On Wednesday, Senator Bailey presented Senate Bill 249 to the Senate’s Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. Under current law, a Senator can allow a student to use a Senatorial Scholarship at an out-of-state school only if the academic program the student is pursuing is not available at an in-state college or university. Senate Bill 249 would require an in-state academic program to be accredited before it can be considered comparable. Last year, one of the students who received a scholarship from Senator Bailey’s Scholarship Committee believed the program of study that they intended to pursue was not available in Maryland and requested to use the funds to attend a school outside of the State. However, it was found that a program offered at a Maryland school was considered to be comparable despite the fact that it has not yet been accredited. Current Maryland law does not allow for accreditation to be considered when comparing programs. Senator Bailey does not believe that it is fair or that it is the intention of the Senatorial Scholarship program to ask a student to make this serious academic and financial commitment to an unaccredited program, and so he introduced this bill to correct this unintended oversight.
As a reminder, Senator Bailey is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2021-22 academic year; more information is available at senatorbailey.com/scholarship.
Oyster Conflict Resolution Bill Hearing Scheduled
The Senate’s Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee will be hearing Senate Bill 203 on February 10. This bill is intended to address the conflicts between waterfront property owners and applicants for oyster leases that have become far too common in our area by requiring the Department of Natural Resources to mitigate the concerns of shoreline property owners and consider conflict resolution between the property owner and the applicant before issuing a lease.
Many District 29 residents have expressed interest in this bill and have given testimony on similar proposals in prior years. However, there have been a number of significant changes to testimony submission this year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This session, anyone who is submitting written testimony on bills is required to upload it to the General Assembly’s website. This will require registering for an online “My MGA” account first. The account can be registered at any time, but the testimony on this bill will need to be uploaded between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Monday, February 8. The General Assembly’s website has videos to walk you through this process, which are available at: https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/mgawebsite/Information/VideoTutorials. The testimony must be saved as a PDF for the system to allow you to submit it. Please contact Senator Bailey’s office if you have any questions or if you are interested in testifying virtually before the Committee in support of this bill.
Public Safety Bills
Also this week, the Senator introduced Senate Bill 617 – Criminal Procedure – Expungement – Entitlement, which would provide that a person is not entitled to expungement if the court ordered the person to register as a sex offender or if the person has not satisfied an obligation to pay court costs, fines, or restitution in connection with the disposition of the charge on which the petition is based. This bill would ensure that expungement is not used to circumvent the sex offender registry.
Next week, Senator Bailey will have hearings on five important bills before the Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee he has introduced to combat crime, support the Second Amendment rights of Marylanders, and protect our first responders. On Tuesday, Senator Bailey will be presenting Senate Bill 15 – Firearms – Handgun Permit – Notice of Expiration and Renewal Instructions and Senate Bill 221 – Handgun Qualification License – Firearms Safety Training. On Thursday, Senator Bailey will be presenting Senate Bill 99 – Hate Crimes – Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders, Senate Bill 268 – Criminal Law – Crime of Violence – Definition, and Senate Bill 333 – Criminal Procedure – Sexual Offenders – Lifetime Supervision