Septics Bill Remains In Senate Limbo, Amendments Pending

Following a week of floor debate and questions, SB 266 – legislation requiring “best available technology” for any new septic systems – remains on hold pending a resolution.

Last week, Conduit Street reported that the bill was initially defeated on a narrow 23-22 vote on the Senate floor during a preliminary approval vote. Following a procedural move to reconsider that vote, the Senate has since postponed final consideration on the bill (or any possible amendments) multiple times. On Thursday March 9, the bill was again postponed until tuesday, March 14. (The typical motion in the Maryland General Assembly is to “Make the bill a special order of business on [a certain date]” and is frequently abbreviated in legislative parlance as “special ordering”)

Many stakeholders expect that an amendment may be developed by the next discussion Tuesday to develop a broader compromise to limit the bill’s broad effects. As introduced and passed by the Senate Committee, the bill imposes a flat mandate affecting the entire state. Current law only requires this for the Critical Area, essentially within 1,000 feet of the tidal influence of the Chesapeake Bay.