2022 Legislative Session - February 26, 2022
Yesterday the Joint Committee for Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review (AELR) rescinded the statewide emergency regulation that mandated students to wear masks in the school setting. This is wonderful news and a long time coming. Calvert and St. Mary’s County Schools will be lifting mask mandates next week.
With the return to voting session, we are beginning to see some concerning bills. Both HB01 and HB0837, sponsored by Delegate Clippinger, passed the House of Delegates this week.
HB01 Constitutional Amendment – Cannabis – Adult Use and Possession – is a proposed Constitutional Amendment that adds the question of whether to legalize the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana to the November 2022 Maryland ballot.
HB0837 Cannabis Reform – gives a framework for how the legalization of marijuana will work, if the referendum passes at the ballot. This bill phases in the legal possession of 1.5 ounces over 6 months and reduces the possession of 1.5 -2.5 ounces to a civil citation over 6 months. Although smoking will not be permitted in public, the fine will be only $50 - $150 per offense. This bill allows for individuals to grow two plants per household. And additionally, the bill provides for the expungement of previous possession charges.
This has not been thoroughly thought through and gaps for consideration of others who may not wish to inhale smoke in their home, apartment, car, backyard and more are missing. Children are not given enough consideration and protection with this bill. There is more attention given to the regulation of alcohol and tobacco in current law than Cannabis.
Unfortunately, all Republican attempts to revise the bills and make adjustments for these issues were rebuffed. I voted against both bills. The bills are now heading to the Senate for consideration.
Clean Energy Construction
HB0831 – Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Commercial and Residential Buildings – Many people contacted my office with concerns about HB0831, which was heard yesterday in the Environment and Transportation Committee. The bill requires building emission standards to be established which will eliminate the use of fossil fuels for all water and space heating in new building construction, beginning next year, and for retrofitting renovations for certain buildings.
This is a packed bill and it will greatly affect our community and small businesses. The time-line to change to all household electrification is too fast and will not allow for the expansion of the power grid’s capacity. I am not in favor of this bill and will be working to make changes which reflect these concerns.
Thank you for sharing your time with me on these bills today. I am grateful to represent a community who stays informed on the happenings in our state and takes action to share their positions on issues.