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  • Writer's pictureStephen Buckingham

Committees Take Action on Priority Bills

This past week, several of our priority bills have been brought to a vote in committee, and all were actions that we sought. Bill that received a favorable report include:

  • Our top Gun Violence Prevention bill – HB 416 - Public Schools - Active Shooter Safety Drills or Trainings – Requirements – Favorable Report (no amendments) by Ways and Means

  • Our sole Immigration bill: HB 728 - Health Insurance - Qualified Resident Enrollment Program (Access to Care Act) - Favorable with Amendments Report by Health and Government Operations, and

  • Two Criminal Justice bills:

    • HB 92 - Resources and Education for All Prisons (REAP) Act - Favorable Report by Appropriations

    • SB 132 - Correctional Services – Medical Parole – Life Imprisonment - Favorable Report by Judicial Proceedings





In addition, two bills that we opposed were each given an Unfavorable Report (voted down) by the House Ways & Means Committee:

  • HB 25 - Public Schools - Sexually Explicit Materials - Prohibited in Libraries and Media Centers, and

  • HB 47 - Education - Interscholastic and Intramural Junior Varsity and Varsity Teams - Designation Based on Sex (Fairness in Girls' Sports Act)

 

UUs Testifying in Committee Last Week

In-person testimony was given last week:

  • On SB 784 - Comprehensive Community Safety Funding Act- by Gun Violence Issue Lead Ken Shilling

Via Zoom (no in-person hearing):

  • On HB 403 - End-of-Life Option Act (The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings and the Honorable Shane E. Pendergrass Act) - by Rev. Diane Teichert, Jan Bird, and Steve Buckingham

  • Additional written testimony in support of this measure was submitted by Rev. Alexa Fraser, Diane Krause, Lynn Cave, Becca Forte, Shari Chilbert, Erin Forte, and Kris Korneman

Written testimony was submitted last week:

  • On SB 119 - Legally Protected Health Care - Gender-Affirming Treatment - by Kari Alperovitz-Bichell


In addition to the six measures already acted upon by committees, thirteen (13) more of our priority issue measures have been heard in at least one chamber’s committees and could be brought up to a vote at any time. This includes:

  • Gun Violence Prevention - Four more of our five priority measures have been heard

  • Health Care – Both measures have been heard

  • Medical Aid in Dying – The committees in both chambers have heard this measure

  • Criminal Justice – Four of the remaining six measures have been heard

  • Climate Change – One of the 8 priority measures has been heard in one chamber

Twenty-eight more hearings have been scheduled, including ten measures that have not yet been heard in either chamber’s committees.  The rest are companion bills on bills already heard in the other chamber.

Upcoming Hearings This Week

The priority bills to be heard this week are:

Tuesday, February 20

  • Climate Change: SB 958 - Responding to Emergency Needs From Extreme Weather (RENEW) Act of 2024 – Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee


Wednesday, February 21

  • Immigration: SB 705 - Health Insurance - Qualified Resident Enrollment Program (Access to Care Act) - Senate Finance Committee

  • Gun Violence: HB 794 - Regulated Firearms - Maryland Voluntary Do Not Sell Firearm Process – House Judiciary Committee

  • Climate Change: HB 24 - Environment - Impact of Environmental Permits and State Agency Actions – House Environment and Transportation Committee

  • Healthcare: HB 691 - Legally Protected Health Care - Gender-Affirming Treatment – House Health and Government Operations Committee


Thursday, February 22

  • Gun Violence: HB 935 - Comprehensive Community Safety Funding Act – House Ways and Means Committee

 

Anyone interested in providing testimony can do so in writing and/or verbally in person or remotely, as long as they are signed up in advance. Contact our Coordinator, Ashley Egan if you want her to assist you in making your voice heard.

 

Committee voting sessions are usually scheduled as the Committee Chair deems them ready, and little public notice is provided.  We are constantly scanning the official meeting schedules for voting sessions and monitoring House and Senate sessions for any verbal announcements.  While we cannot guarantee advance notice to our readers, we are constantly updating our Upcoming Hearings table with any new information.

 

Keep an eye out for any alerts from our Issue Leads asking you to contact your lawmakers who sit on specific committees!  This is the best time to reach out to your representatives and make an impact on their vote.


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