January 22, 2021 - Issue #1
Dear MNLGA members:

It’s that time of year again – the Maryland General Assembly is in Session. From now through the end of the Session, April 12th, MNLGA will send regular updates on bills that it is following.

For the duration of the General Assembly I will keep you abreast of bills that MaGIC and the MNLGA are following. MaGIC’s focus is on bills that are Green Industry-specific. Hence, we do not follow all business-related bills. 

The weekly summaries offer a suggested position based on initial review by the MNLGA board and legislative committees. Please provide me feedback on any of the bills followed, as you desire, as your voice will help craft our final position on legislation. 

(The MNLGA is part of MaGIC (Maryland Green Industry Council). MaGIC was formed in 2002 to serve as the legislative and regulatory voice for Maryland’s Green Industry. MaGIC members include the MNLGA, MD Arborist Assoc, FALCAN, MAGI, and LCA. MaGIC contracts with Thompson Ag Associates to provide executive management and American Joe Miedusiewski provides us lobbying advice and service through Old Line Government Affairs, LLC.)

HB92 -  Procurement - Invasive and Nonnative Plant Species - Prohibition on Use of State Funds - Hearing 1/28
This bill prohibits state funds from being used to purchase or plant invasive or non-native plant species. Exceptions are: scientific evidence showing the site conditions are too harsh for a similar native species to survive; the plant is part of historically accurate landscaping; the plat is commonly used for agricultural or horticultural purposes and is being maintained for the purposes of education or research. The bill also gives the Board of Public Works the authority to grant waivers for "due cause."
Recommended Position:  Offer amendment to remove non-native plant species from this bill on the basis that cultivars are important and have purposeful use in the environment/landscape to provide overall biological diversity, habitat, and year-round food source for wildlife.

HB208/SB375 - Agriculture - Neonicotinoid Pesticide - Sale and Storage - Hearing 1/29
This bill amends the 2017 law in order to require that not only do you have to be a certified applicator or farmer to apply a neonicotinoid pesticide (current law) but you must also be a certified applicator or farmer to purchase neonicotinoid pesticides.
Recommended Position: No position - this is clarifying legislation for current law

HB322 - Real Property - Restriction on Use - Low-impact Landscaping - Hearing 1/19
This bill prohibits specified restrictions on use from imposing unreasonable limitations on “low-impact landscaping.” Such restrictions on use include covenants, restrictions, or conditions included in, among other instruments, deeds, declarations, or contracts. The bill may not be construed to prohibit a restriction on use from including reasonable design and aesthetic guidelines regarding the type, number, and location of low-impact landscaping features. The bill is not applicable to historic property that is listed in, or eligible for inclusion in, the Maryland Register of Historic Properties.  
Recommended Position: No Position

HB472 - Agriculture - Use of Glyphosate - Prohibition - Hearing not yet scheduled
This bill prohibits all use of Glyphosate in the state of Maryland.
Recommended Position: Oppose; support proper use of, via label/instructions

SB0011 - Sales and Use Tax - Agricultural Purpose Exemption - Seedlings and Fruit Trees -Hearing 1/26
Adds fruit trees and seedlings as being exempt from sales and use tax
Recommended Position: No position is really needed as ag inputs and ag-to-ag sales are already tax exempt, but we could support. This looks like it’s a single constituent bill, to help one farmer who had a tough time getting his ag exemption for fruit trees.

Hearing 1/14
This bill was submitted on behalf of MDA and seeks to repeal the provisions that make multiflora rose a nuisance weed that must be managed, based on MDA’s advisement that the State’s ag industry has multiflora rose contained and under control, making the current law no longer necessary.    
Recommended Position: No Position at this time, unless industry has concern that multiflora rose is not contained.

As always, if you have any questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at 410-823-8684.

Thank you and have a nice weekend.

Vanessa A. Finney
MNLGA
Executive Director