End of Session 2022
Monday, April 11th, marked the conclusion of the 444th Legislative Session of the Maryland General Assembly. This 2022 Session was my fourth serving as the State Senator to the 45th District, and my second serving in the capacity of Chairman of the Baltimore City Senate Delegation. In this role, I was honored to lead the six State Senators for Baltimore City in the concerted effort to bring resources, investments, and opportunities to our communities. As Chair, I remain laser focused on bringing forth comprehensive solutions and taking initiatives in the best interests of our public safety, education, health, infrastructure, and transportation.
Despite the rolling changes and impediments to normalcy resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s session has proved successful. Over the course of the 90 days, 17 bills were passed by the House and Senate Chambers and are moving across the Governor’s desk. I am hopeful for the passage of these pieces of legislation, as they bring about progress and positively impact the people of the 45th district, Baltimore City, and the State of Maryland.
Here is a summary of successful pieces of legislation put forth by Team McCray this 2022 Legislative Session. If passed by the Governor, these measures will be enacted into law.
- To reassign responsibility to the agency and alleviate the sudden financial burdens placed on its customers, SB0059 Maryland Transportation Authority – Public-Private Partnerships and Options for the Payment of Tolls and Civil Penalties directs the Maryland Transportation Authority to provide account-holding users of E-Z Pass with extended options to satisfy payment of delinquent accounts resulting from suspended toll, video toll, and penalty charges. This measure will provide relief to thousands of drivers impacted by the suspension and the subsequent backlog in processing tolls.
- Maryland’s drivers need access to cost-effective insurance premiums and fairer payment plan options. Considering this, I proposed SB0278 Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund – Installment Payment Plans to make effective changes to the way Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund places premiums on installation insurance plans.
- SB0289 Historic Revitalization Tax Credit – Funding and Extension is centered on Maryland’s Historic Revitalization Tax Credit—a catalyst of economic growth and a key tool for neighborhood revitalization. If implemented, this bill will address urgent funding needs, as well as extend the life of the Competitive Commercial program which encourages the rehabilitation of large keystone projects across the state.
- The University of Maryland Extension is a premier source of research and education for Maryland farmers. SB0437 Agriculture – University of Maryland Extension – Urban Farmer Assistance will ensure that the University of Maryland Extension includes two statewide extension agents dedicated to providing technical assistance and training. This measure will bolster support for urban farmers in their initiatives.Reading, at a young age, is fundamentally important and a foundational part of education. SB0438 Young Readers Programs – Establishment (Young Readers Program Expansion establishes the Baltimore City Young Readers Program, a program which will create an imaginary library and provide youth with access to high-quality books for their own edification and entertainment.
- Makerspaces have boosted economic, educational, and workforce development opportunities throughout to State. Witnessing their beneficial impact, I proposed SB0453 Economic Development – Maryland Makerspace Initiative Program to support the establishment of a robust network of makerspaces within Maryland’s communities.
- SB0536 Income Tax – Film Production Activity Tax Credit – Digital Animation Projects extends the eligibility for credit against State income tax to include digital animation works in efforts to create a fair and equal opportunity for filmmakers who record their projects in Maryland. Through this extension, more filmmakers will be encouraged to produce projects in the State—providing an increase in revenue and creating job opportunities to employ more Marylanders.
- As Baltimore continues to face unique issues within public safety, regulation of crime, and the management of its jails, there is a pressing need for effective legislation that can combat and resolve roadblocks—promoting better coordination and communication amongst our public safety agencies. I introduced SB0585 Public Safety – Warrants and Absconding and SB0586 Criminal Procedure and Public Safety – Courts and Criminal Justice in Baltimore to increase funding for warrant apprehension efforts, mandate reporting on weapons, and establish a Jobs Courts Pilot Program within the City’s district courts. These measures will encourage efficiency, accountability, and awareness across the board.
- By modifying the Maryland Electricians Act to remove barriers to practice, SB0604 Maryland Electricians Act – Revisions will accommodate, support, and provide experienced electricians with streamlined access in obtaining the licenses and/or certifications requisite to working within their occupations.
- Acting against the discrimination of youths in Maryland, SB0666 Schools, Prekindergarten Programs, and County Boards of Education – Discrimination prohibits local boards of education, public and non-public pre-kindergarten programs, primary schools, and secondary schools that receive State funds from taking discriminatory actions against any prospective student, and prohibits retaliatory actions against a student, parent, and/or guardian of a student who files a complaint alleging specified discrimination. Additionally, the bill establishes a complaint, mediation, and appeal process for violations.
- It is crucially important that local governments receive the requisite funding to properly address issues like roads, bridges, and transportation, which impact highway user revenues. Under SB0726 Transportation – Highway User Revenues – Revenue and Distribution, the funds from the Gasoline and Motor Vehicle Revenue Account which are provided annually to local governments by the Maryland Department of Transportation through capital transportation grants will increase.
- In efforts to safeguard access to transportation for Baltimore City Public School students, SB0862 Baltimore City – Maryland Transit Administration – Transit Services for Public will require the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to provide ridership to Baltimore City Public School students throughout the school year and duration of the YouthWorks program.
- If enacted, SB0953 Commission on African American History and Culture – Alterations (Senator Verda Welcome Act) will invest in institutions that promote African American tradition and culture within the State of Maryland. The provision of funding to historical museums will assist in the preservation of history for future generations, so that they, too, understand the significance of African American history.
NOTEWORTHY PIECES OF LEGISLATION
Senator Hayes’ SB0275 Time to Care Act of 2022 establishes the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Program and FAMLI Fund to provide up to 12 weeks of benefits to a covered individual taking leave from employment due to specified personal and family circumstances. The FAMLI Fund consists of contributions from employees and employers of at least 15 employees and pays for benefits, a public education program, and implementation and administrative costs.
Senator Pinsky’s SB0528 Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 makes broad changes to the State’s approach to reducing statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and addressing climate change. Among other things, the bill increases the statewide GHG emissions reduction requirement and requires the State to achieve net-zero statewide GHG emissions by 2045; establishes new and alters existing energy conservation requirements for buildings; increases and extends specified energy efficiency and conservation program requirements; establishes requirements for the purchase of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in the State fleet; and establishes new entities and new special funds to support related activities.
The Senate’s Bill 1010 Motor Fuel Taxes – Tax-Free Period abates the impact of motor fuel inflation and its resulting consequences by temporarily waiving the state’s gasoline tax for a 30-day period. In effect, this emergency piece of legislation continues to provide relief to hundreds and thousands of Maryland constituents—workers, students, and families—who are affected by the rising gas prices.
MAJOR CAPITAL INVESTMENTS
This legislative session, we secured additional funding for projects and initiatives taking place in our community. Here is a glance at the capital investments successfully secured this year for acquisition, planning, design, construction, repair, renovation, reconstruction, and site improvement:
• East Baltimore Transfer Station: $4 million
• The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum: $2 million
• Nathaniel McFadden Learn and Play: $1 million
• The Somerset Grocery Store: $1 million
• Johnston Square Football Field Greenmount Park: $500, 000
• East Baltimore Development Fund: $500,000
• Roberta’s House: $300,000
• Banner Neighborhood: $300,000
• Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition: $250,000
• HLMS Property Reclamation & Rejuvenation Program: $200,000
• Johnston Square Elementary School: $200,000
• Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle School: $200,000
• Dr. Bernard Harris Sr. Elementary School: $200,000
• Mr. Mack Lewis Gym: $175,000
• Hamilton Elementary Middle School Play Yard: $100,000
• Men and Family Center: $50,000
• Bear Community Outreach Center: $25, 000
Keep an eye out for the upcoming improvements and progress to take place within the 45th!
Although this year’s session has ended, over the next nine months, I look forward to prioritizing my time to provide more constituent services and address pressing matters impacting the 45th district.
I anticipate learning from you and listening to your concerns as the year progresses. If I can provide any further information about the Session or assist you with a constituent service matter, please do not hesitate to contact me. As always, I remain grateful for the honor, privilege, and opportunity to be of service to you.
Listening. Learning. Leading.
Cory V. McCray
Senator, 45th Legislative District