445th Legislative Session Week 9

One Week Until Crossover

Crossover is Coming! The Senate is furiously working towards the Crossover Deadline on Monday, March 20th. This is the date where bills originating in the Senate must pass and “crossover” to the House without having to clear the additional hurdle of passing out of the House Rules Committee. The same deadline applies to House bills being sent to the Senate. Typically, bills that do not cross over by the deadline are dead for the Session and after the Crossover date, the General Assembly has a good idea of what bills are left to work on before the end of the Session in April.

This past week was eventful with many of the most controversial bills being voted on in the Senate.

Controversial Bills

This past week the Senate debated many of the most controversial bills we are seeing this year including SB 1SB 290SB 341, and SB 798. While SB 290 passed the Senate and has moved onto the House, the other three are expected to be voted on for final passage next week.

SB 1 – (Gun Safety Act of 2023)
On Thursday, the full Senate debated SB 1 – The Gun Safety Act of 2023 and Senate Republicans questioned the need and intent of the bill and worked to amend the bill to minimize its impact on law-abiding gun owners exercising their Second Amendment rights.

SB 1 was introduced in response to the Supreme Court’s decision New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen which struck down state government requirements across the Country that required citizens to show a “good cause” in order to obtain a firearm carry permit. Now that carry permits are easier to obtain, Democrats are attempting to sterilize the impact of Bruen in Maryland by regulating where a person may carry and imposing new training and licensing requirements.

Senate Republicans proposed numerous amendments that received bipartisan support. Some were considered “friendly,” and others were voted down, including amendments to give offenders a warning for a first offense and to hold harmless an armed civilian responding to a clear and imminent threat.

SB received preliminary approval on Thursday and expected to have a final vote in the Senate early next week. In addition, differences between SB 1 and a similar bill in the House of Delegates must be ironed out before these provisions become law.

The law is itself unconstitutional and will be challenged in court but nevertheless this does not discourage the Supermajority.

SB 290 – Office of the Attorney General – Independent Investigations Division – Authority to Prosecute
Over bipartisan objections, SB 290 – Office of the Attorney General – Independent Investigations Division – Authority to Prosecute, passed the Senate this week. SB 290 is a power grab by the new Attorney General and grants the Independent Investigations Divisions (IID) new authority to prosecute all police-involved deaths across the State, usurping responsibility from local State’s Attorneys. This is an expansion of the IID’s power, which was granted as part of “police reform” legislation passed two years ago that created the unit to investigate all police-involved deaths.

None of Maryland’s State’s Attorneys supported the bill, and 23 out of 24 testified against it.

Instead of focusing on combating Maryland’s violent crime crisis, the gerrymandered Democratic supermajority continues to advance an anti-police agenda. Yet, they wonder why so many law enforcement agencies around the state continue to be understaffed and why so many officers are leaving the profession.

SB 290 is the first of several bills presented this session to dangerously expand the power of the Maryland Attorney General.

This vote was closer than most votes as seven Democrats crossed the aisle to vote against this bill. The final vote tally was 27-20.

SB 341 and SB 798
Both SB 341 and SB 798 are to codify abortion into the Maryland Constitution and require Maryland’s public, four-year colleges and universities to provide access to a variety of reproductive health services ranging from birth control to abortions. I along with my colleagues have stood firmly against it as it will codify the death of children before they can have a chance at full life. All of our amendments have been defeated but we will continue to vote against it when it is up for the final vote next week.

Maryland Federation of Republican Women’s
Red Scarf Day 

The Senate Republican Caucus enjoyed welcoming members from the MFRW for their annual Red Scarf Day in Annapolis. The ladies attended both Senate and House Republican Caucus meetings and visited Senate and House Floor and Committee Sessions. We are thankful for their support and grateful that they made the trip to Annapolis! I was more than happy to welcome our MFRW from Western Maryland. They represented Garrett, Allegany, and Washington County proudly!

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.