The Maryland Horse Council was founded in 1985 specifically to unify, inform, and represent Maryland’s diverse horse community to state legislators and regulators.
Over the years, MHC has had numerous lobbying successes, such as enacting state law that recognizes equine facilities and equine activities as part of “agriculture;” advancing legislation that created the Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB), our commodity board within the Department of Agriculture for the purpose of promoting the horse industry; and preserving fair use of shared resources by limiting or prohibiting deer hunting with firearms on Sundays. We have weighed in on numerous pieces of proposed legislation involving environmental regulation, civil liability for horse related injuries and dog bites, funding for land preservation programs, etc.
The 2019 Maryland General Assembly convened on January 9 and will adjourn on April 8th. The intervening 90 days are a romp through the bill making process. As of February 19, over 2,000 bills have been submitted to either the House, Senate or both (when filed in both chambers, a bill is referred to as “cross-filed” and often done to increase its chances of passing). The last day to submit a bill without going through complicated hoops is March 4.
Up until now, things are comparatively “sleepy,” as committees hold hearings and debate bills, with a few of them being voted. If passed, the bill “crosses over” to the other chamber for more hearings and debates. But with “Cross Over Day” looming on the horizon, things are about to hectic. “Cross Over Day” is the last day upon which a bill can pass in its original chamber (be it Senate or House) and “cross over” to the other chamber for consideration (again, there are complicated exceptions to this rule that are rarely used but can happen).
From March 18th, things get fast and furious. The first week of April, “down the stretch they come” with bills crossing under the wire of “Sine Die,” the day of adjournment, April 8. If a bill is not passed and ratified by both chambers by Sine Die, it is dead. Game over. Do not pass go. Dead bills are dead. They don’t come back to life. To be considered in next year’s session, they must be filed anew once the new session begins.
Your MHC legislative committee meets weekly during session to review the thousands of bills filed, searching for those particular bills we believe will have the most impact on the equestrian community. The committee then decides how to apply MHC’s standing positions on the particular nuances of those bills. Below is a sampling of those bills and topics upon which the committee is active; cross filed bills include both their House & Senate numbers. To check the ever evolving status of a bill, to read the actual wording of the bill, or to find out other information such as hearings or sponsors, either click on the bill link or visit http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frm1st.aspx?tab=home and enter the bill number in the “Find Legislation” search bar.
Meanwhile, if you have an issue or concern that involves state law or regulation, please let us know about it! You may reach the Maryland Horse Council Executive Director, Carrie Hull, at 844-MDHORSE (844-634-6773).
To read MHC’s updates on various animal welfare, agricultural preservation, hunting bills and more, click on the link below: