Turning point: New laws to expect in Maryland

WASHINGTON – There’s a clearer picture of what laws may change and what laws won’t in Maryland in the coming year.

Monday night was the crossover deadline for bills to pass through one chamber and be sent to the other. Any new bills passed after the deadline must be approved by the other body’s rules committee to be considered.

That is a high hurdle.

Among the bills passed in just one body, the House of Delegates has approved an amended bill to raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. A Senate committee takes it up this week.

The House also approved a bill to expand Maryland’s medical marijuana program. It has yet to get off the ground.

The Senate passed a separate bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and make it a civil offense penalized by a fine. But it isn’t clear whether that bill will pass in the House.

The Senate approved a bill to legalize home poker games among friends.

Based on hearings so far, it’s unlikely the so-called “rain tax” will be changed in Annapolis this year.

But there are a number of bills approved by both houses, signaling they’re on track to get to the governor’s desk.

Among those bills is a push to expand pre-kindergarten programs to more 4-year-old children, put limits on teacher evaluations based on standardized tests in the next two years and bills that would set fines for underage gamblers at Maryland’s growing casinos.

Here is a list of bills that passed both the House and Senate in some version (not including bills that would provide state grants to a some local projects):

HB 18/ SB 74: Requires community colleges and public four-year colleges to provide all first-time, full- time freshmen with information on the cost of attending the school at the same time that an award of federal financial aid is sent to a student.

HB 73/ SB 247: Establishes that if a dog injures or kills someone, there’s a presumption the owner knew or should have known the dog had vicious or dangerous propensities. Also establishes an owner is liable for a dog running off-leash.

HB 109/ SB 48: Requires election judges to allow disabled voters waiting in line sit. Otherwise they should be moved to the front of the line.

HB 136/ SB 298: Allows Montgomery County to hold beer festivals up to four weekends a year through a non- profit festival organization. The bill requires the festival focuses on promoting Maryland beer.

HB 137/ SB 301: Would allow beauty salons in Montgomery and St. Mary’s counties to get special licenses to provide wine or beer by the glass for customers.

HB 141/ SB 306: Would allow barbershops in Montgomery County to be open seven days a week (current limit is six days per week).

HB 275/ SB 481: Establishes that underage gamblers (younger than 21) can get a citation and fine for playing a table game or slot machine in a Maryland casino or for entering or remaining in an area where the slot machines or table games are played. The fine for anyone age 18-20 would be up to $100 for a first offense, up to $500 for a second and up to $1,000 and mandatory gambling addiction treatment for any further violations. Younger offenders would face juvenile court proceedings.

HB 294/ SB 542: Require police to get more training in CPR and other lifesaving techniques, and training on cultural and gender diversity and handling people with various disabilities

HB 297/ SB 332: Pre-K expansion to cover more 4-year-old children through grants to local schools

HB 335/SB 329: New inspections required for Cliffside elevators — like the one that had a major problem and led to a man’s death

HB 344/SB 344: Allows Charles County to adopt an ordinance after a public hearing allowing car dealers sell on Sundays.

HB 359/ SB 75: Would ban the sale of alcohol of 190 proof or more

HB 389/ SB 730: Maryland Transportation Authority will have to study and report on status of all electronic tolling, but more importantly MdTA won’t be allowed to implement all- electronic tolling at the Hatem Bridge any time before 2016.

HB 432/SB 473: Deer hunting could be allowed on Sundays in limited places in Frederick County, Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties.

HB 476/SB 614: Frederick County could pay employees only by debit card or direct deposit.

HB 482/SB 455: Homeless teens without family may be able to get a tuition waiver at some public colleges and universities.

HB 436/SB 3: You’ll likely have to move over for tow trucks just like emergency vehicles when they’re stopped on the side of the road with flashers on.

HB 530/ SB 520: Would allow people on bikes or motor scooters on roads with speed limits over 50 mph as long as that person is on the shoulder when not making a turn or crossing through an intersection.

HB 628/SB 238: Board of Public Works would have to set indoor air quality requirements for new relocatable classrooms.

HB 665/SB 659: Prohibiting a person who’s not a licensed veterinarian or vet tech from performing surgery on a dog.

HB 667/SB 660: Ban on surgical devocalization (“de-barking”) of cat or dog on penalty of up to 90 days in jail and/or $1,000 fine on first offense and up to 1 year and/or $2,000 for second offense.

Tax forms may show how much of each dollar the Maryland General Fund spends on specific categories. The information (potentially in a graph or image) will also be posted online.

HB 781/SB 460: “Altering the definition of ‘person in a position of authority’ for purposes of a specified prohibition against engaging in sexual contact, a sexual act, or vaginal intercourse with a specified minor; repealing a requirement that the ‘person in a position of authority’ be a full-time permanent employee of a school, etc.”

The law has some potential confusions. Read more from WTOP’s Kate Ryan.

HB 786/SB 417: LED bulbs will likely be included with the list of tax-free Energy Star items each President’s Day weekend

HB 928/SB 1044: Requires the Public Service Commission to report on the status of its efforts to protect consumers in connection with competitive retail electricity and gas supplies.

HB 1167/SB 676: Bars teachers and principals from being evaluated based on new standardized tests before the 2016-2017 school year and makes other changes to performance evaluation criteria based on student growth as the state transitions to the new Common Core curriculum and testing.

HB 1205/SB 993: Corrects references to Frederick County government as it transitions into a charter government rather than a commission.

HB 1215/SB 785: Renames the Community College Transfer Scholarship to the 2+2 Transfer Scholarship, alters the qualifications for the scholarship, specifies that it may be used for three years or six semesters and requires funding from the Need-Based Student Financial Assistance Fund.

HB 1246/SB 771: Creates new exceptional milk hauling permit and directs state government to enter into an agreement with the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association to collect data.

HB 1366/ SB 503: Requires each county school system to teach students CPR in every school with 7th- 12th graders beginning in the 2015-2016 school year. Doesn’t require students get a specific certification.

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