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Each year, G.S. Proctor & Associates compiles for our clients a detailed report analyzing key developments in the legislative process affecting the issues and industries that matter most in the state of Maryland.

Here is a breakdown of this year’s key developments related to the state budget. Select a link below to see additional areas of interest or download a PDF of the full report here.

COVID-19EducationGamingHealthcareLocal GovernmentPublic SafetyState BudgetTransportation

Utilities

The 2021 Session was not a particularly energy-focused session as compared to some recent years. While there was heightened interest in dealing with climate change, ultimately the Session’s biggest bill dealing with the issue, Senate Bill 414 / House Bill 583 known as the Climate Solutions Now Act, did not pass. The spread between the House amended bill and the Senate version was too great a divide and the bill died without an agreement on the amendments. 

The biggest industry-supported utility bill this year was the Stride bill, House Bill 890. Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BG&E) led the effort with the support of Washington Gas Light (WGL) and other smaller gas utilities. After passage in the House, the bill was met with stiff resistance and supporters of the bill indicated they had the votes to pass the bill in committee, but ultimately the bill did not come to a vote. It’s expected to be introduced again in 2022.

Other bills of impact to utilities included:

  • Senate Bill 496 / House Bill 612 The RELIEF Act (Passed): This bill provided direct monies from the state to utility companies to assist with paying arrearages on customer’s accounts caused by the pandemic.
  • House Bill 30 Office of the People’s Counsel (OPC) Environmental Reform Act (Passed): This bill requires the OPC, in determining whether the interests of residential and noncommercial users are affected. It considers public safety, economic welfare, and environmental interests of the State and its residents, including the State’s progress in meeting its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals. With the bill, OPC must hire at least one assistant people’s counsel who will focus on environmental issues. OPC is also now included in the Maryland Commission on Climate Change and the Maryland Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council.
  • House Bill 298 / Senate Bill 83 Utility Regulation-Consideration of Climate & Labor (Passed): Despite unified opposition from utilities, the bill passed. Utilities raised concerns that requiring the Commission to consider undefined metrics for global climate warming would be difficult to equitably implement. 
  • House Bill 606 / Senate Bill 392 Electricity and Gas – Limited-Income Mechanisms and Assistance (Passed): Support was mixed among utilities, but turned quickly into opposition once language of the bill was amended to remove its optional participation and make it a requirement. A proposal for a limited-income mechanism must be submitted either in a rate case or as a separate application and must include five outlined components in the bill.

While the state budget and COVID-19 recovery made the big headlines throughout the recent legislative session, we kept a close watch on a collection of bond bills that had the potential to bring real, lasting and positive change for several of our favorite organizations and municipalities, as well as the people and communities they serve.

We’re thrilled to have helped our clients gain access to nearly $2 million in cumulative funding that they will use to support forward-thinking projects that are vital to their missions.

Below are a selection of those important bond bill victories:

Melwood
An organization that provides training and services for people with disabilities and for veterans, Melwood will receive funds for its Capital Recovery & Reinvestment Project. Melwood is working to modernize its facilities across the state to maximize energy and utility efficiency. It estimates that this project will result in a reduction in utility costs of up to 26% for an annual savings of more than $45,000. These savings would be reinvested into the organization’s programs and services.


City of District Heights
The city will receive funding to help create an expanded Senior Day Facility in Prince George’s County. The funds will assist in planning, design, construction, repair, renovation and more. The goal is to create a well-rounded facility that will provide high-quality care, as well as enriching programs and opportunities for local seniors.


Foundation for Arts, Music and Education (FAME)
FAME’s mission is to give every young musician the best opportunity to succeed in life by providing music training and academic support. With the additional funding awarded, the organization is planning to expand its facilities and its capabilities to provide higher levels of instruction and guidance to its students.

A vision has become a reality at MedStar Health’s Southern Maryland Hospital Center.

The doors officially opened last week on a new 70,000-square-foot emergency department, the culmination of a $41 million project designed to upgrade the level of care and convenience at the Clinton hospital.

A virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony was filmed in advance and aired online Wednesday. Though the celebration was more subdued because of social distancing requirements, G.S. Proctor & Associates President Steve Proctor and Vice President Trey Proctor attended the event and got a first look at the impressive facilities.

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