Ocean City Today

Maryland legislature considers prefiled bills

Senate has 114 bills to examine at start, house has 70 awaiting hearings
By Brian Gilliland | Jan 11, 2018

(Jan. 12, 2018) With the last session of the Maryland General Assembly before the 2018 election underway, and the showdown warming up between incumbent Jim Mathias and Delegate Mary Beth Carozza for the senate seat, the legislators are focused on serving their districts and making their case for office.

Mathias is the primary sponsor of three prefiled bills and co-sponsor on two others in this session, which began Wednesday. None of his legislation has a Worcester-specific focus, being more general statewide measures, and one is specific to Somerset County.

The latter would allow certain students to pay no tuition or fees for enrolling in community college under specified conditions, with the cost being handled by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

The other bills Mathias put his name on include enhancing workers’ compensation benefits for state correctional officers, an income tax subtraction modification for retirement income of law enforcement, fire, rescue and other emergency services personnel, a notation on drivers’ licenses for surviving spouses of veterans and a method to track veteran suicides.

Carozza is the co-sponsor of a single prefiled bill that would allow people to receive preliminary approval for a handgun permit without completing required training. Carozza remains on the appropriations committee and spends time devoted to developing the annual budget.

Other bills legislators will examine in the early days of the 2018 session include SB01, which introduces sweeping reforms to the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission to include more diversity in state license designees.

SB12 would move Maryland to a one-plate state, where only one license plate would be required on any registered vehicle.

Matthew’s Law, or SB19, would prohibit boat shrink-wrapping businesses from applying the shrink-wrap until all winterization procedures that would require an employee to be on board the boat are complete.

SB23 would permit holders of distillery licenses to dispense samples and sell their own liquor at state or county agricultural fairs and farmer’s markets.

SB33 would prohibit insurers, nonprofit health service plans and health maintenance organizations from applying copayments, coinsurance requirements or deductibles to fertility awareness programs and services.

If a third crossing of the Chesapeake Bay comes to fruition, SB34 would remove the provision that allows for the governmental consent of the local shore county where the crossing would land, meaning the state could place it wherever it wanted.

SB44 calls for matching local regulations on school bus maintenance, repair and inspection with federal ones, and would prohibit an owner of a school bus from operating it without conforming to the regulations.

SB46 seeks an increase in carbon monoxide monitoring on boats, including requiring instruction during boating safety course, installing detectors and warning labels on boats and prohibiting the sale of a vessel without confirming to these regulations.

SB60 would formalize the relationship between the non-gestating parent or the spouse of an adoptive parent in a same-sex relationship with the relationship in a heterosexual union.

SB89 would repeal the enabling legislation for the Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Zone Advisory Commission and the Captive Wildlife Advisory Committee.

Finally on the senate side is SB102, which would prohibit law enforcement from removing or participating in the removal of a passenger from an airplane under certain circumstances.

On the House of Delegates side, HB03 would require the governor to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, and would prohibit the governor from withdrawing from it unless authorized by the General Assembly to do so.

HB07 would allow individuals to claim state income tax credits for donating deer meat to certain organizations.

HB14 would increase the penalties for speeding in a work zone after multiple offenses.

HB20 would alter the calculation of the maximum assessment of a dwelling against which the homeowner’s property tax credit is used.

HB26 calls for the establishment of a Committee on Air Quality, which would examine issues related to air pollution and the relationship to concentrated animal feeding operations.

HB31 would remove from the public record any charges that were nolle prosequi, dismissed or acquitted.

HB37 would alter the amount that could be subtracted from income tax for membership in volunteer fire, rescue and emergency services personnel.

HB40 would establish an animal abuse registry for offenders.

HB42 would change the fine for using a handheld phone while driving.

HB43 would provide an income tax subtraction on the proceeds of a sale of a perpetual conservation easement on real property.

Farm equipment or vehicles transporting farm equipment would be authorized to use amber lights and signal devices under HB46.

The Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics would no longer be able to meet in closed session and would remove other confidentiality powers enjoyed by other governmental bodies under HB48.

HB63 would randomize the listing of candidates’ names on public ballots, instead of the alphabetical system used now.

HB66 would reduce the rate of the sales and use tax applied to alcoholic beverages.

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