2019 Legislative Priority Agenda Bills Passed

2019 Legislative Priority Agenda Bills Passed

    • Tobacco 21-Raising the Age of Selling Tobacco to 21(HB1169/SB895)

This bill, a priority of the Legislative Black Caucus, will ban retailers from selling a tobacco product to anyone under the age of 21 and requires retailers to post this age restriction in their stores.  This will help to keep these addictive products out of high schools, and reduce teen smoking and addiction.  The bill includes the age restriction on e-cigarettes, which have seen a sharp increase in use by teenagers, but exempts active duty military members from the age limit.

At current smoking rates, roughly 92,000 kids now under 18 years old in Maryland will die prematurely from smoking.  7,500 people in Maryland die due to smoking annually and it causes roughly 27 percent of all cancer deaths in the state. Further, tobacco costs Maryland about $2.71 billion annually in health care costs.  By reducing teens’ access to smoking, we reduce addiction rates, reduce premature deaths, and reduce associated healthcare costs. 

  • Addiction and Behavioral Treatment-Inside The Walls Opiate Disorder Treatment –Opioid Workgroup(HB116)

This bipartisan legislation puts Maryland on track to offer full medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to inmates suffering from opiate use disorder in all local jail by 2023. After release, inmates suffering from opiate use disorder are 10 times more likely to overdose than the general public. 

Starting in 2020, four counties (Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s) will begin MAT at local jails. By 2021, six more counties will be required to start programs, and by 2023 the entire state will offer MAT in local jails. House Bill 116 ensures inmates have a behavioral health screening and all FDA approved medications available for treatment.

  • Opioid Restitution Fund – (HB1274) Opioid Workgroup

This bill creates a special state fund for any money received from a legal judgements or settlements against an opioid manufacturer. This dedicated fund ensures money recovered from this crisis is used to fund treatment and recovery programs. 

  • Prescription Drug Affordability (HB768/SB759)

This bill would create an independent unit of state government that would   evaluate prescriptions covered under state and local government employee health plans. Maryland would become the first state in the nation to have such a board.

    • Ban on 3D guns (HB740) Banning of Computer–Aided Fabrication and Serial Number (3–D Printed Firearms and Ghost Guns)

This bill bans the creation, sale, or possession of 3D printed guns. 3D guns circumvent every aspect of Maryland’s firearm laws, including background checks, license and training requirements, and are entirely untraceable. As technology advances, it is crucial that we update our laws to ensure public safety. House Bill 740 also requires the State Police to create a plan for a system to register untraceable ‘ghost guns’ which can be sold in kits of loose parts and do not have a serial number.

  • End the unit rule issue- (HB13)-Partial Expungement 

 This bill repeals the prohibition on expungement of a charge or conviction

within a “unit” of charges unless all of the charges or convictions in the unit  are eligible for expungement.

    • Fight for 15 (HB 166/SB 280)   

The Senate Bill passed the Senate  and the House Bill has passed the House and the Senate but the Senate amended the bill to let small businesses have an extra three years (until 2028) to get to the $15 level.  There will now be a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the two versions before it goes to the Governor for signature or veto.

    • HBCUSFunding and Program Initiatives 
      • HB658

DBM must provide information on interagency agreements with HBCUs including (1) the total percentage of interagency contracts with HBCUs and (2) any recommendations for regulatory or statutory changes necessary to address barriers to interagency agreements with HBCUs.

  • HB0482

This bill creates a tax credit against the State income tax for 25% of a donation made to a qualified permanent endowment fund at Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University, or University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The Comptroller’s Office (1) may award a maximum of $240,000 in tax credits in each year and (2) is required to adopt regulations to implement the tax credit application, approval, and monitoring processes. The bill takes effect July 1, 2019, and applies to tax years 2019 through 2023. The bill terminates December 31, 2023.

  • Recruit, train, retain, compensate, and develop education professionals, with an intentional effort made at diversifying the educator workforce. (Kirwan Commission)(HB 1413/SB1030)

The bill, which implements the initial policy and funding recommendations of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, or Kirwan Commission, is heralded by lawmakers as a first step toward generational reform in Maryland schools. Establishing principles of The Blueprint for Maryland’s Future that are intended to transform Maryland’s early childhood, primary, and secondary education system to the levels of the highest-performing systems; establishing a Concentration of Poverty School Grant Program to provide grants to schools with high concentrations of students eligible for free or reduced price meals; establishing the Teacher Collaborative Grant Program; establishing the Maryland Office of the Inspector General for Education; etc.

  • Concentration on poverty index (HB727)

The Built to Learn Act will revolutionize school construction for students across the state. This bill will help counties across the state build schools and start much needed maintenance projects.  The Built to Learn Act will invest an additional $2.2 B into school construction, on top of current school construction funding. 

  • Expanded Tax Credit for Child Care (HB810/SB870)
    The bill would allow those Marylanders to claim more in credits, while expanding the credits to residents who make more than $50,000 but less than $141,000. That expands the number of Marylanders eligible for the tax credits from 23,000 to about 114,200 taxpayers.

During the 90 day Legislative Session the following individuals and groups came before the Black Caucus to discuss diversity within their agency, opportunities for minorities, or raise an issue that is affecting people of color.

  • McDonalds
  • MagLev
  • MD Secretary of Transportation-Pete Rahn
  • MD Secretary of Commerce- Kelly Schultz
  • MD Secretary of Small, Minority, and Women Business Affairs-Jimmy Rhee 
  • MD State Treasurer- Nancy Kopp
  • MD State’s Attorney- Brian Frosh
  • MD Governor- Larry Hogan
  • CIAA 2021
  • House Speaker Busch 
  • Senate President Miller, 
  • MD Secretary of Agriculture- Joseph Bartenfelder
  • MD Secretary of Housing and Community Development- Kenneth Holt
  • MD Secretary of Veteran Affairs- George Owings III
  • MD Acting Secretary of DLLR- James Rzepkowski
  • Former Mayors of Baltimore City- Kirk Schmoke and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
  • Current Mayor of Baltimore City- Catherine Pugh
  • Former Governor of Maryland- Martin O’Malley
  • United Black Police Association and Hispanic National Law Enforcement Association
  • Prince George’s County Executive- Angela Alsobrooks

The Black Caucus 

The LBCM Annual MLK Wreath Laying Ceremony included members of the local Morehouse Alumni Chapter to remind everyone of the message that Martin Luther King Jr. preached and lived by until his death. 

The 2019 Nathaniel Exum Annual Youth Day brought over 300 students to the Maryland State House to become legislators for a day. Youth learned about the power of advocacy and civic engagement. The event was for grades 6th-12th only. The students prepared mock legislation and went through the steps it takes to get a bill passed into law. There was a college fair onsite for parents as well as the students to ask questions from Maryland colleges and universities.

Black History Month– During Black History month, members of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, Inc. attended The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. This experience provided members with an understanding of the diversity and culture of African Americans. 

This year the Black Caucus took to the road for 2019 HBCU night. This event joined Maryland legislators with the HBCU community in a night of networking and celebration. HBCU Night honored the academic, social, and societal impact that Historically Black Colleges and Universities have on our students and our state. This year, the event will specifically highlighted Bowie State University. 

The goal of this event was to recognize various prestigious academic programs and organizations at Bowie State University. Distinguished speakers included representatives from the Bowie State University President- Dr. Breaux,  administrators, faculty, alumni and members from the Bowie State University Student Government Association. 

The Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, Inc. provided a citation to Senator Will Smith. Senator Smith has been deployed to Afghanistan. As a lieutenant and intelligence officer, he’ll  be supporting Operation Resolute Support, helping stabilize the fledgling Afghan government to stand up against extremists. The Black Caucus supports Senator Smith and awaits his safe return home. 

Save the Dates

July 13, 2019- 2nd Annual Unity Breakfast will highlight the 2019 Scholarship Recipients. The Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland Inc. and The Maryland Black Caucus Foundation are working collectively on the ” Maryland Black Agenda 2030″ with members of the community, law makers, HBCU’s, non-profit organizations, clergy and other subject matter experts working together to create tangible goals, objectives, strategies, and action plans.

Successfully launched Reach Across Maryland in October in partnership with the Governor’s office of community outreach. 

November 14th-16th– 24th Annual Legislative Weekend