MD General Assembly Mid-Week 10

Week 10 of the 2016 Session of the Maryland General Assembly provided some mixed results. Much of the action took place in the House of Delegates, with some bad legislation being defeated and some making it through.

On Friday, HB 1496, which would effectively make the state a union for contract farmers, was defeated in the House Environment and Transportation Committee. The bill was part of a series of anti-agricultural bills that experienced some of the worst support testimony in Annapolis history. It died with 21 votes against and one abstain. The committee didn’t have completely good news for the Eastern Shore; HB 19, which would have allowed counties to create sprinkler exemptions for new homes, was defeated at the same time.

Yesterday, HB 1002, a ban on guns on college campuses, passed 81-54 in the House of Delegates. Before passage, the Delegates stripped out a provision that would ban “knives” and “deadly weapons,” which removes some of the proposal’s ambiguity and slightly lowers the possibility for abuse. Another change allowed colleges to authorize the possession of firearms, which would prevent some major issues, including a ban of ROTC or other forms of training. Although the bill itself will do nothing to help colleges, the House of Delegates recognized some fundamental flaws with the original proposal. The bill is now before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee with its cross-file SB 906, which has not yet been voted on.

The attempt to pass an “equal pay” measure  (HB 401), which would raise wages for those who don’t earn it while promoting a false understanding of how economics works was unanimously defeated in the House Economic Matters Committee. The Senate cross-file, SB 994, will have its hearing next week. However, HB 1003, a similar bill, passed in the House Economic Matters Committee and will make it to the floor of the House tomorrow. The version being discussed tomorrow does not have many of the inspection provisions of the defeated version.

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Today, another bad bill, HB 1099, which would allow people to rewrite their birth certifications to state false information, was defeated in the House Health and Government Operations Committee. The committee vote has not yet been released.

However, a good bill, SB 585, passed out of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and is moving to the floor of the Senate tomorrow. The bill would provide local governments with more revenue from the Transportation Trust Fund to ensure, applying funds from the gasoline tax to local roads as originally intended.

Other Legislation

HB 443 would allow universities to “study” hemp passed 136-0 on Friday.

Upcoming Legislation

SB 1123 would make it more dangerous for drivers and further congest roads. Hearing Judicial Proceedings – 3/17

SB 940 would kill Maryland jobs by raising wages far above neighboring states. The House version, HB 1372, was defeated in committee. Hearing Finance – 3/17

SB 664 would remove the ability for employers to assign work schedules. Hearing Finance – 3/17

SB 1035 would remove the requirement that public transportation recovers costs by charging fares on users. Hearing Budget and Taxation – 3/17

SB 994 would force the raising of wages of those who didn’t earn them under a false sense of “equal pay.” The House version, HB 401, was defeated in committee. However, another bill, HB 1003, made it to the floor of the House. Hearing Finance – 3/23


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