March 20, 2023
After an intense last two weeks of work, the Maryland General Assembly’s crossover deadline has officially passed. For the last 78 days, the legislature took on some of the most complex issues it’s faced in the first year of a term in quite some time. Many of the bills that have passed out of the Senate reflect banner initiatives in any given term, let alone the first Legislative Session with new legislators and statewide constitutional officers.

I’m deeply proud of what we’ve accomplished to this point and am ready to enter the proverbial fourth quarter of the 2023 Session. There are still significant differences to work out with the House of Delegates, but I am confident that we’ll leave Annapolis this year after a collaborative final three weeks in a way that makes Marylanders proud.

Here are a few of the priority Senate bills that have “crossed over” to the House of Delegates in the last few days that will meaningfully impact Marylanders for years to come:

  • Senate Bill 798, enabling Marylanders to enshrine the right to reproductive freedom in the Maryland Constitution;
  • Senate Bill 786, securing patient and provider health care data and ensuring privacy when individuals access reproductive care services;
  • Senate Bill 859, protecting Marylanders’ right to health care privacy through prohibiting investigations used to punish providers and patients for seeking reproductive care;
  • Senate Bill 522, the Family Prosperity Act, increasing the earned income and child tax credits and expanding economic opportunity;
  • Senate Bill 828, strengthening the Time to Care Act by ensuring the sustainability of Maryland's new paid family and medical leave system for generations to come;
  • Senate Bill 858, Jaelynn’s Law, requiring firearms to be stored and secured safely in homes, thereby preventing unintentional tragedies; 
  • Senate Bill 555, accelerating Maryland's minimum wage to $15 an hour starting January 1, 2024, to support working families;
  • Senate Bill 686, the Child Victims Act of 2023, providing victims of child sex abuse an opportunity to seek justice by abolishing the statute of limitations on civil actions;
  • Senate Bill 1, the Gun Safety Act of 2023, preventing senseless gun violence by restricting firearms in sensitive public spaces;
  • Senate Bill 551, the SERVE Act, ensuring all residents who want to engage in public service have the opportunity to do so; and
  • Senate Bill 781, the POWER Act, reestablishing Maryland as a national leader in offshore wind energy generation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating family-sustaining jobs.
Fiscal Year 2024 Operating Budget Advances
One of the Maryland General Assembly's most critical responsibilities is balancing and approving the State’s budget. We have been working closely with Governor Moore to create a plan for meaningful and impactful State investments and expenditures. Our honest and thoughtful conversations about our differences in ideas and priorities are part of a successful balanced government and what the legislative process should look like.  

The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee advanced the State’s Fiscal Year 2024 operating budget (House Bill 200) last Friday. It is largely similar to the budget proposed by the House of Delegates and Governor Moore, with only a few substantive differences. Fundamentally, the State’s operating budget for the next year must reflect Maryland values and does so by the inclusion of several key investments:

  • $800M for the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund: This down-payment on future costs is part of our ongoing commitment to improving public education for all Maryland students. Making this investment now prepares the Blueprint Fund for the future by securing our highest priority of protecting public schools in the case of any economic downturn. 
  • $205M for Tax Relief: The Senate has preserved $205 million in general funds to provide tax relief to Maryland working families and veterans.
  • $86M Public Safety and Victim Services Enhancements: The budget provides an additional $46 million about the statutorily required amount to fund police aid, in addition to $40 million for State support for victim services with targeted increases to support domestic violence victims and rape crisis centers.
  • $14B for Medicaid: The funding provided for Fiscal Year 2024 will allow health coverage to over 1.5 million Maryland residents.
  • $250M to Address the Climate Crisis: Maryland is on the forefront of combating the threat of climate change, which is why we’ve included $160 million to support State parks and forests, $60 million for Chesapeake Bay restoration, $15 million for tree planting, and $15 million for projects under the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022.
  • $200M Set Aside for Transportation: The Senate’s budget maintains $200 million set aside for transit projects throughout the State to allow flexibility should Maryland be awarded competitive federal grants under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law or Inflation Reduction Act.

I am grateful to the members of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee for their tireless work to finalize the budget in a thoughtful and fiscally responsible way. I look forward to our collaboration with the House and Moore Administration as we finalize the operating budget in the coming days.
Child Victims Act Passes the Senate
The Child Victims Act overwhelmingly passed in the Senate last week by a vote of 42-5. This legislation will create more avenues for justice in cases that deal with some of the most painful experiences an individual can ever endure as a child. The bill removes the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse lawsuits and allows victims previously obstructed from seeking justice access to reparations. 

Coinciding with the passing of this restorative bill is a report from the Maryland Attorney General’s Office titled “Clergy Abuse in Maryland” that will be released in the coming days. This report is the culmination of a four-year investigation that revealed the extent of child sexual abuse and the subsequent cover-up within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore.

The victims of these heinous acts will now be able to seek justice through our court system, hopefully deterring these types of incidents from occurring or being ignored in the future.
Underscoring the Need for Clean Energy Sources
Last week, Maryland Matters highlighted a warning from PJM, Maryland’s grid operator and the largest in the nation, expressing concerns about its ability to ensure reliable power at a reasonable price in the future. Numerous pressures facing our energy system’s rates have converged, including the shuttering of power plants relying on dirty energy sources, inflationary pressures due to the war in Ukraine, climate change, and the delay in getting new energy connected to our transmission system.

That article demonstrates exactly why Senate Bill 781, the POWER Act, is so critically important. Maryland must diversify our energy generation portfolio with a focus on renewable sources that will lower energy costs to consumers in the future. Wind energy will be a core asset in the effort as we increase sustainable energy feeding our grid. By investing in our existing potential to harness offshore wind energy, Maryland will ensure our power system’s future is green, cheap, and dependable for all.
More News
Senate Bill 90, the Stop the Spam Calls Act of 2023, has also recently passed the Maryland Senate. This bill will prohibit automated system calls, recorded messages, and spam calls between 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. from bothering Marylanders in the future. 

Numerous bills will help victims of sexual assault seek justice more effectively and will deter future sexual violence. Senate Bill 615 will improve the State’s ability to process sexual assault evidence collection kits. Further, Senate Bill 789 mandates that law enforcement agencies cannot dispose of evidence from a sexual assault evidence collection kits for 75 years, an increase from the current 20 year requirement. 

While overall crime has decreased over the last ten years in Maryland, violent crimes have sharply increased in recent years due to more people carrying firearms. This growing proliferation of weapons in our communities has made thoughtful gun legislation even more urgent to safeguard lives. 

Roy McGrath, the former chief of staff of Governor Hogan, failed to appear for charges of fraud, theft and falsifying records last week, sparking a national manhunt for his whereabouts. I hope that he is found safe and justice can carry out through a fair trial.
If there is anything we can do to help, please do not hesitate to contact my office via email,, or by phone, 410-841-3600.