2021 SPECIAL SESSION SUMMARY
Maryland legislators took their seats in chambers on Monday, December 6, for the 2021 Special Legislative Session. Their mission included the debate of Redistricting Maps and the selection of a State Treasurer to replace retiring Nancy Kopp, who has served in the position since February 2002. With the return to chambers, the Maryland Constitution requires the body to address any vetoes exercised by the Governor after the regular session ended.
Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission
HB0001: Congressional Districting Plan
• Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission
• Passed House and Senate
• To Governor
The Assembly listed 21 bills to override during the special session. Three vetoes were sustained because the companion bill passed and was signed by the Governor. Six of the veto overrides pertained to the energy sector. The veto overrides were enacted according to Article II, Section 17 of the Maryland Constitution.
- 11 Cross-filed
- 3 Vetoes Sustained
• House Sustained these vetoes
• Senate Bills Passed
18 Bills enacted according to Article II, Section 17 of the Maryland Constitution
6 Bills pertained to the energy sector
- SB0095 / HB0174: Public Utilities - Investor-Owned Utilities - Prevailing Wage (Senator Kramer / Delegate Brooks)
- SB0417 / HB0777: Power Plant Research Program - Review of Application for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity - Alterations (Senator Pinsky / Delegate Brooks)
- SB0460 / HB0419: Economic Development - Advanced Clean Energy and Clean Energy Innovation Investments and Initiatives (Senator Feldman / Delegate Qi)
Broadens the definition of clean energy to include advanced energy and grid modernization technologies to include:
• Energy storage, Grid modernization and Demand Reduction
• Bio-tech in Clean Energy and Clean Agriculture
• Carbon dioxide removal, management and re-use
• Clean Fuels and Displacement of Energy-intensive products
• Mobility – EVs, vehicle automation, transportation systems
• Integrated systems – AI and ‘internet of things’
• New concepts in Nuclear Power to improve safety and lower costs
Clarifies the capability of MCEC to finance energy measures on state facilities
Alters the composition of the MCEC Board of Directors to include the Director of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute
Provides a predictable, stable, and ongoing commitment of $2.1M to fund energy technology research and development activities through MEI2 and MCEC
2021 MCEC POLICY WATCH REPORT
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.