ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan on Tuesday signed 66 bills into law, including legislation to preserve and expand telehealth and mental health services across the state, increase access to high-speed Internet, and bring critical reforms to the Maryland Environmental Service (MES). The governor was joined by Senate President Bill Ferguson and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones.
“I want to thank our presiding officers and legislators on both sides of the aisle for their hard work over the past 90 days,” said Governor Hogan. “This has truly been the most successful and bipartisan session since I became governor. Together, we are sending a clear message to Marylanders that we can work in a bipartisan fashion and deliver real results.”
Telehealth and Mental Health Services
House Bill 123/Senate Bill 3—Preserve Telehealth Access Act of 2021. This legislation expands telehealth services by requiring that private insurers, other carriers, and the Medicaid program reimburse providers for telehealth services provided via audio-only modalities. By December 1, 2022, the Maryland Health Care Commission must submit a report on the impact of providing telehealth services in accordance with the bill’s requirements.
House Bill 812/Senate Bill 719—2-1-1 Maryland—Mental Health Services Phone Call Program (The Thomas Bloom Raskin Act). This bill requires the Maryland Department of Health, in consultation with 2-1-1 Maryland, to make certain recommendations relating to the establishment of an opt-in mental health services phone call program that would require a center to call individuals who have opted into the mental health services phone call program on a periodic basis and attempt to connect individuals to a provider of mental health services under certain circumstances.
Senate Bill 66—Department of Housing and Community Development—Office of Statewide Broadband—Established (Digital Connectivity Act of 2021). This legislation establishes the Office of Statewide Broadband within the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). It also establishes the Digital Inclusion Fund and the Digital Connectivity Fund within DHCD to provide grants to local governments and nonprofits to increase access to high-speed internet and to assist in the development of affordable broadband Internet infrastructure.
Senate Bill 2—Maryland Environmental Service Reform Act of 2021. This bill makes substantial changes to the operations of MES including the membership of its Board, limitations of the Executive Director, Board of Directors, the Deputy Director, and general oversight of MES.
Senate Bill 811—Unemployment Insurance—Computation of Earned Rate of Contribution—Applicable Table of Rates. This legislation, based on the availability of federal funds, will replenish the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to result in Table C for calendar year 2022 and 2023.
House Bill 742/Senate Bill 14—Compensation to Individual Erroneously Convicted, Sentenced, and Confined (The Walter Lomax Act). This bill alters a provision of law to require, rather than authorize, the Board of Public Works to pay certain compensation in a certain manner to an individual who has been erroneously convicted, sentenced, and subsequently confined for a felony on receipt of a certain order.
Senate Bill 857/House Bill 1280—Maryland Behavioral Health and Public Safety Center of Excellence—Establishment. This bill establishes the Maryland Behavioral Health and Public Safety Center of Excellence within the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services.
View the full list of bills signed by the governor and presiding officers here. With today’s signings, the governor has now signed all the bills that have been presented to him.
Bipartisan Progress on Top Priorities
Governor Hogan again commended legislators on another legislative session of bipartisan progress on Marylanders’ top priorities:
Enacted in February, the bipartisan RELIEF Act delivers $1.45 billion in tax relief—the biggest tax reduction in state history—including direct relief for hundreds of thousands of Marylanders, immediate sales tax credits for restaurants and small businesses, and unemployment tax relief for nonprofits and small businesses.
The bipartisan RELIEF Act builds on the state’s successful emergency relief programs and grants for businesses and nonprofits, housing, health, unemployment insurance, energy assistance, education, and human services.
A Balanced Budget
Working across the aisle, Governor Hogan shepherded a fully balanced budget through the Maryland General Assembly and reached a landmark agreement with legislative leaders to use one-time federal funds for fiscally responsible, recovery-oriented uses including historic investments in Maryland’s Unemployment Trust Fund, Transportation Trust Fund, replenishing the Rainy Day Fund, and funding one-time infrastructure projects.
Funding For K-12 Schools
For the seventh year in a row, Governor Hogan has delivered record funding for K-12 schools. In total, the Hogan administration has invested over $7.5 billion in K-12 education.
Funding For School Choice
Governor Hogan secured a record $10 million for Maryland’s BOOST program, which provides scholarships for low-income students from areas with underperforming schools to attend non-public schools.
Investments In Broadband And Workforce Training
State leaders worked across the aisle to reach a bipartisan budget accord to commit $300 million in federal funding to expand the state’s broadband network, and $74 million to expand workforce training and apprenticeships.
Maryland Department Of Health
The Maryland Senate confirmed Dennis R. Schrader as Secretary of Health on a near-unanimous vote as the state has built one of the best vaccination campaigns in the country.
More in the video below.