Priority Bills Passing!
With only one week left in the session, a number of priority bills have completely passed both houses, including HB 705 and SB 798 - Declaration of Rights - Right to Reproductive Freedom, which will now go to the voters to approve as an amendment to the Maryland Constitution. In addition, the following have passed and will be sent to the Governor for signature:
HB 279 and SB 202 - Prescription Drug Affordability Board - Upper Payment Limits
SB 460 – Maryland Medical Assistance Program – Gender–Affirming Treatment (Trans Health Equity Act) - companion HB 283 was amended in the Senate, but the House is expected to accept the amendments and make its passage complete
HB 812 - Health - Reproductive Health Services - Protected Information and Insurance Requirements – identical companion SB 786 has passed 2nd reading in the House and now only awaits 3rd reading and final passage
HB 477 - Public Senior Higher Education Institutions - Reproductive Health Services Plans – Requirements
HB 193 - Probation Before Judgment – Probation Agreements - companion SB 211 has passed 2nd reading in the House and now only awaits 3rd reading and final passage
Bills Still Requiring Action
Identical versions of the following bills have passed each chamber, and now they must be approved by the opposite chamber in order to pass:
SB 144 and HB 169 - Public Utilities - Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programs - Energy Performance Targets and Low-Income Housing
SB 859 (passed Senate) and HB 808 (awaiting final passage in House) – Reproductive Health Protection Act
A number of other bills have passed one chamber and need approval by the other:
SB 908 - Electricity - Community Solar Energy Generating Systems Program and Property Taxes – awaiting action in House Environment and Transportation
SB 222 – Environment - Reducing Packaging Materials - Producer Responsibility – awaiting action in House Environment and Transportation
HB 416 – Resources and Education for All Prisons (REAP) Act – awaiting action in Senate Judicial Proceedings
HB 109 – Task Force on Recycling Policy and Recycling and Waste Systems in Maryland – awaiting action in Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment
SB 87 - Office of the Attorney General - Correctional Ombudsman – awaiting reassignment to a committee by the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee
Meanwhile, the following bills have been amended in the opposite chamber and will need to return to their original chamber for acceptance of the amendments. Should the two chambers not agree on a final version, a conference committee of members from both houses will need to be appointed to work out the differences.
HB 9 (passed Senate) and SB 19 (awaiting 3rd reading in House) - Equity in Transportation Sector - Guidelines and Analyses – Each chamber amended the other’s bill to match the one it passed
HB 794 - Baltimore Regional Transit Commission – Establishment – amended by the Senate to match SB 876 that it passed
HB 814 - Maryland Health Benefit Exchange - State-Based Young Adult Health Insurance Subsidies Pilot Program - Sunset Extension – amended by the Senate to match SB 601 that it passed
Coming Up this Week
Only one priority bill will get its hearing in the opposite chamber this week:
HB 515 - Public Schools - Active Shooter Safety Drills or Trainings – Requirements - Tuesday, April 4 at 1:00 p.m. in the Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee. - It did not have a companion bill, so the measure has not yet been heard in the Senate committee. We will be submitting written testimony.
In addition, the following bills were reported out of their opposite chamber committees and will be heard on the House and Senate floors:
SB 26 and HB 111 - Maryland Medical Assistance Program, Maryland Children's Health Program, and Workgroup on Low-Income Utility Assistance
In addition, there are three bills related to gun regulation that were passed by each house with differences that must be resolved before adjournment.
HB 824 - Public Safety - Regulated Firearms - Possession and Permits to Carry, Wear, and Transport a Handgun - passed by the House
SB 1 – Criminal Law - Wearing, Carrying, or Transporting Firearms - Restrictions (Gun Safety Act of 2023) – substantial overlap and differences with HB 824
SB 858 – Firearm Safety - Storage Requirements and Youth Suicide Prevention (Jaelynn's Law) – overlap and differences with HB 824
Likewise, two measures, one passed by each chamber, related to expanding access to healthcare for immigrants. While one requires a study and report, the other immediately gives imigrants access to coverage through the Maryland Health Exchange.
SB 806 – Maryland Health Benefit Exchange and Maryland Department of Health - Health Care and Dental Care Coverage for Undocumented Immigrants – Report
HB 588 - Health Insurance - Qualified Resident Enrollment Program (Access to Care Act)
Look for resolution of these conflicting bills before the General Assembly adjourns at midnight, April 10.
Since action on bills is happening very rapidly, please stay up to date by checking our Table of Upcoming Hearings for bill hearings and Current Status of Priority Bills for voting sessions. These tables are updated continually, although some events can happen with little or no advance notice.