HB 76: Animal Health—Administrative Penalties
Allows MDA to impose financial penalties of up to $10,000 on anyone found guilty of violating health regulations for livestock. Fines go to the General Funds (which helps to ensure that agencies don’t start looking for violations just to enrich their own coffers).Passed unanimously.
HB 104: Animal Health—Reports
Requires that MDA protect the privacy of the identity of the owners of animals in regards to their health reports, but which would also authorize
the Department, vis-à-vis the Secretary, to disclose that identity when deemed in the interest of public health or for the necessity of preventing the spread of disease. Passed unanimously.
SB 306 Board of Public Works—Disposition of Protected Lands
Prohibits Public Works from approving the sale, lease, transfer, exchange, grant, or other disposition of any State-owned or State-designated outdoor recreation, open space, con-
servation, preservation, forest, or other park land. This too bounced back and forth a bit, initially leaving the Senate with a unanimous vote, passing through the House with amendments (and a unanimous vote), and then back to the Senate, concurring with the House amendments (but not unanimous this time).
ATTENTION STABLE OWNERS: MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE
One of the two minimum wage bills passed:
HB 391: Increases the minimum wage to $6.15 per hour in Maryland; passed House with amendments, crossed to Senate. Did you know that State and local governments are not beholden to the minimum wage laws? Only us private sector employers.
HB 1388/ SB 943: Hunting Restrictions
Currently, Dorchester allows hunting on one Sunday during the bow season and one Sunday during the firearms season. The original version of each bill would make it legal to bow hunt deer during open season. Both bills passed through both sides of the chamber, however, the final bills are different, as the Senate version was amended to restrict bow hunting deer to three Sundays in October and one in November. The two chambers did not bother to resolve the two bills, passing both and sending them both up to the Governor to make the final decision.
HB 1029/SB 720: Purses—Pimlico Special and Rosecroft Raceway
Creating a special fund and requiring that money from that fund be used for purses for the running of the Pimlico Special and for purses at Rosecroft Raceway.Passed.
HB 230/SB 460: Racing at Fair Hill Takeout for Cecil Co. Breeders’ Fair
Increasing the takeout to 25% that the Cecil County Breeders’ Fair, Inc., or its successor must deduct from the handle for races held at the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area. Both versions passed, the Governor gets to decide which to sign.
HB 465: Forest or Park Reserve Fund—Payments to Counties. Passed.
HB 1086: Hunting—Closure of State Lands
Requiring DNR to keep land managed by the Department open and available for hunting. Passed.
Clarifies a county’s authority to deny permits for projects on land under MALPF easement if the project is in violation of the easement. The bill allows the local government to deny approvals for subdivision plats or plans, building permits, conditional use or special exceptions or any other activity on MALPF easement land without the Foundation’s approval.Passed in the House, amended and passed in Senate so that landowners can still build additions to homes or erect farm buildings without permission from MALPF.
HB 79: MALPF – Arbitration of Easement Values
Sets a deadline for request- ing an appeal of an appraisal of land offered for easement sale to the MD Agland Preservation Foundation. If either the landowner or the Foundation do not agree on the value of the easement as determined by the State, either party must request the appeal by September 30th of the year following the determination of value. Passed.
HB 1472: Exemption for Transfer to Brother/Sister in State Transfer Tax
Adds “bother or sister” to list of relatives to whom property can be transferred subject to a mortgage or deed of trust without paying recordation tax.Passed, will be effective July 1
HB 121: St. Mary’s Property Tax Credit for Age 70 +
Permits St. Mary’s County to grant a property tax credit against the county property tax imposed on real property owned by an individual at least 70 years old. Passed with amendments limiting tax credit to principle residents and to people with limited income.
HB 1594/SB 1006: Funding for MD Agricultural and Resource Based Industry Development Corp.
The bill requires the Gover- nor to fund MARBIDCO, as much as $4.5 million each year through 2008. This soon to be law should interest horse business owners, as this program will be able to provide loans and start up capital for ag-related enterprises. Both chambers approved the House version with amendments.
SB 973: Ag Limited Liability Entities – Homestead Tax Credit
Last year, the legislature passed a bill to extend the Homestead Tax Credit to Agricultural Limited Liability Companies. This bill makes Agricultural Limited Liability Partnerships eligible as well; sponsored by horseman Sen. David Brinkley. Approved.
HB 74: Ag Preservation Easement Termination – County Notification
Extends from 30 days to 90 days the timeline allowed for a county government to notify the MD Agland Preservation Foundation of its recommendation in the case of a landowner who applies to have a MALPF easement terminated. Passed and effective Oct. 1.
HB 576: Water Pollution Control – Cost Sharing
Alters the cost-share program designed to help farmers install Best Management Practices on their farms (conservation practices that manage soil loss or nutrients, animal wastes or agricultural chemicals so as to minimize movement into surface waters). Passed.