April 15, 2019

2019 Senate Session Highlights – Senator Malcolm Augustine

The 2019 General Assembly Session ended at midnight on April 9th, capping an eventful first session for Senator Malcolm Augustine (District 47 – Prince George’s). In his first legislative session as Senator, Augustine would be directly involved with some sixty-six pieces of legislation and serve as the lead sponsor of six varied and interesting bills (you can find a link to each of these bills by clicking here). Of the six bills that he carried, four passed both Chambers of the General Assembly and are now poised to become Maryland law.

Senate Bill 144 – Victims and Witnesses – U Nonimmigrant Status – Certification of Victim Helpfulness

This bill establishes provisions by which a victim or a victim’s parent, guardian, or next friend may request specified entities to certify victim helpfulness for purposes of obtaining U Nonimmigrant Status with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Senate Bill 319 – Maryland Transit Administration – State Employees – Free Ridership (Transit Benefit for State Employees)

This bill requires the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to offer free transit ridership to all permanent Executive Branch State employees, including employees of units with an independent personnel system.

Senate Bill 403 – Behavioral Health Administration – Outpatient Civil Commitment Pilot Program – Revisions

This bill requires the Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) within the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to allow an eligible individual to request enrollment in, and allow an immediate family member of an eligible individual to request voluntary enrollment for the individual in, an existing authorized pilot program for outpatient civil commitment (OCC).

Senate Bill 631 – Health Insurance – Coverage for Mental Health Benefits and Substance Use Disorder Benefits – Treatment Criteria

This bill requires specified insurers, nonprofit health service plans, and health maintenance organizations (collectively known as carriers) to use the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria for all medical necessity and utilization management determinations for substance use disorder benefits.

After a successful 2019 legislative session, Senator Augustine now looks ahead to the 2020 session where he’ll bring with him the experience of a productive and effective first year in the Maryland General Assembly.