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Jul 2014
Issue 6

(RSC 2014.6) Drugs and Other Controlled Substances

DRUGS & OTHER CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES

SB 364 Criminal Law - Possession of Marijuana - Civil Offense (passed and signed by the Governor) reclassifies the use or possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana from a criminal offense to a civil offense, subject to a fine of up to $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense, and $500 for a third or subsequent offense. On a third or subsequent offense a court must order the offender to attend a drug education program approved by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), refer the person to an assessment for substance abuse disorder, and refer the person to substance abuse treatment, if necessary. The court must order an adult offender under the age of 21, even for a first offense, to attend a drug education program approved by DHMH, refer the person to an assessment for substance abuse disorder, and refer the person to substance abuse treatment, if necessary.


A police officer must issue a citation if the officer has probable cause to believe that the offense has or is being committed. The bill contains requirements for the contents of the civil citation that must be issued in these cases, as well as procedural requirements for the adjudication of the offense in District Court. If a citation is issued for an adult under the age of 21, the court shall summon the person for trial. If the court finds that a person at least 21 years old has committed a third or subsequent violation, the court shall summon the person for trial.


An individual younger than age 18 charged with this civil offense is subject to juvenile court procedures and dispositions, including referral to an alcohol or a substance abuse education or rehabilitation program. A citation for a violation for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, and the related public court record are not subject to public inspection and may not be included on the public website maintained by the Maryland Judiciary.The provisions of the bill that make the possession of marijuana a civil offense may not be construed to affect laws relating to operating a vehicle or vessel under the influence of or while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance or seizure and forfeiture. The civil penalties collected are to be remitted to DHMH, which must use the money only for funding drug treatment and education programs.


HB 881/SB 923 Medical Marijuana - Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission (passed) expands the purpose and responsibilities of the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission to include the registration of certifying physicians as well as conducting research on issues and disseminating information related to the medical use of marijuana. The legislation limits the number of licensed growers and specifies the process for qualifying patients to obtain medical marijuana, including provisions related to issuing identification cards for qualifying patients and their caregivers. It also authorizes the commission to set reasonable fees to cover its operating costs and to distribute any fees collected by the commission to the existing Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission Fund.


HB 889 Marijuana Laws - Full Disclosure of Legal, Employment, and Health Risks died in Senate JPR
HB 880/SB 658 Marijuana Control Act of 2014 died in committee


By Alyce Ortuzar

Posted by Alyce Ortuzar on 16 Apr 2014

Related Content: Sentencing | Drugs and Alcohol

Jul 2014
Issue 6

(RSC 2014.6) Meeting Basic Human Needs

MEETING BASIC HUMAN NEEDS

Minimum wage
HB 295 Maryland Minimum Wage Act of 2014 increases the state’s minimum wage for most workers from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour. The increase is phased in over four years beginning in January 2015. The law also requires that community providers for the developmentally disabled receive a 3.5% increase annually through FY 2019. The current services forecast assumes a 2.0% annual increase for the community providers. The 3.5% requirement is expected to add $8.0 million to FY 2016 expenditures. By FY 2019, state costs are expected to increase by $35.0 million. Passed and enrolled
Other bills on minimum wage increase either received unfavorable reports or were not voted out of committee.


Housing and community development
HB 451 Neighborhood Business Development Program – Financial Assistance for Food Deserts The Neighborhood Business Development Program was established in DHCD to stimulate investment in Maryland’s older communities by developing, redeveloping, or expanding small businesses, investing in and revitalizing small businesses, and helping local governments develop and expand small businesses. It provides below-market interest rate loans to small businesses, nonprofit organizations, or microenterprises locating or expanding in locally designated neighborhood revitalization areas. HB 451 expands the purposes of NBDP to include helping to create small businesses and other food-related enterprises that provide healthy foods to residents in food deserts. “Food deserts” generally are communities that do not have easy access to healthy foods, and are defined in the bill as that part of a priority funding area designated by the Secretary under the bill on the recommendation of the Interagency Food Desert Advisory Committee. Passed


HB 452 Housing and Community Development – Multifamily Rental Housing Program Efficiency Act
According to the Department of Housing and Community Development, several multifamily programs within DHCD have evolved to share similar goals and to address overlapping constituencies. Those programs are the Elderly Rental Housing Program, the Multifamily Rehabilitation Program, the Nonprofit Rehabilitation Program, and the Rental Housing Production Program. This bill consolidates the four programs under a new Rental Housing Program in DHCD. The bill also alters standards for multifamily loans and notice and permission standards for DHCD’s consultation with local jurisdictions on community development projects to make them consistent with the federal law income housing taxcredit process. The measure requires CDA to provide written notice and a reasonable opportunity to comment to the chief executive officer or equivalent officer and the head or president of the legislative body of the political subdivision in which a proposed community development project or a public purpose project is located, altering the prior requirement that CDA must get approval of the land use for a community development project by resolution of the appropriate governing body. Passed


HB 366 HOME Act of 2014 State law prohibits housing discrimination because of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, or disability. HB 366 would have added discrimination based on a person’s source of income to this list under specified circumstances. This bill defined “source of income” as any lawful source of money paid directly or indirectly to or on behalf of a renter or buyer of housing, including income from (1) any lawful profession, occupation, or job; (2) any government or private assistance, grant, loan, or rental assistance program, including low-income housing assistance certificates and vouchers; (3) any gift, inheritance, pension, annuity, alimony, child support, or other consideration or benefit; or (4) the sale or pledge of property or an interest in property. Failed, withdrawn


RSC reported on several bills on landlord-tenant relations; none made it out of committee.


Earned sick leave
HB 527/SB 753 Labor and Employment – Maryland Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act While not voted on this year, the bills had 66 co-sponsors in the House and 19 in the Senate. The Working Matters coalition says that the bill will be introduced again next year. Not voted out of committee


Gender equality
SB 212 Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 This bill prohibits discrimination based on “gender identity” in public accommodations, labor and employment, and housing by persons licensed or regulated by a unit of the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. The measure further prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in state personnel actions and in the leasing of property for commercial use. The bill defines “gender identity” as the gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth, which may be demonstrated by (1) consistent and uniform assertion of the person’s gender identity or (2) any other evidence that the gender identity is sincerely held as part of the person’s core identity. The bill provides exemptions from provisions of the bill relating to housing discrimination for the rental of rooms or apartments in an owner’s principal residence in a building with no more than five rental units. Additionally, religious corporations, associations, educational institutions, and societies are exempted from the employment discrimination provisions of the bill with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular gender identity to perform work connected with the activities of the religious entity. The bill also specifies that it is not unlawful for an employer to establish and require an employee to adhere to certain reasonable workplace appearance, grooming, and dress standards as long as the employee is allowed to appear, groom, and dress consistent with the employee’s gender identity.


Further, SB 212 does not apply to a private facility in a place of public accommodation if the place of public accommodation makes available, for the use of persons whose gender identity is different from their assigned sex at birth, a space that is functionally equivalent to the space made available to users of the private facility. The bill defines “private facility” as a facility (1) that is designed to accommodate only a particular sex; (2) that is designed to be used simultaneously by more than one user of the same sex; and (3) in which it is customary to disrobe in view of other users of the facility. Passed


By Ruth Crystal

Posted by Ruth Crystal on 16 Apr 2014

Related Content: Water Management | Affordable Housing | Wages

Jul 2014
Issue 6

(RSC 2014.6) Children & Family Issues/Juvenile Justice

CHILDREN & FAMILY ISSUES/JUVENILE JUSTICE

Update on bills reported in RSC 1-5:
HB 1/SB 64 Children in Need of Assistance - Educational Stability (RSC 1) passed
HB 79/SB 68 Courts – Juveniles – Expungement of Records (RSC 1) passed
SB 122 Juvenile Law – Detention – Community Detention Violations Hearings (RSC 1) passed and enrolled
HB 307/SB 333 Peace Orders & Protective Orders – Burden of Proof (RSC 2) passed
HB 309/SB 334 Family Law – Domestic Violence – Permanent Final Protective Orders (RSC 2) passed
SB 210 Child Abuse – Failure to Report – Penalties & Task Force (RSC 2) unfav rpt by JPR
HB 407/SB 485 Juvenile Law – Prohibition Against Continued Detention (RSC 2) unfav rpts by JUD & JPR

SB 607 Child Abuse & Neglect – Failure to Report & Training (RSC 3) passed by Senate with amendments limiting its focus to requiring health occupation boards that issue licenses or certificates to require training on the identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect. Unfav report by HGO
HB 701/SB 454 Criminal Law – Child Kidnapping & Prostitution (RSC 2) passed and enrolled
SB 78 Criminal Law – Human Trafficking – Victims Under Age 21 (RSC 2) passed Senate; died in House JUD
HB 696 Criminal Law – Human Trafficking – Victims Under Age 21 (RSC 2) died in committee
SB 476 Criminal Procedures – Seeking Medical Assistance for Another Who Ingested Alcohol or Drugs – Minors (RSC 3) amended to provide limited immunity from prosecution to any person (instead of minor) who seeks, provides, or assists with provision of medical assistance for a person experiencing a medical emergency after using alcohol or drugs. Passed
SB 515/HB 1295 Juvenile Law – Transfer of Cases to Juvenile Court (RSC 3) passed and enrolled
HB 577/SB 1018 Task Force to Study Housing & Supportive Services for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth – Continuation, Membership, Stipend & Duties (RSC 3) died in committee


By Judy Morenoff

Posted by Judy Morenoff on 16 Apr 2014

Related Content: Juvenile Justice | Children and Families | Domestic Violence | SOCIAL POLICY | Drugs and Alcohol

Jul 2014
Issue 6

(RSC 2014.6) Education

EDUCATION

Funding
Appropriations for public K-12 schools remained generally as appropriated. The Aid to Nonpublic Schools Program for textbooks and computer hardware and software remains at $6 million. HB 814/SB 534 Education - State Grant to Counties With Small and Declining Student Enrollment (passed) requires the state to provide a grant to local boards of education if enrollment is less than 5000, enrollment has declined, and education aid in the current fiscal year is less than the prior fiscal year by more than 1%. The grant must equal 50% of the decrease in total direct education aid.
There was no action on HB 114 Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) – Requirement. Likewise, SB 726 State Funding – Operating and Capital Funds, which would have put the GCEI funding stream in statute and raised the school construction funding floor to just over $400 million up from $250 million, received no action. One factor was the desire to wait for the Thornton school funding formula adequacy study.


The state’s FY 2015 capital budget (SB 171) includes $6.1 million in funds for the Public Aging Schools Program and $3 million for the Nonpublic Aging Schools Program. The Nonpublic Aging Schools Program provides grants for eligible construction projects including school security improvements to nonpublic schools that are also eligible for the Aid to Nonpublic Schools Program. The eligibility requirements for distribution of grants were changed in the FY 2015 capital budget. Excluding preschools, eligible nonpublic schools may receive up to $100,000 if at least 20% of a school’s students are eligible for the Free and Reduced Price Meals (FRPM) program; tuition charged to students is less than the statewide average per pupil expenditure for public schools; and the school has a facility with an average age of at least 50 years. Schools meeting one of the three criteria may receive up to $25,000. Schools meeting two of the three criteria may receive up to $75,000. Schools that meet none of the criteria specified above but have a school facility with an average age of 16 years or more, which is required to receive Aging Schools Program funds, may receive up to $5,000.


Bills to provide tax credits for children who are home-schooled (SB 271), attending nonpublic schools (HB 884) or to organizations which provide grants to nonpublic school students (HB 1262/SB 633 Maryland Education Credit) received unfavorable reports or no action.


Pre-Kindergarten and Early Childhood Education
SB 332 Pre-Kindergarten Expansion Act of 2014 (passed and signed by the Governor) expands the Preschool for All pilot program eligibility from 185% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 300% FPL. $4.3 million must be provided annually for this competitive grant program. The bills also require the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to include universal Pre-K as one of the components of the Thornton school funding formula adequacy study.
HB 428 Children - Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program - Eligibility (passed) enables children to participate in the Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program until the beginning of the school year after their fourth birthday.
HB 461 State Early Childhood Advisory Council (passed) codifies the State Early Childhood Advisory Council. The council must conduct periodic statewide needs assessments concerning the quality and availability of early childhood education and development programs, identify opportunities for, and barriers to, collaboration and coordination among
specified federally funded and state-funded programs, develop recommendations related to early childhood education and care, and assess the capacity and effectiveness of higher education institutions in the state toward supporting the development of early childhood educators.


Curriculum and Teaching
Several bills passed that address concerns about the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Maryland.


HB 1164 Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Implementation Review Workgroup (passed and signed by the Governor) requires the workgroup to identify and analyze the best practices of school systems in the state and in other jurisdictions that are successfully implementing CCSS and PARCC; determine new curriculum resources needed to fully implement MCCRS; identify how MSDE plans to assist local school systems in preparing parents and students for the PARCC assessments; assess the technological readiness and needs of public schools for implementing the assessments, and develop a plan to transfer from the High School Assessments (HSAs) to the PARCC assessments. HB 1388/SB 988 State Department of Education - Assessment Report for Broadband Capabilities in Public Schools (passed and signed by the Governor) requires MSDE to report by December 1, 2014, on existing broadband speeds and connections in all public schools; and each local school system’s plan to reach a broadband speed throughput of 1 gigabit per 1,000 students for each public school by FY 2020 through public and private efforts; and offer support and training programs in the use of education technology tools for classroom teachers. HB 1167/SB 676 Education - Performance Evaluation Criteria - Use of Student Growth Data (passed) prohibits any performance evaluation criteria for teachers and principals from using student growth data based on state assessments to make personnel decisions before the 2016-2017 school year. HB 1001 Education - Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – Waivers (passed) requires MSDE to submit proposed flexibility waivers from ESEA provisions to the Legislative Policy Committee (LPC) of the General Assembly before submitting the request to the United States Department of Education (USDE).


Attempts to rescind the state’s adoption of CCSS, stop state assessments not aligned with CCSS, change the implementation timeline, prohibit MSBE from establishing guidelines and curriculum based on the CCSS, or let each county decide its own timeline for implementation failed.


HB 265 Task Force to Study How to Improve Student Achievement in Middle School also passed.

By Lois Hybl

Posted by Lois Hybl on 16 Apr 2014

Related Content: Education + Literacy

Apr 2014
Issue 5

(RSC 2014.5) Environment: Renewable Energy & Solid Waste

ENVIRONMENT: RENEWABLE ENERGY & SOLID WASTE

Update on bills reported in RSC 1-4:

HB 118 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions - Progress Report - Ocean Acidification (RSC 2) passed House with amendments including name change to Task Force to Study the Impact of Ocean Acidification on State Waters.  Task Force to report to the Governor and legislature by 1/1/2015.  Hrg. 3/25 EHEA

HB 240/SB 56 Environment - Solid Waste Management Practices - Maryland Recycling and Landfill Diversion Task Force (RSC 2) passed House, assigned to EHEA.  SB 56 reported unfavorably by EHEA

HB 1249/SB 156 Public Utilities - Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - Hydrokinetic Turbines (RSC 2) unfavorable report ECM, withdrawn; no further action on Senate bill

HB 202/SB 186 Clean Energy Loan Programs - Private Lenders - Collection of Loan Payments (RSC 2) both passed their respective chambers with amendments.  HB 202 heard 3/25 FIN; SB 186 favorable report ECM

HB 747/SB 734 Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - Qualifying Biomass (RSC 3) unfavorable report ECM; no further action on Senate bill

HB 1149/SB 733 Public Utilities - Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (RSC 4) no further action

HB 1192/SB 786 Electricity - Community Renewable Energy Generating System - Pilot Program (RSC 4) no further action

By Hugh Haskell

 

Posted by Hugh Haskell on 1 Apr 2014

Related Content: ENVIRONMENT | Energy | Solid Waste Management

Apr 2014
Issue 5

(RSC 2014.5) Environment: Hydraulic Fracturing

ENVIRONMENT: HYDRAULIC FRACTURING

Update on bills reported in RSC 1-4:

SB 706/HB 1210 Environment-Permit Determinations-Cumulative Impact Assessments (RSC 4) Heard 2/25 EHEA; 3/5, ENV Second Reading Passed with Amendments

HB 1122/SB 745 Shale Gas Drilling Safety Review Act of 2014 (RSC 3) Unfavorable Report, ENV; Unfavorable report, EHEA, withdrawn

HB 865 Natural Gas – Hydraulic Fracturing – Rural Residential Drinking Water Protection Act (RSC 3) Heard 2/28, ENV

HB 1030 Public Health – Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals – Information and Fund (RSC 3) Heard 2/28, ENV

SB 535 Natural Gas Severance Tax and Impact Account (RSC 3) 2/19 B&T

HB 292 Natural Gas-Hydraulic Fracturing-Prohibition (RSC 1) Unfavorable Report ENV

HB 409 Environment- Hydraulic Fracturing Wastewater-Prohibited Acts (RSC 2) Unfavorable Report ENV

SB 360 Natural Gas-Hydraulic Fracturing-Prohibition (RSC 2) Heard 2/4 EHEA and FIN; Unfavorable report EHEA
SB 361 Public Safety-Gas Pipeline Inspection Requirements-Best Available Technology (RSC 2) no further action

SB 362 Public Safety-Gas Pipeline Inspection Requirements-State Penalties (RSC 2) no further action

By Betsy Singer

 

Posted by Betsy Singer on 1 Apr 2014

Related Content: ENVIRONMENT | Energy

Apr 2014
Issue 5

(RSC 2014.5) Environment: Land Use

ENVIRONMENT: LAND USE

Update on bills reported in RSC 1-4:

SB 171 Capital Budget - Program Open Space (RSC 1) Capital Budget Subcommittee of House Appropriations is meeting to consider a Senate-proposed cap on Program Open Space funds. Funding comes from 1/2% tax on real estate transfers. Hrg. 3/27 APP

HB 510 Sustainable Communities Tax Credit Program - Extension and Alteration (RSC 3) Passed House 111-20; SRU

By Susan Cochran

 

Posted by Susan Cochran on 1 Apr 2014

Related Content: ENVIRONMENT | Land Use and Growth Management

Apr 2014
Issue 5

(RSC 2014.5) Environment: Clean Water & Pesticides

ENVIRONMENT: CLEAN WATER & PESTICIDES

HB 1551 Natural Resources - Fresh Oyster Shells - Purchase by County Oyster Committees (Jacobs plus 5) would require DNR to authorize county oyster committees to purchase annually up to 400,000 bushels of fresh oyster shells that have not gone through a hatchery for production of spat on the fresh oyster shell for placement on a public oyster fishery bottom; and making the Act an emergency measure. Environmental groups opposing; watermen in favor. Situation involves a limited number of shells.  Hrg. 3/14 ENV 

SB 101 Environment - Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund - Use of Funds (Chair, EHEA for MDE) authorizes MD Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund to provide various types of financial assistance. Passed in Senate; hrg. 3/19 ENV

SB 564/HB 834 Environment - Water Pollution Control – Penalty (Simonaire/Frush & Hubbard) would increase penalties for specified violations of water pollution control law from $5K to $10K for each violation and from $50K to $100K total. Passed by both chambers.

SB 903 Tax Sales - Stormwater Remediation Fees - Temporary Prohibition (Hershey plus two) would  establish an extended grace period for unpaid stormwater remediation fees.  Heard 3/11 B&T

Update on bills reported in RSC 1-4:

HB 12 Bay Restoration Fund - Authorized Uses - Local Entities (RSC 2-4) Passed House; favorable report EHEA

HB 50 Stormwater Management - Watershed Protection and Restoration Program - Repeal (RSC 1) was cross-filed as SB 464 (Jennings plus 11) and would have repealed a number of requirements relating to protections against stormwater run-off and associated contaminants.  Unfavorable reports ENV & EHEA; defeated

HB 121/SB 62 Chesapeake Bay Trust - Powers and Duties - Member Terms (RSC 2-4) As previously reported, bills passed original chambers. No further action on HB 121; SB 62 hrg. 3/19 ENV

HB 193/SB 27 Nutrient Management - Phosphorus Risk Assessment Tool or Index - Economic Impact Analysis (RSC 1-3) and HB 26/SB 121 Administrative Procedure Act - Fiscal Impact Statements for Proposed Regulations (RSC 1) All phosphate management tool bills are considered dead for the session. Instead, language has been inserted into the budget bill SB 170 requiring an economic impact analysis before any other PMT actions can be taken

HB 240/SB 56 Environment - Solid Waste Management Practices – Maryland Recycling and Landfill Diversion Task Force (RSC 3&4) See Environment: Renewable Energy & Solid Waste report, p. 1

HB 618/SB 437 Nonresident Recreational Fishing and Crabbing Licenses – Oyster Restoration Surcharge (RSC 2-4) no further action

HB 621/SB 700 Registration of Pesticides – Fee Increase – Disposition of Fees (RSC 1-4) Both bills passed and crossed over to opposite chamber.   1st reading EHEA; hrg. 3/19 ENV

SB 781 Environment - Recycling - Public and Commercial Buildings, Special Events, and Single-Family Residences (RSC 4) Passed Senate; hrg. 3/26 ENV

HB 1139 Environment - Stormwater Remediation Fees - Reduction of Fees (RSC 4) no action since 2/26 hrg.

By Linda Silversmith

 

Posted by Linda Silversmith on 1 Apr 2014

Related Content: ENVIRONMENT | Water Management

Apr 2014
Issue 5

(RSC 2014.5) Transportation

TRANSPORTATION

HB 1212/SB 348 Use of Text Messaging Device or Handheld Telephone While Driving - Accidents Resulting in Death or Serious Injury – Penalties (Clippinger/Manno) commonly known as Jake's law was created because of a young boy's death in an accident caused by a driver using a hand held texting device. Proposed penalties would more closely align with impaired driving from alcohol. Including amendments, passed third reading JUD & JPR. Referred to HRU 3/21& JPR in the opposite chamber.

Updates on bills reported in RSC 1-4:

SB 710/HB 957 Impaired Driving – Repeat Offenders – Penalties (RSC 3) Passed 3rd reading JUD; ongoing JPR

By Barbara Ditzler      

 

Posted by Barbara Ditzler on 1 Apr 2014

Related Content: Transportation

Apr 2014
Issue 5

(RSC 2014.5) Budget & Taxation

BUDGET AND TAXATION

As the Senate prepared to adopt SB170 the Governor’s $39 billion budget, revenue projections by the Board of Revenue Estimates were adjusted downward by $238 million for the next 15 months.  Revenue for the remainder of the current fiscal year is expected to be $127 million short and for next year $111 million short.  There were also more than $100 million in spending deficiencies identified that were not contained in the Governor’s budget.  As a result, on March 13, the Senate voted to reduce the additional pension payments promised to state employees by $500 million over the next five years.   This is in addition to the $100 million already proposed by the Governor.  With a number of other smaller reductions in proposed expenditures, a 2% cost of living increase and merit pay increases for state employees were preserved.  It is not expected that the reduction in pension contributions will affect the pensions of current retirees and employees.  The Senate version of the budget will spend $1.7 billion more than last year, a 4.5% increase, with the largest gains in spending going to medical assistance and welfare, with federal dollars funding most of those gains.  State commitments to public schools and higher education were increased, allowing $4.3 million for expanding pre-kindergarten programs and school breakfasts for an additional 40,000.  An increase of 10% for public higher education will allow colleges and universities to keep tuition increases to 3%. 

Update on bills reported in RSC 1-4:

SB 172 BRFA (RSC 1) passed the Senate and received a favorable vote with amendments by APP

HB 739/SB 625 Maryland Estate Tax Unified Credit (RSC 2) passed by both houses.

SB 317 Income Tax – Subtraction Modification - Stormwater Remediation Fee (RSC 2) unfavorable report B&T

SB 384 Rate Reduction of Corporate Income Tax (RSC 2) unfavorable report B&T

SB 769 Income Tax – Elimination of Marriage Penalty (RSC 4) unfavorable report B&T, withdrawn

By Barbara Hankins

 

Posted by Barbara Hankins on 1 Apr 2014

Related Content: Budget Process | State Revenue

Apr 2014
Issue 5

(RSC 2014.5) Elections & Redistricting

ELECTIONS & REDISTRICTING

HB 1415/SB 1017 Chief Executive Officer or County Executive – Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in Office (Kaiser plus 8/Montgomery County Senators) was originally filed by the Montgomery County Delegation as it pertained only to a vacancy in the office of the Montgomery County Executive.  In the House Ways & Means Committee, the bill was amended to apply to the Chief Executive Officer of all charter counties and the City of Baltimore.  Charter Counties are authorized by state statute to provide for special elections for a vacancy for County Council.  In 2012, the General Assembly authorized county council special elections in Montgomery County to be conducted by mail.  In 2013, that authority was expanded statewide to include special elections in a county council in other counties, representatives in Congress and other specified local special elections.  HB 1415, as amended, specifically authorizes charter counties and Baltimore City to enact laws allowing for a special election to fill the office of County Executive or Baltimore City Mayor and authorizes that those election may be held by mail if the resolution establishing the date of the special elections directs that the election be conducted by mail.  The amended bill passed out of the House with a vote of 115-21.  The cross-filed, but unamended, SB 1017 was heard in the Senate EHEA Committee on March 13 but no action was taken.  HB 1415 had its first reading in the Senate EHEA Committee on March 18.

Update on bills reported in RSC 1-4:

HB 212 Election Law - Statewide Voter Registration List - Removal of Deceased Voters (RSC 1) was amended in the House Ways and Means Committee, and passed 19-3.  An identically-titled bill, SB 15, was similarly amended in the Senate EHEA Committee, and passed 11-0 out of that committee.  The bill requires the State Election Administrator to make arrangements with Social Security Administration to received names of Maryland residents who are reported deceased.  The amendments require that the voter or a person attending the affairs of a deceased voter get notification prior to removing the name of the deceased voter from the statewide voter registration list, and offers the opportunity to show why the voter should not be removed.  Both bills have passed to the opposite chamber.  Hrg. 3/27 W&M; EHEA

HB 109/SB 48 Election Law - Polling Places – Accommodations for Disabled Voters (RSC 1) passed in the House and has had its First Reading in the Senate EHEA.  The cross-filed SB 48 was heard in Senate EHEA in January, but the Committee took no action.  These bill would require polling place workers, to the extent practicable, to accommodate disabled voters by allowing them to move to the front of the line or allowing someone to act as a place marker in line for the disabled voter which he/she sits in a chair in the polling place.

HB 25 Local Government – Municipal Elections – No Excuse Absentee Voting (RSC 1) passed the House 137-0 on February 27, and was heard in the Senate EHEA Committee on March 20.

HB 125 Election Law – Petitions – Prohibited Actions (RSC 1) passed the House 129-0 on February 27, and was heard in the Senate EHEA Committee on March 20.

None of the redistricting reform bills that the League has been monitoring , including those authorizing a task force or study commission, requiring standards for Congressional redistricting, or requiring the redistricting plans be introduced as regular bills, crossed over from one chamber to the other.  So it appears our efforts to support redistricting reform in Maryland will remain unsupported by our legislators for at least another year.

By Lu Pierson

 

Posted by Lu Pierson on 1 Apr 2014

Related Content: Redistricting | Election Administration | Fair Campaigns | Elections | Absentee Ballot | Polling Places | Voter Registration

Apr 2014
Issue 5

(RSC 2014.5) Children & Family Issues/Juvenile Justice

CHILDREN & FAMILY ISSUES/JUVENILE JUSTICE

Update on bills reported in RSC 1-4:

HB 1/SB 64 Children in Need of Assistance- Educational Stability (RSC 1) HB 1adopted, in JPR; SB 64 adopted, heard 3/20  in JUD

HB 79/SB 68 Courts – Juveniles – Expungement of Records (RSC 1) HB 79 adopted, in JPR; SB 68 heard 1/14 in JPR, no further action

SB 122 Juvenile Law – Detention – Community Detention Violations Hearings (RSC 1) adopted, heard 3/20 in JUD

HB 307/SB 334 Peace Orders & Protective Orders – Burden of Proof  (RSC 2) HB 307 adopted, in JPR; SB 334 adopted, hrg 3/25 in JUD

HB 309/SB 334 Family Law – Domestic Violence – Permanent Final Protective Orders (RSC 2) HB 309 adopted;  SB 334 adopted, hrg 3/25 in JUD

SB 210 Child Abuse – Failure to Report – Penalties & Task Force  (RSC 2) unfav rpt by JPR

HB 407/SB 485 Juvenile Law – Prohibition Against Continued Detention  (RSC 2) HB 407 unfav rpt by JUD; SB 485 unfav rpt by JPR

SB 607 Child Abuse & Neglect – Failure to Report & Training (RSC 3) adopted with amendments limiting its focus to requiring health occupation boards that issue licenses or certificates to require training on the identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect.  Hrg. 3/26 JUD 

HB 701/SB 454 Criminal Law – Child Kidnapping & Prostitution (RSC 2) HB 701 adopted JPR;SB 454 heard 2/18, no further action

SB 78 Criminal Law – Human Trafficking – Victims Under Age 21  (RSC 2) adopted; hrg. 4/1 JUD

HB 696 Criminal Law – Human Trafficking – Victims Under Age 21  (RSC 2) Hrg. 2/18 JUD

HB 342/SB 476 Criminal Procedures – Seeking Medical Assistance for Another Who Ingested Alcohol or Drugs – Minors (RSC 3) HB 342 Hrg. 2/11 JUD, unfavorable report; SB 476 adopted with amendments: now provides limited immunity from prosecution to any person (instead of minor) who seeks, provides, or assists with provision of medical assistance for a person experiencing a medical emergency after using alcohol or drugs; Hrg 3/27 in JUD

SB 515/ HB 1295 Juvenile Law – Transfer of Cases to Juvenile Court (RSC 3) HB 1295 adopted, in JPR; SB 515 adopted with amendments

HB 577/SB 1018 – Task Force to Study Housing & Supportive Services for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth – Continuation, Membership, Stipend & Duties (RSC 3) Heard 2/11 APP, no further action; assigned to SRU, no further action

By Judy Morenoff

 

Posted by Judy Morenoff on 1 Apr 2014

Related Content: Juvenile Justice | Children and Families | SOCIAL POLICY

Apr 2014
Issue 5

(RSC 2014.5) Education

EDUCATION

Update on bills reported in RSC 1-4:

Curriculum/Accountability

Most bills attempting to simply block the implementation of Common Core State Standards and Assessments have received no action or unfavorable reports.  However, bills which would create a work group or deal with various problems of implementation, communication, teacher training and adequate broadband capacity for computerized assessments are receiving more action. 

HB 117 Education - Maryland State Assessment - Request for Waiver (RSC 1) Unfavorable Report W&M

HB 1001 Education - Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act – Waivers (RSC 3) Passed House; EHEA

HB 1164 Maryland College and Career Ready Standards and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Implementation Review Workgroup (RSC 3) Passed House w/amendments, Hrg. 3/27 EHEA

HB 1167/SB 676 Education - Performance Evaluation Criteria - Use of Student Growth Data (RSC 3) Both bills passed original chamber. EHEA; hrg. 3/26 W&M

HB 1388/SB 988 State Department of Education - Assessment Report for Broadband Capabilities in Public Schools (RSC 4) Both bills passed original chamber. Assigned EHEA and HRU

HB 265 Task Force to Study How to Improve Student Achievement in Middle School (RSC 4) Hrg. 3/19 EHEA

Early Childhood Education/PreKindergarten

HB 297/SB 332 Prekindergarten Expansion Act of 2014 (RSC 2&4)  Both bills passed original chamber. Hrgs. 3/25 B&T; 3/25 W&M

HB 428 Children - Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program – Eligibility (RSC 2&4) Hrg. 3/19 EHEA

HB 461 State Early Childhood Advisory Council (RSC 2&4) Hrg. 3/26 EHEA

SB 822 Early-In Early-Out Education Act of 2014 (RSC 3) Unfavorable report B&T

Funding

HB 814/SB 534 Education - State Grant to Counties With Small and Declining Student Enrollment (RSC 2) HB 814 Favorable w/amendments W&M; SB 534 passed Senate, Hrg 4/2 W&M, APP.

SB 128 Education - Compensatory Education Grants - Federal Community Eligibility Provision (RSC 1) Passed Senate w/amendments. Hrg. 4/1 APP

SB 218 Creation of a State Debt - Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB) (RSC 1) Favorable Report B&T.

By Lois Hybl

 

Posted by Lois Hybl on 1 Apr 2014

Related Content: Fiscal Policy | Education + Literacy

Apr 2014
Issue 5

(RSC 2014.5) Open Government

OPEN GOVERNMENT

Update on bills reported in RSC 1-4:

HB 53 Public Records - Provision of Copies, Printouts, and Photographs - Required (RSC 1&4)  While this legislation was amended in HGO before it was approved in committee and passed by the House, the amendment was simply to move the provisions from the State Government article of law to the General Provisions article. Heard 3/12 EHEA; no committee action reported at this writing.

HB 658 Public Information Compliance Board - Establishment (RSC 2) Extensively amended to provide that the Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government study appeals under the Maryland Public Information Act.  The title of the bill is now Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government - Study of Appeals under the Maryland Public Information Act.  Reported favorably in HGO and passed the House without dissent.  Hrg. 3/27 EHEA

HB 157/SB 847 Open Meetings Act - Advance Notice of Meeting - Agenda (RSC 1&4)  Referred to the Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government to study whether a public body should be required to provide an agenda in advance of a meeting.

HB 1260/SB 644 Open Data Policy - Council on Open Data (RSC 2&4) passed the Senate with amendments without dissenting vote.  Hrg. 3/26 HGO

By Barbara Schnackenberg

 

Posted by Barbara Schnack... on 1 Apr 2014

Related Content: GOVERNMENT

Apr 2014
Issue 5

(RSC 2014.5) Health

HEALTH

The end of open enrollment for obtaining health insurance through the Exchange is March 31 for coverage in May.  Those signed up by March 18 will have coverage as of April.  Medicaid will continue rolling enrollment.  There has been a concerted push to sign up young people in the last month.  

The Baltimore Sun reported that there was an increase in people enrolling as the deadline approached. As of March 15, 44,836 individuals have enrolled in Qualified Health Plans.  There is still a preponderance of older Marylanders between the ages of 45 and 64.  As of March 15, 107,550 individuals have enrolled in Medicaid.  With the people rolled over from the Adult Primary Care Program, there are now 248,230 Marylanders enrolled in Medicaid.  There is a hotline for those having problems with the website, 800-396-1961.    

Update on bills reported in RSC 1-4:

HB 27 Correctional Services - Healthy Births for Incarcerated Women (RSC 1&2) has passed the House and is in Judicial Proceedings in the Senate.  It sets standards for the care of pregnant incarcerated women and the delivery of the babies, forbids physical restraints, and requires the Juvenile Services to develop related regulations.

HB 402/SB 314 Health Occupations – State Board of Naturopathic Medicine (RSC 4) has passed the House with many amendments that change the bill significantly.  Naturopaths will be licensed by the Maryland Board of Physicians (MBOP) and must have a collaborative agreement with a physician.  Their scope of practice will limited and patients must sign a consent form before seeing a Naturopath advising that their practice is limited to that set forth in the law.

HB 584/SB 367 Drug Abuse Treatment Programs – Locations and Economic Impact Study (RSC 3) were never voted on in committee.

HB 881/SB 923 Medical Marijuana - Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission (RSC 3) and HB 1321 Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission - Treatment, Certification, Licensing, and Registration (RSC 3) have been rolled into one bill and was passed by the House.  The resulting bill is now in the Judicial Proceedings Committee, where it appears to have run into problems.  Senators are concerned not about medical marijuana, but about how to regulate the growers/distributors and how to assure a fair market so the price does not rise too high. 

HB 1158/SB 898 Tobacco Products – Unpackaged Cigars and Flavored Other Tobacco Products – Restrictions (RSC 3) died in the House committee.  This does not bode well for HB 443/SB 589 Tobacco Taxes – Health Maryland Initiative (RSC 3), which are tied up in both Houses with the budget.  

HB 162/SB 172 Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2014 (RSC 2&3) passed the Senate with significant amendments to the budget and is in the House Appropriations Committee.  It retained the $30 million in fiscal 2015, but removed the $40 million in fiscal 2016 from funds currently paid by the hospitals to the state.   The funds will be used by the hospitals to implement the new Medicare Waiver.  The “welfare of the community” programs appear to have been removed (RSC 1).

HB 280/SB 215 Workers’ Compensation – Payment of Physician – Dispensed Prescriptions – Limitations, HB 281/SB 217 Workers’ Compensation – Payment for Controlled Dangerous Substances Prescribed by Physicians – Limitations and Workers’ Compensation (RSC 3) both died in the House Health subcommittee before the crossover date.  HB 1342 Workers’ Compensation – Reimbursement for Repackaged and Relabeled Drugs – Fee Schedule and Requirements (RSC 3), the medical community’s answer to the above bills, never received a hearing in the committee. 

HB 1009/SB 789 Civil Actions – Noneconomic Damages – Catastrophic Injury (RSC 3), the plaintiff’s bar bill, has not been voted on in committee so is dead for this year.  HB 930 Health Care Malpractice – Limitation on Noneconomic Damages (RSC 3) the medical community’s answer is also dead as is HB 635 Health Care Malpractice – Expression of Regret or Apology – Inadmissibility (RSC 3).

HB 1211 State Board of Nursing – Midwives – Licensing and Regulation (RSC 3&4) appears to be dead again this year.  It will be back.

HB 1267/SB 882 Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) – Targeted Outreach, Engagement, and Services (RSC 3) has passed the House and has moved to Senate Finance, but SB 67/HB 606 Mental Hygiene – Standards for Emergency Evaluation and Involuntary Admissions – Modification (RSC 3) and HB 767/SB 831 Public Health Mental Hygiene – Assisted Outpatient Treatment (RSC 3) were given unfavorable reports. 

SB 227 Health – Medical Laboratories – Advertising For or Soliciting Business – Repeal of Prohibition and HB 906 Medical Laboratories – Direct to Consumer Genetic Testing (RSC 3) died in committee.

By Neilson Andrews

 

 

Posted by Neilson Andrews on 1 Apr 2014

Related Content: Budget Process | Drugs and Alcohol | Health Care