April 22, 2019

2019 Senate Session Highlights – Senator Sarah Elfreth

The 2019 General Assembly Session ended at midnight on April 9th, capping an eventful first session for Senator Sarah Elfreth (District 30 – Anne Arundel). In her first legislative session as Senator, Elfreth would be directly involved in the sponsorship of some ninety-seven pieces of legislation and serve as the lead sponsor of ten varied and interesting bills (you can find a link to each of these bills by clicking here). Of the ten bills that she carried, eight passed both Chambers of the General Assembly and are now poised to become Maryland law.

Senate Bill 99 – Public Safety – Buildings Used for Agritourism

This bill exempts an agricultural building in Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Kent counties used for agritourism from adhering to the Maryland Building Performance Standards (MBPS).

Senate Bill 156 – Mandated Appropriation – City of Annapolis – Services

This bill requires the State to appropriate at least $750,000 annually in the State budget to the mayor and aldermen of Annapolis as payment for services provided to the State instead of appropriating to Annapolis the sum provided in the State budget as payment for trash collection and other services provided to the State.

Senate Bill 396 – Higher Education – Legal Representation Fund for Title IX Proceedings – Established

This bill establishes the Legal Representation Fund for Title IX Proceedings to provide funds for reasonable costs and attorney’s fees for current and former students provided with counsel in accordance with an institution’s sexual assault policy.

Senate Bill 505 – Environmental Violations – Reporting Requirements

This bill requires each jurisdiction that is delegated authority to enforce sediment and erosion control laws and regulations under Subtitle 1 of Title 4 of the Environment Article to submit an annual report to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) by January 1 of each year.

Senate Bill 569 – Public Safety – Rape Kit Testing Grant Fund – Established

The bill establishes a Rape Kit Testing Grant Fund to provide “law enforcement agencies” with funding for testing of sexual assault evidence collection kits by “forensic laboratories.”

Senate Bill 719 – University System of Maryland – Board of Regents – Transparency and Oversight

This bill expands the membership of the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland (USM) to include four additional members as specified. The bill also specifies requirements for the members appointed from the general public. The chairperson of the board, who is elected from among board members, is subject to the advice and consent of the Senate as specified. Further, the board must (1) make available to the public live and archived video streaming of each open meeting; (2) allow time at each open meeting for public comment; and (3) include all motions and vote tallies from open and closed sessions in publicly available board meeting minutes.

Senate Bill 830 – Natural Resources – Fishery Management Plans – Oysters

This bill reestablishes the Oysters Advisory Commission with new membership and requires the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the commission, in coordination with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), to develop a package of consensus recommendations for enhancing and implementing the fishery management plan for oysters.

Senate Joint Resolution 2

This joint resolution designates June 28 as Freedom of the Press Day in honor of those who lost their lives in the tragic 2018 mass shooting at Capital Gazette Headquarters in Annapolis.

Because of the profound impact of the legislation that she carried, Senator Elfreth was called a “Winner” of the 2019 legislative session by the daily Maryland Matters news publication. About Elfreth, they said: “Dynamic young freshman with powerful allies in both legislative chambers won a coveted perch on the Budget and Taxation Committee and passed a variety of important bills, including stronger oversight of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, creating a legal fund for Title IX proceedings, recognizing press freedoms, and more money for her home city of Annapolis for playing host to the state government.”

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