2014 Legislative Tracker

Speed Camera Legislation

House Bill 551  --- REPEAL
Mike Smigiel (R, Kent, Queen Anne's, Cecil, and Caroline Counties)
Kathy Afzali (Frederick County) Susan K. McComas(Harford County)
Steven J. Arentz (Kent, Queen Anne's, Cecil, and Caroline Counties) Tony McConkey(Anne Arundel County)
Gail H. Bates(Howard County) Michael A. McDermott(Wicomico and Worcester Counties)
Wendell R. Beitzel (Allegany and Garrett Counties) Wayne Norman(Harford County)
John W. E. Cluster, Jr.(Baltimore County) Anthony J. O'Donnell(St. Mary's and Calvert Counties)
Adelaide C. Eckardt (Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot, and Wicomico Counties) Nathaniel T. Oaks(Baltimore City)
Mark N. Fisher(Calvert County) Charles J. Otto(Somerset and Wicomico Counties
William Frank (Baltimore County) Steven R. Schuh(Anne Arundel County)
Patrick N. Hogan (Frederick County) Kelly Schulz(Frederick County
Jay A. Jacobs (Kent, Queen Anne's, Cecil, and Caroline Counties) Nancy R. Stocksdale(Carroll County
Susan W. Krebs(Carroll County) Cathy Vitale(Anne Arundel County)


Status: Unfavorable Vote in House Environmental Matters Committee 7 - 16.  Final Vote:

Analysis:   SUPPORT 
Maryland's speed camera law is broken beyond repair.  Local governments which profits from them are unwilling to change their corrupt, sloppy, and dishonest policies so meaningful reform is highly unlikely (lawmakers should feel free to prove us wrong).  Most of Maryland's political establishment does not care and is basically OK with having tens of thousands of innocent motorists get shafted with nothing significant done in response.  The state's speed camera law should be repealed, and lawmakers who support speed cameras should be FIRED.  Those who are responsible for the mess in Baltimore City should be investigated and prosecuted for their role in a massive miscarriage of justice affecting 70,000 motorists.

Additional Information: 


House Bill 57
Sponsor: Jon Cardin
Summary: Makes major changes to the law, including fining speed camera contractors which issue erroneous tickets, ending the "bounty system", and requiring citations to provide evidence of speed that can be used in defense of an erroneous ticket.
Status: Unfavorable Vote in House Environmental Matters Committee 
Analysis:  SUPPORT 
This is basically the strongest "reform" bill currently in play.  It contains an actual means to identify errors, ends paying contractors on a per ticket basis, and contains an actual enforcement provision.
Additional Information: 

House Bill 662
Sponsor: Delegate Braveboy
Summary: Requiring a local jurisdiction to report the results of a specified annual calibration check of speed monitoring systems to the Governor and the General Assembly on or before December 31 of each year; authorizing the Governor to require a local jurisdiction to obtain an independent audit of its speed monitoring systems; requiring a local jurisdiction to forward the results of an audit obtained under the Act to the Governor and the General Assembly within 30 days after receipt of the audit;
Status: Unfavorable Vote in House Environmental Matters Committee 
Analysis:   SUPPORT 
Additional Information: -

House Bill 526
Sponsor: Delegates Smigiel, Afzali, Anderson, Arentz, Bates, Cluster, Conaway, Frank, Hogan, Jacobs, Krebs, McComas, McConkey, McDermott, Norman, O'Donnell, Oaks, Otto, Schulz, Stocksdale, and Vitale
Summary: Requiring video recordings to accompany all speed camera citations to distinguish errors.
Status: Unfavorable Vote in House Environmental Matters Committee 
Analysis:   SUPPORT 
Additional Information: -
Sponsor: Delegates W. Miller, Arentz, Aumann, Bates, Bobo, Clippinger, Cluster, Conway, Costa, Davis, DeBoy, Elliott, Frank, Guzzone, Haddaway-Riccio, Haynes, Hucker, Impallaria, Jameson, K. Kelly, Kramer, Krebs, Lafferty, Love, McComas, McDermott, McDonough, McHale, Minnick, Mitchell, Myers, Norman, O'Donnell, Oaks, Olszewski, Otto, Rudolph, Schuh, Serafini, Smigiel, Stocksdale, Summers, F. Turner, Vaughn, Walker, and M. Washington

Summary: Require quarterly "audits" of all speed camera programs
Status: Unfavorable Vote in House Environmental Matters Committee 
Analysis:   SUPPORT 
Additional Information: -

Sponsor: Brochin/Zirkin/Klausmeir
Summary: A complicated bill which makes several "putty and duct tape" changes to existing law.  Changes some signage requirements and notification requirements, and narrows the definition of where "school zone" speed cameras.  Contains a change intended to "end the bounty system" but which uses language that is easily circumvented.  Creates two new "roles" within speed camera programs, which will only be as meaningful as a local government wants them to be.
Status: In Senate Judicial Proceedings
Analysis:    AMEND  
This bill is basically what was left of a much better bill last year after the Environmental Matters Committee got done mutilating it.  Little remains of it's original good ideas and many concessions have been made to local governments which do not want to change the status quo.  We do not consider this bill a solution to most of  the problems with speed cameras in its current form.  It should be amended to require a means to identify errors (evidence of speed) and require independent audits of all speed camera programs in order for it to have any real value.
Additional Information: -
Sponsor: Delegate Malone/Senator Robey
Summary:   This is a contorted, complicated bill which makes several "putty and duct tape" changes to existing law, primarily based on what local governments which run camera programs think should be done and which the major speed camera programs in the state have concluded won't affect what they currently do in any significant way.  All existing speed camera contract arrangements are grandfathered in until 2017, meaning the bill wouldn't even have an immediate effect on most speed camera programs at all.  The bill also includes language which has the practical effect of permitting contractors to "operate" speed cameras.  The cornerstone of the bill's provisions is to assign an individual to reply to complaints to "improve the public's perception" of speed camera programs, but doesn't do anything to ensure that the person responding to complaints would actually be independent or would actually represent the interests of the driving public, and might be no different in practice from what many speed camera programs already do.

Status: House Environmental Matters Committee Hearing on 2/18 at 1pm , Judicial Proceedings on 2/28
Delegate Malone, vice chair of the environmental matters committee, decreed before any testimony was heard on other bills that no speed camera bills except HB929 would be allowed out of committee.
  Analysis:    DEMAND REAL REFORM   
This can be considered a "reform" bill only by those who think there is nothing wrong with the current system.  This bill was crafted for the purpose of not offending any existing speed camera programs and as a "decoy" to stave off any real reform legislation.  All of its provisions are easily rendered meaningless and it would be of little or no consequence to actual motorists, but they are buried inside so many words no layman would realize this.

Those who think having 70,000 motorists falsely accused and having a municipal government try to cover it up isn't a big deal which requires some sort of serious action should love this bill.

Malone is the vice chair of the Environmental Matters Committee and last year declared that no bill but his own would be allowed out of committee.  Robey is the author of Maryland's current crappy speed camera law, so all the current troubles with Maryland's speed camera programs are basically his fault.

Additional Information: 
Sponsor: Delegates Impallaria, Aumann, Boteler, Bromwell, Burns, Cardin, Cluster, DeBoy, Frank, Glass, Kach, McComas, McDonough, Minnick, Nathan, Pulliam, Olszewski, Szeliga, and Weir
Summary: Applies only to Baltimore County.  Requires 'warning lights' to be on when speed cameras are used
Status: House Environmental Matters Committee Hearing on 2/18
Analysis:  ----
Additional Information: -
Sponsor: Delegate Conaway
Summary: Financial Penalty on contractors which issue erroneous citations
Status: Unfavorable Vote in House Environmental Matters Committee 
Analysis:  unlikely to happen
Additional Information
Sponsor: Delegate Conaway
Summary: Financial Penalty on contractors which issue erroneous citations, applies only to Baltimore
Status: House Environmental Matters Committee Hearing 2/18
Analysis unlikely to happen
Additional Information
House Bill 565
Sponsor: Del Howard
Summary: Requiring the District Court, if a person who was issued a citation for an alleged violation recorded by a speed monitoring system or a work zone speed control system prevails at a specified trial, to order the agency or police department that issued the citation to pay the person restitution of $40.
Status: Unfavorable Vote in House Environmental Matters Committee 
Analysisunlikely to happen
Additional Information
House Bill 469
Sponsor: Delegate Davis
Summary: Limit 'school zone' speed cameras to only school days
Status: Unfavorable Vote in House Environmental Matters Committee 
Analysis: ---
Additional Information: ---

Bills in the House must go through the House Environmental Matters Committee:
maggie.mcintosh@house.state.md.us, james.malone@house.state.md.us,
pamela.beidle@house.state.md.us, elizabeth.bobo@house.state.md.us,
rudolph.cane@house.state.md.us, alfred.carr@house.state.md.us,
david.fraser.hidalgo@house.state.md.us, barbara.frush@house.state.md.us,
jim.gilchrist@house.state.md.us. anne.healey@house.state.md.us,
patrick.hogan@house.state.md.us, jay.jacobs@house.state.md.us,
stephen.lafferty@house.state.md.us, herb.mcmillan@house.state.md.us,
doyle.niemann@house.state.md.us, wayne.norman@house.state.md.us,
anthony.odonnell@house.state.md.us, charles.otto@house.state.md.us,
shane.robinson@house.state.md.us, dana.stein@house.state.md.us,
cathy.vitale@house.state.md.us, michael.weir@house.state.md.us,

Bills in the Senate must first  go through the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee:
brian.frosh@senate.state.md.us,  lisa.gladden@senate.state.md.us, jim.brochin@senate.state.md.us,
jennie.forehand@senate.state.md.us, steve.hershey@senate.state.md.us, nancy.jacobs@senate.state.md.us,
anthony.muse@senate.state.md.us, jamie.raskin@senate.state.md.us, christopher.shank@senate.state.md.us, norman.stone@senate.state.md.us, bobby.zirkin@senate.state.md.us

Traffic Law Legislation

SB 322/HB0002
Sponsors: Senator Getty, Senator Edwards, Delegate Vitale
Summary: "Lane Courtesy" law
Requiring that a motor vehicle on an expressway or a controlled access highway be driven in the lane nearest to the right edge or curb of the roadway when that lane is available for travel; and establishing specified exceptions to the requirement relating to overtaking and passing vehicles, left turns or exits, and high occupancy vehicle lanes.
SB 003 / HB 426
Sponsors: Senator Jacobs, Senator Simonaire, Delegate Rudolph, Delegate Malone
Summary: Requiring drivers approaching a tow truck or service vehicle that is stopped, standing, or parked on a highway and using specified visual signals, unless otherwise directed by a police officer or traffic control device, to change lanes into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the tow truck or service vehicle under specified circumstances, or to slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.
Analysis:  This bill is in response to a significant safety issue for tow truck operators and service vehicles
HB0477 / SB 173
Sponsors: Delegate Bromwell, Senator Astle, Senator Edwards, Senator Shank
Summary:  Creates an exemption to motorcycle helmet laws roviding that the prohibition against operating or riding on a motorcycle without specified protective headgear does not apply to an individual at least 21 years old who carries at least $10,000 in health insurance coverage for injuries that may be incurred in a motorcycle accident; etc.
Analysis: Please wear a helmet
SB0157 / HB0555
Sponsors: Senators Edwards, Astle, Brinkley, Glassman, Nadaleno, Shank, Young, Delegates Malone, Parrott,
Summary:  Increase maximum allowable speed limit in the state from 65mph to 70mph on specific roadways
Sponsor: Delegate Howard
Summary:  Reducing from three to two the number of specified offenses that a person must commit at the same time or during a single and continuous period of driving that constitutes aggressive driving; and increasing the maximum criminal fine for aggressive driving to $1,000.
Sponsors: Delegate Kramer
Summary:  Prohibiting an individual from operating a motor vehicle on a highway while wearing or using a wearable computer with a head-mounted display; and defining the term "wearable computer with a head-mounted display" as a computer device that is worn on an individual's head, and projects visual information into the field of vision of the individual wearing the device.
Analysis: Distracted driving legislation prompted by Google Glass
Sponsors: Delegates A. Miller, Barve, Barkley, A. Kelly, S. Robinson, Summers, F. Turner, and A. Washington
Summary: Prohibiting an individual from operating a motor vehicle on a highway while wearing or using a wearable computer with a head-mounted display; establishing a penalty of $75 for a first violation of the Act, $125 for a second offense, and $175 for third and subsequent offenses; and defining the term "wearable computer with a head-mounted display".
Analysis: Distracted driving legislation prompted by Google Glass
HB0873 / SB 1001
Sponsors: Senator Mathias, Delegates Conway, Arentz, Cane, Eckardt, Otto, Proctor, Rudolph, and Smigiel
Summary:  Requiring that, on a divided highway that has traffic lights located in specified areas, each intersection that has a traffic light shall also have a crosswalk through the divided highway; and altering the maximum speed limits on specified divided highways in specified areas to 65mph.
HB 1111 /SB0429
Sponsors:    Delegates Barve, Gilchrist, A. Miller, and Simmons, Senators King, Feldman, Forehand, Kasemeyer, McFadden, and Young
Summary:  Increasing to 65 miles an hour the maximum speed limit on the Intercounty Connector.
Analysis:  What better proof that Maryland lawmakers believe it is OK to drive fast, but only so long as you pay a fee?  Isn't the biggest complaint about the ICC that the tolls are too high?
HB 1125 / SB 0834
Sponsors:    Delegates Parrott, Dwyer, Glass, Hogan, Jacobs, McDermott, McDonough, A. Miller, Otto, and Serafini, Senator Young
Summary:  This bill would allow right turn on red as a "yield" under certain circumstances.  A practical effect of this would be to end
the practice of using red light cameras to ticket for slow moving right turns, so long as no other vehicles or pedestrians are present.
Status: Environmental Matters Committee Hearing on 2/25.  Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing on 2/28
Analysis:  SUPPORT 
Right turn on red has been proven by the NHTSA not to be a significant cause of accidents compared to other causes.  The rates of accidents involving right turns on red is comparable to the number cause by right turns on GREEN.  The bill only permits those turns when it is safe to do so.  Right now several municipalities are shamelessly exploiting the currently law for profit.
HB1212 / SB0348
Sponsors:  Delegates Clippinger, Waldstreicher, Anderson, Arora, Cluster, Dumais, Hammen, McDermott, McHale, Valderrama, and Valentino-Smith
Senator Manno
Summary:  "Prohibiting a person from committing a violation of a specified prohibition against using a text messaging device or a handheld telephone while driving that contributes to an accident that results in the death or serious bodily injury of another; requiring a person who is detained following a motor vehicle accident that results in death or specified injury to provide the detaining officer with specified information regarding the person's handheld telephone or text messaging device under specified circumstances; etc."
Sponsors:  Delegates A. Miller, Barve, Barkley, A. Kelly, S. Robinson, Summers, F. Turner, and A. Washington
Summary: Authorizing buses, motorcycles, and plug-in electric vehicles to use HOV lanes (This notably does not include hybrids, which are many times more common than plug-ins)
Status: In Senate
Sponsors:    Senator Jennings
Summary:    Requiring the Comptroller to distribute 25% of the revenue from fines collected for violations of a specified prohibition on using a text messaging device while driving, up to a maximum of $250,000 for each fiscal year, to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical System to be used by the Center for Injury Prevention and Policy for educational programs addressing the dangers of distracted driving.
Sponsor: Senator Simonaire
Summary: Establish a duty for a motorist to remain at the scene of an accident.

Taxation Toll and Highway Budget Legislation:

HB 0277
Sponsors: Delegates Ready, Afzali, Arentz, Aumann, Bates, Dwyer, Elliott, Fisher, George, Glass, Jacobs, Kipke, Krebs, McComas, McConkey, McDonough, Myers, Norman, O'Donnell, Schuh, Schulz, Smigiel, Stocksdale, and Szeliga
Summary: Prohibit the creations of a Mileage tax or Vehicle Mile Traveled (VMT) Tax.  Prohibit the state from requiring devices to be installed in private vehicles for the purpose of collecting such a tax.
Analysis: SUPPORT 
The Maryland DOT has called for imposing a VMT Fee, on top of existing gas taxes, by 2020.  A VMT would require either that tracking devices be installed in all cars, or that motorists in some other way be required to report significant information about their travel habits.  This is unacceptable and a bad deal for motorists
Additional Information:
Sponsors: Delegate Vitale
Summary: Would alter the formula used to compute the gas tax such that if the consumer price index (CPI) decreases in a given year, the gas tax will also decrease.
Analysis: SUPPORT 
Last year the legislation raised the gas tax and set the tax such that it would be phased in, and then continue to increase at the rate of the CPI.  However if the CPI decreased, the gas tax would not go down.  Rightly if the CPI is being used as the basis for the gas tax, then if it declines the tax on motorists should be reduced accordingly.
SB 0629
Sponsors: Senator Richard Madeleno
Summary: Authorizing a county or municipal corporation to impose, by ordinance or resolution, an annual vehicle registration fee surcharge for the registration of a classified vehicle; providing that the surcharge may not exceed $20; requiring that revenue from the surcharge be used for specified transportation development purposes; providing that a municipal corporation may not impose a surcharge that is greater than a specified amount if the county that the municipal corporation is located in imposes a surcharge; etc.
Status: Senate Budget And Taxation Committee Hearing
Analysis: OPPOSE 
This imposes a new cost on motorists in addition to recent increases in gas taxes, tolls, and registration fees.  The fee would likely be used for transit projects rather than roads.  The sponsor of this bill has a history of promoting an anti-motorist agenda.
Sponsors: Delegates Beitzel, Afzali, Arentz, Aumann, Bates, DeBoy, Eckardt, Elliott, Frank, George, Hogan, Impallaria, Kach, K. Kelly, Kipke, Krebs, McComas, McConkey, McDermott, McMillan, Myers, Otto, Ready, Schulz, Serafini, Stocksdale, Szeliga, Weir, and Wood
Senators Edwards and Madaleno
Summary: This bill changes the allocation of Highways User Fees (money collected from gas taxes and tolls), such that a larger portion goes to counties.
Sponsors: Delegates Parrott, Dwyer, Glass, Haddaway-Riccio, Hough, Jacobs, Kipke, Krebs, McDermott, McDonough, Otto, and Serafini
Summary: Increases the allocation of Highway User Fees which goes to counties
Sponsor: Delegate Bromwell
Summary: Prohibiting the Maryland Transportation Authority from increasing a toll, a fee, a mileage rate range, a pricing period, a toll zone, or any other charge on any part of any transportation facilities project unless the General Assembly approves the increase through legislation enacted into law or the Authority makes a specified determination; etc.
Status: Rules and Executive Nominations
Analysis:   SUPPORT 
State lawmakers should be accountable to the voters for toll increases
Sponsor: Senators Hershey and Colburn
Summary:  Add to the DOT's "Highway Needs Inventory" the requirement that each county have a two or more lane highway which fully bisects the county.