In recognition of the climate emergency, the Climate Solutions Now Act is omnibus legislation that would accomplish several goals. It would realign our state's requirements for greenhouse gas emissions reductions with the recommendations of climate scientists: 60% reduction by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2045.
The legislation requires several climate actions to reduce emissions: increasing energy efficiency; planting 5 million trees over 8 years, including 500,000 trees in under-served areas; electrifying our state vehicle and bus fleet; setting a net-zero emissions standard for new state-funded buildings; strengthening energy conservation standards for large new buildings; and setting efficiency standards for large buildings when major renovations are conducted.
The legislation also implements several Environmental Justice (EJ) initiatives and establishes a Just Transition Employment and Retraining Working Group to advise on opportunities related to the transition to a clean energy economy.
Personal Information - State and Local Agencies - Restrictions on Access (The Driver Privacy Act) (HB23 / SB234)
In 2013, the legislature set up a “second-tier” driver’s license for undocumented immigrants in the State, and encouraged them to obtain the license. In recent years, it turns out that through access to the State’s database, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been using these driver’s licenses to identify immigrants, show up on their door-step, and then deport them.
This should not happen unless ICE has a warrant or court order to get access to the State’s database. This legislation would require they do so.
Public Safety - Access to Firearms - Storage Requirements
There is much debate on how to reduce gun violence in our schools—including arming teachers and security guards, better mental health treatment, metal detectors, etc. Another important way to reduce gun violence in schools is to reduce access to guns among young people. Data shows that if youth did not have access to guns, more than two-thirds of past gun violence in schools could not have occurred.
This bill addresses weaknesses in Maryland’s current law on firearm storage so as to better protect children. The legislation requires all firearms, loaded or unloaded, to be stored in a location where an unsupervised minor under the age of 18 could not get access.
Vehicle Laws - Injury or Death of Vulnerable Individual – Penalties
This bill was recommended by the Maryland Bicycle Safety Task Force and is based on a model law provided by the League of American Bicyclists. It is part of a national movement to fill a critical policy gap in many state laws to promote safer driving and save lives.
HB 118 would protect vulnerable road users (walkers, cyclists, wheelchair users, children on training wheels, a parent pushing a stroller, or someone with a disability) by increasing penalties for drivers who hit a vulnerable road user. The bill says that if a driver kills or seriously injures such an individual, they will be subject to a fine of up to $2,000, will have their license suspended for at least 7 days and not more than 6 months, and may be subject to other penalties.
Natural Resources - Organized Killing Contests – Restriction
This bill would prohibit wildlife contest killing contests whose goal is to kill as many animals as possible, by whatever means possible. They are conducted for prizes or monetary awards. Hundreds of animals may be killed. Most contests involve fox, coyotes or raccoons. Many times, their bodies are dumped as trash.