It’s Down To The Wire For The 2023 Md. General Assembly

Lawmakers are busy getting their bills passed before the Legislature adjourns for the year.

Delegate Ken Kerr

Annapolis, Md (KM) With days to go before the 2023 Maryland General Assembly adjourns, there’s a lot going on in Annapolis as legislators try to get their bills passed.

Frederick County Delegate Ken Kerr says legislation he’s sponsoring would continue a pilot program that provides subsidies to young people to purchase health insurance. “The Health Benefit subsidies for young Marylanders was extended for another two years,” he says.

Along with another bill covering athletic trainers. “The athletic trainers: the ability to expand their scope of practice,” says Kerr. That particular legislation would allow athletic trainers to perform dry needling that requires the insertion of needles into the muscles and other tissues to affect change. They would need to undergo 80 hours or more of instruction.

There’s also another bill Kerr says it expected to pass covering nursing homes. “And to audit some of these private equity firms that are coming in and buying up all the nursing homes. We’ve seen a decline in the quality of care,” he said. “We will now have the authorization to go in and take a look at their books and find out where’s all the mopey going that they claim they don’t have.”

But Kerr says some bills will have to wait until next year, including one to change the ways physicians assistants practice in Maryland. “Make the relationship between the physician and the physician assistant more a collaborative one than a supervisory one, allowing physician assistants to practice to the extent of their skill and training within the scope of practice of the medical practice where they work,” he says. He says it’s better to take the  time to  get the bill right before bringing it back in 2024.

Another bill that which could be back next year has to do with the geriatric nursing endorsement which is required of some employees who work in nursing homes. “Maryland is the only state that requires nursing assistants in nursing homes to have the geriatric nursing endorsement. So we’re working through some regulations on that; couldn’t quite get that done,” says Kerr.

One piece of legislation dealing with construction materials has a good chance of passage. Delegate Kerr says the bill, which he’s sponsoring, would require contractors working on public projects to certify to the Department of General Services that the concrete used during construction is not harming the environment.   He says nine percent of the carbon pollution comes from the manufacture of cement which goes into the concrete used in construction. “There’s a new technology that reduces that by one-third. And so what we want to do is begin by 2026 that all state building contractors are using this less environmentally negative type of concrete,” says.

Delegate Kerr says the bill will provide subsidies to ready-mix companies to buy the technology to incorporate this lower carbon cement into their concrete mixes.

This bill has passed the House of Delegates and the State Senate.

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

By Kevin McManus