Ocean City Today

State releases ‘17 session report

Details how many bills were reviewed on house, senate sides of General Assembly
By Brian Gilliland | Jun 29, 2017

(June 30, 2017) Maryland’s Department of Legislative Services late last week released its tally of actions taken by the legislature for this year’s session, finding that the Senate remained relatively stable in its work product as compared to 2016, while the House of Delegates was busier than it was last year.

Yet the figures distill the legislative process down to a simple numbers game, with no accounting for debate, discussion or time spent crafting legislation in the first place.

The numbers also fail to account for the potential impacts of new laws. A significant portion of bills each year might only affect a single county, or an entity within the county, like appropriations for specific projects. Larger-scale legislation might have more impact, take more time and spark more debate without upping the numeric totals.

This year, the state senate introduced 1,208 bills and joint resolutions, which is more than the 1,180 reported last year. Of those 2017 actions, 520 or 43 percent earned favorable reports in committee, 197 received unfavorable reports and 491, or a bit more than 40 percent had no action taken.

In 2016 on the senate side, 517 bills or joint resolutions earned favorable reports, with 211 receiving unfavorable reports and 452, or about 38 percent, had no action taken.

Once a bill is introduced and goes through committee, it has two more readings before it moves to the other half of the legislature.

Of the 515 bills that made it through the third reading on the senate side, 513 were introduced on the house side. A total of 425 bills made it through the house’s three readings, and 411 passed both houses. Of those, 296 passed without amendment and 131 passed with amendments while only three remained in committee this year.

In 2016, 510 bills made it through the third reading on the senate side, with only one not introduced on the house side. Of those, 400 passed the third reading on the house side with 382 passing both houses. A total of 282 passed the house without amendment, and 122 passed with amendments while six remained in committee.

This year 1,672 bills were introduced on the House of Delegates side of the General Assembly, which is more than the 1,652 tallied last year. In committee, 41 percent, or 683 earned favorable reports while 585 earned unfavorable reports and no action was taken on 404 bills. Last year, committees approved 612 bills, gave 616 unfavorable reports and took no action on 424 items.

In 2017, all of the bills that earned favorable reports passed three readings, and only one bill failed to be introduced on the senate side. In 2016, of the 612 approvals, just 609 passed three readings and two failed to be introduced on the senate side.

This year 547 house bills passed three readings in the senate, with 530 passing both houses. Last year, 465 passed three readings, with 453 passing both houses.

In 2017, 407 house bills passed the senate without amendment, while 144 passed with changes and five remained in committee. In 2016, 350 passed without amendment, while 118 passed with changes and three remained in committee.

The full report can be found under the Publications tab of the General Assembly website, mgaleg.maryland.gov.

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