HB387: Pesticide Regulation - Transfer to Department of the Environment
Transfer pesticide regulation authority and resources from the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), and authorizing MDE, in consultation with MDA and the Maryland Department of Health, to enact policies regulating, limiting or prohibiting pesticides. While MDA has expertise in how pesticides are used in agriculture, MDE has broader expertise in toxic substances.
HB141: Equity in Transportation Sector - Guidelines and Analyses (The Transportation Equity Act of 2022)
Passed, but vetoed by the governor
Transportation is not only a way to get from one place to another, but it plays a key role in economic development and the environment. But as with so many things, the benefits and consequences of the state's transportation decisions do not accrue equally to everyone. There is a long history of disparate impact in transportation decisions, from highways running through Black communities, creating health and safety hazards in those communities, to the cancellation of the Red Line in 2015. The federal Title VI requirements should prevent disparate impact in transit, but they’re inconsistently enforced, don’t cover other transportation like highways, and only require analysis after transportation decisions are made. We need to make sure that Maryland's transportation decisions are made with equity in the forefront, rather than as an afterthought.
HB141 makes equity a core part of all transportation planning statewide. It adds equity as a goal in the Maryland Transportation Plan, requires reporting on racial and ethic disparities and impact on persons with disabilities in the annual Attainment Report, creates a Commission on Transportation Equity, and ensures a transit equity analysis, cost benefit analysis, and outreach to impacted communities are done before any major service change or reduction or cancellation of a capital expansion project exceeding certain thresholds.
HB363: Attorney General - Climate Change Actions - Authorization
The fossil fuel industry knew as far back as the 1960s that fossil fuel emissions would lead to climate change, with catastrophic consequences. Yet they chose to conceal what they knew and deceive the public through decades of climate misinformation. Now that the climate crisis is upon us, the taxpayers should not have to pay for damage due to the deceptive and fraudulent actions of the fossil fuel industry. HB363 authorizes the Attorney General to file suit against publicly-traded companies and their subsidiaries that contributed to the climate crisis through their unlawful actions, and to hire outside counsel if needed on a contingency basis.
HB835: Retail Service Stations – New Construction – Setbacks and Electric Charging Stations
Mitigates the health and environmental impacts of gas stations by requiring all new gas stations over a certain size to be set back at least 1000 feet from schools, day care centers, parks, playgrounds, churches, hospitals, outdoor recreation areas, residential property, and other gas stations. It also requires all new gas stations to install at least one level 2 EV charging station for each gas pump.
HB772: Maryland Energy Administration – Energy and Water Efficiency Standards – Alterations
Passed! Became law without the governor's signature
Requires the Maryland Energy Administration to adopt water and energy efficiency standards for a variety of products, including portable electric spas, air purifiers, commercial dishwashers, commercial steam cookers, faucets, and residential ventilating fans. Requires the Maryland Energy Administration to review standards for electric vehicle supply equipment and high CRI fluorescent lamps and authorizes them to adopt standards for those if determined needed by the outcome of the review.
HB610: Public Health - Commission on Universal Health Care
HB610 creates a commission which will study work that has been done in other states and develop a plan for single-payer, universal healthcare in Maryland. The plan shall provide comprehensive, affordable, and high–quality publicly financed health care coverage for all residents of the state in a seamless and equitable manner, regardless of income, assets, health status, citizenship or immigration status, or availability of other health care coverage. The Commission is directed to:
- Consider how to incorporate equity and address racial disparities;
- Consider how to improve access, particularly in urban and rural areas with limited access;
- Develop a benefit package that includes primary care, preventive care, chronic care, acute episodic care, reproductive care, including pregnancy, birth control, and abortion services, and hospital services;
- Develop a transition plan, including how to suspend the Exchange and incorporate federal payments, as well as a plan for transition workers displaced by changes to the healthcare system.
- Recommend legislation required to establish the plan.
HB84: Education – Crimes on School Grounds – Application
HB84 protects students from being charged under the “disrupting school activities” statute. The current law criminalizes typical adolescent behavior. Students can be charged with a misdemeanor and face possible jail time for things like storming out of class. Young people need to learn that’s not appropriate behavior, but they shouldn’t be processed into the criminal justice system. There are huge racial disparities: 82% of students charged under this law are Black students and students of color.
HB304: Criminal Law - Failure to Obey a Reasonable and Lawful Order
Maryland law makes it a crime to fail to obey a “reasonable and lawful order” from a police officer. The “failure to obey” statute is vague, overly broad, and often abused by the police. Ways that “failure to obey” is misused include:
- Escalating a situation to provoke a response that will justify an arrest;
- Creating probable cause to search an individual when no other crime has been committed and the Fourth Amendment would otherwise prohibit a search;
- Arresting unhoused people who have committed no crime to remove them from a public area;
- Targeting Black, brown, and trans people who are viewed as “suspicious” because of an officer’s personal explicit or implicit biases.
HB304 alters the law so that the “failure to obey” statute only applies in emergency situations when there is risk of harm. It also removes incarceration as a penalty and creates lower tiered fines for 1st and 2nd offenses.
HB1299: Corrections - Housing - Serious Mental Illness
HB1299 requires that an inmate with a serious mental illness (SMI) be offered at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of unstructured recreation or structured activities outside a locked room or cell within a 24-hour period. This bill also requires that the definition of serious mental illness be changed to more accurately identify inmates who qualify.