2019 End of Session Report

April 12, 2019

The 2019 Session saw over 2,500 bills introduced - 1,056 in the Senate and 1,445 in the House of Delegates.  By midnight of April 8th we had passed over 860 bills. The following is a summary of the accomplishments of the 2019 Session.   * Bills Senator Young Sponsored or Cosponsored

 

Legislation Passed on a Veto Override

 

The Governor has 6 days to act on legislation presented to him while the Maryland General Assembly is in Session. Of the 17 bills presented during Session 4 were vetoed, and each veto was overridden:

 

Fight for Fifteen (SB280*/HB166)  phases in an increase in the State’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by January 1, 2025, with a longer phase-in for employers with 14 or fewer employees.

 

Local Control of School Calendars (SB128/HB437) requires each local board of education to set start and end dates each year for the public schools in their jurisdictions.

 

Alcohol, Tobacco, Motor Fuel Commission (SB703/HB1052)  establishes the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC) and transfers the Comptroller’s Field Enforcement Division staff, powers, and duties related to regulation of alcoholic beverages and tobacco to ATC.

 

Oysters Tributary-Scale Sanctuaries Protection and Restoration (SB448*/HB298) establishes a network of oyster sanctuaries in Chesapeake Bay tributaries, prohibits the removal of oysters from oyster sanctuaries, and mandates the development of restoration plans for oyster sanctuaries.

 

Progressive Leadership

 

Working together the Senate and House of Delegates advanced several major initiatives this Session, including:

 

Reducing childcare costs for parents (SB870*) expands Maryland’s Childcare Tax Credit to $12.3 million by 2024 and raises the income level for the credit, assisting over 110,000 working families.

 

Protecting pre-existing conditions (SB868*) creates a workgroup to review how Maryland consumers can obtain and keep quality health insurance independent of any action by the federal government or changes to federal law.

 

Prescription Drug Affordability Board (SB759/HB768) establishes a board to protect State residents from the high costs of prescription drug products.

 

The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (Kirwan Commission) (SB1030*) establishes the requirements to implement a world–class education system at all levels in Maryland.  The Blueprint will not be cheap, requiring the General Assembly to allocate $255 million this year to fund the initial recommendations of the Kirwan Commission including:

  • $75.0 million for teacher salaries

  • $65.5 million for special education grants

  • $54.6 million for low-income jurisdictions

  • $31.7 million for pre-kindergarten programs

  • $23.0 million for tutoring services

  • $2.50 million for teacher training

  • $2.00 million for more guidance counselors

Additional funding was mandated for the 2021 ($355 million) and 2022 ($500 million) budget years, with $130 million contingent on additional 2019 or 2020 legislation.

 

Handgun Permit Review Board Repeal (SB1000*/HB1343) closes the Handgun Permit Review Board and moves handgun appeals to the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), the impartial government entity that hears appeals from all other Maryland agencies.

 

Styrofoam Food Service Products (SB285*/HB109) prohibits the sale or use of expanded polystyrene food service products, except those made for out-of-state shipment of food, like eggs.

 

Tobacco Purchasing Age (HB1169) raises the age to 21 for purchasing of tobacco products (excluding military personnel).

 

Funding Maryland’s Priorities

 

We passed a balanced $46.7 billion Operating Budget (SB125*/HB100) that protects our most vulnerable citizens, secures millions to support the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations, and did so without raising taxes or fees.

 

This year’s budget includes:

  • A record $7+ billion in total public education funding including higher funding for special education services, teacher salaries, and full-day pre-K services for low income families;

  • $500 million for school construction, to help build schools in every corner of our state;

  • Increases direct aid to local school systems by $435.2 million;

  • $331 million in community college funding;

  • $6.4 billion in higher education funding;

  • A cap on in-state college tuition guaranteeing that tuition does not go up by more than 2%;

  • An additional $80 million to combat the opioid crisis;

  • A 3.5% increase for behavioral and mental health providers;

  • A 3.5% increase for providers serving the developmentally disabled;

  • $1.8 billion for public safety in our communities;

  • $4 million for a rape kit testing fund;

  • $2.1 billion spent on transportation projects across Maryland.

HB100 includes $329.9 million for Frederick County, a $23.4 million (7.6%) increase from last year and $8.7 million increase to fund Kirwan Commission/Blueprint for Maryland objectives.  See the following table for funding details.

Fostering Business and Economic Growth

 

Beer Franchise Agreement (SB704*/HB1080) modernizes our craft brewing laws, and adds protections for small craft brewers in dealing with wholesalers and franchise arrangements.

 

Brewery Modernization Act of 2019 (SB801*/HB1010) changes the regulation for Class 5 breweries, Class 6 pub-breweries, Class 7 micro-breweries, and Class 8 farm-breweries in the State, and alters the eligibility associated with a Class 7 limited beer wholesaler’s license.

 

Small Business Fairness Act (SB76*) improves competitiveness for Maryland’s small businesses retail and food service by requiring combined reporting for multi-state retail and food service businesses.  The bill did not get a vote in committee.

 

Medical Cannabis Business Expenses (SB9*/HB568) amends Maryland tax law to allow the Cannabis industry (growers, producers, retail, and laboratories) to deduct business expenses from state taxes like any other Maryland business.  The Committee did not vote on the bill.

 

Opportunity Zones Transparency (SB581/HB1260) requires Opportunity Zones projects funded with state tax credits to report full financing, investors, the jobs created, and its economic impact.

 

Investing In Frederick County  

 

The 2020 Capital Budget (SB126*/HB101) includes almost $14 million for such Frederick County projects as:

 

Frederick County Detox Center $500,000                     

YMCA - Frederick City $200,000

Mt. Saint Mary’s University $2.9 million                                   

Baker Park Bocce Courts $50,000

Sophie and Madigan Lillard Memorial Park $50,000 

Heritage Foundation $25,000

YMCA - South Frederick County Complex $400,000  

Federated Charities $75,000

CREST Regional  Higher Education Center $50,000   

Hood College $2.9 million

City of Frederick East Side Infrastructure Improvements $4 million

Frederick County ROOT Business Innovation Center $250,000

Frederick Community College - Renovate Buildings E and L $502,000

 

Protecting Maryland Workers

 

Federal Shutdown Paycheck Protection (SB391*/HB336) provides civilian federal employees who are required to report to work unpaid, due to a federal shutdown, access to either unemployment insurance benefits or a no-interest loan program.

 

Employee Protections in Federal Government Shutdowns (SB512*/HB1318) prohibits a public service company from terminating electric or gas service for non-payment during a federal shutdown.

 

Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (SB470*/HB810) expands Maryland’s Childcare Tax Credit to $12.3 million by 2024 and raises income eligibility for the credit. This expansion will help more than 110,000 working families.

 

Maryland School for the Deaf Teachers (SB35*/HB137) includes Maryland School for the Deaf teachers in the professional service of the State Personnel Management system.

 

Homeowner Protections and tax sale (HB1209) helps homeowners navigate the tax sale system and adds additional protections for elderly, disabled, and low income homeowners.

 

State Employee Pay Increases (SB125*/HB100) were included in the Operating Budget at 3% for all state employees, 5% for law enforcement officers, and 6% for corrections officers. We also added a 2% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for employees in the collective bargaining units (AFSCME & AFT).

 

Waiver of Estates fees (SB261/HB1305) requires that Registers of Wills waive their fees to open estates in cases of tax sale and if the person is represented by a legal services partner.  

 

Preserving the Environment

 

Forestry Fee in Lieu Program (SB234*/HB272) amends the Forest Conservation Act to require greater accountability in local mitigation funds, and that the funds replace forests at the same levels as required by developers.  

 

Clean Energy Jobs (SB516*/HB1158) increases the State’s Renewable Energy Portfolios Standard from 25% by 2010 to 50% by 2030, reduces alternative compliance payments, removes some fuel sources from eligibility, and adds offshore applications.

 

Cownose Ray Fishery Management Plan & Moratorium on Contests (SB143*/HB213) extends the moratorium on fishing tournaments until a fishery management plan is prepared for the Cownose ray.

 

Solar Photovoltaic Systems - Lockout Tag requirement and Study (HB586) requires solar companies to install lockout tags with a safety warning and provide lockout tag for previously installed systems.  

 

Maryland's Bicycle Network Infrastructure (HB1281) guarantees $3.8M in annual grant support to localities for bicycle network development activities that maximize bicycle access.

 

Advancing Equality

 

Gender classification on Licenses (SB196*/HB421) allows an applicant for a license and identification card to identify as (1) female; (2) male; or (3) unspecified - identified as “X”.

 

Pregnant Inmates Restrictive Housing (SB809*/HB745) prohibits the involuntary placement of a pregnant inmate in restrictive housing.

 

Rape Kit Testing Grant Fund (SB569/HB1268) establishes a grant fund for law enforcement agencies to pay for the testing of sexual assault evidence collection kits.

 

Higher Education Legal Fund for Title IX Proceedings (SB396*/HB633) creates a fund to cover legal costs for current and former students in accordance with an institution’s sexual assault policy.

 

Grace’s Law 2.0 - Cyberbullying (SB103/HB181) establishes the intent to induce a minor to commit suicide, by misuse of an electronic communication or interactive computer service, is a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or a $10,000 maximum fine.

 

Hate Crimes - Threat and Penalties (SB232/HB240) adds “threatening to commit a hate crimes” to the current laws governing hate crimes.

 

Providing Health Care

 

The unanimously adopted Operating Budget funds the State’s Medicaid program at $11.4 billion providing coverage to over 1.4 million residents.  Included in the budget are $80 million to address the opioid epidemic through substances abuse treatment.

 

Protecting Obamacare in Maryland (SB239 and SB868*) extends through 2023 a 1% fee on insurance companies to keep premium costs down, and cover the cost of health insurance claims. SB868 protects against rate increases due to pre-existing conditions, as guaranteed by Obamacare.

 

Protect Maryland Health Care Act (SB802/HB814) creates a check box on state income tax forms that allows the healthcare exchange to determine if an uninsured individual qualifies for free or low-cost health insurance beginning with tax year 2019.

 

Patient’s Bill of Rights (SB301*/HB145) improves on the rights of hospital patients.  

 

Retiree Prescription Drug Benefit Plan (SB946*/HB1120) establishes affordable alternatives for prescription drug coverage programs for State retirees, dependents, or surviving dependents.

 

Physical Therapist Compact (SB652*/HB648) allows Maryland to enter into the Interstate Physical Therapy Licensure Compact for Physical Therapists.   

 

Other Issues

 

Carl Henn’s Law - Next Generation 9-1-1 (SB339*/HB397) expands the responsibilities of the Emergency Number Systems Board (ENSB) to improve cybersecurity, oversight, accountability, record retention, and access for individuals with disabilities and those using assistive technologies.

 

Affordable Housing Planning (SB917*/HB1045) requires local jurisdictions comprehensive plans to include an affordable housing element.

 

Board of Election Conformity (SB651*) requires all local Boards of Elections to consist of five regular members, with the exception of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

 

Thank you.

It remains my greatest accomplishment to represent you and all the residents of District 3 - Frederick County in the Maryland Senate.  I greatly appreciate your ongoing support.   Please do not hesitate to contact my office.   

Ron

 

Frederick Office Walk in Hours             Ronald.Young@Senate.State.Md.Us

   Tuesday 10am-4pm                                      Facebook.com/SenRonYoung

   Wednesday 10am-6pm                                   Twitter@SenRonYoung

   Thursday 10am-3pm                                          www.SenatorRonYoung.com

253 East Church St., Suite 100

            Frederick, MD 21701                         Frederick Office: 301-662-8520

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