Silver Spring, MD – This week, Roger released an extensive list of successful legislative initiatives and accomplishments, derived from his work in both the Maryland Senate and House. The broad list includes highly prioritized legislation and solutions on issues ranging from jobs and economic development, to health care, to education, environment, government reform and civil rights.
SENATOR ROGER MANNO’S LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- Sustainable Oyster Population and Fishery Act of 2016 (SB 937) Over harvesting of Chesapeake Bay oysters, which filter up to 50 gallons of water each per day, have left the Bay’s health in a state of freefall for decades. In 2016, I introduced and passed Senate Bill 937 to develop scientifically based sustainable harvest rates, through a collaboration between the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES)
- Pesticide Reporting Program and Funding (SB700): The widespread use of pesticides in recent years has raised numerous environmental, safety and public health concerns. I authored legislation in 2013 to study the creation of a Pesticide Reporting Database (SB675, Approved by the Governor – Chapter 523), and Co-Chaired the Pesticide Reporting and Information Working Group. SB700, provides the framework for the creation of the database, funded by an increase in pesticide chemical registration fees for all chemicals registered for sale in the State.
- Electric Vehicles and Recharging Equipment Incentives (SB393/SB908): Electric Vehicles (EVs) are an important tool in reducing emissions and gas consumption, while also providing the impetus to increase the number of green jobs that expand our manufacturing base. Senate Bill 393 reauthorizes and improves the Electric Vehicle Recharging Equipment Rebate Program and the Excise Tax Credit for plug-in electric vehicles through fiscal year 2020.
- Clean Energy Incentive Act of 2016 (SB 936): Senate Bill 936 – Maryland Clean Energy Incentive Act of 2016 extends the Maryland Clean Energy Incentive Tax Credit program within the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) to December 31, 2019, and for the first time, eliminates coal from the list of renewable energy sources. Extending the program through 2019 will help build commercial, renewable energy projects across the state – including offshore wind, solar, geothermal and hydrokinetic ocean sources – and encourage significant investment in grid-scale projects.
- Penalties for Polluters (SB 751): Phosphorous is a dangerous and illegal chemical that is a major cause of Chesapeake Bay blight. After introducing legislation in both the House and the Senate, I worked with colleagues in passing SB 751 to substantially increase penalties for ongoing violations of the 2007 phosphorous detergent ban.
- Chesapeake Bay Restoration (SB694): Part of our challenge to restoring the Chesapeake Bay has been harvesting and recycling oyster shells, which provide the best substrate for baby oysters to grow to maturity. That’s why in 2013 I supported a new law that created the Oyster Shell Recycling Tax Credit. Building on that program, in 2015 I authored an expansion of that credit (SB694), which increases the tax credit by 500 percent.
- Maryland Organic Transition Investment Pilot Program (HB449): Transitioning to organic farming methods has been challenging due to the lack of funds to assist farmers. This pilot program, subject to federal appropriations funding, creates the necessary investment to begin this transition throughout the state.
- Maryland Pesticide Reporting and Information Workgroup (SB675): A key environmental priority, this law created a State workgroup to study and make recommendations regarding the establishment of a pesticide use database for Maryland. It notably led to legislation (SB700) which created and funded the Pesticide Reporting Program in Maryland.
- Nitrogen Oxide Emissions Regulations: In my work as Senate Chair of AELR, I play an active role in reviewing regulations concerning agriculture, the environment and public health. In 2015, I was especially outspoken when I challenged new nitrogen oxide emissions regulations that were the subject of litigation by the Sierra Club.
JOBS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
- Veterans Employment (SB245/SB152): Maryland’s 422,000 veterans and their families have sacrificed greatly for the safety and security of our great nation. Senate Bill 245 and Senate Bill 152 enable private employers to implement a hiring preference for honorably discharged Veterans and their spouses, consistent with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.
- Security Clearance Tax Credit (SB138/SB296): A priority of AFL-CIO unions, I authored the Security Clearance Tax Credit in 2012 to increase high-skilled, high-pay federal jobs for Marylanders by specifically targeting would-be federal workers in high security sectors. SB 138 also extends this tax credit through 2021.
- Endow Maryland Tax Credit (SB486): “Community foundations” provide the best means of directly delivering not-for-profit resources to those who need resources the most. SB 486 provides a State income tax credit for donations made directly to qualified community foundations for the purpose of capitalizing permanent endowment funds, which provide an important incentive for philanthropic giving.
- More Learning, Less Testing Act of 2017 (SB452): Unproductive standardized testing requirements is a serious and pervasive problem that hinders the progress of our children and teachers in our K-12 education system. Senate Bill 452, a priority of NEA and AFT unions, drastically reduces onerous testing time by setting a statewide maximum amount of hours for the administration of district, state and federal mandated tests to 2.2% of a school year’s instruction time.
- Attendance Policy for Pregnant and Parenting Students (SB232): Young women who are pregnant or parenting are often hindered in their potential to learn as many schools in Maryland do not provide proper resources or support when these students need excused absences for medical appointments or to care for their children. Senate Bill 232, a priority of NARAL, creates an attendance policy in schools for pregnant and parenting students to meet their medical and legal appointments.
- Genetic Non-Discrimination Act (HB29): Prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), genetic screening and discrimination based on those results was legal in Maryland. Specifically, for people who sought long-term care policies and who had genetic markers for a disease, those markers were deemed preexisting conditions, and warranted differential ratings or denial of policies altogether. HB29, banned health care discrimination for long-term care policies in Maryland.
- Advance Directive Registry (SB790): The ability for people to document and have honored their final health care decisions has presented numerous challenges for government and health care providers. That’s why I authored SB790, to require the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene to establish the Advance Directive Registry, and provide the funding mechanism.
- Healthcare Decisions Day (SB 442): In 2016, I introduced and passed Senate Bill 442 to establish April 16th as “National Healthcare Decisions Day” in Maryland. This designated day is meant to raise public awareness for the need for more Marylanders to plan ahead for healthcare decisions related to end-of-life care.
- Apprenticeship Opportunities Act (HB644): The State procurement process had little or no prioritization placed on contracts that provide apprenticeship training — leaving large skills gaps on taxpayer funded contracts that are subject to the procurement process. HB644, a priority of Building Trades union, requires State contractors to either provide apprenticeship training, or contribute to a new Apprenticeship Training Fund.
- The Healthy Retail Employees Act (HB1099): Otherwise known as the “shift breaks bill,” this landmark legislation now guarantees adequate paid rest breaks for retail employees throughout Maryland. For four years, the Healthy Retail Employees Act was UFCW Local 400’s top legislative priority in Annapolis, and was also one of organized labor’s top priorities.
- Outsourcing of Montgomery County Contracts (HB946 / MC 814-08): Outsourcing at the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission reduced the number of good union jobs to the lowest bidder, and to the detriment of county taxpayers. HB946/MC814-08, a priority of UFCW MCGEO 1994, significantly limits the ability of the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission to enter into a service contract that may adversely affect collective bargaining employees.
- Parity Among First Responders for Cancer Presumptions (SB1099): First Responders have difficult and dangerous jobs that regularly expose them to a range of toxic carcinogens that can cause a variety of cancers. For many of these occupations – Fire Fighters and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) – cancers are presumed to have been caused by exposure while in the line of duty, which is appropriate. However, due to a loophole in the law, the list of cancer “presumptions” differs depending on whether that first responder is paid or volunteer. That’s why I authored SB1099 to create parity for all first responders, in terms of the list of cancers that are presumed to be occupationally related.
- Labor and Procurement: Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) are construction contracts that are largely utilized in the private sector, but which are increasingly utilized by states in the public sector. A common misconception of PLAs is that they are “union only” contracts. In fact, PLAs do not require union workers, but rather, are contractual agreements that define specific terms of the project, including strict performance standards, deadlines, strike-out provisions, and the requisite skills training to complete the project to the highest possible standards. That’s why I authored the Project Labor Agreement Act (SB219) — the first legislation in Maryland history to advance PLAs through state procurement — which led me to meet with Governor O’Malley to urge him to issue Executive Order 01.01.2013.05.
PUBLIC SAFETY AND CONSUMER PROTECTIONS
- “Jake’s Law” Texting and Talking While Driving Prohibition (SB348): Three days after Christmas in 2011, 5-year old Jake Owen tragically died in a car crash when a vehicle traveling 62 mph struck Jake’s mother’s vehicle. The driver that struck their vehicle never applied his brakes because he was distracted by the cell phone he was using. That’s why I authored Jake’s Law that criminalizes cell phone use while talking or texting and driving.
- Expansion of the Maryland Antitrust Act (HB657): For too long, unscrupulous businesses had fixed prices on commodities and services, setting onerous minimum prices, in violation of the spirit of antitrust laws. That’s why I authored HB657, to ensure the clear prohibition of price fixing in Maryland.
- Task Force on the Implementation of Tax Benefits for Emergency Preparedness Equipment (SB481): Recent power outages have cost Maryland taxpayers millions. That’s why I authored legislation and chaired the Task Force on the Implementation of Tax Benefits for Emergency Preparedness Equipment to make recommendations on reducing costs of purchasing generators and other necessary emergency equipment.
- Security Grants for Schools, Day Care Centers at Risk for Hate Crimes (SB1191): In early 2017, incidents of hate speech and hate crimes increased nationally and across the state. Senate Bill 1191 authorizes the Maryland Center for School Safety to make grants to schools and child care centers determined to be at risk of hate crimes or attacks, for security-related technology and facility upgrades, and security personnel.
- Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System (SB286): Law enforcement personnel work tough jobs, and deserve good benefits. That’s why I authored SB286 that expands benefits for certain law enforcement personnel by making them eligible for membership in the Law Enforcement Officers’ Pension System.
- Relieving E-ZPass Video Toll Debt (SB973): Hardworking, middle class families have been financially devastated by exorbitant civil penalties levied by the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) for unpaid video tolls. Senate Bill 973 authorizes the MDTA to recall a delinquent E-ZPass account from Central Collections Unit (CCU) if the account exceeds $300 in unpaid video tolls and civil penalties, and the video tolls were assessed within a 30 day period.
- Civil Rights Tax Relief Act (SB639/HB1169): This important and long overdue law addresses the disparity between personal injury and employment discrimination lawsuits, including sexual harassment, gender, racial and other discrimination, retaliation, and emotional distress.
- Dedicated Funding for the Library For The Blind and Physically Handicapped (SB419): Prior to 2014, the Library For The Blind and Physically Handicapped was the only library in Maryland that did not have a specific funding mechanism. SB419 establishes a minimum State funding source (estimated at $2.4 million).
- Tuition Waivers (SB656): SB656 expands tuition waivers for students with permanent and total disabilities, who are enrolled in classes for continuing education instruction designed to lead to employment, including life skills instruction.
- Open Meetings Act (SB450): Transparency and accountability in government is crucial to building and preserving the public’s trust in government. In order to strengthen this transparency and accountability, I partnered with Common Cause of Maryland to pass a new law that substantially strengthens the Open Meetings Act by requiring training, oversight, and accountability in governmental proceedings.
- Disclosure and Accountability of State Spending (SB604): Maryland puts the highest value on critical measures such as education, health care, and public safety. For example, 84% of proposed State General Fund expenditures for FY15 are projected to be spent in education 48%, health care 25%, public safety 11%. However, many Marylanders who pay taxes are unaware of the extent to which their hard-earned tax dollars are spent toward these shared priorities. That’s why I authored SB604, which now requires, on all State income tax forms, the inclusion of an easy to understand graphical representation detailing how much of each General Fund dollar is spent on each major funding category. In addition, SB604 now requires that this information be posted on the Comptroller’s website, with instructions for the applicable income tax forms.
- Revenue Estimates and State Budget Projections (SB 371 / HB 503): For as long as anyone can remember, Maryland government has struggled to balance its budget just like families and businesses do every year – by knowing how much money is coming in, so that responsible spending decisions can be made as to how much money can go out. It’s been a serious problem that has led to a vicious, year-after-year, cycle in which state revenues are over-estimated at the beginning of the budget process. This results in huge shortfalls later in the year, which necessitate enormous mid-year cuts to health, education, public safety and environmental services throughout government. That’s why, as the Senate Chair of Spending Affordability Committee in 2017, I called for reforms of the Board of Revenue Estimates, and introduced Senate Bill 371 – State Budget – Appropriations – Income Tax Revenue Estimate Cap and Revenue Stabilization Account, to finally address the underlying structural problem. This legislation now mitigates the impact of revenue volatility on the State budget. Specifically, it establishes a new methodology for estimating nonwitholding revenues, creates a new “Fiscal Responsibility Fund,” increases Rainy Day fund balances, and dramatically increases capital school construction funding.
HOMEOWNERS AND TENANTS
- Penalties for Retaliatory Evictions (SB 620): Current law provides few protections from retaliation to tenants who report housing violations. That’s why I authored and worked with colleagues in passing SB 620, to strengthen protections for tenants, while also mitigating undue litigation, harassment and fraudulent complaints.
- Homeowners’ Tax Fairness In Eminent Domain Proceedings Act (HB1159): Governmental takings of real property (“eminent domain”) can be expensive and unfair to homeowners. I authored HB1159 that exempts from local recordation taxes the new property that a homeowner acquires as a result of an eminent domain taking.
- With the support of stakeholder coalitions, I’ve authored many budget amendments to protect: state pensions, health care, women’s reproductive rights, “aging in place” funding for Seniors, and long term care policy.
I authored legislation in both the House and Senate, which sparked the debate and formed the framework for many successful executive orders, programs and legislation implemented by Governor O’Malley, the legislature, and other units of government:
- Seniors Health: My Medicare Part D “Donut Hole” Tax Assistance Act (HB37) led to Governor O’Malley’s successful program to assist senior citizens who fall within the Medicare Prescription Drug “Donut Hole.”
- First Responders: Heroes’ Housing Fund (HB38) led to Governor O’Malley’s Heroes’ Housing Initiative. In addition, Law Enforcement Officer and Emergency Responder Protection Act (HB24) was the first legislation introduced to protect fire fighters and other emergency responders from assaults in the line of duty, and led to the passage of legislation in 2015.
- Women’s Reproductive Health: Limited Service Pregnancy Centers bill (HB1146) led to landmark legislation in both Baltimore and Montgomery to require disclosures in previously unregulated “crisis pregnancy centers.”
- Environment: Oil Sands Responsibility Act (HB10) in 2009 was the first legislation to highlight the troublesome issue of “fracking,” which sparked a multi-year debate and an eventual moratorium in 2015, and ban in 2017.
- Pension Funding: Teacher and Employee Pension Sustainability and Solvency Trust Fund (HB10) highlighted the long-term pension underfunding created by the “Corridor Funding Method,” eventually leading to it being replaced in 2015 with an actuarial funding formula.
- Statewide Fracking Ban: There is no way to extract natural gas from Marcellus Shale deposits, while protecting public health and safety, and guaranteeing good, high-paying, Maryland jobs. That is why, as Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review Committee (AELR), I stopped the Governor’s regulations on fracking, which was a key factor in the eventual statewide ban on fracking in 2017.
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