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What's in the Legislative News?


2017 Maryland Legislative Wrap Up

There were more than 1300 House bills and 1200 Senate bills introduced this session. 85% of the state budget is mandated spending. More mandates were added this year. Including adding 5 additional attorneys to Maryland’s Attorney General’s Office to sue the Federal Government.

RESOURCES: Check out the Legislative Website. You can read the full text of all legislation or see all votes by legislators at this website.

Successes – GOOD Bills Enacted and Bad Bills that were stopped:

For the 3rd year in a row the State Budget was adopted without a tax increase.

SB 307 – Open Transportation Investment Decisions Act – Application & Evaluation – Passed-Enrolled. (Originally called “Repeal of Road Kill Bill” at the request of Governor Hogan). SB 307 delays implementation of 2016 Act’s transportation priorities ranking system for 2 years; establishes a committee to study and evaluate the ranking system, including to reviewing the systems used by Virginia and North Carolina, to work out an acceptable ranking system; and, removes the population multiplier factor. Leaves current system of transportation decision-making in place during the interim.

HB 417 (SB314)– Clean Water Act - Governor’s proposal – Authorizing up to $10 million/year for grants for upgrading combined sewers for sewer overflow abatement for existing systems and to upgrade wastewater systems to enhanced removal level. Also provides for upgrades to smaller systems (less than 500,000 gallons per day) to the most cost-effective enhanced nutrient removal systems.

SB 717 – Connect Rural Maryland – Establishes a Task Force on Rural Internet; Broadband, Wireless and Cellular Service. The Task Force will make recommendations on how Western MD, Southern MD, and Eastern Shore can work together to increase connectivity.

HB 1362 – Immigration - The Community Trust Act – Del. Morales – Passed House 83 – 55 with L.D. 27B Delegate Jackson voting for the bill. The bill was assigned to Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and hotly debated and amended. It was withdrawn by the sponsor.

This Bill would prohibit MD law enforcement officials from providing any information on the immigration status or address of persons in custody without a Federal criminal warrant. Under it no state or county law enforcement agent may cooperate with or engage in immigration enforcement activities with regard to a person in custody. House Amendments to the bill would allow counties with cooperative agreements with ICE to continue to work with them. Only two counties have these agreements without which an officer arresting someone for a felony cannot ask about Immigration status. A judge might not realize they might be a “flight” risk.

SB-3540 HB 370 – End of Life Options – Assisted Suicide – withdrawn by sponsor.

SB928 (HB1185) Legalization and commercial processing and sales and taxing of marijuana.

 

BAD Bills That Were Passed:

SJ 5 – Greatly expanded powers of the Attorney General to sue the Federal Government to obstruct any changes in federal policies sought by the Trump Administration. Note Resolutions are not subject to Veto by the Governor. The Fiscal Note stated that these actions would be handled without increased budget but this was contradicted by HB 913.

HB 913 – Attorney General expanded powers and increased funding– Del. Rosenberg et al. Passed House 85-49; Senate30-15. (L.D. 27B Del. Jackson voted Yes.) The Bill expands the Attorney General’s powers as stated in SJ-5/HJ3, plus mandates at least $1 million a year additional in the AG’s budget exclusively to hire 5 attorneys and provide resources for them to sue the Federal Government on a wide variety of issues from immigration, refugee ban, to clean water, air, schools, health care, funding of Planned Parenthood, etc. Use tax dollars to pursue political agenda of blocking Federal law.

HB 978 – Education Accountability. Vetoed by the Governor and Veto was Overridden by Legislature. This bill mandates weak accountability standards for Maryland Public Schools, risks federal funding for K-12 education and traps thousands of children in public schools according to the Governor’s veto message. LD 27 – Delegate Jackson voted for this bill.

SB 1023 – Congressional Redistricting – Mid-Atlantic States. Senator Zucker et al – Passed Senate 30-16; House 87-51. L.D. 27B Delegate Jackson voted for the bill.

SB 1023 was amended to increase the commission to 9-members and now includes a requirement for public hearings. This Congressional Redistricting process only happens if the states of NY, NJ, PA, VA and NC adopt substantially the same procedure. The Maryland Legislature would not vote on the plan and the Governor is completely left out of selection process. It would only apply to Congressional Redistricting. Making it dependent on 5 other states renders it useless as these states are not likely to tie their redistricting to Maryland.

The requirement for linking Maryland to the other 5 states appears to try to neutralize/reduce Republican-leaning Districts in other states. National level Democrats have been saying we need a “national redistricting”.

HB 1 – (companion bill SB 230) – MD Healthy Family Act (Paid Sick Leave Bill) – passed. Del. Jackson was a co-sponsor of HB 1 and voted for the bill.

This legislation is too costly for very small businesses. It applies to companies with 15 or more employees. A more reasonable bill that would apply to businesses with 50 or more employees was proposed by Governor Hogan.

HB 1083 /SB 1081 Requires State to pick up funding if Federal law defunds Planned Parenthood or other groups funded in 2016. Passed. Senate: 32-16; House 50-51. No organization should have their funding guaranteed. Other organizations just as capable of providing needed health services. L.D. 27B Delegate Jackson voted for HB 1083.

SB1034 – Mandates funding for Public Broadcasting Commission. Requires replacing funding if cut by Feds ($3.8 Million) plus mandates $500,000 for recording last 2 weeks of Floor session of the Legislature and State of State Message. Funding includes the Commission and programming -- would increase for FY 19 - $2.2 Million; and 2022 - $4,129,000. Current total funding (including federal funding is $31 Million.)

HJ2 – Constitutional Convention – Constitutional Amendments – Repeal. Del. Frick—Passed. Repeals all prior legislation requesting a Constitutional Convention or amendments that have not yet passed the required number of State Legislatures.

 

OPPORTUNITIES MISSED – Bills Not Passed:

SB 252. Real Reform on Congressional and Legislative Redistricting proposed by the Governor. Would have established a non-partisan Redistricting Commission to propose both a Legislative and Congressional Redistricting Plan.

SB 842/HB1354. Delegates Shoemaker and Rose and Senator Ready. Jury Commissioner required to send a list of individuals disqualified from jury duty because they are not United States citizens to the State Board of Elections and require the Board of Elections to remove non-citizens from voters lists and refer those who voted illegally for prosecution. This bill was given Unfavorable Report.

HB 196 – Del. Fisher etal – would provide a tax deduction for interest on student loans.

RESOURCES: Check out the Legislative Website. You can read the full text of all legislation or see all votes by legislators at this website.

MD Senate Committees Maryland House of Delegates Committees
EDUCATION, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

EXECUTIVE NOMINATIONS COMMITTEE

RULES COMMITTEE

BUDGET AND TAXATION COMMITTEE

FINANCE COMMITTEE

JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS COMMITTEE

WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE

ENVIRONMENT AND TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE

JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

ECONOMIC MATTERS COMMITTEE

HEALTH & GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE

RULES & EXECUTIVE NOMINATIONS COMMITTEE