May 21, 2019

2019 Senate Session Highlights – Senator Jeff Waldstreicher

he 2019 General Assembly Session ended at midnight on April 9th, capping an eventful legislative session for Senator Jeff Waldstreicher (District 18 – Montgomery County). In his first session in the Senate after serving in the House of Delegates from 2007-2019, Waldstreicher would be directly involved with some one hundred ten pieces of legislation and serve as the lead sponsor of twenty-seven significant bills (you can find a link to each of these bills by clicking here). Of the twenty-seven bills that he carried as the lead sponsor, seven passed both Chambers of the General Assembly and are now poised to become Maryland law.

Senate Bill 136 – Corporations – Corporate Records and Electronic Transmission

This bill authorizes the records of a corporation to be maintained by means of any information storage device, method, or electronic network or database, including a distributed electronic network or database, if (1) the records can be converted within a reasonable time into clearly legible written form for visual inspection and (2) the records maintained on an electronic ledger or distributed electronic ledger can be used for specified purposes. Such records must be converted into a clearly legible written form on request of any person who is entitled to inspect the records. The converted written records are admissible as evidence and must be accepted for all other purposes to the same extent as original written records. The bill also makes a series of changes regarding the acceptance and use of electronic transmissions.

Senate Bill 137 – Corporations – Maryland General Corporation Law – Miscellaneous Provisions

This bill alters requirements relating to (1) corporate board vacancies; (2) informal action by stockholders of a corporation; (3) quorums to vote on corporate matters; (4) notice requirements for specified merger agreements; (5) the effective date of a consolidation or merger if the successor is a foreign entity; and (6) the powers of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). The bill also makes a series of technical and clarifying changes.

Senate Bill 394 – Criminal Procedure – Expungement – Boating Offenses

This bill authorizes a person to file a petition for expungement of a police record, court records, or other record maintained by the State or a political subdivision of the State if the person is convicted of any prohibited act related to speed limits for personal watercraft or any of the following provisions in the Natural Resources Article: § 8-725.3 (speed limits on the Severn River imposed on specified days from April 15, 1989, to October 15, 1989); § 8-725.4 (noise levels for vessels operated in tidal waters); § 8-725.5 (speed limit on Seneca Creek); § 8-725.6 (speed limit on certain areas of Monocacy River); § 8-726 (throwing or dumping refuse on waters of the State); § 8-726.1 (throwing specified types of waste on certain waters of the State); § 8-727.1 (use of flashing red and yellow lights or signal devices); or § 8-738.2 (operating a vessel in a reckless or dangerous manner).

Senate Bill 460 – Pedestrian Safety Fund Act of 2019

This bill establishes the Pedestrian Safety Fund administered by the Secretary of Transportation, with a dedicated revenue source due to establishing a minimum fine for certain violations. Accordingly, the fund consists of (1) $150 from each fine collected under § 21-502(e) of the Transportation Article; (2) money appropriated in the State budget for the fund; (3) any interest earnings of the fund; and (4) any other money from any source accepted for the benefit of the fund.

Senate Bill 777 – Property Tax – Exemption for Dwelling House Owned by Disabled Active Duty Service Member

This bill provides a property tax exemption for the dwelling owned by a specified disabled active duty service member. A disabled active duty service member must apply for the property tax exemption by providing to the Supervisor of Assessments a certification of the service member’s disability from a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State or from the Veterans’ Administration, on the form provided by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation. A disabled active duty service member is defined as an individual in active service of the military, naval, or air service as defined in 38 U.S.C. § 101 who has a service connected physical disability that is reasonably certain to continue for the life of the service member and was not caused or incurred by misconduct of the service member.

Senate Bill 780 – Transfer Tax – Transfers by Governmental Entities

This bill clarifies that an instrument of writing that transfers property from (1) the United States; (2) the State; (3) an agency of the State; or (4) a political subdivision of the State is not subject to the transfer tax.

Senate Bill 935 – Vehicle Laws – Electric Bicycles – Equipment and Operation

This bill (1) alters the definition of “electric bicycle” as it applies to the Maryland Vehicle Law and establishes specified classes of electric bicycles; (2) restricts the operation of a specified class of electric bicycle on bicycle paths; (3) authorizes a local or State agency with jurisdiction over a bicycle path or trail to prohibit or regulate the operation of specified classes of electric bicycles on the bicycle path or trail; (4) establishes age restrictions for the operation of electric bicycles; and (5) establishes specified labeling, equipment, and operational standards for electric bicycles.

Now after a successful 2019 legislative session, Senator Waldstreicher looks ahead to the 2020 session when he’ll bring with him the experience of a productive and effective first year in the Maryland Senate.