A New Legislative Session
The Maryland General Assembly convenes for its 90 day session today. Once again, we will be operating in a challenging public health environment and you can read about some of the protocols impacting the public here. The one silver lining is all of our floor sessions, committee meetings, and committee voting sessions now stream online and are accessible. You can visit the Maryland General Assembly website to keep track of all of our meetings or just reply to this email with any questions.
The office staff for the 2022 legislative session.
As always, you can keep up with what I am doing by following me at @mkorman on Twitter or by clicking "Like" on Delegate Marc Korman on Facebook.
2022 Legislative Session Agenda
I am currently sponsoring nine pieces of legislation and the possibility of a few more still under development. That said, there are some significant issues the General Assembly will address that I may not be the sponsor of, but will take up significant time. This includes the annual budget which goes through the committee I serve on (Appropriations); further relief related to the continuing public health crisis; oversight of the public health response; legislation related to the potential legalization of recreational cannabis; and more. Although I am not the primary author of these bills, their development and advancement will be a part of my work these next 90 days.
Moreover, there are numerous other issues in which we will be engaged including a comprehensive bill related to climate change and assisting renters facing eviction; the local legislation I help oversee as chair of the 24 member Montgomery County House Delegation; and my work in overseeing the state's transportation and environmental agencies' budgets as the Chair of the Transportation & Environment Subcommittee of Appropriations. It will be a busy legislative session.
The legislation I am sponsoring includes:
Young Readers Program Expansion Act: As a bibliophile, I may be most excited about this legislation that would support Imagination Library chapters in our state. Imagination Library programs sends a book a month to children under five and the Montgomery County chapter focuses on impoverished communities. The bill would set up a state matching program for local jurisdictions to support Imagination Library chapters.
Green School Construction Act of 2022: For schools transitioning the fuel supply for their boilers, transitioning to a fossil fuel would become an ineligible cost for purposes of state matching dollars. There is no reason for state tax dollars to make long-term investments in fossil fuel infrastructure when schools can instead upgrade to greener options.
Maryland Rail Investment Act of 2022: Maryland has an independent transportation authority for the construction, maintenance, and management of roads but not for transit. This legislation would create that by establishing a rail authority to support transit projects and funding it with toll revenue in excess of road maintenance needs, an approach also followed in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
WMATA Dedicated Funding Amendment Act of 2022: In 2018, Maryland was part of an historic success that established regional, dedicated funding for the Metro system. Although I continue to have significant concerns about the oversight and management of the system, there is no question that this funding has helped with Metro's capital needs. The legislation makes something of a technical change to the dedicated funding formula, contingent on parallel action in DC and Virginia, to apply a growth formula to the dedicated funding account instead of another capital fund. Senator Brian Feldman is working on the bill with me.
Zero-Emission Bus Transition Act Revisions (HB 10): Last year, the Maryland General Assembly passed my legislation with Senator Craig Zucker to transition the state's 800 bus fleet to zero emission. The new bill ensures that the bus workers are treated fairly during the transition.
Motor Vehicle Registration Clarification Act: The bill came from a constituent complaint where the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) was issuing penalties for non-insured cars (which they track by license plates) when the plates have already been turned in. The bill will require the MVA to pause a little longer before assessing the penalties.
Arbitration Reform for State Employees Act: The proposed constitutional amendment would alter the system of government employee negotiations in Maryland to binding arbitration, allowing a neutral third party to settle contract disputes between the Governor and state workforce. Senator Ben Kramer is working on the proposed constitutional amendment with me.
Maryland State Transparency Act: This legislation builds on prior work I have done with Senator Cheryl Kagan to make various agencies' governing boards more transparent. It applies the same web streaming and agenda posting requirements to all of the state's quasi-governmental agencies, which was the recommendation of a Gubernatorial Commission I served on over the interim.
Independent Agency Health Insurance Option Act: This bill allows a few quasi governmental agencies not already covered to buy-in to the state's health insurance program. There is no net cost to the state because the quasi governmental agencies pay for the state's share of the cost, just as they do for their usually more expensive independent health insurance plans today. Senator Brian Feldman is working on the proposed legislation with me.
The Maryland General Assembly website has many great resources if you are interested in following our work over the next 90 days. I will highlight just a few:
I also recommend a few different news resources for those of you interested in the legislature. In addition to the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun, there are three websites that specialize in coverage of Annapolis:
If you know of an upcoming District 16 event or a District 16 resident who merits recognition or condolences, please email email@example.com.
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