2022 End of Session Report


April 12, 2022


The Maryland General Assembly’s 444th Legislative Session is my last full Session as your Senator. I am honored that you trusted me to represent you in the Maryland Senate for 12 years.


The 2022 Session faced unique challenges but ultimately rewarding as the Senate returned to in-person meetings. I also joined a bipartisan Senate Joint Resolution (SJ011) confirming that the Maryland General Assembly (MGA) stands in solidarity with the people and government of Ukraine as they resist the unprovoked Russian invasion. Passing the Gas Tax Holiday bill (SB1010) helped support sanctions on Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchs while easing the financial burden on Marylanders.


In overriding the Governor’s veto of the The Time to Care Act (SB275) Maryland joins nine (9) other states and the District of Columbia in providing a family and medical leave program. The Act allows up to 12 weeks of paid sick, parental, or care leave through an insurance program based on a 75% employee and 25% employer cost split.

This fall voters will be asked to decide if recreational cannabis should be legal per a Referendum to amended the Maryland Constitution (HB1). If the Referendum passes in November 2022, Maryland will become the 19th State to legalize recreational marijuana. In support of this new industry, we also passed Cannabis Reform (SB837) rewriting Maryland’s Cannabis laws. Most of the bill only goes into effect if the Referendum passes - a Public Health Advisory council, expansion of expungements of prior marijuana convictions, community investments, grant programs, and details how much cannabis a person can legally possess or grow. A smaller part - comprehensive study, data collections, and allowing Cannabis businesses the same tax deductions as other Maryland businesses (my bill (SB333)) goes into effect June 1, 2022.


Underlying the 2022 Session was our responsibility to establish new Congressional and state election districts every decade. The Congressional District map (HB01), passed with a veto override in December 2021, but was appealed. The Appeals Judge asked the MGA to provide a new map by March 30, 2022. The revised Congressional district map was signed into law by the Governor, ending the court battle. We are still waiting on the Governor’s signature for SJ02/JR01 to create the election districts for Maryland state offices. The ever shifting candidate filing deadlines and primary dates are due to the fact that there are no agreed upon district maps.


This Session 2,500 bills were introduced, each received a hearing, but only 835 passed both Chambers and were sent to the Governor for signature. The following is a summary of some important issues the Maryland General Assembly successfully addressed in the 2022 Legislative Session, starting with the Budget. I introduced several pieces of legislation that were passed during the 2022 legislative session for a complete summary of my 2022 legislation see https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Members/Details/Young.


* Bills Sponsored or Cosponsored by Senator Young


Budget


As required by the Maryland Constitution, the General Assembly passed a balanced operating budget bill (SB290) and capital budget (SB291), which provides $61 billion in appropriations for FY2023 – an increase of $8.6 billion above FY2022. Despite the increase in spending, the budget maintains $2.6 billion in cash resources - $2.4 billion in the Rainy Day Fund (10% of general fund revenues) and $211 million in the General Fund. Budget estimates also anticipate that the general fund revenues will continue to exceed expenditures by more than $310 million in FY2023.


Education


Budget Highlights: FY2023 funding for public schools is $7.9 Billion, with direct aid to local school systems increasing 6.8%. This increase includes full funding of all the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future FY2023 costs as well as a down payment of $800 million for the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future out-year implementation costs of Blueprint (HB1450).


*Brynleigh’s Act - Seizure Action Plans (SB299) requires the inclusion of a seizure action plan to the current Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland Department of Health public standards and guidelines regarding emergency care for students with special health needs.

*Returned Peace Corps Volunteers In-State Tuition (SB050) allows Marylanders that served in the Peace Corp to restore their in-state status upon returning to Maryland, similar to exemptions provided for military personnel and AmeriCorps volunteers. The bill applies to public four-year institutions of higher education and community colleges.

*Funding of Regional Resource Centers and Libraries (SB448) increases the per capita funding amount that must be provided to each regional resource center and county public library system beginning in fiscal 2023.


Environment


*The Climate Solutions Act of 2022 (SB528) sets practical goals for reducing Maryland’s emissions of greenhouse gasses by 60% by 2030 and reaching net neutral emissions by 2045. As amended, the bill will electrify our State vehicle fleet, fund the construction of new net-zero schools, leverage private funding for green energy investments, and limit methane emissions from landfills.

*The Great Maryland Outdoors Act (SB541) builds a world-class state park system by addressing overcrowding and understaffing, clearing a deep backlog of critical repairs, increasing recreational water access and creating new state parks.


*Maryland Clean Cars Act (HB1391) extends the vehicle excise tax credit ranging between $1,000 and $3,000 for Marylanders purchasing zero-emission vehicles (cars, motorcycles, and autocycles) that have a purchase price of $50,000 or lower. It also establishes a small grant program of at least $1 million to help pay for the costs of zero-emission medium and heavy duty vehicles (i.e. delivery vans, tractor trailers, semi-trucks, garbage trucks) and at least $750,000 for recharging/refueling equipment for these vehicles.


* Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicles Parking Spaces (SB146) establishes standards of use for plug-in vehicle parking spots with penalties for non-compliance similar to unlawful use of disabled parking spaces.


*Wildlife Trafficking Prevention (SB381/HB52) prohibits the purchasing, selling, offering for sale, or possessing with the intent to sell, any item of a “covered animal species” part or product. A violator is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to specified fines and restitution.


Grant Program to Reduce and Compost School Waste (SB124) bill establishes a grant program supporting county boards of education and public schools to develop and implement programs for reducing food waste and to establish composting of pre-and post-consumer waste.


Old growth forest protection (HB884) prohibits logging on roughly 410 acres of select Department of Natural Resources-designated old-growth forests on certain types of state-managed lands.


Family Support and Health Care


Budget Highlights: increased Medicaid funding ($14 billion), dental benefits ($27 million), child care options for families ($85 million), assistance for hospital shortage ($50 million) and nursing home/assisted living facilities ($40 million), funded the Paid Family Leave bill ($10 million), and funds the 1,350 youth on the Autism Waiver waiting list (30 million).

*End the Wait Act (SB636) requires the Maryland Department of Health to develop plans to reduce waitlists by 50% beginning in FY2024 for children with Developmental Disabilities, who are medically fragile, and those with Autism.

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Support Services Program (HB513) establishes a program within the State Department of Education's Division of Early Childhood Development to promote positive mental and behavioral health practices for young children.


*Diapers and Baby Products Tax Exemption (SB316) eliminates the sales tax on diapers, baby wipes, baby bottles, and infant car seats.


Oral Hygiene Products Tax Exemption (SB571) removes the sales tax on oral hygiene products such as toothbrushes and toothpaste.


Medical Devices and Products Tax Exemptions (SB488) eliminates the sales tax on thermometers, pulse oximeters, blood pressure monitors, respirators and diabetic care products.


The Behavioral Health Crisis Response Services (SB241) establishes the 9-8-8 Trust Fund to support the universal telephone number for the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline and implements a statewide initiative for the coordination and delivery of the continuum of behavioral health crisis response services.


Equality and Equity


Budget Highlights: $10 million for food banks, $350 million in tax relief, and $6.5 million to pay for an extra $45/ month of Temporary Cash Assistance and Temporary Disability Assistance Program (TDAP) benefits.


Maryland Earned Income Tax Credit Assistance Program for Low-Income Families (SB369) seeks to identify residents who are eligible to claim the Maryland earned income tax credit but have not done so and to provide those residents with a streamlined method to claim the credit.


*Elderly and Handicapped Transportation Service (SB838) ensures the Statewide Specialized Transportation Assistance Program (SSTAP) receives consistent funding addressing both increasing costs and needs for those who are not capable of using regular public transportation.


*Instant Ticket Lottery Machines for Homeless Veterans Act (SB155) aimed to significantly reduce veteran homelessness in Maryland by raising over $1 million annual for such programs. The Senate passed the bill 46-0, but the House failed to act.


*Retirement income subtraction modifications and Senior credit (SB405/HB1468) reduces Maryland income tax for public safety retirees who are at least 55 years old, for the first $15,000 of retirement income. For all people aged 65 and older the tax is income capped, granting a $1,000 tax break for single people earning $100,000 or less and a $1,750 tax break for couples earning up to $150,000.


Restoration of Honor Act (HB1380) reinstates an honorable discharge to a military veteran that was discharged due to sexual orientation or gender identity if the statement or consensual act was prohibited by the military or naval service at the time of discharge.


*Income tax work opportunity tax credit (SB598) rewards businesses who hire people currently out of work.

Safety and Security


Budget Highlights: Funding for crime prevention and victim services increases by about $148 million to include $46 million for police aid to target areas experiencing the most violent crime; $6.5 million for Baltimore City warrant apprehension activities; and $35 million for victim service providers. The budget also includes $210 million to improve State government cybersecurity.


*Pedestrian and Bicyclist Fatalities Infrastructure Review (SB874/HB254) requires the State Highway Administration to review each pedestrian and bicyclist fatality on a State highway to identify deficiencies and appropriate corrective actions.


Threats to Public Officials (SB956) adds public officials, election administrators, and public employees responsible for inspecting and enforcing housing and building codes to the list of public officials that it is illegal to threaten. It subsumes a similar bill that I sponsored (SB298). The bill passed the Senate 46-0 but the House failed to act.

Juvenile Justice Reform (SB691) prohibits children under 13 from facing criminal charges except for the most serious crimes including murder and sexual offences as recommended by the Juvenile Justice Reform Council. The bill also sets limits on terms of detention, out-of-home placement, and probation that can be imposed by juvenile courts.


*Adult Protective Services (SB357/HB589) establishes a Workgroup to study best practices for a Vulnerable Adult Registry in Maryland.


*Warrants and Absconding (SB585) provides supplemental funding for local law enforcement agencies for grants to improve warrant apprehension efforts.


Untraceable firearms (SB387/HB425) bans untraceable firearms or ghost guns.


The Maryland Regional Rail Transformation Act (SB514/HB 778) expands the MARC commuter lines Brunswick, Camden, and Penn Line trains to run all day, in both directions, and to extend service into Western Maryland, Arlington, VA, and Newark, DE.

Frederick County


The 2022 Session included legislation and funding specifically addressing Frederick County.

*Maryland Deaf Community Center (MDCC) was provided $2.5 million in the Governor’s Budget Supplemental, after months of negotiations, for the establishment of a statewide, permanent home for a Deaf Community Center. We are deeply honored that Maryland’s Deaf community chose Frederick as the home for their community center to offer programs and services for all ages of Maryland’s deaf citizens.

*Alcoholic Beverages Act of 2022 (SB648) makes technical corrections to the Frederick county liquor laws, primarily removing duplicative language, and conforms the population calculation for Class A liquor licenses to that of Class B licenses.

*Disposition of Marriage Ceremony Fee (SB649) directs $15 of the current marriage fee to Heritage Frederick. Heritage Frederick is the official repository of Frederick County’s marriage records.

*Sports Wagering Facilities (SB297) expands the prohibited radius for Class B1 and B-2 sports wagering facilities from 1.5 miles to 5 miles in Frederick County, 10 miles radius Carroll county, and 15 miles for Riverboats. The bill was wrapped into HB942 - Horse Racing Satellite Simulcast Betting Facilities.

*Board of Education Vacancies (SB952) allows the County Executive to appoint a replacement if a vacancy for an elected member occurs 30 days or less before the candidate registration deadline for the next primary election, subject to confirmation of the county council. Should the vacancy occur more than 30 days before the candidate registration deadline for the next primary election, the individual appointed serves only until a successor is elected.

Between Bond Initiatives and Supplemental Budget funding, Frederick County will receive an additional $34.6 million for community projects - $31.0 million for District 3 projects such as:

African American Graveyard Restoration $ 25,000

“Lefty” Kreh Memorial $ 50,000

City of Frederick Bridge Mural repairs $ 250,000

The Ranch Resident Hall repairs $ 100,000

Mt. City Elks Lodge #382 $ 300,000

Rose Hill Manor Park $ 500,000

YMCA - City of Frederick and Urbana $ 750,000

Sheppard Pratt Frederick repairs $ 847,455

MD Deaf Community Center $2,500,000

Frederick Innovation Technology Center $1,000,000

MD School for the Deaf building repairs $9,582,000

Hood College Repairs $6,838,000

City of Frederick Police facility $4,250,000

For FY2023 direct State aid to Frederick County will increase by $44.2 million over FY2022’s funding, a change of over 12%. Frederick County is #1 in State Direct Education Aid and the percentage change in student enrollment and #2 in local wealth per pupil. In addition, the January 2022 Property Reassessments shows Frederick rose over 15%, significantly higher than the state average of 12%. The following table highlights state aid earmarked for Frederick County in FY2023.


Best,

Ron



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