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Here’s an update on what’s happening in Annapolis at the end of the tenth week of the 2022 General Assembly Session.

Weekly Video Update: “Crossover”, Good & Bad on Crime, Gas Tax & Possible Retiree Relief...

You can watch my weekly video update, where I discuss several legislative highlights of this week by clicking the picture directly below.

Crossover Week in the Maryland General Assembly

The 2022 Session is rapidly approaching “Crossover” on Monday, March 21st. That is the deadline for the House and Senate to pass its bills over to the other chamber without having to jump through extra procedural loops. This week was full of long floor and committee voting sessions while members work hard to pass their bills out of the Senate, so they can be considered by the House before the end of Session in April.

Update on Legislation Targeting Violent Crime

Great news – an initiative that I have sponsored for several years finally passed, which makes the theft of a handgun a felony in the state of Maryland. This allows for much stronger sentencing where, before, theft of a handgun was treated like theft of property which, under $1,000 is just a simple misdemeanor with no real jail time. This bill specifically goes after the criminals causing gun violence, instead of Annapolis’ usual practice of targeting 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. I introduced this bill as SB 533 – last week it was amended onto SB 861 and passed 44-0.

This was not the only Senate Republican-led crime proposal that passed this week. Several other bills passed with bipartisan support that target the violent crime crisis that is raging through our state.

Republican crime proposals passed this week as part of SB 861 include:

  • Making the theft of a handgun a felony (from my bill, SB 533)
  • Closing the “drug dealer loophole” where drug dealers who use a gun during the sale of drugs are specifically exempted from harsher penalties
  • Allowing for interlocutory appeals so that prosecutors can keep firearm charges in criminal cases
  • Expanding the definition of absconding to include leaving a court-ordered stay in an addiction treatment facility as part of their parole and probation without authorization

Fighting for Gas Tax Relief

This week, I’ve continued to spotlight the need to bring tax relief to combat rising gas prices and inflation by repealing the automatic gas tax increase that is tied to inflation.

The Maryland General Assembly did pass a 30-day pause in Maryland’s gas tax, which will save Maryland 37 cents per gallon for one month. The bill was signed by Governor Hogan today, March 18th, and will go into effect immediately.    

Abortion Legislative Update

There has not been any new movement on the abortion bills that I wrote to you about last week. It is expected that in the coming days these pieces of legislation will receive hearings in their respective committees, some in Finance (my committee) and some in Judicial Proceedings. I will keep you updated on when that happens. To read my full breakdown on these initiatives, click here. (Note: It does appear that SB 669 will not pass, thankfully, but I am still watching it closely).