Summary –

This document represents the Maryland Legislative Coalition’s Agenda for the 2022 Session. These are the policy initiatives that the Coalition will support and hopes to pass during the session. The 2022 Legislative Agenda is divided into major policy areas of Education, Environment, Elections and Democracy, Gun Control, Health Care, Transportation and Social and Economic Justice.  HIGH PRIORITY, OR MUST-WIN LEGISLATION IS IN BOLD.

 

 Education –

Since the Blueprint veto was overridden and the Built to Learn Act has become law, there are fewer large-scale educational initiatives this coming session.  What we are looking to support this year includes:

  • Ending the BOOST Program
  • Reform Juvenile Services Education – young persons in Juvenile Services are not getting educated during the pandemic so there needs to be a plan
  • Reporting Requirements for all Alternative Schools – more children with learning difficulties are being placed in alternative schools, which have no real oversight

Environment/Climate –

We are hoping that it is a HUGE year for environmental legislation.  It is desperately needed, and after the failure of the Climate Solutions Now Act in 2021, we must push harder than ever to deal with the climate crisis.  What we are looking to support this year includes:

  • Climate Solutions Now Act, this is a comprehensive bill, which will increase the statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction requirement from 40% by 2030 to 60% and requires the State to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045.  It also sets targets for electrifying state vehicle fleets, supporting solar on buildings and planting trees.  Finally, it has justice/equity provisions which will support already burdened communities
  • Constitutional Amendment for Environmental Rights, which will give everyone in Maryland the right to clean air, water and a pollution free environment
  • The Climate Crisis and Environmental Justice Act, (CCEJ) puts an incrementally rising fee on fossil fuels and creates revenue to mitigate pollution and support the most vulnerable people, harmed by the climate crisis.
  • Low-income energy efficiency targets, which will help to alleviate the burden of disproportionate energy costs for low-income households
  • Net zero new construction, including schools, and setting of Building Energy Performance Standards
  • Decarbonization of Existing Buildings, including schools
  • FUTURE Act, which would require all four-year public universities to become energy neutral by 2030
  • RPS Cleanup, designating only wind, solar, geothermal, wastewater and small hydro as clean energy for purposes of providing subsidies
  • Chain of Custody for Synthetic Turf Fields, which would require that documentation for each step of a synthetic turf’s change in custody be documented to MDE
  • Worker protections for agricultural workers, who are currently exempted from health care, time off, minimum wage requirements and other basic requirements
  • Distribution Grid Planning, which will require putting some structure around the process of electricity distribution planning
  • Microgrid Storage, funding construction costs of solar resiliency storage to help low-income areas from a resiliency and preparedness standpoint
  • Reform Energy Assistance Signup to allow signup for energy assistance to become easier and less fragmented
  • Creation of a Climate Conservation Corps
  • PACE Program (Property Assessed Clean Energy), which is a loan system that allows residences and businesses to afford solar
  • Incentives for more electric vehicles, including the electrification the bus fleet and police vehicles
  • Extended Producer Responsibility, which will put the responsibility for recycling plastics back on the producers
  • Single Use Plastic ban
  • Expansion of composting in schools and large businesses
  • Allowing the Attorney General to sue Fossil Fuel Companies
  • Workgroup for Regional Waste Disposal
  • Conservation Parity Act, which will set a goal of 30% of Maryland lands protected by 2030
  • Transfer Pesticide Regulatory Authority from Department of Agriculture to MDE
  • Low- and Moderate-Income Community Solar Accessibility
  • Pensions – Climate Reporting, which would make the Maryland State Retirement and Pensions System consider climate change as a fiduciary responsibility when making investment decisions
  • PFAS ban

Elections and Democracy–

This will be a big year for legislative redistricting.  The Congressional redistricting maps have already been approved, but the legislative ones will take center stage this session.  Some of the election-related bills that didn’t pass last year will come back. We are not expecting a lot of election reform bills to get much traction, but the ones we are looking to support include:

  • Legislative Redistricting
  • Campaign Finance Reform including the Small Donor Incentive Act and Pay to Play for Lobbyists and Businesses
  • Ranked Choice Voting
  • Permanent Vote by Mail
  • Counting mail-in ballots as they come in
  • Special Elections for Vacancies
  • Governance of the State Board of Elections

Gun Control –

There were several bills that didn’t pass last year that will be making a return. There are also a few new legislative ideas on mass-shootings that sound very promising. We are looking to support:

  • A ban on 3D printed guns and guns with no serial number, which will require the creation of an agency to manage serial numbers
  • Child Access Prevention
  • Liability for manufacturers of guns
  • Re-definition of domestic terrorism to include mass shootings

Health Care –

One of the most promising bills from last session was the study of how we transition to a single-payer health care system, which didn’t get a vote. We will push hard to get it through again this year.  Another bill that we hope will come back is the End-of-Life Act.  We are very close to getting that in Maryland, so we will support that bill and other legislation, such as:

  • Study the Transition to Single Payer
  • Time to Care Act, which provides family medical leave
  • Healthy Working Families Act, which adds 14 paid days whenever there is a declared health emergency, removes exemptions for agricultural, seasonal, temporary and on-call workers, expands sick leave days from 5-7 and reduces the waiting period to take leave
  • End of Life Act
  • Paid Sick Leave
  • School Based Health Centers
  • Ensuring that insurance companies pay for mental health and telehealth
  • Insulin price reduction and legislation affecting the need for emergency supplies of insulin
  • Prohibition on consumer price gouging for Long Term Care Insurance
  • Reverse Dilution of Self-Directed Services – removes the changes to Self Directed Services for the I/DD community that have watered down the original New Directions waiver, making true self direction impossible for many people. 

Transportation –

Transportation is a large component of climate change, and as such will be big part of our future.  We will continue to support any enhancements to public transportation, such as:

  • Transportation Equity Act of 2022
  • Conversion to Zero Emission School Buses
  • Further Expansion of MARC and Commuter Rail, expansion to VA, DE and from Western Maryland into Camden Park, expansion of service and 20-minute service from Washington DC to Baltimore without MAGLEV
  • Monorail between Frederick and Shady Grove
  • Transportation Climate Initiative – regional initiative to develop a green energy economy
  • Commuter Buses for 1-270
  • Creation of an Inspector General for P3s

Social and Economic Justice – 

  • Policing –
    • Requiring more than 2 hours per day out of cell for persons with serious mental illness
    • Citations in lieu of arrests
    • Expansion of Body Worn Cameras to municipal police forces, non-uniform/plainclothes officers, and armed off-duty officers
    • Safe Schools Fund/Counselors Not Cops, which would add money to the Safe Schools Fund and allow such funding to be used for mental health supports in addition to law enforcement supports
  • Immigrant Rights –
    • Universal Representation, providing an attorney for deportation cases
    • Universal Health Care, allowing immigrants to qualify for Medicare
    • Probation Not Deportation, which would apply to minor contacts with the criminal justice system that should not result in deportation
  • Housing
    • Prohibiting evictions for persons waiting for unemployment monies
    • Prohibiting tenant screening
    • Housing for the homeless
    • Emergency Rental Assistance
    • Eviction Prevention Services at Court
    • Just Cause for Evictions
    • Licensing Requirements in Eviction Actions
    • Social Housing, which includes tenant protections, affordable housing and zoning changes that allow for duplexes, triplexes and quarterplexes
    • Affirmatively furthering fair housing
    • Funding Access to Counsel in Rent Court, which is a funding measure that would require funding to accompany the right to access free counsel in rent court created by law, but not funded, last session
    • Protections for Immigrants from Housing Discrimination, which would prohibit landlords from seeking information about a tenant’s immigration status
  • Disability Rights –
    • Transitioning services for young people who have become adults to help them get jobs
    • Department of Education Trauma approach for medically fragile kids
  • Women’s and Children’s Rights
    • Banning Child Marriage
    • Spousal defense
    • Protection of a woman’s right to choose
    • Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth
  • LGBTQ Rights – 
    • End of minor solitary confinement
    • Banning discrimination by private schools that get public funds
  • Economic Justice – 
    • Protect the first $500 in savings accounts from debt collection
    • Maryland Essential Workers Protection Act, which provides for safe and hygienic working conditions, hazard pay, healthcare assistance, universal health and bereavement leave, free testing and right to refuse dangerous work
    • Extended Benefits for Unemployment
    • End debtor’s prisons
    • Ensuring that auto insurance rates don’t differ by zip code
    • Wage protection – retaliation – protections for $15 minimum wage
    • Eliminating body attachments
    • Bail reform
  • Criminal Justice Reform –
    • Funding for the Women’s Prerelease Center
    • Juvenile Interrogation Protection Act, which will provide real notice to parents of a juvenile who has been taken into custody and
      requires the presence of an attorney before a juvenile can be questioned by law enforcement
    • Disrupting School Activities, which protects students from being charged with a misdemeanor (with a fine and possible jail time) for disrupting school activities and will halt one harmful aspect of the school to prison pipeline
    • Eliminating the Unit Rule
    • Pre-trial release monitoring systems (GPS systems vs incarceration)
    • Juvenile Sentencing Reform
    • Marijuana legalization
  • Equitable Taxation –
    • Closing Tax Loopholes 
    • Progressive Tax Legislation