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Session 2024-Week 6

Senator Bailey and SMAR members during Maryland REALTORS® Lobby Day in Annapolis on Tuesday, February 14th.

This week was very productive in Annapolis, as five more of Senator Bailey’s sponsored bills advanced out of Senate committees.

On Thursday, the Judicial Proceedings Committee voted unanimously in support of two bills from Senator Bailey’s public safety agenda for this session.  The first, Senate Bill 26 (Jamari’s Law), will increase the maximum penalties for grossly negligent manslaughter by vehicle or vessel from 10 years in prison to 20 years for a first offense, and from 15 years to 30 years for any subsequent offense.  The second, Senate Bill 130, increases the maximum penalty for indecent exposure with prurient intent in the presence of a minor from 3 years in prison to 5 years.

Also on Thursday, the Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee gave favorable votes to Senate Bill 507 and Senate Bill 508.  These bills will give the Department of Natural Resources additional resources to conserve our State’s fish and wildlife without affecting Maryland sportsmen by increasing the cost of special Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Fishing Licenses and Sika deer stamps for nonresidents only.  These bills will have no effect on Marylanders, as the cost of these licenses and stamps will remain unchanged for residents.

Earlier in the week, the Senate Finance Committee voted to support Senate Bill 32. This bill will ensure that commercial watermen who hold a license from the Potomac River Fisheries Commission can have access to financial support from the Maryland Watermen’s Microloan Program.  All five of these bills will go to the full Senate for their consideration next week.

Chesapeake Channa Passes Senate

This week, the Senate passed Senate Bill 207, which will give the snakehead the common name of “Chesapeake Channa” in an effort to better market this invasive fish to consumers.  This new name incorporates the scientific name for the fish and was developed in consultation with several stakeholders, including the Department of Agriculture, who is responsible for marketing seafood in our State.

Seven More Bill Hearings

It was another busy week for Senator Bailey in presenting bills from his legislative agenda to Senate Committees. 

On Thursday, Senator Bailey presented Senate Bill 158 to the Finance Committee.  This legislation would restore control to St. Mary’s County over zoning decisions relating to the cannabis facility in Abell by repealing a portion of last year’s cannabis reform legislation.  In this hearing, the Senator spoke of the detrimental effects that this industrial facility located in the Critical Area is having on the surrounding community.  He was also joined by several residents of the 7th District affected by this facility, who were able to share their own experiences with the Committee.

On Wednesday, Senator Bailey presented Senate Bill 589 to the Budget and Taxation Committee.  This legislation would secure permanent annual funding for the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission from the State’s Cigarette Restitution Fund.  The Senator was joined by representatives of SMADC and the Southern Maryland agricultural community who testified on what an indispensable resource SMADC is for our local farmers in support of this funding.

On Friday, Senator Bailey had two legislative initiatives heard before Senate committees.  The first, Senate Bill 117 would require that the State’s newborn screening system include a test for Infantile Krabbe Disease.  Krabbe is a neurological disease that is treatable if detected at the beginning of life.  Early detection of Krabbe allows for a transplant which can dramatically improve the quality and longevity of the child’s life, making detection at the time of the newborn screening critically important.

The second, Senate Joint Resolution 3, would support the State’s requests for additional Federal aid and a commercial fisheries disaster declaration based on the effects that invasive species of fish, such as blue catfish, are having on Maryland waterways.  Senator Bailey was honored to have Kaelyn Gurka, who recently earned her master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and is working in his office this session, present testimony in support of this resolution.

In addition to these bill hearings, Senator Bailey also presented Senate Bill 429, which was introduced at the request of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington to codify provisions of State law governing the organization of their Diocese, as well as Senate Bill 507 and Senate Bill 508 regarding natural resources license and stamp fees for nonresidents.

Senatorial Scholarship

As a reminder, Senator Bailey is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2024-25 academic year.  This scholarship is available to students who permanently reside in District 29 and who plan to either attend a Maryland institution of higher education or who has been approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission for unique major status.  More information, including the application, is available at  Please read the instructions carefully before applying.  The deadline for applications is April 1, 2024.