May 2, 2019

2019 Senate Session Highlights – Senator Cheryl Kagan

The 2019 General Assembly Session ended at midnight on April 9th, capping an eventful legislative session for Senator Cheryl Kagan (District 17 – Montgomery County). Kagan would be directly involved with some eighty-one pieces of legislation and serve as the lead sponsor of nineteen important bills (you can find a link to each of these bills by clicking here). Of the nineteen bills that she carried as the lead sponsor, ten passed both Chambers of the General Assembly and are now poised to become Maryland law.

Senate Bill 5 – Public Information Act – 9-1-1 Communications – Denial of Part of a Public Record

This bill requires a custodian, before granting inspection under the Maryland Public Information Act (PIA) of the part of a 9-1-1 communications record that depicts a victim of specified crimes, to (1) notify the victim or the victim’s representative, as specified, and (2) consider any response received from the victim/representative before granting or denying the inspection. A custodian must grant or deny an application for inspection of such a record within 50 days after receiving an application to inspect the record, instead of within 30 days. A custodian must allow inspection by the person in interest.

Senate Bill 17 – State Grants and Contracts – Reimbursement of Nonprofit Indirect Costs – Application

This bill establishes that indirect costs incurred by nonprofit organizations on State grants or contracts are payable on awards made before October 1, 2018, under specified conditions. However, any indirect costs incurred under a multi-year grant or contract in a fiscal year that began before July 1, 2019, are not required to be reimbursed.

Senate Bill 184 – State Board of Elections – Open Meetings – Video Streaming and Recording (State Board of Elections Transparency Act)

This bill requires the State Board of Elections (SBE), in consultation with the Department of Information Technology (DoIT), to make publicly available on the Internet (1) each meeting agenda, made available at least 24 hours in advance of each meeting; (2) live video streaming of each open meeting of SBE; and (3) a complete, unedited archived video recording of each open meeting for a minimum of four years after the date of the meeting. SBE must prepare written minutes of each meeting as soon as practicable after the meeting. DoIT must provide to SBE the technical staff, support, and equipment necessary to stream live video of the open meetings of SBE.

Senate Bill 284 – 9-1-1 Specialists – Compensation and Benefits

This bill expands eligibility of an existing local property tax credit for 9-1-1 public safety telecommunicators. In addition, the bill states that it is the intent of the General Assembly that jurisdictions employing 9-1-1 specialists appropriately classify and compensate workers.

Senate Bill 285 – Environment – Expanded Polystyrene Food Service Products – Prohibition

This bill prohibits, beginning July 1, 2020, (1) a person from selling or offering for sale in the State an “expanded polystyrene food service product” and (2) a “food service business” or school from selling or providing food in an expanded polystyrene food service product. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) must conduct a specified public education and outreach campaign and is authorized to (1) promulgate regulations to implement the bill and (2) grant a waiver to a food service business or school from the bill’s prohibition, as specified.

Senate Bill 303 – State Acupuncture Board – Practice of Acupuncture – Definition and Education Requirements

This bill alters the education requirement to become a licensed acupuncturist and modifies the definitions of “acupuncture” and “practice acupuncture.”

Senate Bill 339 – Public Safety – 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone System (Carl Henn’s Law)

This bill enhances and alters the regulatory framework that governs the State’s 9-1-1 system. Among other things, the bill expands the responsibilities of the Emergency Number Systems Board (ENSB), increases the State 9-1-1 fee, authorizes a local government to increase its 9-1-1 fee under specified circumstances, and applies both fees to each separate outbound call voice channel capacity instead of each account.

Senate Bill 340 – Maryland Technology Development Corporation – Investments and Operations

This bill alters and establishes specified eligibility criteria for investments made by the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) to generally require that a business have and subsequently maintain a presence in the State, and it makes related changes. The bill also requires TEDCO to adopt regulations establishing an investment committee and authorizes the TEDCO board to appoint an advisory committee, subject to specified requirements. The Maryland Venture Fund Authority (MVFA) must meet at least quarterly to review TEDCO’s investment policy and investment decisions for the InvestMaryland program. Several related reporting requirements are established, including that the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) review TEDCO’s statute and make recommendations for clarity and consistency.

Senate Bill 853 – Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission – Police Officer Certification – Eligibility (Freedom to Serve Act)

This bill modifies the eligibility requirements for a person to be certified as a law enforcement officer by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission (MPTSC) to require that an individual be (1) a U.S. citizen or (2) a permanent legal resident of the United States and an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, provided that the individual has applied to obtain U.S. citizenship and the application is still pending approval. MPTSC must terminate the commission of a police officer who fails to obtain U.S. citizenship as required.

Senate Bill 950 – Campaign Finance – Death of Candidate – Termination of Campaign Committee

This bill requires, within 120 days after a candidate dies, that the candidate’s authorized candidate campaign committee (1) pay all outstanding obligations; (2) dispose of any funds remaining after the payment of all outstanding obligations, in accordance with specified law governing disposition of surplus funds of a campaign finance entity; and (3) terminate and file a final campaign finance report. Before disposing of any remaining funds, the treasurer of the candidate’s authorized candidate campaign committee must consider the preferences expressed by the candidate, if any, when determining where to dispose of the funds.

Now after a successful 2019 legislative session, Senator Kagan looks ahead to the 2020 session when she’ll bring with her the experience of another productive and effective year in the Maryland Senate.