Due to the fact that the 2020 General Assembly legislative session was adjourned sine die after only 71 days to allow members to return home due to the State’s coronavirus response, MML’s priority legislation failed to achieve final passage. Legislation (SB 982/HB 1394) was introduced in January to remove the FY 2024 sunset on the current funding levels, adjust local transportation funding to follow the Consumer Price Index, include local transportation funding in a “lockbox” so that monies were protected from diversions to the State’s general fund, restore municipal HURs to pre-recession levels, and add an additional $10 million in funding for Baltimore City transportation needs.
Following positive hearings in both the House and Senate in early March, MML staff worked with members in both the House and Senate committees to amend the bills such that they were in a position to move forward. The Senate bill, in its amended form to simply remove the FY 2024 sunset, passed the Senate and the House Bill, in an identical form, was reported favorably by the House Environment and Transportation motor vehicle and transportation subcommittee. Although both bills were poised for passage in the House, General Assembly leadership announced that the 2020 legislative session was to adjourn the following Wednesday, March 18 and only “critical” legislation would move forward. As a result, both SB 982 and HB 1394 did not move out of the House Environment and Transportation Committee in time to achieve passage.
MML would like to thank our lead sponsors Senators Cory McCray and Andrew Serafini and Delegates Brooke Lierman and Carl Anderton for all their hard work. We’d also like to thank Senator Nancy King for offering the amendments in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee to move the bill forward in the Senate. Finally, thanks to all the members who sent letters, made calls, and testified in support of the legislation. Although the legislature does plan to return in late May, we are unclear as far as what they plan to address. If MML’s legislation is not reconsidered during this time, because the sunset does not take effect until FY 2024, there’s still ample time to address this issue in subsequent legislative sessions.
There will be a complete wrap up of all legislation tracked by MML in the May/June issue of Municipal Maryland. To view the progress of individual bills and the status upon adjournment on March 18, you can visit MML”s Advocacy/Bill Position Summary page.