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6.1.23 – WYPR

Two new laws go into effect Thursday in Maryland the General Assembly passed in response to the end of Roe Versus Wade. Both are intended to make Maryland a safe haven for those seeking abortions.

Judges in other states cannot compel testimony from providers of abortion and related healthcare in Maryland about their patients, and those providers are now shielded from disciplinary or adverse action from regulators and insurers under SB859/HB808. Montgomery County Senator Will Smith sponsored the Senate version, and says the changes have a clear goal.

“This bill would protect providers and patients from administrative, civil, and criminal penalties for providing legally-protected healthcare inside the state of Maryland,” Smith, the chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, told WYPR. “So folks that come into Maryland to seek that healthcare, it protects those providers and those patients seeking that healthcare.”

Lawmakers also passed SB786/HB812, which ensures the confidentiality of patient data for abortion and related healthcare. While it technically goes into effect Thursday, it isn’t implemented until December 1st. Penalties for violating the law start June 1, 2024.

These aren’t the only new laws going into effect Thursday in Maryland. Some of the others include:

  • SB863 – Changes the requirements to remove from office the State Administrator of Elections to 4 of 5 members of the State Board of Elections.  With each party getting two members each on the board, with the fifth going to the party of the sitting Governor, the change means removal would need bipartisan support
  • HB410 – Prohibits local Boards of Election from voting to move a polling place until a public hearing is held on the proposed move with the chance for the public to testify
  • HB78 – Requires local school boards to create guidelines by 2024-2025 school year to disclose food allergens in food served at their schools 
  • SB158/HB319 – Requires the Maryland Department of Agriculture to study the amount of PFA’s in pesticides used in the state 
  • SB224/HB230 – Clean Trucks Act, requires Maryland Department of the Environment to establish regulations for the sale of new zero-emission medium and heavy duty trucks in the state 
  • SB781 – POWER Act, sets a goal of quadrupling the amount of wind offshore energy produced in the state by 2031.
  • HB513 – Requires the Maryland Department of Labor to enforce that investor-owned utilities require their contractors and subcontractors pay at least prevailing wages on certain underground projects
  • SB19/HB9 – Requires Maryland Department of Transportation to include equity as a factor when creating future transportation plans, reports, and goals.  Former Governor Larry Hogan vetoed this in 2022, but supporters were optimistic new Governor Wes Moore would support it this year, and he did.
  • SB552/HB547 – Family Prosperity Act, permanently extends Earned Income Tax Credits first started in wake of COVID-19 pandemic 
  • HB214 – Creates Commission on Public Health to study and make recommendations on ‘foundational public health services’ such as communicable disease control, chronic disease and injury prevention, maternal health, etc.
  • HB219 – Allows St. Mary’s County Board of Commissioners to produce a report recommending areas of the county where unregistered golf carts can travel on public highways.