End of Session Letter
April 22, 2022
After 90 days of passionate and thoughtful debate, the Maryland General Assembly has concluded its 444th session. While COVID-19 persisted, everyone continued to practice social distancing and mask-wearing on and off the floor. My colleagues and I diligently worked to pass meaningful legislation with the lives of citizens at the front of our minds. Ultimately, I believe we made substantial progress that will benefit Prince George’s County and the entire state.
I am ecstatic to announce the passage of two pieces of legislation I had the honor of introducing and working on. First, my Juneteenth bill (HB 227), after failing to pass last year, the House and Senate passed it this year making Juneteenth a legal state and state employee Holiday. The bill was signed into law by the Governor on April 12, 2022 and goes into effect on June 1st of this year. Being able to pass a bill honoring the willpower and strength of our African American ancestors has been an incredible experience. Second, we passed HB 1097 which establishes a task force to study the misevaluation and undervaluation of property owned by minorities. Once the task force is over, reports and recommendations will be sent to the Governor and the General Assembly.
This year, the Prince George’s County Delegation came together over Zoom to discuss issues in our county. Out of all the legislation brought forward, six bills were successful and passed. House Bill 357 limits the issue by the Board of License Commissioners for Prince George’s County certain Sunday off-sale permits of alcoholic beverages – not more than 105 Sunday off-sale permits may be in effect at any one time. House Bill 355 establishes a workgroup on the membership and operation of the Prince George’s County Board of Education. While, House Bill 1473 alters the boundaries of the school board districts to elect Board of Education members. House Bill 1057 establishes a County Recreation Blue Ribbon Workgroup to study and make recommendations to the County Council on improving access to certain programming as it pertains to the Recreation Department of the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Although six bills might not seem like a lot, every piece of legislation is important, especially when it concerns education.
After persistent work, my colleagues of Prince George’s County and I were able to bring $900 million back to our county. We spread the funding across multiple sectors, but here are some notable ones in District 24:
Creative Suitland Center $100,000
Capitol Heights-Seat Pleasant
- Boys and Girls Club $100,000
Nonprofit Prince George’s County $150,000
The Training Source $250,000
Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington
- New Palmer Park and Landover Club $300,000
Lake Arbor Capital Improvement $300,000
Creative Suitland Center $500,000
Hill Road Park $500,000
Landover Housing Coalition $500,000
Mission of Love Charities $500,000
W. Sydney Pittman Impact Center $800,000
(Historic Fairmount Heights Elementary School)
Shepherd’s Cove Family Shelter $3.2 Million
Central Avenue Connector Trail Segment
Greenway and Spur $5.0 Million
Blue Line Corridor Infrastructure $20 Million
Additionally, $27.5 million was allocated for a new Suitland High School and $400 million was allocated to the County to be used for the development of certain Blue Line Corridor facilities and establishing the Major Sports and Entertainment Event Program in the Stadium Authority as discussed in HB 897. We are pleased to continue to provide funding toward renovating the community to benefit our residents.
Once again it has been a pleasure to serve in Annapolis on your behalf and I look forward to returning. If you would like to stay informed about issues that are occurring on the State level, please sign up to receive my newsletter at AndreaFletcher.Harrison@house.state.md.us.
With service and gratitude,
Andrea C. Harrison
District 24, Prince George’s County
Other Important Legislation
HB 89: Child Care Stabilization and Child Care Expansion Grant Programs
House Bill 89 prioritizes family child care providers and providers most in need for the State’s $50 million stabilization grant. This legislation will allow family child care providers and providers most in need a better opportunity to take advantage of the grant this fiscal year.
HB 725: Therapeutic Child Care Program
House Bill 725 establishes the Therapeutic Child Care Program for childcare providers that support students with developmental disabilities. The grant program will help provide up to $45k for each child with severe developmental disabilities or delays.
HB 993: Establishes the Child Care Capital Support Revolving Loan Fund
House Bill 993 creates a $35 million revolving loan fund available to child care providers participating in the scholarship program. The loans will be at no interest and can be used for expansion, new construction/acquisition, and renovations of childcare facilities.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
HB 1: Legal Cannabis Constitutional Amendment
House Bill 1 puts a referendum for legalized cannabis on the 2022 General Election ballot. It would allow individuals 21 or older to use and possess cannabis.
HB 837: Cannabis Reform
House Bill 837 addresses criminal justice and public health issues facing legalization while building the necessary foundation to create social equity in the recreational cannabis industry. It allows Marylanders to possess up to 1.5 ounces of recreational cannabis without penalty and automatically expunges the conviction of anyone previously found guilty of simple possession of marijuana.
SB 691: Juvenile Justice Reform
Senate Bill 691 makes changes to the juvenile justice process by implementing the recommendations of the Juvenile Justice Reform Council (JJRC). The bill, among other things, limits the circumstances under which a child is subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. It further creates a permanent Commission on Juvenile Justice Reform and Emerging and Best Practices to research evidence– and research–based practices to improve child welfare, juvenile rehabilitation, mental health services for children, and prevention and intervention services for juveniles.
SB 763: Judicial Transparency and Police Accountability
Senate Bill 763 requires certain judicial transparency measures to be implemented by the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy. Specifically, the Commission must collect and public specified information for sentences involving a crime of violence. The bill also builds on last year’s police reform measures by providing the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission, as well as local police departments, with additional guidance in implementing reform requirements.
SB 861: Gun Center Funding
Senate Bill 861 establishes and funds the Maryland State Police Gun Center. This gun center is responsible for the statewide tracking, screening, and vetting of all firearm crimes committed in the State.
HB 1202: Local Cybersecurity Support Act of 2022
House Bill 1202 codifies the Cyber Preparedness Unit Emergency under the Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) to assist local governments to be prepared for and respond to security hack and other incidents. It requires local governments to report cyber security incidents to the local emergency manager, security operations center in DoIT, and the MD Joint Operations Center.
HB 1205: Modernize Maryland Act of 2022
House Bill 1205 creates an oversight commission consisting of experts in cybersecurity, legislators, industry leaders. It also includes a “fee for service” grant program provided at-cost by the state, to assess local governments cyber infrastructure and make grants available to jurisdictions who take advantage of the program.
This legislation also requires DoIT to conduct an audit of state cybersecurity infrastructure at least every three years with assistance of hired outside consultants to provide insight into overall system security and identify deficiencies and areas for improvement.
HB 277/SB 234: Purple Star School Program
This legislation establishes the Purple Star Schools Program. This will provide students from military families with better support and stability when they have to change schools. The Purple Star Schools Program is administered by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and recognizes public schools that provide strong services and support for military-connected students and their families when students transfer schools as a result of a parent or guardian’s military service.
HB 734: Maryland Student Investment Act
House Bill 734 expands access to higher education. It makes college more affordable for Maryland students by increasing funding to the State’s financial aid programs. It also improves the Guaranteed Access Grant so that grant recipients who become ineligible due to an income change will remain eligible for the full award under certain conditions.
HB 1163/SB 362: Virtual Education
House Bill 1163 equips the state for high-quality virtual education when a transition to remote learning is required. It requires the Department of Education to study best practices for virtual education and develop criteria for the establishment of virtual schools. The bill also requires local school boards to have a plan in place should they need to transition to virtual education for an extended period of time.
HB 1450: Blueprint Implementation Updates
House Bill 1450 adjusts the Blueprint’s implementation plan to better align with the formation of the Accountability and Implementation Board (AIB). The bill extends the dates for when the AIB must adopt a Comprehensive Implementation Plan (CIP) for the Blueprint and extends the dates for when the plans should be approved. The bill also dedicates a certain percentage of sales and use tax revenues to the Blueprint’s funding.
HB 1391: Clean Cars Act of 2022
House Bill 1391 extends the Clean Cars program for zero emission and fuel cell electric vehicles that cost $50,000 or less for the next four years. Additionally, the bill creates a medium-duty and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicle program to begin to help reduce the cost, up to 20%, for electric trucks and other heavy machinery such as forklifts. This bill is another important step in the right direction to reduce pollution and carbon emissions.
SB 528 CLIMATE SOLUTIONS – this landmark legislation strengthens Maryland’s commitment to mitigating the effects of climate change by setting achievable goals to reduce greenhouse gases and meet the goal of net-zero statewide emissions by 2045.
Environmental Justice - The bill requires the MDE, in coordination with the Commission on Environmental Justice to address issues of climate equity for communities disproportionately affected by climate change and defines in law what it means to be an “overburdened” or “underserved” community. It is important to remember that these communities are distinct, diverse, and located across the state.
Maryland Commission on Climate Change Working Groups - The bill also establishes four workgroups under the purview of the MCCC to help further the goals of the bill:
Just Transition Employment and Retraining Work Group – improve workforce development, training, and job creation connected to increasing energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction
Energy Industry Revitalization Workgroup – study and advise on opportunities and challenges for small businesses in transition to using renewable energy
Energy Resilience and Efficiency Workgroup – identify opportunities to improve the state’s energy infrastructure, modernize energy transmission, and viability of battery backup
Solar Photovoltaic Systems Recovery, Reuse, and Recycling Workgroup – review systems and programs in the state to decommission, dispose, and recycle solar panels
HB 227: Juneteenth State Holiday
House Bill 227 makes Juneteenth a state holiday. It commemorates June 19, 1865, when hundreds of thousands of enslaved people in Texas found out they were free - 2.5 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
HB 1088: African American Heritage Preservation Program Funding
House Bill 1088 provides the program with $4 million in new funding to preserve more sites in Maryland that are significant to African American history, culture and heritage. The program is one of only two grant programs in the nation that is solely dedicated to funding African American heritage sites.
SB 158: Protecting voting rights
This emergency legislation requires the State Board of Elections and local boards of elections to provide at least the same number of in-person precinct polling locations as the 2018 election. After it was made clear that local boards intended to conduct a mass consolidation of election day polling places, the General Assembly took action quickly to prevent any chance of voter suppression. While states across the country have experienced anti-democracy legislation in recent years, Maryland will continue to be a leader and ensure equal access to the ballot and expand voting opportunities.
SB 275: Labor and Employment- Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program- Establishment (Time to Care Act 2022)
House Bill 275 establishes the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program in the Maryland Department of Labor to provide benefits to individuals who take leave from employment for certain purposes.
HB 6/SB 150: Expanded Dental Coverage for Adults on Medicaid
This legislation expands access to dental care by allowing adults with Medicaid to get dental coverage beginning January 1, 2023. This will expand dental coverage to the nearly 800,000 Marylanders without dental care.
HB 413: Extended Provider Fee for State Reinsurance Program
House Bill 413 reauthorizes the reinsurance assessment fee for large insurance companies which is used to make healthcare insurance more affordable. This assessment is projected to raise $695 million in state funds from 2024-2028 and is expected to generate $1.5 to $2.5 billion in federal pass-through funds over that period.
Since the reinsurance program was established by the General Assembly in 2018, it has dramatically reduced the cost of insurance in the individual market and ensured that large insurers pay their fair share into Maryland’s healthcare system.
HB 937: Reproductive Health Care Access
House Bill 937 removes unnecessary and outdated barriers to accessing reproductive health care. It allows more types of providers to perform abortions and provides more access to clinical training for those providers. It also removes financial barriers by requiring Medicaid and private insurance plans to cover abortion care without cost-sharing or deductible requirements.
HB 1080: Healthy Babies Equity Act
House Bill 1080 allows pregnant people and their babies access to health care coverage regardless of their immigration status. This bill will expand access to prenatal and postnatal care for thousands pregnant individuals in Maryland.
HB 1403: End the Wait Act
This bill requires the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to develop plans to reduce
the waitlists for seven specified waiver programs by 50%, beginning in fiscal 2024 and develop a plan to reduce the registry for the Autism Waiver that includes conducting
eligibility determinations of individuals on the registry and, beginning in fiscal 2024,
providing services to at least 50% of individuals determined eligible. This will get people the critical care they need.
SB 353: Insulin Cost Reduction Act
Senate Bill 353 Limits the total amount of cost share for insulin for individuals with health insurance plans. Over half a million adults in the state has diabetes. Puts a cap on the cost of insulin to $30. Requires an insurer, nonprofit health service plan, or health maintenance organization (collectively known as carriers) that provides coverage for prescription drugs and devices (including coverage provided through a pharmacy benefits manager) to limit the amount a covered individual is required to pay in copayments or coinsurance for a covered prescription insulin drug to no more than $30 for a 30-day supply.
HB 425: Ghost Gun Ban
House Bill 425 bans unregistered, untraceable ‘ghost guns’ and creates a plan for a system to register guns that can be sold in kits of loose parts and do not have a serial number.
HB 1021: Enhanced Security Requirements for Licensed Firearms Dealer Shops
House Bill 1021 requires firearm dealers to put common sense security features like video cameras, burglary systems and safes in their shops to prevent stolen firearms. These enhanced security measures will prevent stolen firearms from going on the black market and being used to commit crimes.
HB 1018: Public Safety Funding Transparency
House Bill 1018 requires the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services to create a scorecard of quantifiable safety indicators to ensure that the State’s public safety funding is being used in a manner that makes all Marylanders safer.
TAXES AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
HB 2: Work Opportunity Tax Credit
House Bill 2 helps put chronically unemployed Marylanders back to work by providing a tax credit to businesses that hire and retain workers from underrepresented communities.
HB 282: Sales Tax Exemption on Diapers
House Bill 282 cuts the sales tax on diapers to help make these items more affordable for Maryland families.
HB 288: Sales Tax Exemption on Baby Products
House Bill 288 helps families afford basic necessities by cutting the sales tax on baby products including car seats, baby bottles and bottle nipples.
HB 364: Sales Tax Exemption on Medical Devices
House Bill 364 makes medical products more affordable by cutting the sales tax on thermometers, pulse oximeters, and blood pressure monitors – critical for the 1.5 million Marylanders with high blood pressure.
HB 492: Sales Tax Exemption on Oral Hygiene Products
House Bill 492 helps families afford everyday household items by cutting the sales tax on dental hygiene products like toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and mouthwash making them more affordable and accessible.
HB 1151: Sales Tax Exemption on Diabetic Care Products
House Bill 1151 makes diabetic care products more affordable for the 700K Marylanders with diabetes. It cuts the sales tax on products like testing strips, insulin pumps and glucose monitors.
HB 1468/SB 405: Retirement Income and Senior Tax Credit
House Bill 1468 provides a nonrefundable credit against the State income tax for Marylanders who are at least age 65 and income does not exceed $100,000 ($150,000 if married filing jointly). The amount of the tax credit is equal to $1,000 for an individual or if only one of the individuals filing a joint return is an eligible individual; and $1,750 if married filing jointly and both individuals are at least age 65.
SB 369: Maryland Earned Income Tax Credit Assistance Program for Low-Income Families
Senate Bill 369 establishes the Maryland Earned Income Tax Credit Assistance Program for Low-Income Families to ensure that low-income Marylanders who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) are actually receiving it. The EITC is one of the best, most effective anti-poverty tools we have, yet 1 in 4 Marylanders who can receive it are not. The program will help more families, individuals who make so little that they don’t have to file tax returns and other low-income Marylanders access the tax credit.
Last year, the General Assembly increased Maryland's EITC making it the highest in the nation and expanded it to allow immigrant taxpayers to take advantage of the tax credit.
HB 254/SB 874: Vision Zero Implementation Act of 2022
This bill requires the State Highway Administration (SHA) to conduct an infrastructure
review of each pedestrian or bicyclist fatality that occurs on a State highway or at an
intersection of a State highway and another highway or municipal street. The bill
establishes requirements for SHA in conducting the infrastructure reviews and requires that
each review be (1) completed within six months after SHA is notified by law enforcement
of a fatality and (2) published on SHA’s website. By December 1, 2023, SHA must publish
the vulnerable road user safety assessment required by the federal Infrastructure Investment
and Jobs Act (IIJA) on its website.
HB 778/SB 514: Maryland Regional Rail Transformation Act
This bill requires the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to establish individual
investment programs to advance the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC)
Cornerstone Plan and other MARC improvements, as specified. The bill also requires MTA
to (1) advance specified rail priority projects as part of the investment programs, as
specified and (2) conduct a MARC Cornerstone Plan Implementation Study. In addition,
the bill establishes a Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) Workgroup to examine specified
funding issues. The workgroup must be staffed by the Department of Legislative Services
(DLS) and submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the
General Assembly by December 16, 2022.
HB 90: Collective Bargaining Rights for the Office of the Public Defender
HB 580: Collective Bargaining Rights for Maryland Transit Administration Police Supervisors and Sergeants
HB 609: Enhanced Protections for Local Health Officers
HB 778 Maryland Regional Rail Transportation Act
HB 937: Abortion Care Access Act
HB 1021: Enhanced Security for Licensed Firearms Dealer Shops
SB 1: Stop Work Orders for Violating Prevailing Wage Requirements
SB 53: Child Interrogation Protection Act
SB 259: Expands Prevailing Wage in Mechanical Service Contracts
SB 275: Time to Care Act of 2022 – Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program