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  • Writer's pictureStephen Buckingham

Some Priority Bills Advance as Deadlines for Committee Votes Loom

Updated: Jul 9, 2023

This past week saw the last Committee hearings for UULM-MD's priority bills, and many important bills were voted out of committee to the House and Senate floors. Among those that have advanced so far are:

Gun Violence Prevention

  • Bills are on the way to passing each chamber SB 1 and HB 824 - Criminal Law - Wearing, Carrying, or Transporting Firearms - Restrictions (Gun Safety Act of 2023) intended to address the U.S. Supreme Court decisions affecting Maryland’s regulation and restrictions on the possession and carrying firearms. The bills are different, so each must pass the opposite chamber.

  • Senate is awaiting final passage of SB 858 - Firearm Safety - Storage Requirements and Youth Suicide Prevention (Jaelynn's Law) making gun owners responsible for keeping them out of the hands of children.

  • House is awaiting final passage of HB 162- Firearms - Maryland Voluntary Do Not Sell Firearm Registry - Establishment establishing a voluntary registry for people not allowed to buy firearms.

Healthcare and Reproductive Rights

  • HB 705 and SB 798 – Declaration of Rights - Right to Reproductive Freedom - The House has passed (without amendment) the proposed amendment to the Maryland Constitution to enshrine the Right to Reproductive Freedom, and the Senate is awaiting final passage of its companion bill. If either passes the opposite chamber, it will go to the voters for approval in 2024.

  • The Senate is awaiting final passage of SB 341 - Public Senior Higher Education Institutions – Reproductive Health Services Plans – Requirements - to require colleges to provide reproductive health services for students. Its companion, HB 477, was on a voting list in the House Appropriations Committee recently and could be brought to a vote soon.

  • HB 279 and SB 202 – Prescription Drug Affordability Board - Upper Payment Limits - Each house has passed (without amendment) the emergency bill restoring the powers of the Prescription Drug Affordability Board to plan implementation of upper payment limits for certain pharmaceuticals

  • The Senate has passed SB 26 - Maryland Medical Assistance Program, Maryland Children's Health Program, and Workgroup on Low-Income Utility Assistance - to establish an Express Lane Eligibility Program to enroll individuals in the Maryland Medical Assistance Program and the Maryland Children's Health Program, based on eligibility findings by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The House committee has just voted favorably on the companion bill, HB 111, with amendments.

  • The House Health and Government Operations Committee committee has voted out HB 814 - Young Adult Health Subsidies Extension – favorably with amendments, so it will be on the House floor this week.

Immigration

  • The House Health and Government Operations Committee has just voted out HB 588 - Access to Care Act – favorable with amendments. If passed, it would allow any Maryland resident to access health coverage through the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, regardless of immigration status.

A few other bills have appeared on committee voting lists or work session lists recently, indicating that they could get a committee vote soon, especially if committee members are contacted to push for a vote.

These include:

  • SB 806 - Maryland Health Benefit Exchange and Maryland Department of Health - Health Care Coverage for Undocumented Immigrants - Report - in Senate Finance

  • HB 908 - Electricity - Community Solar Energy Generating Systems Program - in House Economic Matters

  • HB 283 - Maryland Medical Assistance Program - Gender-Affirming Treatment (Trans Health Equity Act) - in House Health and Government Operations

Time to Bring Remaining Priority Bills to a Committee Vote


Tuesday, March 14 is the Committee Reporting Courtesy Date, the date by which each chamber’s committees are supposed to report their own bills to the floor. The following Monday, March 20, is the Opposite Chamber Crossover Date, meaning that each Chamber must send to the other Chamber those bills it intends to pass favorably. Bills that miss this deadline are subject to being referred to the other chamber’s Rules Committee, rather than going directly to a standing committee for consideration.


These dates on the legislative calendar are significant for those priority bills that have not yet come out of committee in the chamber of origin. Now is the time to contact your lawmakers on the relevant committees seeking a (favorable) vote. Some of these bills have appeared on committee work session or voting lists (without a vote), indicating that some action is expected. However, no further priority bills came out of committee last week, and we need to press lawmakers to vote them to the floor of the House or Senate.

Keep an eye out for 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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