In 2023, we accomplished more than we could imagine. MLC members’ advocacy and emails to legislators really helped!!! By the end of the 2023 session, 67 MLC-priority bills made it to the Governor’s desk compared to 43 the previous year, with a vastly different response from the Governor’s mansion. Click here for more details.
The Maryland Legislative Coalition’s Legislative Agenda going into the 2024 Session follows and shows the breadth and depth of issues supported. The 2024 Legislative Agenda was divided into major policy areas of Education, Environment, Elections and Democracy, Gun Control, Health Care, Transportation and Social and Economic Justice, with HIGH PRIORITY, OR MUST-WIN LEGISLATION BOLDED.
Since the Blueprint veto was overridden and the Built to Learn Act has become law, there are fewer large-scale educational initiatives this coming session.
Last year was a HUGE year for environmental legislation. We passed the most aggressive greenhouse gas reduction targets in the nation, and one of the first requirements for Building Energy Performance Standards, which will start the conversion of buildings to electric vs gas. While there will not be huge bills this year, there is still quite a lot to accomplish. What we are looking to support this year includes:
- Climate Crisis and Environmental Justice Act – Requires polluters to pay a fee that they cannot pass on to consumers. The fee escalates every year for 10 years. It is expected to bring almost $ 1 billion in revenue to the state to pay to support overburdened and underserved communities to reverse the environmental effects of pollution and build greener infrastructure.
- Low-Income Energy Efficiency – Requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to provide energy efficiency and conservation programs and services designed to achieve an annual incremental gross energy savings of at least 0.4% for Low-Income residents
- Maryland Recycling Act – determines what counts as recycling
- School Construction – all-electric new school construction
- FUTURE Act – requires Public Colleges and Universities to either offset carbon emissions or to cut over to electric
- Air Quality Monitoring for EJ Communities – for neighborhoods zoned in hazardous areas
- Refine Post-Consumer Recycling Packaging – requires much more transparency of what is recyclable to ensure that Maryland can recycle more of its waste
- Community Solar – making the community solar program permanent
- Climate Equity Act – requiring agencies to incorporate climate equity considerations in their actions
- State Bank (Overburdened cmmty, climate oriented) – establishment of a workgroup on state bank to provide low-cost funds for infrastructure projects for EJ areas
- Reclaim Renewable Energy Act – removes incentives for dirty energy, such as incineration
- Whole Home Repair – grant funding to seniors and Low/Moderate Income residents to make repairs to their homes to bring them to code and weatherizing them
- Net Zero School Pilot – pilot program for net zero schools
- Eliminating NEMWDA existing & giving duties to MES – by transferring duties to MD Environmental Services, MD will move towards composting and other zero waste solutions and away from incineration
- EmPOWER Reform – reform of Maryland’s premier energy savings program that allows residents to lower their energy bills and save money
- 30 x 30 – requires 30% open space in Maryland by 2030
- STRIDE – through its Strategic Infrastructure Development Plan, Washington Gas is authorized to accelerate replacement of targeted pipes for safety and environmental reasons throughout its Maryland service territory. The 5-year plan for this program is due in 2024.
- Allowing the Attorney General to Sue – Authorizing the Attorney General to investigate, commence, and prosecute or defend any suit or action that holds accountable a publicly traded entity with a market capitalization greater than $1,000,000,000 or its subsidiaries for tortious or otherwise unlawful conduct that has contributed to climate change.
- Synthetic Turf – Requiring a producer of synthetic turf and turf infill sold or distributed in the State to establish a system, to track the chain of custody of the synthetic turf and turf infill and report the chain of custody to the Department of the Environment.
Elections and Democracy–
Some of the election-related bills that didn’t pass last year will come back. We are not expecting a lot of election reform bills to get much traction.
Gun Control –
There were several bills that didn’t pass last year that will be making a return. We are looking to support:
- Maryland Police Gun Center Protective Orders – ensuring that local police offices collect and track guns from persons subject to a protective order
- Firearm Safety – Jaelynns Law – ensuring that guns are stored unloaded and locked and not accessible to minors
Health Care –
One of the most promising bills from last session was the study of how we transition to a single-payer health care system, which didn’t get a vote. We will push hard to get it through again this year. Another bill that we expect will come back is the End-of-Life Act. We are very close to getting that in Maryland, so we will support that bill and other legislation, such as:
- Study the Transition to Single Payer
- End of Life Act
Transportation is a large component of climate change, and as such will be big part of our future. We will continue to support any enhancements to public transportation, such as:
- Transit Equity Act – Requiring that equity be considered when State transportation plans, reports, and goals are developed
- Conversion to Zero Emission School Buses
- Maryland Regional Rail Transformation Act – Further Expansion of MARC and Commuter Rail, expansion to VA, DE and from Western Maryland into Camden Park, expansion of service and 20-minute service from Washington DC to Baltimore without MAGLEV
- Monorail between Frederick and Shady Grove
- Transportation Climate Initiative – regional initiative to develop a green energy economy
- Commuter Buses for 1-270
- Creation of an Inspector General for P3s
- Clean Trucks Act – Requiring the Department of the Environment to adopt regulations establishing requirements for the sale of new zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles in the State.
- Transit Oriented Development – Maryland created transit-oriented sites. This bill expands on that legislation. This involves a 10M revolving loan fund to use to subsidize cost of transit sites and the addition of more transit sites
Social and Economic Justice –
- Policing –
- Banning Police Searches due to the possible smell of cannabis
- Banning the practice of automatically charging youth as adults
- Immigrant Rights –
- Universal Representation, providing an attorney for deportation cases
- Universal Health Care, allowing immigrants to qualify for Medicare
- Affordable Care Act Inclusion for immigrants
- Housing –
- Emergency Rental Assistance
- Women’s and Children’s Rights –
- Spousal defense – repealing the law that allows marriage to be a defense for sex crimes
- Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth – provides for a Regional Navigator Program that will provide a pathway to prevent any criminal or delinquent charges brought against child trafficking victims
- Reproductive Health Protection Act – ensuring that the overturning of Roe v Wade will not affect women in Maryland
- Access to Healthcare at Public Institutes of Higher Education – Public Colleges and Universities will implement a plan for emergency contraception, contraceptive counseling and medicated abortion. This is focused on victims of sexual abuse.
- Prevention of Forced Infant Separation – making room in Women’s Pre-Release Centers so that women who have infants while incarcerated can stay with them
- Child Abuse and Neglect – Definition of Neglect – exempting women who are victims of domestic violence from being included in the definition of neglect as a perpetrator
Equitable Taxation –
- Closing Tax Loopholes
- Progressive Tax Legislation