The Baltimore Sun recently ran an article outlining the progress of this past legislative session using some pretty nifty infographics.
Annapolis insiders are no strangers to large mountains of data. The entirety of Maryland’s annual legislative sessions revolves around sifting through bills, examining reports and committee findings, getting input from stakeholders, and so on. This data crunch doesn’t end at Sine Die either. As longtime readers know, MACo publishes a wrap-up of every year of our successes, failures, and areas that need more work. This year the Baltimore Sun published pretty amazing infographics that highlight much of the good work over the past 90 days.
The data says a lot about what areas the new fully Democratic Annapolis prioritized this year. Of little surprise to anyone, Cannabis was one of the biggest focus areas of the General Assembly this year. Following the successful 2022 Cannabis referendum, the state has until July 2023 to begin to fully stand up a regulatory and commercial framework for the now-legal cannabis industry.
One area that surprised many was how little attention was paid to housing. Not counting cross files, only seven housing bills made it through the General Assembly this year. Going into the session, housing was poised to be a major focus, with news outlets reporting incessantly on the state of the housing market and rising rents and mortgage rates. While 2023 was clearly not the year for housing at the state level, counties have repeatedly announced new developments in this area.
Finally, Senator Malcomb Augustine was the clear winner of the 2023 legislative session, with 20 bills passed, the most by any single sponsor. Two bills, in particular, will be of key interest to counties:
- SB414 was MACo’s firefighter recruitment and retention study bill. This bill lays the foundation for MACo’s multiyear initiative to address our firefighter recruitment and retention crisis. Delegate Sandy Rosenberg was the House cross-file of this bill (HB788) and worked to see this bill through his chamber.
- SB222 sets in motion Maryland’s future adoption of an extended producer responsibility or EPR program. Under EPR producers will be made responsible for their products’ recyclability. As amended, the bill requires a needs assessment to outline the scope of Maryland’s current recycling infrastructure and what a Maryland EPR program would look like. Delegate Sara Love was the House cross-file of this bill (HB284) and was also a central figure in seeing this bill pass.
This just scratches the surface of the treasure trove of data presented by the Baltimore Sun. The article and infographics go a long way in making digestible the craziness of the last 90 days. For both Annapolis novices and insiders alike this Baltimore Sun article is a must-read.