Legislative Session: Overrides and RELIEF ACT
It was a full week in the State House. We met for House Floor Sessions for the first time since Opening Day. The agenda consisted of voting on some bills that had passed in the House last year but stalled in the Senate due to the shortened Legislative Session and of course, the veto overrides.
This year there were many more vetoed bills being considered due to Governor Hogan’s veto of bills which economic impact might be detrimental to our fragile economy during the state of emergency. Some of these were easily dealt with by consent votes, others with much larger impacts, required discussion and debate.
Overall about 30 vetoes were overridden by the legislature. The Republican party mounted debates on the major issues and great arguments as to why these bills are unnecessary, restrictive and burdensome, or too costly. These overrides were done mostly along party lines with the Democratic Supermajority in Annapolis easily winning the votes. I am going to highlight a few of these bills below.
- HB4 Long Guns – Restrictions on Sales Rentals and Transfers - This bill requires that the sale of a rifle be done by a licensed dealer who conducts a background check. (vote 88-46)
- HB1300 Blueprint For Maryland’s Future (Kirwan) – Public Education funding bill which adds about $4Billion to the K-12 budget. Maryland already ranks 3rd in the nation in education allocation. Putting more money towards education is not going to fix failing schools. (vote 95-37)
- HB932 Digital Downloads and Streaming Services – Sales Tax – This is one of the taxes expected to pay for the enormous cost of Kirwan. It expands sales tax to include digital services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Educational books, Peloton and more. Really this is a tax on everyone. (vote 90-42)
- HB732 Tobacco/E-Cigarettes and Digital Advertising – In addition to adding to the tobacco tax, it authorizes a digital tax on large tech companies. However, this may not even be possible to collect or legal. (vote 88-48)
The week ended with the passage of SB496, Governor Hogan’s RELIEF ACT. This bill will give about $1 ½ Billion in needed aide to individuals and small businesses across our state. After some back forth in between the parties, the bill passed almost unanimously out of the House of Delegates. It was a welcome victory.
Last week was definitely an exciting week. We will be starting to push toward daily Sessions beginning in March. At that time, most bills in the House will have received their hearings and some will be ready to move to the Floor for a vote. I am glad to get things rolling finally.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office.