April 19, 2019

2019 Senate Session Highlights – Senator Jill Carter

The 2019 General Assembly Session ended at midnight on April 9th, capping an eventful first session in the Senate for Senator Jill Carter (District 41 – Baltimore City). In her first legislative session as a Senator, Carter would be directly involved with some one hundred thirty-nine pieces of legislation and serve as the lead sponsor of forty-three meaningful bills (you can find a link to each of these bills by clicking here). Of the forty-three bills that she carried, seven passed both Chambers of the General Assembly and are now poised to become Maryland law.

Senate Bill 236 – Jury Service – Qualification Criteria – Criminal Conviction or Charge

This bill increases, from more than six months to more than one year, the length of time of a criminal sentence or potential sentence that disqualifies an individual from jury service.

Senate Bill 237 – Vehicle Laws – Canceled, Revoked, and Suspended Driver’s Licenses – Penalties

This bill repeals the term of imprisonment and reduces the points assessed for a person convicted of possessing any canceled, revoked, or suspended license.

Senate Bill 417 – Vehicle Laws – Race–Based Traffic Stops – Policy and Reporting Requirements

This bill extends, for an additional five years, the data collection and reporting program related to race-based traffic stops. The bill also requires the Maryland Statistical Analysis Center (MSAC) to disaggregate its findings by jurisdiction and law enforcement agency in its annual report analyzing local law enforcement reports.

Senate Bill 619 – University of Maryland Medical System Corporation – Board of Directors, Ethics, and Performance Audits

This emergency bill alters the composition of, and the appointment process for, members of the Board of Directors of the University of Maryland Medical System Corporation (UMMSC), including reconstituting the board. A member of the board may not intentionally use the prestige of office or public position for that member’s private gain or that of another, and each member must annually submit a specified disclosure of financial interest to the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC). The board must adopt a specified conflict of interest policy and is prohibited from using sole source procurement to award a contract to, or provide a preference for the award of a contract to, an active member of the board or a business entity that employs or has an affiliation with an active member. The Governor must remove a member who has benefited from sole source procurement from the board. The board must also ensure that UMMSC continues to be a private, nonprofit, nonstock corporation that is independent from any State agency.

Senate Bill 622 – Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention – Crime Firearms – Study

This bill requires the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) to gather, study, and compile specified information regarding “crime firearms” in the State. The Department of State Police (DSP) must provide GOCCP with any and all information necessary to complete the study. By December 1, 2020, GOCCP must report its findings to the Governor and the General Assembly.

Senate Bill 839 – Labor and Employment – Criminal Record Screening Practices (Ban the Box)

This bill prohibits an employer with 15 or more full-time employees from, before the first in-person interview, requiring the applicant to disclose whether the applicant has a criminal record or has had criminal accusations brought against the applicant. The bill does not apply to an employer that is expressly authorized to do so by another applicable federal, State, or local law or if the employer provides programs, services, or direct care to minors or to vulnerable adults.

Senate Bill 842 – Criminal Law – Gaming – Civil Offense

This bill decriminalizes and/or alters the penalties for various betting/gambling-related offenses.

Because of the profound impact of the legislation that she carried, Senator Carter was called a “Winner” of the 2019 legislative session by both the Baltimore Sun and Maryland Matters. The Baltimore Sun said: “Marginalized when she was in the House of Delegates, the Baltimore Democrat has had a fresh start in the Senate — and it’s hard to think of lawmaker with a bigger impact this year. Carter’s bill calling for an end to contracting with board members at the University of Maryland Medical System sparked a firestorm and helped expose a growing scandal. And while some of her policy battles have ended in defeat — she fought against the creation of the Hopkins police force, for instance — several of her progressive proposals have won wide support. Her bills decriminalizing gambling, banning employers from inquiring about an ex-offender’s criminal record before a job interview, and changing state law to make it easier for those convicted of minor crimes to serve on juries have all passed the Senate.”

After a successful 2019 legislative session, Senator Carter now looks ahead to the 2020 session when she’ll bring with her the experience of a productive and effective first year in the Maryland Senate.