It’s Expected To Get Busy This Week In Annapolis As The Md. General Assembly Nears Adjournment

Legislators are trying to get their bills passed before the Session ends next week.

Delegate Kris Fair

Annapolis, Md (KM) Activity is expected to pick up this week as the 2023 Maryland General Assembly gets closer to adjournment. Frederick County Delegate Kris Fair says legislators are working hard to get their bills passed. “They’re concerned whether or not are they going to get passed; are they not going to get passed. Many of these people have been working months on this legislation,” he said. “And to see a bill die or not pass one of the chambers  just simply because you ran out of time is simply heart wrenching.”

Before he was elected as Delegate, Fair worked in Annapolis as a staffer in the House of Delegates, and he says there is quite a difference. “I have to say you become much more attached whether you want to or not emotionally to your bill, “he said. “I found that as a staffer for then-Delegate Karen Lewis Young for a number  of years.” Lewis Young was elected State Senator in 2022.

In his first session, Fair was a co-sponsor to a bill to expand Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming treatment. “That’s an important bill for LGBTQ people, specifically  for trans {gender} people to have access to the same medically affirming care that every other Marylanders and Fredericktonian currently has access to. It’s a very important bill that drove lot of very important conversations,” he says,.

The legislation has passed both the House of Delegates and the State Senate, and Governor Wes Moore says he will sign it. The measure expands procedures related to gender-affirming car that are covered by Maryland’s Medicaid program. The current law covers only a handful of procedures, but this bill, the Trans Equity Act, expands that coverage to include hair alteration, voice modification surgery and therapy, and fertility preservation services.

Fair has also been pushing a bill that would cover Area-B at Fort Detrick, which is a Superfund site that was once used by the US Army to dispose of biological wastes which contaminated the groundwater in that area. This legislation would require anyone purchasing property within a half mile of a Superfund site to be given full disclosure of the past uses of that property. “So that people can make informed decisions,” says Fair.

This legislation came about from  a group of environmental advocates who were concerned that people were buying properties near Area-B without knowing the full story behind that site. Plans are to constructed 123 new homes and 180 condominiums on a 23 acre site between Shookstown Road and the southwest fence line of Area B at Fort Detrick. The property planned for development is not owned by Fort Detrick.

Fair says he’s not certain that this legislation will pass this year with so little time left in the General Assembly for 2023. . “That bill on each of the chamber: The Senate version has passed to the House, but is not stuck in House Rules {Committee}. The House version has not passed yet. It’s important to note that it became a Frederick County Delegation bill. So thank you to all of the members of the Frederick County Delegation who supported this initiative,” he said.

He hopes for  “the Senate bill out of House Rules. Get the House bill over to the Senate side, and get it out of Senate Rules. It’s a lot of steps,” Fair says. “I’m not going to lie. It’s an uphill battle, and I’m happy to bring the bill back next year if you don’t accomplish it this year. But I’m really hoping through our advocacy, we can accomplish that.”

The 2023 Maryland General Assembly adjourns for the year on Monday, April 10th at midnight.

By Kevin McManus