February 8, 2018 Update
The 2018 Maryland General Assembly is moving at a flying pace, as over 4,000 bills are in draft—a volume setting record. With such a bevy of bills, CBF is actively working in support and opposition of legislation that has major impacts on local water quality and the Chesapeake Bay.
A quick snapshot on recent legislation we're working to influence—
House Bill 766 (Healey) and Senate Bill 610 (Young) improves the Forest Conservation Act. This priority legislation for CBF is critical to ensuring Maryland's most ecologically valuable forests are protected under Maryland law. In addition to our current action alert, CBF is hosting a "Rally Your Reps" Day on February 20, in advance of the House hearing on February 20 and Senate hearing on February 21.
House Bill 26 (Lewis) requires Maryland's Department of the Environment to monitor air emissions from Concentrated Animal Farming Operations. CBF supports this bill.
House Bill 396 (Luedtke) and Senate Bill 354 (Middleton) authorizes local governments that maintain a certified agricultural land preservation fee to assess a fee in that jurisdiction to support the program and purchase land and development rights for increased conservation. CBF supports this bill.
House Bill 316 (Wivell) expands a very limited existing exemption from the vehicle emissions testing program to a much larger exemption for vehicles driven less than 5,000 miles per year. CBF opposes this bill on the grounds of the negative airborne nitrogen impacts to the Bay.
Senate Bill 229 (Zirkin) would have diverted Program Open Space funds to school construction in Baltimore County. CBF provided written opposition and the bill was resolved.
In addition to these pieces of legislation and others, CBF is also focusing on important budget items, including capital funding for oyster restoration and support for Agricultural Cost Share funding which helps Maryland farmers implement critical best management practices on their farms.