445th Legislative Session Week 5

Five Will Get You Ten

Five weeks into the 445th Session in Annapolis and we have firmly settled into a rhythm. There has been a lot of things to happen this week from the Governor visiting the District to hearings on SB 1 (the unconstitutional gun bill) to announcements of funding in our District.

A Visit from an Unexpected Guest

On Monday, District 1 was visited by Governor Wes Moore. As it was so early in his term, it was a bit of an unexpected but welcomed one. Governor Moore visited our volunteer fire departments across Garrett and Allegany Counties, and specifically the Town of Lonaconing where he assisted in handing out bottles of water to residents. Residents have been dealing with a failure with the water supply for a while and thus have had to use bottled water for cooking and drinking. It has been a major problem that we need to (and are trying to address).

It is very important that the Governor saw the problems that we in the non-metropolitan areas deal with. As he had pledged in his campaign that he, “would leave no Marylander behind”, I hope he will remember us and thus assist us as well in our issues.

Gun Bills

This year, the Democrats have put forth bills that will restrict our Constitutional right to defend ourselves. The bills are as follows:

SB1- Criminal Law – Wearing, Carrying, or Transporting Firearms – Restrictions (Gun Safety Act of 2023)

SB1 does not impose any more limits on who can carry a firearm, but instead greatly restricts o where those who have been issued a carry permit may carry their firearm. Many law-abiding gunowners will no longer be allowed to carry on another’s property without being given express consent and will no longer be able to carry within 100 feet of a place of ‘public accommodation’. A place of public accommodation is a broad term generally including all retail establishments, movie theaters, concert and sporting venues, hotels, restaurants, etc. If found guilty of violating, one is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to jail time not to exceed 1 year.  A hearing is scheduled for February 7th, 2023.

Note: The New York Legislature has recently passed a similar law, which has been subject to ongoing litigation. Three separate lower courts have issued stays and have found the new law unconstitutional. Those decisions remain on hold while an emergency request is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Update (as of Feb. 7th, 2023): Sen. Waldstreicher has prepared an amended version of the bill which makes numerous changes to the legislation. The new version removes the original provisions regarding ‘places of public accommodation’ and the 100 feet limit and changes to ‘places of public conveyance’, which generally is a place in which the public uses for transportation purposes (i.e. planes, trains, bus station, etc.). It also explicitly disallows carrying a handgun at places that sell alcohol and cannabis for on-site consumption, any childcare center, any government owned property, private colleges, and public parks, playgrounds, athletic facilities, recreation areas, theaters, stadiums, museums, zoos, sports arenas, concert venues, racetracks, fairgrounds, conference centers, any healthcare facility, casino or place with slot machines, polling places, any kind of shelter, power plants, within 100 feet of a public demonstration, a youth athletic event, First time violation will result in no more than 3 months in prison and/or a fine not exceeding $3,000. Subsequent offenses would result in no more than 15 months in prison and/or a fine not to exceed $7,500. 

It also substantially changes the application process for getting a Concealed Carry permit. The amendments add language that the applicant must give the Secretary of State Police their name, address, DOB, sex, address, employer, occupation, a physical description of the person, and gives MSP broad ability to add more required information. An applicant must also waive confidentiality of all private records, including health records. An applicant also must have references, that vouch for the person applying for the permit, must know them for at least three years, and must attest to their capacity that they won’t use the firearm to commit harm, and describe their drug and alcohol use.  

It also adds language requiring that concealed carry permit classes include material regarding self defense laws, conflict de-escalation and resolution, and requires that applicants must fire live ammunition in testing their ability to safely operate a handgun. It also removes ‘good and substantial’ from the code.

It adds more language instructing the Secretary of State Police whilst conducting their background investigation to investigate whether the applicant has a violent history or made violent threats, has had past criminal charges, mental health, drug and alcohol use, law enforcement statements, and gives them broad authority to add to that criterion. 

The language also removes the authority to limit carry permits to a geographical area or time constraint. A permit holder who is charged or convicted of a crime that would deem them no longer eligible, the MSP shall revoke their carry permit. If denied a permit or a permit is revoked, the applicant or permit holder must be given written explanation. 

SB86 – Rifles and Shotguns – Possession – Age Requirement
Sponsor: Waldstreicher

SB86 increases the age requirement to purchase a rifle or shotgun and ammunition to 21 years old. Those under 21 years of age may still possess a rifle or shotgun in limited and various circumstances including being supervised by a parent or guardian, marksmanship training while under supervision of an instructor, military use, employment use, or within one’s own private home. If found guilty of violating this law, one is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to jail time not exceeding 5 years or a fine not to exceed $10,000.  A hearing is scheduled for February 7th, 2023.

SB113 – Civil Actions – Public Nuisances – Firearm Industry Members (Gun Industry Accountability Act of 2023)
Sponsor: Waldstreicher

This bill allows victims of a crime involving a firearm to sue the manufacturers, dealers, or any other entity that is involved in the production or sale of a firearm. A petitioner may seek injunctive relief, restitution, compensatory and punitive damages, and/or reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. A hearing is scheduled for February 7th, 2023.

I will vote against these bills and protect our 2nd Amendment rights!

Abortion Bills

It is unfortunate that abortion is still to be pushed and the access to the killing of an innocent child in the womb will be expanded with the following bills:

  • The Right to Reproductive Freedom (HB705/SB798): enables a ballot measure to constitutionally enshrine the rights of Marylanders to “reproductive freedom”. 
  • Reproductive Health Protections (HB808/SB859): protects patients, providers, and people supporting out-of-state patients seeking reproductive health care in Maryland from criminal, civil, and administrative actions from restrictive states.
  • Reproductive Healthcare at Higher Education Institutions (HB477/SB341): requires Maryland’s public higher education institutions to develop reproductive health access plans to provide or refer for the full range of reproductive health and wrap-around support services. The legislation also requires campuses to provide 24-hour access to contraceptives. 
  • Privacy Protections for Reproductive Health Records (HB812/SB786): provides additional privacy protections for medical records to reduce the risk of criminal prosecution or civil litigation for out-of-state patients seeking reproductive care in Maryland.

In response to these and other legislation, our caucus responded with Senators Hershey and Ready putting out a statement reading:

“What makes Maryland Democrats the arbiters of what is and is not a Constitutional right? On Tuesday, Marylanders were told that their Second Amendment rights do not apply in Maryland, and today, Marylanders and citizens from around the Country were told that everyone has the right to unrestricted abortion.

If the only rights and freedoms that matter are those in the Maryland Constitution, there are several others we would like to enshrine – such as the freedom to keep our families and communities safe, freedom from over taxation, and the freedom of parents to direct the upbringing of their children.

Apparently, last year’s bill that created a massive expansion of abortion services was not enough. While we have yet to fully vet the additional bills proposed today, we are certain that becoming the abortion capital of the United States is not something to aspire to or be proud of.

This Constitutional Amendment and related package of bills are just another sign that the Maryland General Assembly is becoming the playground of symbolic gestures – from the unconstitutional internet sales tax, the toothless Climate Solutions Act, to this week’s attempts to take rights away from law abiding gun owners. This Constitutional Amendment is unnecessary and only serves to placate those pushing the national progressive agenda.”

As always I will fight to protect our rights and especially the right to life so everyone will live from womb until natural death!

Funding in Our District

I am happy to announce to you all that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has issued grants for Project Open Space in Garrett County for a total amount of $110,443.33. This will be a great help in revitalizing different areas around the county. I look forward to giving more updates as budgets are finalized during and after Session!

Throughout this Session, I want to hear from you. I serve Garrett, Allegany, and Washington Counties and all of your voices are important to me. The best way to represent you is to have your voice heard. Please feel free to contact my Annapolis Office at (410) 841-3565 or my District Office at (240) 362-7040. My public email address is now mike.mckay@senate.state.md.us. Please feel free to email me at anytime. I also have a District Office at the Williamsport City Hall. It is on the second floor in the first office. Our mailing address below remains the same however.

I continue to be your voice and advocate in Annapolis so I want to hear from you. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or what I can do to help you. I am on the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and the Executive Nominations Committee. All of our hearings are streamed live on Youtube and the MGA website.

If you are interested in seeing where my bills are in the process, you can create a MyMGA account or you can click here to view bills I am sponsoring by clicking “Legislation” under my name. You can sign up to testify on any bill you wish.