Maryland Legislative Update

Wow…what an intense legislative session in Maryland! At a time when national leaders are loosening environmental regulations, Maryland doubled down on protecting our shared natural resources! Here’s a summary of how things went in the 2017 Maryland Legislative Session...and a few actions we still need you to take.

Bills that Passed
These bills passed, but we’re waiting for Gov. Hogan to sign them. He has until early May to sign them, veto them, or let them become law without his signature. 

  • SB422/HB602 - Keep Antibiotics Effective Act – This bill stops the use of antibiotics on animals that are not sick. With the rise of “superbugs” resulting from profuse use of antibiotics, this bill will cut back on inhumane treatment of animals for our quick and cheap production of food, and increase the effectiveness of antibiotics for medical purposes.
  • SB 386/HB 830 - Pollinator Habitat Plans – This bill prohibits the use of pesticides known to harm bees on state-designated pollinator habitats. In other words, it was great that the state designates pollinator habitats, but this bill clarified that the state shouldn’t use neonic pesticides in those habitats!

 Bills that Passed and Now Are Law

  • HB1325/SB740 – Oil and Natural Gas – Hydraulic Fracturing – Prohibition – You heard about this one I’m sure! Fracking is now banned in Maryland, despite the fact that there are actually gas reserves in our state (other states have banned fracking, but the industry was not concerned because there was no potential for fracking in those states). Congratulations to the many organizations that worked for 8 years to achieve this goal. 
  • HB 1106/SB 921 - Clean Energy Jobs Act – This was an override of a veto that Gov. Hogan imposed on this bill on the final day of the session last year. The bill increases Maryland's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) to ensure that by 2020, 25% of Maryland’s electricity is derived from renewable energy sources.

Bills that Didn’t Pass

  • SB186/HB229 - Polystyrene Phaseout – This bill received huge grassroots support and caught the attention of many legislators, but did not pass. The House Environment & Transportation Committee is now embarking on a study of plastic pollution in preparation of putting forth a study-based bill next year.
  • HB599/SB365—Forest Conservation Act Amendments – This bill passed out of the Senate, but stalled in the House Environment and Transportation Committee. The strong support in the Senate is a great foundation to work with in the 2018 session.

Curious about other bills? Click here for a wrap-up report prepared by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation of many other bills introduced during session. 

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