Legislative Update


The 2024 Maryland General Assembly 90-day Session has reached its halfway point and activity has picked up substantially. The second and third years of the four-year term are traditionally the busiest, and this year’s session has lived up to that expectation. Over 2600 bills have been introduced thus far, a nearly 25% increase over last year. The sheer volume of bills has led to extraordinarily long hearing days with many committees holding hearings on days traditionally reserved for budget hearings and Senate and House floor work.   

The “cross-over” deadline, the date by which each chamber must pass a bill to ensure the bill will be considered by the opposite chamber, is just two weeks away. So, in addition to the lengthy committee hearings, significant time is now being spent debating and voting bills on the floor of each chamber. Work also continues on the State’s operating budget, with the Senate expected to reveal its budget plan in early March, followed by the House a week later. Negotiations to finalize the budget plan will continue through the end of March. 

Below is an update on bills Maryland Works and its lobbying team are currently tracking. No action has been taken on any of these bills: 

SB 194 – State Procurement – Maryland Correctional Enterprises – Waiver Maryland Correctional Enterprises. This bill requires the Pricing and Selection Committee to grant a waiver if the price of supplies and services offered by Maryland Correctional Enterprises (MCE) is at least 10% above market rates. Of the three MCE-related bills introduced, this bill is the most likely to pass. 

SB 420/HB 1151 State Procurement – Preferred Providers – Removal of Maryland Correctional Enterprises. This bill removes MCE from the Preferred Provider Program. Although not expected to pass, this bill did generate significant discussion at the House hearing.  The House committee chair suggested an interim study on how to improve operations at MCE may be appropriate.  

SB 486 Correctional Services – Maryland Correctional Enterprises Management Council – Report.  This bill requires the MCE Management Council to research the number of private sector entities that offer goods and services also available from MCE, compare the cost of those goods and services, and review and comment on the potential benefits of the State utilizing private enterprises. This bill generated significant discussion   

SB 599/HB 509 Developmental Disabilities – Community Providers – Federal Participation for Local Funds.  This bill requires the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) to develop a process to receive federal financial participation for local governments who provide funding for community providers. MDH expressed concern that the bill could unfairly benefit local governments who have the resources to assist community providers.   

SB 703/HB 877 – Board of Public Works – Transparency Dashboard.  This bill requires the Comptroller to development an interactive and searchable procurement dashboard with specific information related to Board of Public agendas, contract spending amounts, as well information related to State procurement preference programs. 

SB 859/HB 1163 State Department of Education – Division of Rehabilitation Services – Funding.  This bill authorizes the Governor to include a general fund appropriation to ensure the State match is met for federal funding for the Division of Rehabilitation Services.  

Finally, the lobbying team continues to engage legislative leadership regarding action required to address 107,000 updated property tax assessments not being mailed to property owners before the deadline at the end of last year. Resolution of this issue involving the State Department of Assessments and Taxation and the League for People with Disabilities will require the legislature to retroactively extend the already expired deadline, likely by an amendment to an already introduced bill. 

Sine die, the final day of Session, is April 8th.

Source: Manis Canning & Associates