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2012 Legislative Accomplishments

Chesapeake BaySavers is proud to announce a third consecutive perfect legislative scorecard! Alexander & Cleaver monitored 40 legislative proposals, items in the capital and operating budget and hosted two legislative dinners on behalf of BaySavers.

House Bill 1372 – Transfer of Licenses and Cost Recovery

  • Impressed with BaySavers’ research and proposal on the transfer of license provisions in current statute, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) rewrote the law and proposed it as part of their legislative package. Passing this bill begins the process of shifting regulatory costs to the user, creates accountability and solidified the relationship with DNR.

House Bill 446 – Environment – Bay Restoration Fund – Fees and Uses

  • The environmental proposal by Governor O’Malley was introduced under a progressive fee schedule that would have made the heaviest consumers pay higher fees than those that consume fewer gallons of water. The proposal was changed to a straight doubling of the fee, something easier to implement.. The bill passed as one of the session’s most controversial bills.

The Budget

  • This year many allocations in the Department of Natural Resources Capital Budget were debated between the House and Senate. However, one item remained untouched through all deliberations – $8 million for the Oyster Restoration Program.
  • Maryland passed a “doomsday” budget with over $500 million in program cuts pending. Despite this BaySavers prevailed as the Governor submitted a Supplemental Budget with $1.3 million in funding for NPR personnel turnover. The Department of Legislative Services (DLS) immediately recommended rejection of the $1.3 million allocation. Alexander & Cleaver were able to speak with budget conferees and leadership ensuring the rejection of the DLS recommendation. In conclusion, the Maryland General Assembly adopted the budget with the additional funding for the NRP and rejected the recommendation from DLS.

Suppressed Legislation

  • BaySavers was successful in getting the Senate environmental committee to vote the HB 478 and SB 385 unfavorable. These bills would have required the Natural Resources Police (NRP) to pull gill nets within 24 hours of locating eliminating investigative strategy.
  • After a passionate testimony, BaySavers was successful in killing legislation that would have had detrimental impacts on the aquaculture industry and eliminated the sanctuaries by drastically reducing the shellfish density requirements for certification.

Other Legislation of Interest

  • The General Assembly enacted legislation that would allow DNR to increase aquaculture permitting fees through regulation which will help fund expedited regulatory processes.
  • BaySavers defeated legislation that would have prohibited the use of tracking devices on fishing vessels through a court order, a strategic tool for the NRP.
  • Legislature failed to pass a bill that would have established a special gill net taskforce.

Summer and Beyond

  • BaySavers will continue to hold one-on-one meetings with legislators that have jurisdiction over the budget and the environment.
  • Continuous meetings with organizations that share a similar passion to BaySavers such as the Coastal Conservation Association and the Sport Fisherman will be held.
  • BaySavers will prepare for summer meetings with senior DNR staff to discuss what BaySavers plans to push during the 2013 session.