Floor Action

Here are just a few of the bills on the floor this past week (you can see all the floor agendas and debates here):

HB 205 would require school boards to ensure schools place menstrual hygiene products dispensers in school bathrooms.

HB 127 would create a paint stewardship program, a form of Extended Producer Responsibility, whereby the producers are responsible for the collection and safe disposal of architectural paint, rather than counties.

SB 218, the Child Tax Credit and Expansion of the Earned Income Credit, and HB 319, the Local Tax Relief for Working Families Act of 2021, garnered a lot of debate. This bill would extend the Earned Income Tax Credit to residents who pay their taxes through an Individual Tax Identification Number.

HB 411 would prohibit law enforcement officers from having sex with victims, suspects or witnesses in cases where the officer is engaged in active investigation or supervision.

HB 655, is a fair representation voting bill. Right now, several county commissions are made up of 'district' members - members who represent a specific district, but who are elected by the county as a whole. The bill would change that process to say that when there is district representation, only those who are in the district can elect their district representative. During the debate it was noted that several school boards across the state are also elected that way - including in Montgomery County - so an amendment was adopted to include them in the switch as well.

Environment & Transportation Committee

As always, we heard a number of interesting bills in committee. Here are just a few:

HB 1207 - There is a lot of work to be done to address environmental justice and mitigate the harms that have been done. Many readers may remember my op ed on this topic as it relates to the expansion of I-495/I-270. HB 1207 would reform the Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities. This Commission has not had the staffing or support to do much; this bill is important to give them that support so they can do the work of addressing environmental injustice.

HB 857 - Synthetic turf causes a lot of problems from increased injury to the athletes to release of toxins. We also have heard issues relating to the disposal of used turf where it is dumped in low-wealth communities. This bill would create a chain of custody requirement for synthetic turf.

HB 1095 - This bill addresses discrimination and bias in real estate transactions and would remove the buyer's name until later in the process. We heard stories of potential buyers with ethnic names who made better offers than others, only to lose the house. There are a number of complicated issues involved in this topic, but it was a really interesting and eye-opening hearing.

The Committee passed HB 80. Born out of the devastation of trees for the construction of the Purple Line, this bill would require the Department of Transportation to create an urban tree program to replace trees that are taken down during certain construction projects, including the Purple Line area.

You can see the Committee hearing schedule and videos of our hearings here.

My Legislation

The House passed HB 76, aligning Maryland with federal law and allowing for citizen groups to intervene in actions brought by the State to enforce Clean Water Act violations. The bill now heads to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

The Environment & Transportation Committee passed HB 295, ensuring the Maryland Department of the Environment uses up to date rainfall data to create stormwater management regulations. The bill now heads to the House floor.

Sadly, even though it passed the House last year, I had to withdraw HB 218, protecting our biometric identifiers, due to concerns by committee members. Oftentimes it is better to withdraw a bill than have a committee vote against it. So I withdrew it, will revise it, and bring it back next year! These unique identifiers are too important to not fight for their protection.

My legislation has been getting some press lately!
HB 21, my bill on the chemical conversion of plastic, was highlighted on WJZ.
My biometrics bill was also featured in the National Law Journal. You can read the article here.