By Diane Rey
For Maryland Reporter
Monday (March 18) marked “crossover day” in the Maryland General Assembly, the day bills must be sent to the opposite chamber in order to be guaranteed a hearing before the legislative session ends April 8.
Here’s an update on some of the bills that Maryland Reporter has tracked this session:
Lead Sponsors: Del. Shane Pendergrass, D-Howard, Sen. Will Smith, D-Montgomery
Summary: Allows a physician to prescribe life-ending drugs to a patient over age 18 who is terminally ill with less than 6 months to live, after the patient has made the request on at least three separate occasions and at least once in writing.
Status: It passed the House 74-66 on March 7. It’s currently before the Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee. Senate President Mike Miller has predicted it will be voted out of committee and have a close vote in the full Senate, where he plans to vote against it.
HB182 – Increasing the Mandatory Retirement Age for Judges
Lead Sponsor: Del. Jon Cardin, D-Baltimore County
Summary: The bill would have amended the Maryland Constitution to increase the mandatory retirement age for judges from age 70 to 73.
Status: The bill was withdrawn in committee by the sponsor Feb. 25, a move generally done if the committee is expected to kill the bill with an unfavorable report.
Lead Sponsors: Sen. Guy Guzzone, D-Howard, Del. Eric Ebersole, D-Baltimore and Howard
Summary: The bill authorizes local governments to grant a property tax credit on property used for public school or nonprofit robotics programs.
Status: The bill passed the Senate on third reader Feb. 12 by a vote of 44-0. It’s under consideration on the House side by the Ways and Means Committee, which held a hearing on the bill March 19.
Lead Sponsors: Senate President Mike Miller; Del. Alice Cain, D-Anne Arundel
Summary: The bill mandates $1.6 million in spending over in FY2021 through FY2025 to increase the number of Maryland’s designed “green schools” from 27% to 50%.
Status: On the Senate side, the bill received final approval March 11 by a vote of 47-0. On the House side, a hearing is scheduled March 21 before the Ways and Means Committee.
SB450 Funding the Attorney General’s Office
Lead Sponsor: Sen. Jim Rosapepe, D-Prince George’s and Anne Arundel
Summary: The bill requires the governor to fund the attorney general’s office each year at a minimum of what was allocated in FY2018, $39.3 million, plus any amount the state receives from the settlement of a case in which the attorney general represents the state.
Status: The bill was heard by the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Feb. 20, however the committee has not taken a vote on it.
HB316 Reporting Vaccinations
Lead Sponsor: Del. Ariana Kelly, D-Montgomery County
Summary: The bill requires doctors and other health care providers in Maryland to report every flu shot and vaccine they administer to a common state database (ImmuNet). Exempted under an amendment are nursing facilities, assisted living programs, continuing care retirement communities, and medical day programs.
Status: The bill passed third reader in the House Feb. 28 by a vote of 139-0. It was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee March 20.
Lead Sponsors: Del. Michael Malone, R-Anne Arundel, Sen. Ed Reilly, R-Anne Arundel
Summary: The bill would have put it before the voters to require that Maryland’s congressional districts be redrawn to be compact and respect geographic boundaries as well as city and county boundaries — the same requirement in the state constitution for legislative districts.
Status: Despite record bipartisan support, it was given an unfavorable report by House Rules and Executive Nominations March 14. On the Senate side, it had a hearing Feb. 28 in the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, which has not voted on it. The House Rules committee also killed a companion bill, HB1048, which would have removed party affiliation and voting history from being considered in determining legislative districts.
HB790 Equal Pay Law
Lead Sponsor: Del. Pam Queen, D-Montgomery
Summary: Bill would require an employer who violates the Equal Pay law to pay a civil penalty to the state equal to 10% of the amount of damages owed by the employer.
Status: It was heard March 5 by the Economic Matters Committee which has taken no further action on the bill.
SB533 Taxing Airbnb’s
Lead Sponsor: Sen. Guy Guzzone, D-Howard
Summary: Would require Airbnb and other short-term rental sites to collect the 6% Maryland sales and use tax at the time of booking and remit the fees to the state.
Status: It was heard Feb. 22 before the Budget and Taxation Committee, which has taken no further action on it.
Lead Sponsors: Del. Dana Stein, D-Baltimore, Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, D-Baltimore City and Baltimore County
Summary: Bans the use of chlorpyrifos, a commonly-used agricultural pesticide that’s been linked to autism, ADHD and childhood cancers, unless granted a waiver by the state Department of Agriculture if it determines no other alternative exists.
Status: Passed the House March 12 by a vote of 90-44. It’s currently under consideration in the Senate by the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee.
HB105 Unpaid Tolls
Summary: This agency-requested bill would enable the Maryland Transportation Authority to hire an outside debt collection agency to collect $102 million in unpaid video tolls and associated penalties from out-of-state drivers.
Status: It passed the House 129-6 on March 8 and is to be heard before the Senate Finance Committee March 21.
SB458 Tax Break for Publicly Traded Corporations
Lead Sponsor: Sen. Guy Guzzone, D-Howard
Summary: The bill will allow publicly-traded corporations to subtract from their taxable income, reducing the tax burden. The income subtraction would apply to less than five companies — those with executive offices in the state and at least 500 employees who were impacted by a 2018 law that changed the formula to determine how much income was allocated to Maryland for tax purposes.
Status: Passed the Senate by a vote of 43-3 March 11. A hearing is scheduled March 27 in the House Ways and Means Committee.
Lead Sponsors: Sen. Andrew Serafini, R-Washington, Del. Haven Shoemaker, R-Carroll
Summary: Would decrease the state corporate income tax rate from 8.25% to 8.0% for tax year 2019, 7.5% for tax year 2020, and 7% for tax year 2021 and beyond.
Status: It was heard Jan. 30 by the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and Feb . 22 by the House Ways and Means Committee Feb. 22. Neither committee has taken further action on it.
SB76 Combined Reporting
Lead Sponsor: Sen. Ron Young, D-Frederick
Summary: Would require combined reporting for tax purposes for retail and restaurant chains with locations in Maryland.
Status: It was heard Jan. 30 by the House Budget and Taxation Committee which has taken no further action on it.
HB318 – Requirements for In-State Tuition
Lead Sponsor: Del. Charles Sydnor, D-Baltimore County
Summary: Requires state colleges and universities to grant in-state tuition if the student graduated from a high school in the state or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in the state, resides at an address in the state and possesses a Social Security number.
Status: Received an unfavorable report by the House Appropriations Committee March 14 and was withdrawn.