2024 Legislative Agenda and Priorities

Agenda for the 446th session of the Maryland General Assembly

All Marylanders want a healthier, safer, more secure future. Maryland PIRG works to find common ground around common sense solutions that will help make that future a reality.

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At Maryland PIRG, the problems we work on aren’t progressive or conservative, they’re just problems that our state shouldn’t tolerate in an age of great abundance and technological progress.

Here are the problems Maryland PIRG is working to solve in 2024.

We’ll update the list with bill details and more information as it becomes available.

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Public Utilities for the Public Good

Public utilities are in a time of transformation. We need meaningful oversight and guidance from the legislature to avoid massive rate hikes, promote energy conservation, and support the transition to clean, renewable energy to power our homes.

Bills we support

EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act: HB864 PRIORITY BILL

Del. Crosby (HB864)

Updates the state’s energy efficiency program to provide greater energy savings,  protect ratepayers, and help repower Maryland’s homes and buildings with 100% clean renewable energy.

Learn more.

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Ratepayer Protection Act / STRIDE Reform: SB548/HB731 PRIORITY BILL

Sen. Sydnor and Del. Embry (SB548/HB731)

Requires gas utilities to  prioritize pipe replacement based on the severity of safety risks and ensure infrastructure spending is cost effective.

Learn more.

Utility Oversight and Accountability Act: SB682/HB505

Sen. Hester and Del. Charkoudian (SB682/HB505)

Restricts how Maryland electric and gas utility companies can spend ratepayer money and adds important transparency requirements so policy makers have enough information to regulate utility companies and the public has confidence in the regulatory process.

WARMTH Act/Network Geothermal Pilot Program: SB570/HB397

Sen. Hester and Del. Charkoudian  (SB570/HB397)

Geothermal networks are a potential home heating solution that is more affordable, healthier, and better for the climate. This bill requires each gas company in the state to identify and propose one or two network geothermal pilot projects to the Public Services Commission (PSC)

Related research
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Healthy, Livable Maryland

All communities should have access to clean air, safe drinking water, and a livable planet. It’s time to reorient public policy and our economy to prioritize consumer protection and the health and wellbeing of Maryland residents. 

Bills we support

Protecting State Waters From PFAS Pollution Act: SB956/HB1153 PRIORITY BILL

Sen. Hester and Del. Love (SB956/HB1153)

According to the U.S. EPA, exposure to PFAS chemicals, even in small amounts over time, has been linked to serious health effects. This bill restricts the discharge of PFAS from large industrial users.

Learn more.

Clean Lighting: HB747

Del. Terrasa (HB747)

Fluorescent light bulbs are a common sight in offices, garages, and basements—but they contain toxic mercury and are incredibly inefficient compared to newer alternatives. Stopping the sale of fluorescents in Maryland will mean less mercury exposure and pollution, and increase energy savings.

Clean Water Justice Act: SB653/HB1101

Sen. Augustine and Del.  Love  (SB653/HB1101)

Enables  impacted community members to enforce the law in state court, closing a loophole created by a recent decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Related research
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Don’t sell my data

Companies collect huge amounts of data about us, often without us knowing. These practices put us in harm’s way for no good reason. Companies shouldn’t collect more data about us than they need to deliver the services we’re expecting to get.

Bills we support

Maryland Online Data Privacy Act: SB541/HB567

Sen. Gile and Del. Love (SB541/HB567)

Requires companies to limit data collection to only what’s necessary, and limit the uses of sensitive data to only essential purposes.

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Democracy and Government

We believe in a democracy in which everyone participates and everyone’s voice is heard. From choosing who represents us in office, to how our government makes decisions on our behalf.

Bills we support

Expanding Local Fair Elections: HB769

Del. Feldmark (HB769)

Enables Counties and Baltimore City to establish local small donor public financing for additional offices after they locality has completed one cycle of the program for Executive and Legislative offices.

Special Elections for Legislative Vacancies: SB29 and HB417

Sen, Kagan (SB29)  and Del. Foley (HB417)

These bills are both amendments to the Maryland Constitution to shift away from the appointment process to fill legislative vacancies and towards special elections. 

Increasing Access to Voter Registration: SB605/HB1088

Sen. Washington and Del. Feldmark (SB605/HB1088)

Builds on and streamlines the success of Maryland’s Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) program.

Large pile of single-use plastic bottles
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Don’t Trash Maryland

We support policies dedicated to the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle that put  us on  a path to zero waste.

Bills we support

Paint Stewardship: SB0325/HB1

Sen. Brooks and Del. Boyce  (SB0325/HB1)

Establishes a producer lead program for disposing of household paint to protect our waterways and environment, public health, and sewer infrastructure.

Maryland Beverage Container Recycling Refund and Litter Reduction Program: SB642/HB735

Sen. Brooks and Del. Terrasa  (SB642/HB735)

The Bottle Bill is proven effective to increase recycling and reduce litter.

Solar installation
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Smart Energy Solutions

Our reliance on polluting fuels puts our health and safety at risk. By using energy more wisely and getting clean sources of energy plugged into the grid, Maryland can achieve its potential for a cleaner, safer, cheaper and more reliable energy future. 

Bills we support

Streamlining Rooftop Solar: SB1054 PRIORITY BILL

Sen. Kramer and Del. Fraser-Hidalgo  (SB1054)

Requires cities and counties to adopt SolarAPP+. or equivalent technology. Widespread adoption will unlock the full potential of rooftop solar, making the transition to renewable energy faster, more affordable, and accessible for all.

Brighter Tomorrow Act: SB783

Sen. Elfreth and Del. Fraser-Hidalgo (SB783)

Codifies recommendations from the Solar Incentives Task Force through a package of solar energy incentives needed to ensure that the State meets the solar energy goals established in the State’s renewable energy portfolio standard.

Reclaim Renewable Energy Act : SB146/HB166

Sen. Lewis Young  and Del. Stewart (SB146/HB166)  

Stops state renewable energy subsidies for incineration.

Responding to Emergency Needs From Extreme Weather (RENEW) Act: SB958

Sen. Hester  and Del. Fraser-Hidalgo  (SB958)

Requires large industries that emit climate pollution to pay a one-time fee, so taxpayers aren’t left to foot the bill for critical infrastructure and mitigation investments.

Better Buildings Act: SB1023

Sen. Brooks and Del. Boafo  (SB1023)

Requires all new buildings and major additions to use only electric energy, with limited exceptions. It requires new large buildings to meet energy efficiency standards and be solar ready.

Transportation and Climate Alignment Act: SB681/HB836

Sen. Lam and Del. Edelson (SB681/HB836)

Requires the Department of Transportation and regional transportation planning agencies to mitigate increases in climate pollution and driving caused by  large highway expansion projects.

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Authors

Emily Scarr

State Director, Maryland PIRG; Director, Stop Toxic PFAS Campaign, PIRG

Emily directs strategy, organizational development, research, communications and legislative advocacy for Maryland PIRG. Emily has helped win small donor public financing in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County. She has played a key role in establishing new state laws to to protect public health by restricting the use of antibiotics on Maryland farms, require testing for lead in school drinking water and restrict the use of toxic flame retardant and PFAS chemicals. Emily also serves on the Executive Committees of the Maryland Fair Elections Coalition and the Maryland Campaign to Keep Antibiotics Working. Emily lives in Baltimore City with her husband, kids, and dog.

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