The 2019 Session saw over 860 bills passed. The following highlights the final status of some of these bills. For status on all 2019 bills see LEGISLATION - under the ACTIVE TOPICS tab in center of page www.MGALEG.maryland.gov.
Reducing childcare costs for parents (SB870*), effective July 1, 2019, 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*), effective June 1, 2019, 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 (HB768), effective July 1, 2019, establishes a board to protect State residents from the high costs of prescription drug products.
The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future (Kirwan Commission) (SB1030*), effective June 1, 2019, establishes the requirements to implement a world–class education system at all levels in Maryland. 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), Governor VETO, closes the Handgun Permit Review Board and moves handgun appeals to the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings, the impartial government entity that hears appeals from all other Maryland agencies.
Styrofoam Food Service Products (SB285*/HB109), effective July 1, 2019, 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), effective October 1, 2019, raises the age to 21 for purchasing of tobacco products (excluding military personnel).
Fostering Business and Economic Growth
Beer Franchise Agreement (HB1080), effective January 1, 2020, 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), effective July 1, 2019, 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.
Opportunity Zones Transparency (SB581/HB1260), effective July 1, 2019, requires Opportunity Zones projects funded with state tax credits to report full financing, investors, the jobs created, and its economic impact.
Protecting Maryland Workers
Federal Shutdown Paycheck Protection (SB391*/HB336), effective March 26, 2019, 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), effective May 13, 2019, prohibits a public service company from terminating electric or gas service for non-payment during a federal shutdown.
Maryland School for the Deaf Teachers (HB137), effective July 1, 2019, includes Maryland School for the Deaf teachers in the professional service of the State Personnel Management system.
Homeowner Protections and tax sale (HB1209), effective January 1, 2020, helps homeowners navigate the tax sale system and adds additional protections for elderly, disabled, and low income homeowners.
State Employee Pay Increases (HB100), effective January 1, 2020, 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), effective October 1, 2019, 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), effective October 1, 2019, 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), effective October 1, 2019, 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 (HB213), effective June 1, 2019, 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), effective July 1, 2019, 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), Governor VETO, guarantees $3.8M in annual grant support to localities for bicycle network development activities that maximize bicycle access.
Gender classification on Licenses (SB196*/HB421), effective October 1, 2019, 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), effective October 1, 2019, prohibits the involuntary placement of a pregnant inmate in restrictive housing.
Rape Kit Testing Grant Fund (SB569/HB1268), effective October 1, 2019, 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), effective July 1, 2019, 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), effective October 1, 2019, 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), effective October 1, 2019, adds “threatening to commit hate crimes” to the current laws governing hate crimes.
Providing Health Care
Protecting Obamacare in Maryland (SB239 and SB868*), effective October 1, 2019, and June 1, 2019, respectively, 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), effective June 1, 2019, creates a checkbox 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), effective October 1, 2019, improves on the rights of hospital patients.
Retiree Prescription Drug Benefit Plan (SB946*/HB1120), effective May 25, 2019, establishes affordable alternatives for prescription drug coverage programs for State retirees, dependents, or surviving dependents.
Physical Therapist Compact (HB648), effective October 1, 2019, allows Maryland to enter into the Interstate Physical Therapy Licensure Compact for Physical Therapists.
Carl Henn’s Law - Next Generation 9-1-1 (SB339*/HB397), effective July 1, 2019, 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), effective June 1, 2020, requires local jurisdictions comprehensive plans to include an affordable housing element.
Board of Election Conformity (SB651*), effective June 1, 2019, requires all local Boards of Elections to consist of five regular members, with the exception of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.