Notable Bills That Passed
Maryland Approves Pandemic Stimulus Funding: Our first priority was passing the Maryland RELIEF Act (SB 496) to provide billions in aid (on top of Biden's plan), including:
- Exempting current unemployment benefits from income tax
- Increasing the refundable EITC for low-income tax filers & including ITIN filers
- Hiring more staff to assist with unemployment insurance
- Allowing small businesses to keep some short-term sales taxes
- Converting loans to grants & targeting funding to hard-hit sectors
Sweeping Police Reform Passes in Maryland: I had the honor of serving as one of the floor leaders on police accountability this year & am proud to report we passed a package of reforms that the New York Times believes, “placed Maryland at the forefront of a national debate over police brutality and the use of excessive force.” Though it’s by no means perfect, here are a few major reforms within this year’s policing bills (HB 670, SB 71, SB 178, SB 600):
- Strict new limits on use of force & no-knock warrants
- Statewide bodycam requirements & right to tape police
- Public disclosure of police complaints & discipline
- Repeal of the Maryland police “bill of rights” (LEOBR)
- Requirement that police state why they pulled you over
BALTIMORE SUN: "Del. David Moon noted that people keep dying at the hands of police, noting a case in Takoma Park where an off-duty federal officer is charged with killing two people Wednesday whom he suspected of breaking into a car. 'You cannot tell me that we don’t need this legislation. Literally, as we were debating this, this happened,' said Moon, a Montgomery County Democrat. 'It’s unacceptable, this culture of violence, this taking life for granted.'"
"Moon said going forward, police will need to be trained to use force only when 'necessary and proportional' as the law dictates. 'It’s a reboot, it’s a refresh, it’s a re-imagining of policing,' Moon said."
ASSOCIATED PRESS: "Supporters of expanding public access to records about police disciplinary cases said greater transparency is needed to assure the public that complaints against police are taken seriously."
"'This was precisely the issue in the Anton Black case, where you had a problem officer being transferred between departments and the full picture of that officer’s issues was not being presented to the hiring department,' said Del. David Moon, a Montgomery County Democrat."
Shutting Down Maryland’s ICE Immigrant Detention Camps: I was proud to lead floor defense on a bill (HB 16) to close Maryland's for-profit immigrant jails. Frederick, Howard & Worcester counties have been renting spare jail cells to ICE but the most common offense for these immigrants was simply entering the country. Nevertheless, in floor debate GOP members tried to link immigrants to disease & terrorism, but we passed the bill veto-proof.
MARYLAND MATTERS: "Del. Daniel L. Cox read off a list of offenses that local law enforcement agencies would not be able to use to pass undocumented people over to ICE after they completed sentences for their crimes. Cox, who has been a lightning rod for controversy this session following his participation in the rally that ended in a raid on the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, emphasized 'terrorist acts' as he read."
"Del. David Moon, the bill’s floor leader in the House, called Cox’s list a 'distraction....' 'This is the nonsense we’ve been listening to for years,' he continued. 'A green vote says that Maryland does not balance budgets on family separations.' Del. Jason C. Buckel defended Cox, imploring colleagues to exercise comity, even if they disagreed on the policy...."
"Moon was relentless. 'No. The people that have been impugned are my constituents, your neighbors and the immigrants that are being called terrorists and criminals,' he said passionately, his voice getting louder...."
Expanding Education & Pre-K Funding: After overriding the Governor's veto of pre-K and education funding, we passed legislation (HB 1372) to steer resources to address learning loss, student mental health and the digital divide. We also approved millions in HBCU funding to resolve a long-running lawsuit (HB 1).
Protecting & Promoting Housing: Though some of our more ambitious housing proposals sadly stalled this year, we were able to approve legal services for some low-income residents facing eviction (HB 18) and tax-free savings accounts for first-time homebuyers (HB 1178).
Breakthroughs on Criminal Justice: This year we passed justice reform bills that were decades in the making, including legislation to remove the Governor from parole decisions (SB 202), compensate innocent people who were wrongfully convicted (HB 742), and end life without parole for children (SB 494).
Ending Subsidies for Dirty Energy: Some of our major climate & sustainability bills for the year did not get approved, but we were finally able to pass legislation (HB 875) to end subsidies for burning paper waste (aka “black liquor”). We also fought through objections and were able to preserve fees used for Bay restoration funds (HB 507).