The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of environment policy in the 2022 General Assembly.
MACo seeks sensible solutions to environmental issues that provide flexibility and do not place unreasonable burdens on county governments.
The unique circumstances surrounding the 444th legislative session, including necessary health and safety measures, posed a challenge for lawmakers and advocates alike. Yet, despite the unusual circumstances, MACo’s advocacy still led to more positive outcomes for its members.
MACo supported SB528 with amendments. This wide-ranging legislation creates and enhances multiple goals to advance Maryland’s climate response. SB 528 Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 passed the General Assembly and became law without the Governor’s signature.
MACo supported HB708 with amendments. This wide-ranging legislation creates and enhances multiple goals to advance Maryland’s climate response. HB 708 Comprehensive Climate Solutions failed in the General Assembly.
MACo opposed HB695. The bill requires all counties to adopt a broad and unwieldy climate crisis plan, even though counties would not have the ability to implement it.HB 695 / SB 552 Environment – Climate Crisis Plan – Requirement (Better Together to Save Our Weather Act of 2022) failed in the General Assembly.
MACo opposed HB 880. The bill prohibits all county governments from taking very widely defined actions unless the county has conducted detailed evaluations and assessments of the impact of the action on the climate, labor and employment, environmental justice, and any overburdened community. HB 880 / SB 931 Environment – Impact of Actions on Climate, Labor, and Environmental Justice failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported the bill with amendments. The bill would establish the Office on Climate Change in the Office of the Governor, responsible for a multitude of actions surrounding the State’s response to climate change. HB 1263 Environment – Office on Climate Change – Establishment failed in the General Assembly.
MACo opposed HB 596 / SB 783. The bill creates a new and vaguely defined constitutional right and an expansive new class of litigants with broad standing rights to litigate or intervene. HB 596 / SB 783 would amend the Maryland Constitution to create a new environmental right under the Declaration of Rights for any “person,” a dramatic departure from decades of practice. HB 596 / SB 783 Constitutional Amendment – Environmental Rights failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 1226 with amendments. The bill would establish the Mattress Stewardship Program within the state of Maryland. The program is designed to shift mattress disposal and recycling responsibility to manufacturers. HB 1226 Environment – Office of Recycling – Mattress Stewardship Program – Establishment failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 307 / SB 292. This bill would reasonably require packaging producers to take more responsibility for the role they play in adding to the waste stream by providing new resources to struggling recycling networks. HB 307 / SB 292 Environment – Packaging Materials – Producer Responsibility failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 1239 with amendments. The bill would establish a minimum threshold for postconsumer recycled content in plastic and glass products.HB 1239 Environment – Plastic and Glass Products – Postconsumer Recycled Content Program failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 217. The bill would establish a task force to review and update the Maryland Recycling Act (MRA), providing an avenue for sensible changes. HB 217 Task Force on Recycling Policy and Recycling and Waste Systems in Maryland failed in the General Assembly.
Inspections and County Government Authority
MACo opposed HB 761 / SB 330. This bill prescribes rigid requirements on local health departments, who are charged to protect public health via facility inspections. HB 761 / SB 330 County Boards of Health and Baltimore City Health Department – Procedures and Appeals Process failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 402 / SB 221 with amendments. The bill sets forth a wide array of clearer and stronger tools for the Maryland Department of the Environment to use to enforce violations of departmental permits.HB 402 / SB 221 Department of the Environment – Enforcement Authority failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 361 / SB 320 with amendments. The bill requires counties to conduct visual mold inspections of rental dwelling units and places the responsibility of confirming a mold infestation and remediation with the landlord. HB 361 / SB 320 Mold Inspections and Remediation – Standards, Reporting, Penalties, and Tax Credit failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 661 / SB 263 with amendments. The bill requires a “healthy” default option for beverages served with children’s meals at restaurants and food service facilities. HB 661 / SB 263 Health – Food Service Facilities – Beverage Options With Children’s Meals failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 936 / SB 999 with amendments. The bill would establish a blue ribbon commission to study how best to meet the full power generation capacity authorized under ambitious state laws. HB 936 / SB 999 Blue Ribbon Community Solar Land Use Commission failed in the General Assembly.
MACo opposed HB 1033. The bill would require state and local governments to direct at least 40% of overall spending, covering various environmental areas, toward overburdened communities. HB 1033 Environment and Energy – Investment in Overburdened Communities failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 876. This bill would establish the Maryland Forest Education Fund under the Maryland Forestry Foundation. HB 876 Maryland Forestry Education Fund – Establishment failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 960 / SB 651. The bill would modify certain aspects of the Forest Conservation Fund to give counties more time to use the resources distributed under the program. HB 960 / SB 651 Natural Resources – Forest Mitigation Banks and the Forest Conservation Fund – Alterations failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 1031 / SB 791. The bill would establish programs meant to accelerate and improve park land acquisition and encourage the development of community green spaces. HB 1031 / SB 791 Natural Resources – Land Conservation – Establishment of Goals and Programs (Maryland the Beautiful Act) failed the General Assembly.
Septic, Waste, and Water Treatment Regulation
MACo supported HB 1070 with amendments. The bill would create several grant funds to encourage composting, environmental stewardship, and recycling. HB 1070 Solid Waste Disposal and Diversion and On–Farm Composting and Compost Use failed in the General Assembly.
MACo opposed SB 580. This bill would establish mechanisms requiring municipal solid waste treatment plants to pay extraordinary damages to shellfish harvesters due to sewage overflows. SB 580 Sewer Systems and Wastewater Treatment Plants – Water Pollution – Shellfish Harvester Restitution failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 1068 and opposed SB 113. The bill would improve the standardization and automation of the on-site sewage disposal system process. HB 1068 Local Health Departments, Environmental Health Specialists, and On-Site Sewage Disposal Systems – Systems Standards, Regulations, Applications, and Funding / SB 113 Environmental Health Specialists and On–Site Sewage Disposal Systems – Transfer of Responsibilities and Standards, Regulations, Applications, and Plans failed in the General Assembly.
MACo supported HB 275 / SB 273 with amendments. The bill provides increased restrictions on the sale and use of class B fire–fighting foam that contains intentionally added per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS chemicals”). HB 275 / SB 273 Environment – PFAS Chemicals – Prohibitions and Requirements (George “Walter” Taylor Act) passed the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s signature.