By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,
Throughout the week of Feb. 6, Maryland legislators scurried to submit legislative proposals to the General Assembly ahead of administrative deadlines.
Feb. 6 was the introduction date for senators to present their legislation, and Feb. 10 was the deadline for delegates.
According to the current House protocols, all “on–time bills,” those submitted by Feb. 10, will receive a hearing.
Senate bills introduced after their respective deadlines are referred to the Senate Rules Committee or the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee instead of being introduced during the main general assembly sessions.
Annapolis is expected to become increasingly busy as hearings commence for introduced legislation in the following weeks.
The HB0556 – Cannabis Reform Bill co-sponsored by Del. C.T. Wilson (D-28) and Del. Vanessa E. Atterbeary (D-13), was cross-filed with SB0516 co-sponsored by Sen. Brian J. Feldman (D-15) and Sen. Antonio Hayes (D-40).
The bill will rename the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Cannabis Commission, establish a regulatory and licensing system, impose a yearly sales and use tax on cannabis, and create the Cannabis Regulation and Enforcement Division in the Commission.
HB 546: The SERVE Act (Serving Every Region through Vocational Exploration)
This legislation will establish the Service Year Option Program Moore promoted in his State of the State address and will require the Department of Service and Civic Innovation to administer and provide staff for the program.
HB 547: The Family Prosperity Act
This act will reconfigure the federal earned income tax credit percentage and repeal a limitation on the amount individuals can claim as a refund under the credit.
HB0358: Department of Juvenile Services – Juvenile Felony Database
This bill requires the Department of Juvenile Services to maintain a searchable database of juvenile offenses that would be classified as felonies if committed by adults.
“Right now, many of us know that the system is broken,” said Del. Dalya Attar (D-41). “Without a proper public database, we can’t track down what’s happening in the system for us to be able to correct the system.”
HB0139 – Speed Monitoring Systems – Municipal Corporations – Statements and Certificates of Violation
This bill will require alleged violations recorded by a speed monitoring system to be included in a citation signed by a speed monitoring agency employee. These measures will ensure that an artificial intelligence system does not solely determine violations.
“I am puzzled by opposition to such a sensible and responsible bill,” said Darrell Carrington, a regular lobbyist of Annapolis, Md. “Officers’ resources are wasted by having them sit around simply to click a button. This bill was created so officers can spend time doing things they are hired to do, such as stopping crime.”
The earliest date passed legislation can take effect is June 1, other than emergency bills. Budgetary, tax and revenue bills will go into effect on July 1, according to the schedule.
Tashi McQueen is a Report For America Corps Member.