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Session 2024 – Week 1

Senator Bailey and James Oster, week 1 Senate Page from Patuxent High School.

On January 10, the General Assembly convened for the 2024 legislative session.  Senator Bailey proud to have once again introduced a comprehensive legislative agenda of 15 bills intended to protect public safety, support our communities, expand hunting and fishing rights, and protect consumers and small businesses.

A brief summary of each bill is listed below.  To read the full text of these proposals and follow their progress during the session, please visit:

Public Safety

Senate Bill 7 – Public Safety – Law Enforcement Agencies – Positive Community Feedback would require police agencies to keep a record of positive feedback that the agencies receive about its officers and allows the release of that information under the Maryland Public Information Act.  This would ensure that police departments and the public have access to the full picture of a law enforcement officer’s record.

Senate Bill 26 – Criminal Law – Manslaughter by Vehicle or Vessel – Increased Penalties (Jamari’s Law) would increase the existing maximum penalties for felony manslaughter by vehicle or vessel from 10 years to 20 years for a first offense, and from 15 years to 30 years for a subsequent offense.  This bill is named “Jamari’s Law” for Jamari Duckett, a Great Mills resident who tragically lost his life in an accident caused by a driver who was drunk and traveling at a high rate of speed.

Senate Bill 108 – Income Tax – Subtraction Modification – Police Auxiliary and Reserve Volunteers would combine the current subtraction modification for volunteer fire, rescue, and emergency medical services members and police auxiliaries and reserve volunteers so that the amounts of these deductions would become and remain equal.  The current deduction for volunteer fire, rescue, and EMS members is $7,000, while the deduction for police auxiliaries and reserve volunteers is $5,000.  Senator Bailey is proud to recognize and support the work of our State’s volunteer reserve police officers by sponsoring this legislation to resolve this disparity.

Senate Bill 130 – Criminal Law – Indecent Exposure Within the Presence of a Minor would strengthen penalties for indecent exposure within the sight of a minor in Maryland.  The current penalty for all instances of indecent exposure is a maximum of 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.  This legislation would change those maximum penalties to a maximum of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 in cases involving indecent exposure with prurient intent when a person knows or should know a minor is present.

Senate Bill 166 – Waterway Incident Notification System (WINS) Workgroup would study the feasibility of establishing a Waterway Incident Notification System to notify members of the public, including recreational boaters and commercial watermen, of active waterway emergencies involving a person at risk of death or serious bodily harm, emergency marine events, or marine hazards.  The workgroup would also explore potential partnerships between the State, the Coast Guard, the Navy, and nearby states to notify boaters of these incidents. 

Supporting Our Communities

Senate Bill 158 – Cannabis Licensing – Zoning Requirements – Alteration would repeal provisions of law enacted by last year’s cannabis legalization bill that exempted certain cannabis facilities from needing to be approved by a county or municipal zoning board.  Senator Bailey has introduced this legislation in response to the concerns of the residents of the Seventh District regarding the cannabis facility being built in Abell.

Senate Bill 316 – Motor Vehicle Registration – Exceptions for Golf Carts – Authorization would allow counties and municipalities to designate county or municipal highways under their jurisdiction on which an individual may operate a golf cart.  This bill would give to every county and municipality in our State this authority, which has been of great interest to the St. Mary’s County Delegation, the Commissioners, and residents in several communities throughout District 29 who are interested in being able to operate golf carts in their neighborhoods.  Senator Bailey is currently having an amendment drafted to be submitted with this bill to ensure that this bill does not change the Commissioners’ existing authority to permit golf cart use in Golden Beach.

Supporting Our Local Small Businesses

Senate Bill 32 – Economic Development – Maryland Watermen’s Microloan Program – Eligibility ensures that Maryland watermen who hold commercial licenses from the Potomac River Fisheries Commission are eligible for the Maryland Watermen’s Microloan Program in the same manner as a resident who holds a commercial license from the State.

Senate Bill 183 – State Procurement – Prompt Payment of Suppliers was introduced following Senator Bailey’s discussions with owners of local businesses who currently work on State projects.  While there is an existing law requiring prompt payment of State subcontractors, this does not apply to businesses deemed by the State to be suppliers.  This has led to several of our local small businesses not being paid for their work or materials in a timely manner as they deserve.  This legislation expands the prompt payment statute to ensure that these suppliers are compensated appropriately and quickly in the same manner as is currently required for subcontractors.

Natural Resources

Senate Bill 152 – Fishing Licenses and Stamps – Exemptions – Residents Eligible for Assistance Programs is an initiative of the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to exempt Marylanders who receive support certain government programs such as TANF, SNAP, WIC, and Medicaid from recreational fishing license fees.  This is based off of similar programs in place in other states, such as North Carolina and Florida.

Senate Bill 207 – Natural Resources – Northern Snakehead – Common Name would rename the snakehead as the “Patuxent Fish,” with the intention of making it easier to market to consumers, which would increase demand and lead to a greater economic incentive for Marylanders to remove this invasive species from our waterways.

Senate Bill 317 – Oysters, Striped Bass, and Crabs – Commercial Authorizations – Suspensions and Revocations would protect the due process rights of commercial watermen by ensuring that the Department of Natural Resources may not revoke their license to catch oyster, striped bass, or crabs unless the license holder has been convicted of violating the State’s natural resources law.


Senate Bill 63 – Motor Vehicles – School Vehicle Drivers – Medical Examinations changes the current State requirement for school bus drivers to pass medical examinations from annually to up to every two years, with individual school systems retaining the ability to require these examinations more frequently.  This will make Maryland’s requirements consistent with current federal requirements, as well as those in neighboring states, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia.  This increased flexibility will give local school systems a larger pool of prospective bus drivers to choose from to alleviate current driver shortages without sacrificing student safety.

Protecting Consumers

Senate Bill 172 – Private Passenger Motor Vehicle Insurance – Premium Increases – Collisions With Wild Animals would prohibit insurance companies from increasing auto insurance premiums as a result of a collision with free-roaming wild animals for which the driver was not at fault.

Public Health

Senate Bill 117 – Health – Newborn Screening Program – Krabbe Leukodystrophy would add Krabbe Leukodystrophy to the list of potential disorders that are required to be included as part of the State’s Newborn Screening Program.