At midnight on April 12, the 2010 session of the Maryland General Assembly adjourned. With your help, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters worked to keep the environment front and center for lawmakers. Here are some highlights and lowlights of the 2010 legislative session:
The legislature overwhelmingly passed two bills, SB 213/HB 33 and SB 556 on toxics. The first banned Bisphenol-A(BPA), a toxic chemical found in baby bottles; the other banned the use of Decabrominated Diphenyl Ether (Deca-BDE),a toxic flame retardant found in the plastic casings of televisions.Maryland has committed to ambitious goals to achieve clean, affordable, and reliable energy that will create thousandsof new jobs in Maryland, but we need a statewide plan to ensure that we achieve those goals. SB 910 and HB 522, if passed, would have required the creation of a state energy plan that is consistent with all state environmental laws andall new proposals would be reviewed with respect to that state plan. Both bills died in committee.The recession continued to dominate the legislative session in Annapolis, but in the end legislators chose to follow theGovernor’s lead and invest in the environment to protect jobs today and create jobs tomorrow. Unfortunately, there wasone notable exception - the legislature extended the two-year diversion of energy efficiency program funds from theStrategic Energy Investment Fund.
In a time of scarce transportation dollars, we needed to make sure we are investing state funds wisely. SB760/ HB 1155 established smart and fair growth criteria for funding transportation projects. This makes iteasier for the state to choose proposals that ensure our transportation and land use decisions worktogether, providing more travel choices to Maryland citizens, especially for those who do not own cars. Itwill also reduce environmental damage from transportation projects and improve access to jobs. HB 1155passed in the final hours of the legislative session.
SB 760/ HB 1155 Sens. Pugh & Harrington, Del. Lafferty
In order to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, each city and county throughout theregion needs funding to invest in its community to reduce the polluted runoff poisoning our waterways.This legislation would have given these local jurisdictions a dedicated funding source, by assessing asurcharge on impervious surfaces to clean up their rivers and the Bay, create green jobs, and leverageadditional dollars from the state and federal government for watershed protection and restoration. Thesebills died in committee in both the House and Senate.
Stormwater Utility Fee
SB 686/ HB 999 Sen. Raskin, Del. Hucker and Cardin
SB 910/ HB 522 Sen. Lenett and Del. Manno
Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund - $22.5 million
Energy Efficiency – $30 million diversion
Program Open Space - preserved funding
Agency Enforcement - protected
University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic— rejected funding restrictionsAs part of his legislative agenda, Governor O’Malley introduced SB 285/ HB 475 which continues the Historic Tax Creditand better coordinates key revitalization programs such as the Maryland Main Street Program and Community Legacy.This key smart growth victory passed the House and on Sine Die unanimously passed the Senate.
SB 285 /HB 475 Governor O’Malley
SB 213/ HB 33 Sen. Frosh, Del. Hubbard and SB 556 Sen. Conway