2016 Legislative Priorities in Maryland

Three power plant smoke stacks. Photo credit: martin33 / Shutterstock

Monday, March 21 was crossover day in the Maryland General Assembly, meaning bills voted out of one chamber by today are guaranteed consideration in the other chamber. Two of our priority bills are still going strong and need your support to make it through the Senate.

Reducing Mercury and Lead Exposures: HB1328 bans aftermarket "wheel weights" for heavy vehicles that contain the potent neurotoxins mercury or lead.

Neonic Pesticides: The Pollinator Protection Act (SB 198 / HB 211) restricts consumer use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides, protecting pollinators that are essential to Maryland agriculture and our food supply. After passing the Senate with amendments, a clean, strong bill passed the House of Delegates free of any amendments. We are now asking the Senate to accept the House bill language.

Environmental Justice: The REDUCE Act (Reducing Environmental Degradation for the Underserved through Community Engagement - SB 398 / HB820) promotes increased community engagement when certain types of air pollution permits are being considered.

  • Status: PASSED subcommittee in House Environment and Transportation Committee, FAILED in Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs committee.

Sustainable Agriculture: We are part of a movement of Marylanders working together for a new food system — one that is fair to farmers, invests in homegrown healthy foods, and restores our waterways instead of polluting them. The Poultry Litter Management Act (SB496 / HB599) would require corporate agriculture to take responsibility for their waste; SB607 / HB829 would keep antibiotics working by prohibiting routine use of human antibiotics in farm animals that are not sick.

  • Status: no action by either chamber.

Rail Safety: HB1434 addresses public safety concerns associated with transporting crude oil by rail through Maryland – a rapidly-increasing practice that puts our communities at risk. It will create a Rail Safety Fund by charging a small fee for railroads to ship oil through Maryland – money that will go toward providing training to first responders, hiring more rail car inspectors, improving safety at rail crossings, and developing a real-time system for warning local governments about trains carrying oil and other hazardous materials.

  • Status: no action in House Environment and Transportation Committee.