education, and increased funding for mental health services. The legislature must also  commit to full-funding for all Kirwan Commission recommendations with a requirement that $1.5 billion is put in next year’s budget.

HB 1413 – Hearing Held
SB 1030 – Hearing Held

Environmental Initiatives

Prohibiting use of styrofoam
HB 109                          Voted out of the Committee
SB 285                          Passed the Senate
Clear Energy Act
HB 1158                       Hearing held
SB 516                        Hearing held
Pipeline and Water Protection Act
HB 669                           Hearing held
SB 387                          Hearing held

Gun Control Legislation

Banning of ghost guns:  buying the parts needed to assemble a firearm
HB 740 – Hearing held
Prohibition of computer aided firearm fabrication
SB 8 – Hearing held – Unfavorable report by Committee

Plugging the Loan Loophole in  the transfer of gun ownership
HB 96 – Hearing held

Health Care 

Prescription Drug Affordability Board
HB 768           Hearing held
SB 759           Hearing held
Medicare for All Legislation (First Steps)
HB 1087         Hearing held
SB 871           Hearing 3/20
End of Life Option
HB 399           Passed the House of Delegates
SB 311            Hearing held
Raising the Age of Selling Tobacco to 21
SB 378            No hearing set

Immigration Justice

Maryland Dream Act
This legislation  would protect students that might lose DACA and TPS because of President Trump and expand the ability to get in-state tuition.
HB 318 –  Hearing  held
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 – Being voted on by the House
SB 221 – Hearing held
Not Keeping Undocumented People in Jail Beyond Their Sentence
This bill ensures that undocumented immigrants are not held in jails indefinitely without judicial oversight.
HB 913 – Hearing held                          
SB 17 –   Hearing held
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 – Hearing  held
SB 599 –    Hearing held

Other Topics

New 5G wireless telephone poles placement has to follow local zoning laws
HB 1020       Referred to interim study
SB 713        Referred to interim study
Allowing the Legislature to Add Items to the Governor’s Budget
HB 1108 Hearing 3/12
Legalization of Marijuana
HB 632   Referred to a summer task force
Ignition Interlock System
HB55) Requiring that an Ignition Interlock System be equipped with a camera capable of recording still images of the person  – Passed the House

Transportation

Majority of Counties Have to Agree Before New Toll Road Are Built Through Their Counties
HB 102 – Hearing Held – Funding for the new roads was not included in the budget
SB 442 –  Hearing held – Funding for the new roads was not included in the budget
Railroad Companies – Movement of Freight – Required 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 – Hearing Held
SB 252 – Hearing held

Voting Rights 

Small donor public financing
HB  1017        Hearing held
SB 414            Hearing held
Constitutional Amendment repealing Citizens United
HJ2         Hearing held
SJ1          Hearing held
Special Election to Fill a Vacancy for State Delegate or Senator
HB 85       Hearing Held
Repealing a Limitation of Campaign Contributions from Developers to County Executive (I am in opposition to this bill)
HB 227   Passed the Prince George’s Delegation  – Now has to Pass the full House
Presidential Tax Transparency Act –
Candidate Has to release tax returns to be on the Maryland ballot
HB 925 – Hearing held

Worker Rights

Collective Bargaining for community college workers
HB 766      Hearing held
Minimum Wage to $15 /Hour
SB 2221     Hearing held
HB 166       Passed House  – Waiting for Senate hearing
Overtime for Low Paid Salaried Workers
HB 1040     Hearing held
Expanding Prohibition Against Discrimination in Employment to Small Employers
HB 661      Hearing held

There are a couple of good websites that also track bills.  You might want to look at QED’s web-site:  https://qedinc.us/legislative-bulletin  and the Maryland Legislative Coalition:  http://mdlegislative.com

Evening in Annapolis for 47th District – March 18thYou are cordially invited to attend District 47’s Annual Annapolis ReceptionAn Evening in Annapolison March 18th 2019 at 6 PM – 8 PM.

The event will be hosted by your District 47 Representatives: Senator Malcolm Augustine, Delegate Diana Fennell, Delegate Wanika Fisher, and Delegate Julian Ivey.

Light Buffet Dinner

RSVP to Wanda Gorham 301-858-3478 to RSVP about transportation possibilities.

*Please note Free Parking is available in Calvert Street Parking Garage beginning @5:45 PM.

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