Sine Die: What Did and Didn’t Make the Deadline
Sine Die has come and the 2016 Session of the Maryland General Assembly has come to an end. In the mad rush to finish the session, some notable bills were able to pass but others were not so lucky.
Motor Voter/Universal Voter Registration – Passed
HB 1007 automatically registers voters unless they actively replied to a mailer saying they would not. Opponents prematurely celebrated the demise of the proposal when a Senate version failed to pass last week.
Paid Sick Leave Mandate – Failed
HB 580 would force businesses to pay employees not to work and destabilize the ability for businesses to find staff during vital work hours. The bill would cause a substantial burden to be placed on small businesses and local governments. It passed the House but did not make it out of a Senate Committee due to the cost of this mandate.
Public Safety Workgroup/Baltimore Police Changes – Passed
HB 1016 restructures aspects of law enforcement disciplinary actions.
Gun Free Campus/Domestic Abuser Prohibition on Owning Firearms – Failed
SB 943 was originally a bill forcing those convicted of a domestic crime to give up possession of their firearms. The Senate amended the bill to add a prohibition of carrying weapons on college campuses. This caused both bills to be tied up and unable to pass.
Noah’s Law – Passed
SB 945 mandates automobile interlock systems for those convicted of various crimes related to driving while intoxicated/impaired/under the influence. The bill was named after Officer Noah Leotta who was struck and killed by a drunk driver before session began. His family was present for the bill’s passage in the House of Delegates, and there was much fanfare on the floor.
Lower Taxes – Failed
SB 840 would have lowered taxes, but the House of Delegates and State Senate either could not come up with a compromise on where to cut taxes or the leadership in both chambers wanted to deny the Governor a legislative victory.
Transit Oversight Board – Passed
HB 1010 establishes a board made up of representatives appointed by Baltimore City’s mayor, local county executives, the General Assembly, and the Governor. This will shift control over transportation spending away from the Executive Branch. They will review “transit-related spending priorities” that will add teeth to HB 1013, which radically redefined how transportation priorities are chosen.
Justice Reinvestment/Lowering Criminal Penalties – Passed
SB 1005 makes it easier for non-violent offenders to get out of prison sooner by making diminution credits and parole easier to obtain while reducing sentences for drug and theft related crimes.