Summary –

This document represents the Maryland Legislative Coalition’s Agenda for the 2020 Session. These are the policy initiatives, and when available, the individual bills that the Coalition will support and hope to pass during the session. The 2020 Legislative Agenda is divided into major policy areas of Education, Environment, Elections and Democracy, Gun Control, Health Care, Net Neutrality, Transportation and Social and Economic Justice.

Under each policy area, there are specific initiatives listed. Individual bills will be included under each initiative as they are released during session.

 Education –

The biggest initiative in terms of schools is producing legislation in support of the Kirwan Commission’s findings. Fully funding the schools will require tapping into additional revenue streams as well as ensuring that the funding is equitable. Casino revenue will only make up part of the requirement, so we can expect a lot of legislative debate over funding this session, including legalizing Marijuana and Sports Betting, as well as other creative ways of increasing revenue. Our specific legislative goals are:

  • Fully funding the Kirwan recommendations
  • School construction

Environment –

Last year the Clean Energy Jobs Act FINALLY passed, although a plan for the incinerators was not included. This year, although the Kirwan recommendations will take up much of the legislative effort, the climate crisis requires that we get even bolder. What we are looking to support this year includes:

  • A Maryland Climate Solution, which will include updates for power generation, retrofitting of buildings, transportation, agriculture and housing
  • Community Choice Aggregation, which will be enabling legislation for each county that will allow them to aggregate their rate payers to negotiate for better rates and for the kind of energy (solar, wind, fossil fuel) that their residents want to use
  • Carbon Collection, (a tax on carbon) which will raise money for Kirwan and other environmental projects
  • Transition from Black Liquor and Incineration, which will look to close coal fired power plants and transition away from incineration
  • Zero energy houses, which will offer zero-rate loans to builders that build zero energy homes
  • Concentrated Animal Feeding Organization (CAFO) legislation for the Eastern Shore
  • Incentives for more electric vehicles, including buses and police vehicles
  • Pipeline hazard and safety bills to make it harder to build pipelines in the state
  • Ban on Chlorpyrifos, the bee killing pesticide

Elections and Democracy–

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:

  • Small Donor Incentive Act, which would be modeled on the Montgomery County experience
  • Campaign Finance Reform
  • Additional Disclosures and inclusion of bank statements with campaign finance reports
  • Ranked Choice Voting
  • Mail in ballot voting
  • Requirement for Presidential candidates to file tax returns
  • Any bills aimed at securing the vote for 2020
  • Any bills that will help get more people to fill out the census
  • Special elections to fill legislative vacancies
  • Permit the legislature to increase budget items

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:

  • Background checks for long guns
  • A ban on 3D printed guns and guns with no serial number, which will require the creation of an agency to manage serial numbers
  • Restriction of firearm sales near schools
  • Liability for manufacturers of guns
  • Re-definition of domestic terrorism to include mass shootings
  • Repeal the Handgun Permit Review Board

Health Care –

The biggest and most controversial bill will make a comeback from last year – the Healthy Maryland Program. We will support it and other legislation, such as:

  • Healthy Maryland Program, which will provide a single payer system in Maryland, or any bills that study the transition to single payer
  • Paid Family and Medical Leave
  • Opioid Abuse support for victims of the crisis
  • End of Life Act
  • School Based Health Centers
  • Insulin price reduction and legislation affecting the need for emergency supplies of insulin
  • Vaping legislation

Net Neutrality and 5G- 
It is not known if net neutrality legislation will be introduced this session.  All the legislation that was introduced last year failed, so there is some anticipation that we will see something.  
Transportation –
Transportation is a large component of climate change, and as such will be part of the suite of bills that come under the Environment category. Other bills that would fall under transportation would include public transportation, such as:

  • Monorail between Frederick and Shady Grove
  • Any bills supporting the Baltimore Red Line or mass transit in Baltimore
  • Creation of an Inspector General for P3s

Social and Economic Justice – 

There will once again be a lot of focus on Social and Economic Justice this session.  Social Justice bills often sit in the Judicial Proceedings Committee and don’t get passed year after year. This is why so many bills keep coming back in the hope of passing. This year, there will once again be many return bills that we will support, such as:

  • Immigration
    • Override of the Dream Act Veto
    • Public Information Act
    • Trust Act
    • Correctional Facilities and Police Officers – Immigration status
    • Preventing ICE from using driver’s license pictures
    • Court Houses, Schools, etc. having a plan to make them safer from ICE
    • Racial profiling at traffic stops
    • Prohibition on new ICE facilities in Maryland
  • Housing
    • Housing for All, which includes tenant protections, affordable housing and zoning changes that allow for duplexes, triplexes and quarterplexes
    • Just cause evictions
  • 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 Rights
    • Spousal defense
    • Protection of a woman’s right to choose
  • LGBTQ Rights – 
    • Administrative name/gender change rights
    • End of minor solitary confinement
    • Banning discrimination by private schools that get public funds
  • Criminalization of Poverty – 
    • Debtor’s Bill of Rights (tying the debt exemption to minimum wage like other states do)
    • Debt collection – exemptions from attachment
    • Wage protection – retaliation – protections for $15 minimum wage
    • Eliminating body attachments
    • Bail reform
    • Child tax credit for low income families
  • Criminal Justice Reform –
    • Ban the Box veto override
    • Eliminating the Unit Rule
    • Pre-trial release monitoring systems (GPS systems vs incarceration)
    • Redeem Act
    • Pre-trial release – Reimbursement of Special Costs
    • Marijuana legalization
    • Parole reform