Legislative Recap: 2022 Session Bills Impacting Planning

Planning Assistance in Action 

Fig 1 – Aerial photo showing the Maryland State Capitol. Photo source: http://www.capitalcitiesusa.org.

The Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) strives to inform counties and municipalities of legislation that impacts local planning efforts, and as needed, develop guidance and technical assistance to help jurisdictional staff and citizen planners address any new requirements or access new resources.

Planning did this with our Housing Element Models & Guidelines (2019 HB 1045), Nuisance Flood Plan Development Guidance (2019 HB 1427), Managing Maryland’s Growth: Transitioning to the 10-Year Review Cycle (2013 HB 409), and Sustainable Growth & Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 Implementation (2012 SB 236). Planning will continue to develop the tools to help jurisdictions address legislative challenges and leverage legislative incentives and funding.  

Below is a list of bills with brief summaries that passed during the 2022 session that most impact planning in Maryland. Their inclusion does not indicate Planning’s endorsement or position regarding these bills. Rather, we are sharing them with our Planning Practice Monthly audience so you will be aware of pending legislative initiatives, changes, incentives, and requirements at both the state and local level. If you would like to discuss any of the legislation described below, or potential technical assistance or guidance that Planning might develop to help local governments, please contact Joe Griffiths, Local Assistance and Training Manager, at joseph.griffiths@maryland.gov

HB27/SB289 – Historic Revitalization and Enterprise Zone Tax Credits – Alterations and Eligibility  

This bill makes several significant alterations to the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit Program and extends the termination date of the program through FY31. For competitive commercial projects, the bill increases the per project cap on tax credit awards from $3 million to $ 5million and requires the Governor to provide a minimum appropriation of $20 million annually beginning in FY23. For the small commercial component of the program, the bill requires the Governor to provide a minimum of $2 million annually beginning in FY24. The bill also creates an enhanced enterprise zone property tax credit for certain properties that can be claimed over a 13-year period.

HB246 – Open Meetings Act – Notices, Closed Sessions, and Minutes – Retention Periods, Online Posting, and Public Inspection  

This bill increases from one to three years the length of time a public body must keep a copy of a specified meeting notice or written statement about the closing of a public meeting under Maryland’s Open Meetings Act (OMA). To the extent practicable, a public body must post written statements about the closing of a public meeting online. If the public body does not post a written statement, meeting minutes, or a specified meeting recording online, the public body generally must provide an electronic copy of the written statement, minutes, or recording to a requestor within five business days of receiving a request. With respect to a request for a copy of a public body’s minutes, if the minutes have not been approved by the public body at the time of the request, the public body must provide a requestor with an electronic copy of the minutes within five business days after the minutes are approved. 

HB478 – Economic Development – Enterprise Zone Program – Alterations  

This bill alters the Enterprise Zone program by terminating it effective January 1, 2030; altering the authority of the Secretary of Commerce to designate areas as enterprise zones; altering the definitions of “focus area employee” and “qualified employee” for the income tax credit; establishing the purpose of the program; and altering certain eligibility and reporting requirements. 

HB778/SB514 – Transportation – Investment Program – MARC Rail Service (Maryland Regional Rail Transformation Act)  

This bill requires the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to establish individual investment programs to advance the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) Cornerstone Plan and other MARC improvements, as specified. It also requires MTA to advance specified rail priority projects and conduct a MARC Cornerstone Plan Implementation Study. It also establishes a Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) Workgroup, to be staffed by the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) to examine specified funding issues. 

HB927 – Housing and Community Development – Affordable Housing – Listing and Disposal of Excess Real Property  

This bill requires the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), after receiving notification of excess properties maintained by the Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) that have not otherwise been disposed of, to determine if any of the properties are suitable for use or redevelopment as affordable housing. Units of State government with the specified excess properties must, in consultation with DHCD and MDP, develop a proposal to donate or sell the property to a nonprofit organization that intends to use or redevelop the property as affordable housing or  sell the property to a buyer that intends to redevelop the property as affordable housing. 

HB1088 – African American Heritage Preservation Program – Annual Appropriation and Alterations  

This bill increases funding for the African American Heritage Preservation Program (AAHPP) to $5 million annually beginning in FY24.  In addition, the bill increases the per project cap for projects seeking grant awards to $500,000 and eliminates matching requirements for all types of grant applicants.    

HB1391 – Clean Cars Act of 2022  

This bill reestablishes the qualified plug-in electric vehicle and fuel cell electric vehicle excise tax credit and extends eligibility to certain vehicles and property; establishes the Medium-Duty and Heavy-Duty Zero-Emission Vehicle Grant Program within the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA); and requires, in specified fiscal years, certain transfers and appropriations from the Strategic Energy Investment Fund (SEIF) and mandated appropriations. 

SB14 – Sustainable Maryland Program Fund – Establishment  

This bill establishes the Sustainable Maryland Program Fund (SMPF), administered by the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center (EFC). The purpose of the fund is to expand and enhance Sustainable Maryland’s promotion and support of communities in the State in the effort to realize environmental, economic, and social sustainability. The Governor must include an appropriation of $750,000 annually to the SMPF beginning in FY24, supplemental to any funding that would otherwise be appropriated for the Sustainable Maryland program. 

SB391 – Economic Development – More Jobs for Marylanders Program – Extension and Alterations  

This Administration bill extends the More Jobs for Marylanders Program for five additional years through June 1, 2027. 

HB203/SB197 – Homestead Property Tax Credit Program – Retroactive Qualification and Calculation of the Credit  

This bill requires the State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) to retroactively grant the homestead property tax credit for the prior taxable year, upon receiving an application from the homeowner, if the homeowner is determined to be eligible for the property tax credit.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s