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Maryland General Assembly Session 2021

Sine Die Report – April 13, 2021

 

This year was certainly an interesting and frustrating year for Maryland politics. With the Pandemic Rules put in place by the Chambers of the General Assembly, providing testimony on bills this year was incredibly restricted, with extremely limited (effectively none) access to the State Capitol Grounds preventing face-to-face citizen interaction with their legislative officials.

All bill hearings this year were virtual, with significant hurdles and restrictions that served to stunt effective citizen interaction in the legislative process. We saw the Senate allowing a total of 10 witnesses on almost all of the bills presented – four favorable witnesses supporting any given bill, two favorable w/amendment, and four opposition witness. The House was slightly more generous, typically allowing 50 people total to testify. With the exception of hand-picked witnesses for each bill’s sponsor, most remaining seats were given out in a lottery fashion. We will have to see if this process exists again next year.

In total, we tracked 28 bills this year – 15 in the House of Delegates and 13 in the Senate.Of those, only one bill passed both Chambers, House Bill1186 – Office of the Attorney General – Firearm Crime, Injuries, Fatalities, and Crime Firearms – Study Extension (Delegate Clippinger, Democrat, District 46). This bill is a commitment to spend even more tax dollars to complete a study commissioned last Session. In floor debate on Sine Die (April 12, 2021), Del. Clippinger stated this was needed since the study from last year, which cost taxpayers over half a million dollars (over twice what the legislature authorized the Attorney General to spend), was unable to be completed due to COVID. The study proposes to provide researched answers on the questions of where firearms crimes are committed, whether they are prosecuted, and what the result of any court actions are for these crimes.

MSRPA would like to thank our community for the support in this difficult General Assembly Session. Stay tuned for any updates we need to provide in the interim. Our bill tracker will remain available for those that wish to review the hearings or research the topics of this year’s crop.

V/r,

Mike Doherty
Chairman of the Board of Directors

 

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