May 6, 2019

2019 Senate Session Highlights – Senator Nancy King

The 2019 General Assembly Session ended at midnight on April 9th, capping an eventful legislative session for Senator Nancy King (District 39 – Montgomery County). The 2019 session would be the first for King as the new Chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. King would also be directly involved with some seventy-seven pieces of legislation and serve as the lead sponsor of thirteen important bills (you can find a link to each of these bills by clicking here). Of the thirteen bills that she carried as the lead sponsor, nine passed both Chambers of the General Assembly and are now poised to become Maryland law.

Senate Bill 180 – Education – Robotics Grant Program – Alterations

This bill makes nonprofit organizations that provide a majority of public school youth with an out-of-school-time experience that focuses on personal and workforce development eligible to receive funding through the Robotics Grant Program, to fund either proposed or existing robotics programs, if the organization is associated with a public school. The Governor is required to increase funding for the program in the annual State budget from $250,000 to $350,000 beginning in fiscal 2021.

Senate Bill 181 – Education – Child Care Subsidies – Mandatory Funding Level

This bill accelerates by one year a mandated appropriation for the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) program by requiring the Governor to appropriate funds for fiscal 2021 and each fiscal year thereafter in an amount sufficient to raise the program’s provider reimbursement rates to a minimum of the sixtieth percentile of the most recent market rate survey or its equivalent.

Senate Bill 296 – Property Tax – Exemptions – Nonprofit Charitable Museums

This bill expands a property tax exemption for real property owned by a nonprofit charitable museum by repealing an existing limitation that prohibits the organization from receiving a tax exemption on more than 100 acres of real property. Under the bill, the nonprofit charitable museum must be open to the public and not charge an admission fee.

Senate Bill 464 – School Bus Monitoring Cameras – Civil Penalty – Sunset Repeal

This bill makes permanent (by repealing the termination date) a provision of law that increased the maximum civil penalty (to $500 from $250) for a violation recorded by a school bus monitoring camera for failure to stop for a school vehicle alternately flashing red lights.

Senate Bill 465 – Nonpublic Schools – Fire Drill Requirements – State Fire Prevention Code

This bill requires each nonpublic school in the State to (1) hold fire drills in accordance with the State Fire Prevention Code; (2) keep records of each fire drill; and (3) send a copy of the records to the State Board of Education.

Senate Bill 466 – Hotel Rental Tax – Limitation of Municipal Authority to Tax Small Hotels – Repeal

This bill repeals a prohibition on the authority of specified municipalities to impose a hotel rental tax on hotels with 10 or fewer sleeping rooms.

Senate Bill 467 – Forestry – Mel Noland Fellowship Program – Establishment

This bill establishes the Mel Noland Fellowship Program within the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to support students seeking careers in fields relating to natural resources. The Mel Noland Woodlands Incentive Fund is renamed and its uses are expanded to include funding the fellowship program. Beginning in fiscal 2021, the Governor must appropriate $50,000 annually to the fund and DNR must direct $50,000 annually from the fund to the fellowship program. Each year, DNR and a managing organization must select two fellows and support the students in their matriculation in a natural resources field at an institution of higher education. Each fellow must receive an annual stipend of $20,000 from the fund.

Senate Bill 657 – Pilot Program – Alleged Rape, Sexual Offense, or Child Sexual Abuse – HIV Postexposure Prophylaxis

This bill establishes the Pilot Program for Preventing HIV for Rape Victims to prevent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection for victims of an alleged rape or sexual offense or victims of alleged child sexual abuse. The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) must administer the program. A qualifying victim must be provided with a full course of treatment and follow-up care for postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) for the prevention of HIV, at the victim’s request, and as prescribed. This treatment must be provided free of charge under specified circumstances. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) must reimburse a physician, qualified health care provider, or hospital for services and treatments provided. The total amount paid by CICB may not exceed $750,000 annually.

Senate Bill 870 – Income Tax – Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit – Alterations

This bill expands the existing child and dependent care tax credit primarily by (1) increasing the current phase-out that reduces or eliminates the benefit for an individual whose income exceeds specified amounts and (2) making the credit refundable for taxpayers with federal adjusted gross income of $50,000 or less ($75,000 if married filing jointly). Beginning in tax year 2020, the applicable income phase-outs are indexed based on the annual change in the cost of living.

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