2022 Session Newsletter - "Sine Die"
Dear Neighbors and Friends - On Monday, the Maryland General Assembly celebrated “Sine Die,” or the end of the 2022 legislative session. We have much to celebrate this year, as we completed our first in-person session since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a legislature, we were able to override Governor Hogan’s vetoes to enact a progressive slate of bills into law, including ones that expand access to abortion, establish a paid family leave program, and tackle greenhouse gas emissions in the state. At the same time, my office has worked incredibly hard on behalf of the residents of District 22. I am excited to share some updates on a few of the bills I sponsored during this year’s legislative session:
Circuit Court Clerks - Salary Increase (HB 519/SB 74): This legislation will provide for an increase in the salaries of clerks working in circuit courts. Circuit court clerks provide essential services in the judiciary, yet the maximum salary they are eligible to receive has fallen behind that of similar positions in Maryland. We are pleased with the outcome of our bill, as we have successfully increased the maximum salary that the Board of Public Works may set for a circuit court clerk to $146,500.
Landlord and Tenant - Eviction Data - Collection and Distribution (HB 824/SB 629): This legislation will establish reporting requirements on evictions throughout the state. There is a notable lack of widely available and readily accessible data on evictions in Maryland. With the passage of this bill, the Department of Housing and Community Development will now collect and publish statewide eviction data every 30 days.
Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings Program (HB 114/SB 129): This legislation would create a special fund to be administered by the Maryland Legal Services Corporation that would provide access to legal representation for immigrants going through immigration proceedings. Such a fund would help countless immigrant families in Maryland that are unable to take on the immense financial burden of hiring a lawyer. While HB 114 did not pass this year, we were able to secure some funding for the program, with the intention of passing the bill into law during next year’s legislative session.
Pregnant Persons Freedom Act of 2022 (HB 626/SB 669): This legislation would protect pregnant persons or individuals assisting a pregnant person, such as a physician, from investigation or prosecution for seeking an abortion. Criminalizing the termination of one’s pregnancy is an infringement on the freedom of choice and the rights of an individual’s reproductive system. While this bill in particular did not pass, the legislature significantly advanced the right to an abortion in Maryland, and I will continue working to prioritize the freedom and health of pregnant persons.
State Finance - Prohibited Appropriations - Magnetic Levitation System (HB 326/ SB 359): This legislation would make it so that funds for a magnetic levitation transportation system come from private or corporate entities rather than the pockets of taxpayers. By establishing this requirement, state funds can instead be allocated towards other priorities, such as bolstering our education system and helping working families that are still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this bill did not pass during session, it remains a critical issue for residents of District 22 and the state. It is my intention to continue voicing constituents’ concerns over this issue as I reintroduce this bill next year.
Register of Wills - Maximum Salary - Increase (HB 518/SB 232): This legislation would provide for an increase in the maximum annual salary for registers of wills, which has not been offered since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. A register of wills provides essential services to the community by having jurisdiction over judicial probate, administration of estates, and handling the conduct of personal representatives. I am pleased that the Senate version of this bill has passed and is on the way to the governor's desk.
This is only a snapshot of the work that was done at the Maryland General Assembly this session. There is, of course, a lot more work to be done on behalf of all Marylanders. While “Sine Die” means that this year’s legislative session has come to a close, it also means that preparations for next year’s session can begin. I encourage every resident of District 22 to stay civically engaged by letting my office know what change they would like to see enacted in our communities and our state. As your voice in Annapolis, I am always working for you. - Nicole