2024 Session: Adjourned

The gavel fell on Maryland’s legislative session, marking adjournment sine die on April 8, and lawmakers concluded a session defined by a flurry of bills, intense debates, and pivotal decisions. From addressing pressing issues, to shaping the state’s future trajectory, the 2024 session was full of legislation aimed at serving Marylanders and shaping the state’s landscape for years to come.

Maryland Protecting Opportunities and Regional Trade (PORT) Act HB153/SB1188
Signed in law by Governor Moore on April 9th.
In the early hours of March 26, 2024, the Key Bridge collapsed into the Patapsco River following a collision with a large container ship, resulting in profound loss of life and significant disruptions to the operations of the Port of Baltimore. In response, the State legislature swiftly introduced the PORT Act, a pivotal piece of legislation designed to provide crucial support to individuals and businesses affected by the Port’s halted operations, while also honoring the memory of those tragically lost. The PORT Act established the Fallen Transportation Workers Scholarship Program, aimed at extending tuition assistance to students who are dependents or surviving spouses of the workers tragically killed. Additionally, recognizing the challenges faced by those temporarily laid off due to this catastrophic event, the legislation waived the work search requirement for Unemployment Insurance benefits. An emergency bill, it went into effect immediately on April 9, 2024.

Horse Racing- Racing Facility Ownership and Construction HB1524
Hours before adjournment on Monday, April 8, the Maryland legislature ushered through a transformative bill poised to reshape the state’s racing industry and pave the way for the State’s acquisition of Pimlico Racecourse, home of the Preakness. With the Maryland Thoroughbred Racetrack Operating Authority slated to assume control of Pimlico starting July 1, 2024, plans are underway to relocate the Preakness to Laurel Park for 2025 and 2026, facilitating the much-needed reconstruction and rejuvenation of Pimlico. Anticipation mounts for the grand return of the Preakness to its historic grounds in 2027, as Laurel Park prepares to bid its final farewell upon the event’s homecoming to Pimlico. Upon receiving the Governor’s signature, this legislation will go into effect June 1, 2024.

Renter’s Rights and Stabilization Act of 2024 HB693/SB481
This Departmental bill lays the groundwork for the establishment of the Office of Tenant and Landlord Affairs within the Department of Housing and Community Development, mandating the creation and dissemination of a comprehensive Maryland Tenants’ Bill of Rights. The office’s core mission is to empower tenants by furnishing them with the necessary resources to comprehend their rights under state law and offer guidance on avenues for reporting any violations thereof. The legislation stipulates that prior to offering a rental property to the public for sale, the property owner must extend the right of first refusal to the tenant, affording them a 30-day window to submit a written offer to purchase the property. Upon receiving the Governor’s signature, this legislation will go into effect October 1, 2024.

Gun Industry Accountability Act of 2024 HB947
This landmark legislation sets forth stringent measures to prevent firearm industry members from knowingly contributing to public harm through the sale, manufacture, importation, or marketing of firearm-related products. It mandates that the industry implements reasonable controls pertaining to the sale, manufacture, distribution, possession, and use of such products. Moreover, the law grants authority to the Attorney General, County Attorneys, or the Baltimore City Solicitor to initiate legal action against any firearm industry member found in violation. In such proceedings, the designated authorities are empowered to pursue injunctive relief, restitution, compensatory and punitive damages, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, and any other appropriate relief. Upon receiving the Governor’s signature, this legislation will go into effect June 1, 2024.

Governor Moore signed over one hundred bills hours after adjournment Sine Die, on April 9, 2024. He can sign bills until May 28th. If he doesn’t sign a bill, it will still go into effect. The tentative dates for upcoming bill signings are: April 25th, May 9th, and May 16th.
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