2016 Legislation We Supported in Maryland
There were a record 3,500 bills in the Maryland General Assembly 2016 session, nearly 1,000 more than the average. Here is some of the legislation Chesapeake PSR supported and whose progress we tracked this year.
Choosing Healthy Energy
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
• Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions Act – Reauthorization (HB610, SB323) requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 2006 levels by 2020 and 40 percent by 2030.
Chesapeake PSR submitted written testimony in support of the bill, which passed the House and the Senate and was signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan. Thank you to sponsors Sen. Paul Pinsky and Del. Kumar Barve, and to Governor Hogan.
Increasing Clean, Renewable Energies
• Clean Energy Jobs – Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Revisions (HB1106, SB0921), as amended, increases Maryland’s RPS to 25 percent by 2020. The jobs portion of the bill was amended to create a study.
Christian Cayon, a student at Johns Hopkins University, testified and Chesapeake PSR submitted written testimony in support of this bill. Urge Governor Hogan to sign this bill. Thank you to sponsors Sen. Catherine Pugh and Del. Bill Frick
• Public Utilities – Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - Eligible Sources (HB1287, SB867). This legislation would have removed combustible energy sources allowed in the RPS. Under the current law, certain dirty energy, such as incineration, poultry waste and "black liquor," are considered renewable energy and can get subsidies.
Gwen Dubois, MD, testified and Chesapeake PSR submitted written testimony in support of this bill. This bill was voted down in committee. Thank you to sponsors Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam and Del. Jeff Waldstreicher.
Establishing a Green Bank to Spur Clean Energy
• Maryland Clean Energy Center – Clean Energy Technology Funding (HB705, SB726) would continue funding of the Maryland Clean Energy Center and establish a green bank, similar to programs in Connecticut and New York. A green bank would provide low-cost financing to support energy efficiency improvements and investment in green technologies. Chesapeake PSR submitted written testimony in support of the bill, which passed both houses. Thank you to sponsors Del. Dereck Davis and Sen. James Mathias.
Bringing Transparency to Fracking
• Public Health - Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals – Information and Fund (HB394) would require chemical disclosure and health studies on fracking chemicals and chemical formulas used in fracking prior to their use. It would create a state database for that information, and allow doctors and health professionals to access and share that information for professional purposes.
Chesapeake PSR’s Tim Whitehouse, JD, and Ginny Phillips, JD, testified with conditional support of this bill in the event the General Assembly decides to allow fracking in Maryland in October 2017. Chesapeake PSR also submitted written comments. Thank you to sponsor Del. Dan Morhaim.
Opposing Weak Fracking Laws
• Civil Actions – Hydraulic Fracturing Liability Act (SB361). This bill would establish a liability and disclosure regime for fracking activities in Maryland similar to those in many other states that would not adequately protect the health of communities where fracking occurs.
Chesapeake PSR submitted testimony in opposition to this bill, which passed the Senate but did not receive a vote in the House.
Reducing Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
Protecting Bees and Pollinators
• Pollinator Protection Act (HB211, SB198) passed, making Maryland the first state in the nation to ban household use of neonicotinoid pesticides (also known as “neonics”) shown to kill bees. Thank you to bill sponsors Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam and Del. Anne Healey.
Gathering Information on Diesel Truck Traffic
• Reducing Environmental Degradation for the Underserved Through Community Engagement (The REDUCE Act) (HB820, SB398) would provide public information on the numbers of diesel vehicles of a proposed source of emissions and allow for community input in affected areas.
Dr. Gwen Dubois testified on the act and Chesapeake PSR signed on to the written testimony of the Maryland Environmental Health Network in support of the act. The bills did not pass out of committee in either the House or Senate. Thank you to bill sponsors Del. Clarence Lam and Sen. Victor Ramirez.
Eliminating Lead and Mercury in Truck Wheel Weights
• Lead and Mercury Wheel Weights – Prohibited (HB1328) would reduce the lead dust that enters the environment through wheel weight production, weights falling off of trucks, or weights being vaporized in an incinerator. Mercury can wash into waterways or end up in incinerator emissions and can lead to neurologic damage in the brain.
Chesapeake PSR’s Gwen Dubois, MD, submitted written testimony supporting the bill. The bill passed the House but did not get a vote in the Senate. Thank you to sponsor Del. Clarence Lam.
Addressing Antibiotic Resistance
Reducing the Farm Use of Antibiotics to Combat Antibiotic Resistance
• Agriculture – Cattle, Swine, and Poultry – Use of Antimicrobial Drugs (HB829, SB607) specified that "a medically important antimicrobial drug must be administered in a manner that treats the fewest number of cattle, swine, or poultry for the shortest duration necessary…." Sara Via, PhD, testified on behalf of Chesapeake PSR in strong support of this legislation, which didn’t make it out of committee in the House or Senate. We will continue to follow this issue of reducing antibiotic resistance in humans. Thank you to sponsors Sen. Paul Pinsky and Del. Shane Robinson.
Promoting Justice and Equality of Opportunity
Shining a Light on Solitary Confinement of Inmates
• Correctional Services – Restrictive Housing – Report (HB1180, SB946) requires more public information about solitary confinement in Maryland detention centers, including lengths of stay, numbers of inmates, deaths and self-harm, pregnancies and other data.
Chesapeake PSR submitted written testimony supporting the legislation, which passed both houses. Thank you to sponsors Del. Jill Carter and Sen. Lisa Gladden. For more information, read our blog post on the issue.
Increasing Paid Sick Leave for Maryland Workers
• Labor and Employment – Maryland Working Families Act (HB580, SB472) would provide employees of small businesses accrued paid sick leave.
Chesapeake PSR submitted written testimony in support of the bill: "Workers without paid sick days are more likely to go to work sick, and more likely to delay needed medical care, leading to prolonged illness and costly emergency room visits." The bill passed the House with amendments but stalled in committee in the Senate. Thank you to bill sponsors Del. Luke Clippinger and Sen. Catherine Pugh.
The Year Ahead
Throughout the coming year, Chesapeake PSR will continue to pursue legislation on climate change and energy, fracking, toxic pollution and social justice in Maryland.
How You Can Help
How you can stay in the know – and help make Maryland healthier and safer:
Read Chesapeake PSR's policy positions.
Visit our website.
Follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
Donate to Chesapeake PSR.
For more information, contact Executive Director Tim Whitehouse at firstname.lastname@example.org or (240) 246-4492.