BERLIN — With the opening of the 2012 Maryland General Assembly now just under two weeks away, nearly 100 pieces of legislation of local and state interest have already been pre-filed in advance of the session.
The Maryland General Assembly reconvenes on Jan. 11, and before the 90-day session is over, state lawmakers will debate and ultimately vote on thousands of pieces of legislation from the gravely serious to the somewhat mundane.
With two weeks to go, already 47 bills have been pre-filed in the House with another 46 pre-filed in the Senate, providing an outline of what to expect in the upcoming session. The following is a brief look at some of the proposed legislation already in the hopper:
House Bill 15: The bill, called the Maryland Medical Marijuana Act, would authorize the medical use of marijuana under certain circumstances and repeal fines and other punishments for the use of marijuana for medical purposes. It was introduced last year, but failed to pass as the session expired.
Senate Bill 26: As anticipated, this bill would authorize the holder of a video lottery operation license to begin offering table games in Maryland. The bill would submit the proposed legislation to the voters of the state through a referendum. House Bill 35: This bill, co-sponsored by local Delegate Michael McDermott, would give private property owners some recourse for compensation when their property rights are infringed upon by state regulations.
House Bill 23: This bill, in the form of a constitutional amendment, would prohibit the transfers of dedicated funds to the state’s General Fund and includes language specific to the Transportation Trust Fund, which has often been raided in recent years for other purposes.
House Bill 40: This bill would require the Maryland Transportation Authority to provide public notice regarding any proposal to increase tolls, fees and other charges and require the authority to establish an appropriate timetable for public comment. It was likely borne out of the sweeping changes to the toll structures in Maryland this year including the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
Senate Bill 3: Called the Maryland Toll Accountability Act, this bill would prohibit the MTA from fixing or revising a toll on any part or any transportation facilities project unless the General Assembly approves the toll through legislation.
House Bill 1: This bill would require Maryland counties to address the collection and recycling of certain materials by property owners or property managers in apartment buildings and condominiums that contain a certain number of dwelling units.
House Bill 2: This bill would require certain public school buildings to come into conformity with standards for commercial structures by requiring the installation of carbon monoxide detectors and warning systems.
House Bill 7: This bill would exempt some fantasy sports competitions from gambling prohibitions currently in place.
House Bill 8: This bill would attempt to catch electronic communication such as email up to the laws already on the books for telephones by prohibiting harassment.
House Bill 18: Called Caylee’s Law, this bill would require a parent or other person who has permanent care or custody of a minor to report in a timely fashion the disappearance or death of a child. It is introduced in response to the Caylee Anthony case in Florida last year.
House Bill 46: This bill, called the Flash Mob Theft Act of 2012, would establish when multiple acts of theft are committed by multiple individuals, the acts may be considered as one crime and the value of the combined thefts may be aggregated to determine if the theft is a felony or misdemeanor. The bill is response to a new phenomenon sweeping the country.
House Bill 47: Also co-sponsored by McDermott, this bill would repeal the authority of the Maryland Department of the Environment to order a property owner to prepare and submit certain subdivision plans and would also repeal provisions certain county plans be approved by MDE. There is also language in the bill addressing the requirements for certain septic and water systems.
Senate Bill 16: This bill would prohibit an employer from requiring an individual to work on a day in which the individual spends more than a certain number of hours performing jury service. It would also prohibit an employer from depriving an individual of employment, or intimidating or threatening to discharge an individual serving on jury duty.
Senate Bill 17: This bill would create a sales tax-free week for the purchase of school supplies, including personal computers under certain circumstances.
House Bill 38: Similarly, this bill would provide an exemption from the state sales and use tax for the purchase of certain college and university textbooks.