Week Ending March 26, 2021
As the Session approaches Sine Die, the House and Senate have transitioned from hearings to voting. March 22nd was crossover, which is the date by which the House and Senate must pass bills originating in their Chamber to guarantee consideration by the other Chamber for passage. For crossfiled bills, it is important to note that even though a bill may have passed both the House and Senate, each bill (despite having a crossfile) still needs a vote by the opposite chamber. Both Chambers have issued new rules for hearings for the balance of the Session. For the most part, there will not be hearings on crossfiled bills and those without a crossfile will be sponsor only hearings. There may be exceptions when there are significant differences between crossfiles but that will remain the discretion of the Committee chairs. The status of legislation still under consideration will remain fluid until Sine Die and therefore this will be the last weekly update until the Final Report, which will be issued shortly following Sine Die.
With respect to hearings on bills of interest to MTC, several bills supported by MTC that were not crossfiled were heard last week by the opposite Chamber. House Bill 1211: Economic Development – Maryland Technology Development Corporation – Pre-Seed Builder Fund, House Bill 1210: Corporate Diversity – Board, Executive Leadership, and Mission, and House Bill 654: Maryland Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer Incentive Program – Alterations were heard by the Senate Finance Committee, but no further action was taken. Senate Bill 160: Economic Development – Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credit Program – Expansion and Extension, and Senate Bill 19: Economic Development – Biotechnology Investment Incentive Tax Credit Program were heard by the House Ways and Means Committee and the Revenues Subcommittee held a meeting after the hearings to discuss several bills, including Senate Bill 19 and Senate Bill 160 but took no action.
Two bills which MTC is monitoring were also heard by the Senate. House Bill 1086: Maryland Tax Credit Evaluation Act – Alterations and House Bill 1034: Prescription Drug Affordability Board – Plan of Action – Repeal of Date for Submission. House Bill 1086 establishes a framework for evaluating the State’s tax credits. There is no Senate crossfile and the sponsor of the legislation is the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. As previously described, House Bill 1034 removes the reporting date for the Prescription Drug Affordability Board, which if passed, will provide additional time for them to complete their work. There is no opposition to the legislation, and it is expected to be enacted.
With respect to actions taken last week, House Bill 97/Senate Bill 66: Department of Housing and Community Development – Office of Digital Inclusion – Established (Digital Connectivity Act of 2021) was voted favorably by the House Economic Matters Committee and is on the floor for consideration by the full House. The Senate bill (Senate Bill 66), which passed, was significantly amended and the Senate and House will need to resolve any differences if the House bill is passed. House Bill 658: Transforming Manufacturing in a Digital Economy Workgroup (Making It in Maryland) was amended by the Senate Finance Committee to conform to the Senate bill (Senate Bill 444) and is on the floor for consideration by the full Senate. The House and Senate will then need to resolve their differences.