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Apr 2015
Issue 5

Report from State Circle (2015.5)

Please click link to access 2015 Report from State Circle: Issue 5

Posted by LWV Maryland on 1 Apr 2015

Related Content: Administration of Justice | Election Process | Redistricting | Firearms Control | Fiscal Policy | GOVERNMENT | Children and Families | ENVIRONMENT | Energy | Land Use and Growth Management | Transportation | Water Management | SOCIAL POLICY | Education + Literacy | Health Care

Feb 2015
Issue 2

RSC 2015-2 Election Process

HB 224/SB 192 Voters’ Rights Protection Act 2015 (Rosenber g plus 8/Pinsky) has been introduced into the
General Assembly in various forms over the past 5 years.injunctive relief in circuit court to prohibit a person from engaging in specific violations of election law relating to a pending election. Examples of the type of violations included are attempting to prohibit or dissuade voters from voting or influencing a voter’s voting decision through the use of force, threat, menace, bribery, intimidation or offer of reward. In 2013 the bill passed the House and received a Senate hearing, but no further action was taken. In last year’s session, it was heard in a House Committee, but no further action was taken. Hrg 2/11 W&M

HB 141 Election Law – 2016 Primary Presidential Election – Early Voting (O’Donnell) adds days of early voting
only for the 2016 Presidential primary election. The bill proposes that early voting be available from the second
Thursday before the election through the second Saturday before the election and the second Monday before the election through the Thursday before the election. Hrg 2/11 W&M

Another bill proposing to change the days of early voting for all future elections is HB 218 Election Law – Days of
Early Voting (Morhaim plus 5). Currently, early voting is available fr om the second Thursday before a primary
or general election through the Thursday before the election. HB 218 would change this to the Thursday before the
election to the Sunday before the election.

An attempt to encourage the use of casting ballots by mail (absentee voting) is HB 226 Election Law – Casting of
Ballot by Mail – Public Communications, (Morhaim plus 20). The bill would require the State Board of Elections
and local election boards to emphasize in public communications (including internet sites, specimen ballots, voter
notification card mailings, absentee ballot application, public service media announcements) that no reason is required to vote absentee, such ballots are counted in the same manner as all other ballots, voting by mail is a secure method of voting and is convenient because it affords a voter ample time to review the ballot and allows a voter to avoid possible wait times at a polling place. Hrg 2/18 W&M

SB 97 Election Law – Death of Voter Before Canvass – Counting of Ballot (Norman plus 10) would require that an absentee ballot cast by a voter who dies before the ballot is canvassed is to be counted unless it is rejected for a reason other than the voter’s death.

SB340 Election Law – Voting Rights – Ex-Felons (Conway) would alter the definition of persons eligible to register to vote by removing the requirement that a person who has been convicted of a felony must complete parole or probation before being qualified to register. SB 340 states that a person is not qualified to be a registered voter if he/she is currently serving a court-ordered sentence of imprisonment. Hrg 2/26 EHEA

Lu Pierson

Posted by Lu Pierson on 19 Feb 2015

Related Content: Election Process | Elections

Feb 2015
Issue 2

RSC 2015-2 Budget


HB 70/SB 55 Budget Bill (Fiscal Year 2016) (Speaker of the House and President of the Senate by Request of the Administration) Initial reports about the budget which was released on January 23rd, praised it as a moderate attempt to get spending under control and address the ongoing structural deficit. A structural deficit occurs when anticipated growth in revenue does not meet anticipated spending needs. The Governor’s plan proposed 16.2 billion in spending which is an increase of 1 1/2%. It more than meets the Spending Affordability Guidelines and reduces spending to below the estimate of the Board of Revenues.

However, the budget contains many elements that have advocates for education, services to vulnerable populations, environmental protection and public safety worried. Many legislators are also expressing grave concerns.
The key features that are causing worry are the cuts to education and the 2% across the board cut to all state agency spending. Warren Deschenaux, chief budget analyst for the Maryland General Assembly said at a briefing for the Budget and Taxation and Appropriations Committees, “That is a very dangerous, in my estimation, approach to budgeting.” He pointed out that some agencies spent more than budgeted in 2015 due to unanticipated expenses such as $38.5 million by the Department of Corrections for items such as inmate medical expenses, overtime, and food and utility costs. How does a department that can’t currently meet its budget, cut 2%? This 2% cut to state agencies is on top of a proposed reduction of the state work force by 500 positions and the nixing of a negotiated modest cost of living increase and other negotiated compensation adjustments. Deschenaux suggested that cuts may be in order but they should be done strategically not with a broad brush.

Of concern to all education advocates is the proposal to freeze the per pupil spending amount at last year’s level and allow it to rise by only 1% a year in the foreseeable future. Increased costs due to inflation and negotiated salary increases leave school districts across the state with little choice other than cutting programs, increasing class size or raising additional revenue locally. The proposal to cut the Geographic Cost of Education Index by half (a $65 million reduction) which primarily impacts schools in the Baltimore region and Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties has educators in those districts worried. Gambling on video lottery terminals was supposed to give education funding a shot in the arm but revenue from that source was $54 million below what was anticipated. The fact that table games exceeded revenue projections by $26 million did not make up for this which means that General Fund revenues will have to be used to supplement these special fund revenues.

HB 72/SB 57 Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2015 (Speaker of the House and President of the Senate by Request of the Administration) also known as the BRFA contains all of the previously passed legislation that will need to be modified by the General Assembly in this session in order to enact the Governor’s Budget as proposed. This would include transferring funds from previously established accounts such as the Local Income Tax Reserve Account, the Transfer Tax, some of the Program Opens Space Funds, Lawton Conservation Loan Fund, Waterway Improvement Fund and others into the General Fund. The BRFA also proposes reductions to negotiated wage increases, the Per Pupil Education funding formula, repealing Program Open Space repayment legislation, reducing the Community College funding formula and other formulas. Instead of making transfers to the General Fund, this budget also proposes some “Fund Swaps”. It proposes using funds from the MD Health Insurance Plan and the Cigarette Restitution Fund to fund Medicaid. The portion of Video Lottery Terminal funding that was supposed to help the jurisdictions where these facilities are located deal with impacts of having them there, would instead go to offset the lack of projected gambling revenue for education. The Housing Counseling Fund would be used to fund various other housing programs. If the General Assembly does not enact these and other proposals in the BRFA, the budget would be out of balance by $502.1 million. As reported earlier, the legislature has no constitutional authority to move around allocations to various line items in the budget. However, they may be able to negotiate such moves with the Governor (who can issue supplemental budgets with line item changes) as part of the negotiations over the BRFA.

Nancy Soreng

Posted by Nancy Soreng on 19 Feb 2015

Related Content: Election Process | State Revenue | Education + Literacy

Feb 2015
Issue 2

RSC 2015-2 State Revenue

  • HB 221/SB 73 Commission on Tax Policy, Reform, and Fairness (Dumais/Feldman) Introduced in 2014 session as: HB 554. The Commission will have Senate and House co-chairs. It will study, consider, and make recommendations regarding tax policy: (1) study the current revenue structure of the State, including income, sales, corporate, motor fuel, excise, and property taxes, tax exemptions and credits, and fees; (2) review the academic and economic research on state and local tax policy to assist in the overall assessment of efficacy, fairness, and competitiveness of the current revenue structure of the State; (3) review the structure of neighboring jurisdictions for the purpose of evaluating the regional competitiveness of the State’s tax structure; 4) consider the nature of the State’s economy and the importance of service and professional businesses to economic development; (5) consider whether or not the current revenue structure of the State should be reformed, modified, and modernized; and (6) make recommendations regarding changes to the State’s revenue structure. Hrg 2/24 W&M
  • SB 10 Motor Fuel Tax Rates - Consumer Price Index Adjustment - Repeal (Brochin) Under current law, beginning in 2013, motor fuel taxes are adjusted annually based on inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), for all fuels except aviation or turbine fuel. SB 10 would repeal that requirement for future years. Hrg 2/4 B&T
  • SB 47 Election Law - Fair Campaign Financing Fund - Income Tax Checkoff (RSC-1). Hrg 2/4 B&T
  • SB 108 Tobacco Taxes - Healthy Maryland Initiative (Leudtke) Cross-filed with HB 37 (RSC-1). Hrg 2/4, B&T

Doreen Rosenthal

Posted by Doreen Rosenthal on 19 Feb 2015

Related Content: State Revenue

Feb 2015
Issue 2

RSC 2015-2 Campaign Finance


  • HB 85 Real-Time Transparency Act of 2015 (Carr plus 14) would require a political committee to file a campaign finance report within 48 hours of receiving any contribution, loan, or transfer from another political committee that is $1,000 or more during an election year. The legislation requires the political committee to identify the name of the contributor and the date and amount of the donation or loan. A fine of $10 per day (or fraction of a day) would be charged for each day the reporting of such contributions is late. However, the maximum penalty would be $500. This would not replace any campaign financing reporting requirements that are currently in place. Hrg 2/18 W&M.
  • HB 219 Independent Expenditures and Electioneering Communications–Registration and Reporting (Morhaim plus 5) would lower the threshold for reporting independent expenditures. An independent expenditure occurs when funds are spent on a political campaign communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate that is not made in cooperation or consultation with or the candidate or candidate’s authorized election committee or a political party. Currently independent expenditures of $5,000 or more in an election cycle must be reported within 48 hours. This legislation reduces the reporting threshold to $1,000. Currently, a report must also be filed when an aggregate of $10,000 has been spent. This bill requires a report of aggregate expenses to be filed when $5,000 has been spent. Hrg 2/18 W&M.
  • HB 239/SB 271 Election Law - Use of Campaign Funds for Meeting and Conference Expenses (Howard plus 10/Kelley plus 19) would allow elected officials and candidates to use funds from a campaign account to pay for travel, lodging, meals, and registration expenses associated with attendance of meetings or conferences focused on legislative issues, process, or public policy analysis that is pertinent to the office the elected official holds or that the candidate seeks. This bill has been introduced before and did not go anywhere  However, there are considerably more co-sponsors this year. Hrg 2/18 W&M; Hrg 2/19 EHEA.
  • SB 153 Corporations - Political Expenditures - Stockholder Approval (Raskin plus 15) would prohibit corporations from using any money or other property in connection with a political expenditure without the advanced authorization of a majority of their shareholders. The shareholders would have to authorize the specific amount and purpose of the expenditure at an annual or special meeting of the shareholders. The bill does not say, but I would assume that the same proxy procedure would be in place for such decisions as is in place for other business decisions made by a Board of Directors of a corporation. The bill also requires notification to all shareholders within 48 hours after the political expenditure is made as well as posting that information on their web-site and reporting it in their annual report. Hrg 2/19 EHEA.

Nancy Soreng

Posted by Nancy Soreng on 19 Feb 2015

Related Content: Campaign Finance

Feb 2015
Issue 2

RSC 2015-2 Administration of Justice


  • HR 111/SB 332 Judgeships - Circuit Courts and District Courts (Speaker, President) adds one Circuit Court judge each in Baltimore, Charles, Montgomery and Prince Georges counties and Baltimore City and one District Court judge in District 5 (Prince Georges) and District 6 (Montgomery). A similar bill was passed by the House of Delegates in the 2014 session, but did not make it to the Senate floor. Hrg 2/12, 2 p.m. JUD; referred to JPR and B&T.
  • HR 346 Altering References from Master to Magistrate (Morales) Changes the title “Master” to “Magistrate” in certain legislation. Hrg 2/25, 1 p.m. JUD
  • HR 361 Criminal Procedure - Government-Funded Legal Representation - Initial Appearance (Vallario, et al.) proposes a Constitutional Amendment providing that indigent defendants entitlement to government funded legal representation will be determined by statute and court rule, not by a constitutional provision; this responds to the Court of Appeals order to provide counsel to defendants at an initial appearance (RSC 1). JUD
  • HR 402/SB 188 Task Force to Study the Establishment of Health Courts (Rosenberg, Pugh) the Task Force would study the efficacy and cost of Health Courts to hear medical malpractice cases. JUD
  • SB 367 Circuit Court Judges - Selection, Qualifications, and Term of Office (Kelley, et al.) amends the Constitution by repealing the election of Circuit Court judges, and requiring that the Governor, with Senate consent, fill Circuit Court vacancies by appointment for a term of 10 years or until the judge reaches the age of 70, and reappointment after the term expires. The amendment gives the Governor the option of appointing a diverse advisory committee to evaluate prospective judges. The LWVMD opposes the election of judges, and supports the amendment. JPR

Marlene Cohen

Posted by Marlene Cohn on 19 Feb 2015

Related Content: Administration of Justice

Jul 2014
Issue 6

(RSC 2014.6) Health


HB 27 Correctional Services - Healthy Births for Incarcerated Women (RSC 1, 2&4) passed and is enrolled. It codifies standards for the care of pregnant incarcerated women and the delivery of their babies and requires Juvenile Services to develop related regulations.

HB 106 Senior Prescription Drug Assistance Sunset Extension (RSC 1), passed and signed by the Governor, extends the assistance program until 2017.

HB 162/SB 172 Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2014 (RSC 1-3) was amended and passed to allow hospitals to retain $30 million in FY 2015, and $40 million in FY 2016 from funds currently paid to the state. The funds will be used by the hospitals to implement the new the Medicare Waiver.

HB 280/SB 215 Workers’ Compensation – Payment of Physician – Dispensed Prescriptions – Limitations and HB 281/SB 217 Workers’ Compensation – Payment for Controlled Dangerous Substances Prescribed by Physicians – Limitations and Workers’ Compensation (RSC 3) had a long legislative history before they both died in the House HGO subcommittee. They will be back next year as the Workers’ Compensation Insurers are determined to stop physician dispensing. HB 1342 Workers’ Compensation – Reimbursement for Repackaged and Relabeled Drugs – Fee Schedule and Requirements (RSC 3) also failed in committee.

HB 402/SB 314 Health Occupations – State Board of Naturopathic Medicine (RSC 3&4) finally passed after several years, but with many amendments. Naturopathic Physicians will be licensed and monitored by the Maryland Board of Physicians (MBP) and must have a collaborative agreement to prescribe.

HB 1009/SB 789 Civil Actions – Noneconomic Damages – Catastrophic Injury (RSC 3), the Plaintiff’s Bar’s bill, failed, as did HB 930 Health Care Malpractice – Limitation on Noneconomic Damages and HB 635 Health Care Malpractice – Expression of Regret or Apology – Inadmissibility, the medical community’s bills (RSC 3).
HB 881/SB 293 Medical Marijuana - Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission See Drugs and Other Controlled Substances report.

HB 1211 State Board of Nursing – Midwives – Licensing and Regulation (RSC 4) failed again this year but will be back. There are likely to be discussions in the interim to facilitate some compromise as the public is asking for these midwives.

HB 1267/SB 882 Department of Health and Mental Hygiene - Outpatient Services Programs Stakeholder Workgroup (RSC 4) passed with a title change and amendments. It creates a task force to study the issue of outpatient service programs. SB 67/HB 606 Mental Hygiene – Standards for Emergency Evaluation and Involuntary Admissions – Modification and HB 767/SB 831 Public Health Mental Hygiene – Assisted Outpatient Treatment (RSC 4) failed, probably waiting for results of the study.

HB 1158/SB 898 Tobacco Products – Unpackaged Cigars and Flavored Other Tobacco Products – Restrictions (RSC 3&4) and HB 443/SB 589 Tobacco Taxes – Health Maryland Initiative (RSC 3&4), died in committee.

SB 622/HB 1233 Health Insurance − Step Therapy or Fail-First Protocol passed and is waiting for the Governor’s signature. The bill provides 180-day “Grandfather Provision” so patients do not have to switch prescriptions when indicated by an insurer. It also forbids an insurer or Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) from requiring the use of a medicine in its step therapy protocol which is not FDA-approved for the specific condition. Physicians will have a step therapy override process available to them in the online preauthorization programs.

By Neilson Andrews

Posted by Neilson Andrews on 16 Apr 2014

Related Content: Corrections | Health Care

Jul 2014
Issue 6

(RSC 2014.6) Budget & Taxation


Bills Passed:
The final FY 2015 Operating Budget (SB 170) grew by $1.6 billion or 4.3% to $38.9 billion. About one half of general fund appropriations is related to state employee compensation. A 2% salary increase effective January 1, 2015, merit increases and selected reclassifications led to a $119.5 million increase. Aid to education is another big cost driver. This year it included an initiative to increase prekindergarten programs. Debt service on general obligation bonds increased by $57 million and additional aid to higher education included enough funds to limit tuition growth to 3%.

Special funds grew by $409.9 million or 5.3% largely because of increases in the transportation PAYGO (pay as you go) capital program following legislation in 2013 which greatly increased revenue to the Transportation Trust Fund. The Department of Transportation also received funds for 350 additional employees in an effort to reduce wait time at Motor Vehicle Administration offices and call centers. Transportation-related spending also rose because of increases in debt service for previously issued bonds. K-12 education benefitted from additional funds as gaming revenue continues to increase.

The size of the state workforce will increase by 0.65% or 522 positions. This will bring total state employment to 80,744.

While last year, it was believed that the structural deficit had been largely eliminated, it reared its ugly head again this year. The current budget reduced the structural deficit by $126 million but it is now projected that the structural deficit will increase to $404 million next year and that there will be an estimated $395 million cash shortfall.

SB 172 Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) makes a number of transfers between and among the various state funds to help operate selected state agencies and operations. It also designates at least $7 million annually for the next three years for police vehicles and requires an increasing percentage of park revenues to be used for park operations. It also makes a number of specific grants to nongovernmental organizations and projects.

SB 171 Creation of State Debt, the state’s capital budget, totals $3.954 billion, of which $2.421 billion is for transportation programs. Of the non-transportation projects, $1.18 billion is funded by general obligation (GO) bonds while $336 million is funded on a PAYGO basis.

HB 739 Maryland Estate Tax Unified Credit (RSC 2) conforms the Maryland estate tax to the value of the unified credit allowed in the federal estate tax. The bill will be phased in from calendar years 2016 to 2019.

HB 198 Income Tax - Earned Income Credit - Refundable Amount (RSC 3) expands the Maryland earned income credit from 25% to 28% of the federal credit.

None of the other bills discussed in this section in previous RSC issues were passed.

By Barbara Hankins

Posted by Barbara Hankins on 16 Apr 2014

Related Content: Budget Process

Jul 2014
Issue 6

(RSC 2014.6) Transportation


The most significant changes to transportation laws deal with increasing penalties for violations and further refinement of legalities.

Bills passed:
SB 33 Vehicle Laws - Rules of the Road - Use of HOV Lanes (RSC 1) allows plug-in electric vehicles, buses and motorcycles to drive in the HOV lane at any time with a specified permit and prohibits all other vehicles from the lane unless they are carrying the required number of passengers.

SB 350/HB 929 Speed Monitoring Systems Reform Act of 2014 sets standards for local jurisdictions that use automated speed monitoring systems so law enforcement officers certify infractions with set procedures to oversee the program.

Bills that increase penalties for vehicular DUI include HB 957 Impaired Driving - Repeat Offenders - Penalties (RSC 3) that deals with the 3rd or more infraction, HB 1015 Drunk Driving - Transporting a Minor - Ignition Interlock System Program (those transporting minors) and SB 87 Drunk Driving - Ignition Interlock System Program - Repeat Offenders (RSC 1) that requires the use of an ignition interlock device for one year or agreement to the suspension of driver's license.

HB 1212/SB 348 Use of Text Messaging Device or Handheld Telephone While Driving - Accidents Resulting in Death or Serious Injury - Penalties (RSC 5), commonly known as Jake's Law, was created because of a young boy's death in an accident caused by a driver using a handheld texting device. The penalties for this offense will now more closely align with impaired driving from alcohol.

HB 130/SB 153 Motor Vehicle Insurance - Task Force to Study Methods to Reduce the Rate of Uninsured Drivers (RSC 1) will establish a task force to examine deterrents and incentives to lower the rate of uninsured drivers.

Bills not passed:
HB 873/SB 1001 Vehicle Laws - Divided Highways - Speed Limits and Crosswalks (RSC 3) requiring a crosswalk and possible modification of speed limits at light-controlled intersections on divided highways passed in their chamber of origin. However, the House and Senate were unable to concur on amendments, so the legislation failed.

Other measures that failed to pass: redefining distance required to pass bicycles (RSC 1), driving to the right on a lane road except when passing (RSC 1), prohibition against smoking in a motor vehicle when a young child is present (RSC 2), requiring legislative approval for toll increases (RSC 3).

By Barbara Ditzler

Posted by Barbara Ditzler on 16 Apr 2014

Related Content: Transportation

Jul 2014
Issue 6

(RSC 2014.6) Environment: Renewable Energy & Solid Waste


HB 1168 Electricity - Certificate - Wind Turbines - Limitation (Southern Maryland Delegation) prohibits the Public Service Commission from granting final approval for construction of a wind-powered generating station in specified areas before July 1, 2015. New wind-powered generating stations which have already been funded by a loan from the Maryland Water Quality Financing Administration are exempt. Passed and enrolled.

Update on bills reported in RSC 1-5:
HB 118 Task Force to Study the Impact of Ocean Acidification on State Waters (RSC 2) passed with amendments
HB 240/SB 56 Environment - Solid Waste Management Practices - Maryland Recycling and Landfill Diversion Task Force (RSC 2) failed
HB 567 Procurement - State Vehicle Fleet - Biodiesel or Biofuel Requirements (RSC 2) failed
HB 747/SB 734 Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - Qualifying Biomass (RSC 3) failed
HB 1149/SB 733 Public Utilities - Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (RSC 4) failed
HB 1249/SB 156 Public Utilities - Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - Hydrokinetic Turbines (RSC 2) failed
HB 202/SB 186 Clean Energy Loan Programs - Private Lenders - Collection of Loan Payments (RSC 2) passed with amendments
HB 1192/SB 786 Electricity - Community Renewable Energy Generating System - Pilot Program (RSC 4) failed

By Hugh Haskell

Posted by Hugh Haskell on 16 Apr 2014

Related Content: ENVIRONMENT | Energy | Solid Waste Management

Jul 2014
Issue 6

(RSC 2014.6) Environment: Hydraulic Fracturing


None of the following bills, reported on in RSC 1-5, got to a floor vote.

SB 706/HB 1210 Environment-Permit Determinations-Cumulative Impact Assessments (RSC 4) These bills would have required MDE to conduct a cumulative impact assessment of a permit’s impacts on the environment and on human populations before review of permit applications. Viewed as a first step, more comprehensive bills may be introduced in the 2015 session.
HB 1122/SB 745 Shale Gas Drilling Safety Review Act of 2014 (RSC 3)
HB 865 Natural Gas – Hydraulic Fracturing – Rural Residential Drinking Water Protection Act (RSC 3)
HB 1030 Public Health – Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals – Information and Fund (RSC 3)
SB 535 Natural Gas Severance Tax and Impact Account (RSC 3)
HB 292 Natural Gas-Hydraulic Fracturing-Prohibition (RSC 1)
HB 409 Environment- Hydraulic Fracturing Wastewater-Prohibited Acts (RSC 2)
SB 360 Natural Gas-Hydraulic Fracturing-Prohibition (RSC 2)
SB 361 Public Safety-Gas Pipeline Inspection Requirements-Best Available Technology (RSC 2)
SB 362 Public Safety-Gas Pipeline Inspection Requirements-State Penalties (RSC 2)

By Betsy Singer

Posted by Betsy Singer on 16 Apr 2014

Related Content: ENVIRONMENT | Energy

Jul 2014
Issue 6

(RSC 2014.6) Environment: Clean Water & Pesticides


Update on bills reported in RSC 1-5:
HB 1551 - Natural Resources - Fresh Oyster Shells - Purchase by County Oyster Committees (RSC 4&5) died in the House.
SB 101 Environment - Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund - Use of Funds (RSC 4&5) passed and was signed by the Governor.
SB 464/HB 50 and 20 other bills related to the Stormwater Management Fee (a/k/a rain tax) (RSC 1-5) None of these bills passed, nor did a budget bill amendment that would have interfered with this program in all nine counties and Baltimore City where the fee applies. However, the budget as passed did include some flexibility in payment method for Carroll and Frederick counties, which have not yet implemented the fee.
SB 564/HB 834 Environment - Water Pollution Control – Penalty (RSC 5) passed and signed by the Governor.
HB 11 Environment - Bay Restoration Fund - Authorized Uses (RSC 2) passed and signed by the Governor
HB 12 Bay Restoration Fund - Authorized Uses - Local Entities (RSC 2&3) passed
HB 121/SB 62 Chesapeake Bay Trust - Powers and Duties - Member Terms (RSC 2-5) passed
HB 129/SB 407 Public Ethics - Chesapeake Bay Trust - Exemptions and Conflict of Interest Provisions (RSC 3) passed and signed by the Governor
SB 27/HB 193 and SB 121/HB 26 (RSC 1-5) As reported earlier, all phosphate management tool bills are considered dead. The language that was inserted into the state’s operating budget (SB 170), requiring an economic impact analysis before any other PMT actions can be taken, has now led to an agreement between MDA and Salisbury University for the latter to conduct the analysis in conjunction with an advisory committee.
SB 56/HB 240 Environment - Solid Waste Management Practices – Maryland Recycling and Landfill Diversion Task Force (RSC 3-5) passed in the House but failed in Senate EHEA
HB 621/SB 700 Registration of Pesticides – Fee Increase – Disposition of Fees (RSC 1-4) passed. Some potential dates for a signing ceremony by the Governor have been circulated.
SB 437/HB 618 Nonresident Recreational Fishing and Crabbing Licenses – Oyster Restoration Surcharge (RSC 2-5) died in committee in House and Senate
SB 466 Oyster Dredging – Waters North of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Kent Narrows Bridge (RSC 2&3) died in EHEA in the Senate
SB 781 Environment - Recycling - Public and Commercial Buildings, Special Events, and Single-Family Residences (RSC 4&5) passed
HB 718/SB 707 Community Cleanup and Greening Act of 2014 (RSC 3) died in ENV in the House and in EHEA in the Senate
SB 394 Statewide Container Recycling Fund (RSC 3) died in FIN in the Senate.
SB 359 Watershed Protection and Restoration Programs – Impervious Surface – Definition (RSC 2&4) received an unfavorable report by EHEA.
HB 905/SB 725 Chesapeake Bay - Nutrient Management - Poultry Fair Share Act (RSC 3) was withdrawn in the House and died in EHEA in the Senate.
HB 615 Coast Smart Council (RSC 3) passed in both the House and the Senate.

By Linda Silversmith

Posted by Linda Silversmith on 16 Apr 2014

Related Content: ENVIRONMENT | Solid Waste Management | Water Management

Jul 2014
Issue 6

(RSc 2014.6) Environment: Land Use


The push back on the 2012 law requiring three growth tiers in county land use plans was easily defeated despite being sponsored by 25 House members. HB 576 Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 - Diminution in Value of Real Property -Compensation would require the state to pay just compensation to an owner of real property that experiences a diminution in fair market value as a result of specified land use or development restrictions. It had an unfavorable report in the Environmental Matters committee and was heard of no more.

Legislation on land use was not prolific in this session. However, two fairly significant bills easily passed both houses and will become law.

HB 510 Sustainable Communities Tax Credit - Extension and Alteration passed 111-20 in the House and unanimously in the Senate. The bill extends the Sustainable Communities Tax Credit program through FY 2019 and includes more benefits for commercial projects.

SB 336/HB 296 Natural Resources - Wildlands - Designation of New Wildlands easily passed both houses of the legislature in the first weeks of the session. It expands fourteen existing wildlands and grants nine new areas wildland designation, as recommended by the Department of Natural Resources. The designation often protects sensitive or rare ecological areas. These are the first additions since 2002.

By Susan Cochran

Posted by Susan Cochran on 16 Apr 2014

Related Content: ENVIRONMENT | Land Use and Growth Management

Jul 2014
Issue 6

(RSC 2014.6) Redistricting


As reported in RSC 3 and 4, numerous bills were introduced to address the process of redistricting that has caused Maryland to have some of the most misshapen congressional districts in the United States. Proposals ranged from creating a study commission to see how the process could be improved (HB 698, HB 1217), to proposals to amend the Maryland constitution to establish a non-partisan commission for drawing legislative and congressional district lines (HB 915, HB 970, HB 1213, SB 740), as well as other proposals (HJ Res 4, HB 1176, HB 1195, HB 1327, SB 414, SB 582). As noted in RSC 5, hearings were held in the Senate Committee on Education, Health and Environmental Affairs and in the House Committee on Rules and Executive Nominations. However, the 2014 General Assembly did not pass any redistricting reform legislation. In fact, not one piece of redistricting legislation made it out of Committee.

By Ralph Watkins

Posted by Ralph Watkins on 16 Apr 2014

Related Content: Redistricting

Jul 2014
Issue 6

(RSC 2014.6) Campaign Finance


Only two campaign finance bills were passed this session. HB 827 Municipal Elections - Campaign Finance Reports - Submission of Copies to the State Board of Elections compels any municipality that requires candidates running for local office to file campaign finance reports to send copies of these reports to the State Board of Elections within 10 days of receiving them. This bill passed and was approved by the Governor. SB 930 Election Law - Filing Deadlines for Pre-Primary Election and Post-General Election Campaign Finance Reports which changes the filing dates for campaign finance reports passed both chambers and was approved by the Governor.

Two other bills made it through one chamber but died in the other. Those were: HB 562 Election Law - Use of Campaign Funds for Meeting and Conference Expenses received a favorable report from Ways and Means, passed third reading in the House but died in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee and HJ 7/SJ 6 United States Constitutional Convention – Democracy Amendment made it to second reading in on the Senate Floor, but there was no action in the House.

The following bills died in committee. However given the recent Supreme Court decision that once again expands the amount of money allowed to flow into campaigns, they are likely to come back again next session as they all attempt to reduce the influence of money in politics.

SB 809 Citizens' United Shareholder Democracy and Protection Act
HB 70 Public Funding and Small Donor Act for General Assembly Elections
SB 691/HB 418 Public Funding and Small Donor Act for General Assembly Elections
HB 1269 Maryland Small Donor Incentive Act
HB 1401 Election Law - Fair Campaign Financing Fund - Income Tax Checkoff

These bills also died in committee:

HB 619 Election Law - Campaign Contributions Made by Public Service Companies – Prohibition
HB 942 State Government - Use of Public Resources - Reimbursement by Elected State
HB 569 Campaign Finance - Cash Contributions - Limit

By Nancy Soreng

Posted by Nancy Soreng on 16 Apr 2014

Related Content: Fair Campaigns | Campaign Finance