ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland General Assembly passed their final version of the 2022 budget this week and moved one step closer to sending police reform to the governor’s desk. Governor Larry Hogan[R] also announced flood awareness month throughout the state.

Stories of the Week

  • The Maryland General Assembly passed the Budget for the 2022 Fiscal Year. The budget passed 128-8 in the House, while it passed unanimously in the Senate. The budget is balanced as required by Maryland law. This 2022 budget comes in at around $51 billion, up from the 2021 budget of $49 billion. This change is in part from extra federal funding following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hogan now faces final approval by or around Monday, April 5.
  • The Maryland General Assembly is now close to passing a series of police reform measures through House Bill 670, which passed in the Maryland House and Senate. Currently, the bill will be reviewed in the in its original chamber before going to Hogan’s desk. This bill would establish new procedures to improve police accountability and public transparency. It most notably repeals to Maryland Law Enforcement Bill of Rights(LEOBR) and eliminates no-knock warrants. This bill has proven to be divisive politically in the General Assembly, with all votes in both chambers coming from Democrats, while Republicans have unanimously opposed the legislation.
  • Hogan announced that April would be “Flood Awareness Month” in Maryland. This initiative is led by the governor’s office in conjunction with state agencies like the Department of the Environment and Emergency Management. Hogan cites trying to raise awareness in Maryland about the hazards of flooding and how to best prepare for natural disasters. Maryland is no stranger to these kinds of disasters, after Ellicott City in Howard County was struck by floods in 2016 and 2018, which combined to kill three people. Information on the initiative can be found through the Maryland Resiliency Partnership.

Bills to Watch

HB 581: Labor and Employment – Maryland Essential Workers’ Protection Act: This bill adds new protections for “essential workers” during emergencies. This includes hazard pay for works making under $100,000 per/year, paid health leave, and requiring that employers provide PPE at no charge to employees. Status: Third reading passed in the House.

HB 183: Public Information Act – Equitable Access to Records Act: This bill requires state agencies to engage in a more proactive approach regarding the disclosure of records and documents to the public. Status: Passed in both chambers and is now sent to the Governor.

HB 16: Correctional Services – Immigration Detention – Prohibition (Dignity Not Detention Act): This bill bars state and local jurisdictions from establishing detention facilities in conjunction with private entities. Status: Passed in the House and has now been referred to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

Contact Tyler at tylerchesser@thebaynet.com