“Crossover” Day Is Here… Wait, Why Do We Care Again?

Today marks the General Assembly’s “crossover” date – bills that aren’t passed out of one chamber by the end of the day face higher hurdles for passage.

Members of the Maryland General Assembly are rushing to meet a legislative deadline today, which is known as Crossover Day in Annapolis. In short — the crossover deadline is the General Assembly’s way of moving things along toward passage. Bills need to pass both the House and the Senate to become law – so during the 90-day session, a bill needs to be “on its way” with enough time to be considered by the opposite chamber, and, if necessary, the two chambers sort out their differences.

Bills not clearing their chamber of origin by March 22, the 69th day of the session, will be assigned to the “Rules Committee” in the second chamber. That means an additional procedural step, to get the bill re-assigned from that Committee to its proper committee of subject jurisdiction. With only three weeks left in the session, this alone is frequently enough to prevent a bill from being enacted into law.

Opposite Chamber Bill Hearing Guidelines

Legislative leaders last week announced new protocols for how bills will be heard in the final three weeks of the 2021 General Assembly session.

House of Delegates

All committees in the House of Delegates will not hold hearings on identically crossfiled bills. Bills with significant changes and non-crossfiled legislation will generally have sponsor-only hearings but may add witnesses at the discretion of the chair.

Senate

Budget and Taxation Committee: B&T will not hear House Bills that have a Senate cross-file that has already been heard by the Committee. For bills that are not cross-filed, the hearing will be sponsor only or their designee.

Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee: EHE does not hear House Bills that have a Senate cross-file that has already been heard by the Committee. For bills that are not cross-filed, there will be limited testimony. All House bill sponsors may select up to three witnesses, and if there is opposition, staff will ensure those witnesses are selected to testify (please note the witnesses must sign up via MyMGA). Sponsors must submit the sponsor witness form to Lamorea.Stanton@mlis.state.md.us two business days in advance of the bill hearing by 3:00 pm.

Finance Committee: Finance will not hear House Bills that have a Senate cross-file that has already been heard by the Committee. Subject to the discretion of the Chair, if the House bill is significantly different than the Senate bill as passed by the Senate, the committee may hear from the House sponsor only. All other House Bills will generally be sponsor only, and subject to the discretion of the Chair, may include limited testimony.

Judicial Proceedings Committee: JPR does not hear House Bills that have a Senate cross-file that has already been heard by the Committee. For bills that are not cross-filed, the hearing will be sponsor only unless there is opposition. If there is opposition the Committee will hold a limited bill hearing. All House bill sponsors may select up to three witnesses, and if there is opposition, staff will ensure those witnesses are selected to testify (please note the witnesses must sign up via MyMGA). Sponsors must submit the sponsor witness form to Sandra.popp@mlis.state.md.us two business days in advance of the bill hearing by 3:00 pm.

As always, county officials are welcome to track legislation using the MACo Legislative Tracking Database, or go directly to the Maryland General Assembly website.

Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.

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