Legislative & Regulatory
Every year, the Maryland General Assembly considers upwards of 2,500 bills of which as many as 700 or more may become law. And all this happens during a 90 day session!
MRN advocates on behalf of the Maryland recycling community to ensure that legislative initiatives achieve their stated goals in a cost- and time-effective manner without creating unintended consequences that hobble our mission to promote a healthy, sustainable environment. See below for the legislation we are currently following. If you’re not a member, please support our efforts by joining today.
2021 Legislative Update
Below are the bills that we will be following for the 2021 Maryland General Assembly term. Click on the appropriate box to view more information on each bill. You can also view and filter all legislation currently under consideration in the MD Senate and House. And view (by day/week/month, senate/house, etc.) the calendar of committee meetings and video archive of past meetings.
Environment – Recycling – Prohibition on the Chemical Conversion of Plastic
Altering the definition of recycling to exclude certain chemical conversion processes, pyrolysis, hydropyrolysis, methanolysis, gasification, enzymatic breakdown, or similar processes as determined by the Department of the Environment; prohibiting a person from building in the State a facility that converts plastic to fuel through a certain chemical conversion process; and authorizing the Department of the Environment to adopt regulations to implement certain provisions of the Act.
Climate Crisis and Education Act
Establishing a Climate Crisis Initiative in the Department of the Environment for certain purposes; establishing a greenhouse gas reduction target of 60% from 2006 levels by 2030 and net-zero by 2045; establishing a Climate Crisis Council to develop a plan to reach the reduction targets and submit it to the General Assembly by December 31, 2022; requiring the Council to have the plan verified in a certain manner; requiring a greenhouse gas pollution fee on all fossil fuels brought into the State for combustion in the State; etc.
Environment – Packaging, Containers, and Paper Products – Producer Responsibility
Requiring, by October 1, 2022, a producer of certain packaging, containers, and paper products to individually or as part of a stewardship organization submit a covered materials and products stewardship plan to the Department of the Environment for approval; prohibiting, on or after a October 1, 2024, a producer of covered materials and products from selling or distributing covered materials and products unless the producer individually or as part of a stewardship organization has an approved stewardship plan; etc.
Environment – Statewide Green Business Certification Program – Establishment
Requiring the Department of the Environment to establish and administer a statewide green business certification program; requiring the green business certification program to recognize businesses operating in a way that reduces their environmental footprint and to provide consumers with information on how to identify those businesses; requiring the Department to update and enhance the statewide green business certification program in consultation with the Montgomery County Green Business Certification Program; etc.
Environment – Single-Use Plastics – Restrictions
Prohibiting, beginning January 1, 2022, a food service business from providing certain single-use food or beverage products to a certain customer unless requested by the customer; requiring a food service business to maintain a limited supply of certain single-use food and beverage products for certain customers; prohibiting, beginning January 1, 2024, an owner, an operator, or a manager of a lodging establishment with 51 or more rooms from providing certain personal cleansing products in small plastic bottles; etc.
Constitutional Amendment – Environmental Rights
Proposing an amendment to the Maryland Constitution to establish that every person has an inalienable right to a healthful environment; declaring that the State’s natural resources are the common property of every person and the State is the trustee of the natural and historic resources of the State; establishing that every person has the right to intervene in an action brought by the State or a political subdivision to protect certain rights; submitting the amendment to the qualified voters of the State; etc.
Consumer Protection – Right to Repair
Requiring an original equipment manufacturer to make available, on fair and reasonable terms, certain materials or updates to an independent repair provider or owner of digital electronic equipment; providing that a violation of certain provisions of the Act is an unfair, abusive, or deceptive trade practice and subject to certain enforcement and penalty provisions; applying the Act prospectively; etc.
Beverage Container Deposit Program – Establish and set up an Advisory Commission
Requiring the Department of the Environment to establish a beverage container deposit program on or before September 1, 2022; establishing the Advisory Commission to Develop a Beverage Container Deposit Program; requiring the Advisory Commission to develop a framework for a beverage container deposit program; requiring the Advisory Commission to report its framework and recommendations to certain members and committees of the General Assembly by December 31, 2021; etc.
Environmental Justice – At-Risk Communities and Environmental Permits – Requirements
Requiring the Department of the Environment to develop, post, and maintain on its website a list of at-risk communities in the State by January 31, 2022; requiring the Department to update the list of at-risk communities at least once every 2 years; requiring the Department to notify a municipality if any part of the municipality has been designated an at-risk community; requiring an applicant for a certain permit to prepare an environmental justice impact statement and conduct a public hearing before an application may be considered; etc.
Maryland Paint Stewardship
Requiring certain producers or a representative organization to submit a plan for the establishment of a Paint Stewardship Program to the Department of the Environment on or before January 1, 2022, and in accordance with certain requirements; requiring the Department to review and approve certain plans, including a certain assessment, submitted in accordance with the Paint Stewardship Program; prohibiting the sale of certain architectural paint under certain circumstances on a certain date; etc.
Department of the Environment – Office of Recycling – Recycling Market Development
Requiring the Office of Recycling in the Department of the Environment to promote the development of markets for recycled materials and products in the State; requiring the Office to evaluate the availability of certain markets and identify businesses in the State that use recycled materials; requiring the annual Maryland solid waste management and diversion report to be submitted to the General Assembly by September 1, 2022, and each year thereafter, and include certain activities; etc.
Public Information Act – Revisions (Equitable Access to Records Act)
Requiring each official custodian to adopt a policy of proactive disclosure of public records; requiring each official custodian to publish by July 1 each year a report on a certain website on the requests received in the preceding year for inspection of public records; requiring each official custodian to store the report in a place easily accessible to the public if a website is not available; requiring the Public Information Act Compliance Board to receive, review, and resolve certain complaints from applicants; etc.
Condominiums and Homeowners Associations – Rights and Restrictions – Composting
Prohibiting a recorded covenant or restriction, a provision in a declaration, or a provision in the bylaws or rules of a condominium or a homeowners association from restricting or prohibiting a certain owner from composting organic waste materials for personal or household use under certain circumstances or contracting with a private entity for the collection of organic waste materials for composting at a composting facility; etc.
Solid Waste Management – Organics Recycling and Waste Diversion – Food Residuals
Requiring a certain person that generates food residuals to separate the food residuals from other solid waste and ensure that the food residuals are diverted from final disposal in a refuse disposal system in a certain manner; applying the requirements of the Act, beginning in certain years, to certain persons that generate certain amounts of food residuals; authorizing a person experiencing undue hardship because of the costs of diverting food residuals to apply to the Department of the Environment for a certain waiver; etc.
Maryland Recycling Act – Recyclable Materials and Resource Recovery Facilities – Alterations
Altering the definition of “recyclable materials” under the Maryland Recycling Act to exclude incinerator ash; and repealing the authority of a county to utilize a resource recovery facility to meet 5% of the waste reduction required to be achieved through recycling in the county’s recycling plan.
Plastic Bag Reduction Act
Prohibiting, on or after July 1, 2022, a certain retail establishment from distributing plastic carryout bags to a customer at the point of sale; providing that, on or after July 1, 2022, only the State may enact a law or take other action to prohibit, restrict, or regulate the use of certain plastic bags by a retail establishment, that certain authority of a county or municipality is preempted, and that certain laws or ordinances are superseded; requiring the Maryland Department of Labor to adopt certain regulations; etc.
Maryland Green Purchasing Committee – Food and Beverage Procurement – Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Requiring the Maryland Green Purchasing Committee in consultation with the Departments of the Environment, Agriculture, General Services, and other stakeholders, to develop, by January 1, 2022, a certain methodology for State agencies to estimate greenhouse gas emissions of food and beverages procured, establish a certain baseline measurement by January 1, 2023, and develop certain strategies and policy recommendations; establishing a goal to reduce certain greenhouse gas emissions by State units by 25% by fiscal year 2031; etc.
Solid Waste Management – Prohibition on Releasing a Balloon Into the Atmosphere
Prohibiting a person who is at least 13 years old, a corporation, a partnership, an association, a nonprofit entity, the State, or any unit or political subdivision of the State from knowingly and intentionally releasing, or causing to be released, or organizing the release of, a balloon into the atmosphere, with certain exceptions; requiring a certain unit, officer, or official of a local government with delegated enforcement authority to report certain violations; establishing a civil penalty of $250 for a violation of the Act; etc.