Session Summary Report: MCEC Policy Watch 2022

Maryland’s 188 State Representatives opened the 444th Legislative Session of the Maryland General Assembly with COVID-19 protocols. While relaxed from the previous gathering of legislators, adjustments to floor sessions and committee hearings continued with presiding officers convening their members in person with pro-forma sessions held frequently during the early weeks. The Chambers offered designated seats in the galleries on a first-come, first-serve basis for the public. The complex welcomed visitors with masks required. The Senate began in-person bill hearings on February 11th, with the House continuing virtual committee hearings. By the end of session, Annapolis resembled days of old with the exception of indoor masked faces.

MCEC staff tracked 79 pieces of energy legislation, with 42 being cross-files. Thirty-four bills passed their chamber of origination, the opposing chamber, were returned passed, and presented to the Governor for his signature. 62 (24 cross-files) failed due to sponsor withdrawal, unfavorable reports by the assigned committee, or remaining in committee.

We noted several themes in energy legislation during this session, including Climate Solutions, Transition to Clean Fuel Vehicles, Community Solar, RPS, Resiliency, Environmental Justice, and Building Performance Standards. We observe that Climate Solutions remains an important issue for legislators, with bills directly affecting the reduction of carbon emissions moving through the process. In contrast, many of the bills addressing environmental justice and building performance remained in committee. The Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 addresses those issues. Several pieces of legislation addressing tax or energy credits for renewable energy successfully moved through the process.

Several bills are of particular interest to the organization, addressing agency transparency, benefits for employees of the organization, and funding for Climate Catalytic Capital.

The Maryland General Assembly presented passed legislation to the Governor on April 1, 2022. The body included SB0528-Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 in that early presentation. Governor Hogan is allowing twenty-eight bills to become law without his signature in accordance with Article II, Section 17(c) of Maryland’s Constitution. SB0528 is included in those becoming law without his signature. View the Letter from the Governor

The Governor vetoed ten of the bills presented. The Assembly took measures on Saturday, April 9, to override the vetoes.

The Governor, Senate President, and Speak of the House participated in a Bill Signing on Tuesday, April 12th, at Noon. The General Assembly must present passed legislation to the Governor no later than twenty days after the close of session. Maryland’s Constitution requires the Governor to act on the presented bills within twenty-eight (excluding Sundays) days of receipt. The Governor schedules Bill Signings every two to three weeks through late May. Announcements can be viewed on the Governor’s website.