2021 MARYLAND POLICY WATCH
The 442nd Legislative Session of the Maryland General Assembly began with presiding officers manning gavels behind masks with plexiglass between members in the chambers. Protections amid the COVID-19 pandemic included limited access to the state complex for the public, testing for members and staff, with virtual committee meetings and floor sessions allowing Marylanders to participate in the legislative process.
Legislators pre-filed more than 800 pieces of legislation addressing Police Reform and Accountability, Legalizing Sports Gambling, Immigration, Environmental Issues, and Economic Concerns resulting from the global health crisis. Extensive, often tested debates, were viewed virtually, while legislators voiced concerns and opinions.
MCEC staff tracked 105 pieces of legislation introduced during this session pertaining to Clean Energy. In summary, 44 bills relating to the Clean Energy Sector were returned passed. At the same time, 61 failed through withdrawal by the sponsor, receiving an unfavorable report, or failing to make it out of committee and cross over. Of the 44 bills tracked that passed, 7 passed the last day of the session. Several bills that failed made it through the chamber of origination and crossed to the opposing chamber, failing to make that final step.
Climate Crisis and Vehicle Electrification legislation accounted for the majority of energy-related bills introduced. Other legislation this session focused on:
- Environmental Justice and Climate Change
- Economic Development/Innovation Advancement
- Proposed RPS Alterations
- Vehicle Electrification and Incentives
- Utility Regulation
Among the bills introduced were initiatives addressing Climate Change and Environmental Justice through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy, Zero-Emission Vehicles, Emission Reduction Goals, Planning and Monitoring, and the Just Transition Employment and Retraining Working Group. Unfortunately, the Senate and House could not come to an agreement on the legislation. Several bills addressed underserved communities and access to energy assistance for low to moderate-income families. Additional legislation passed to enhance economic development, advanced clean energy innovation, and access to funding for remediation and resiliency programs.
The Governor hosted bill signings during the Legislative Session and Tuesday, April 13, 2021. A list of bills signed is available online. Additional bill signings typically occur every few weeks through the end of May. Due to public health concerns resulting from COVID-19, the events may not be public. For more information, visit www.md.gov.
A detailed list of the bills tracked by MCEC, with status at the end of session is available in MCEC's 2021 Policy Watch Tracking Sheet Final Summary.
Join Maryland Clean Energy Center and special guest legislators for the 2021 Policy Watch Webinar Series!
We will host six virtual discussion sessions from January to April, 2021, as part of our annual Policy Watch activities. Engaged stakeholders can participate in any or all sessions in the series.