Legislation Spotlight: Bill 3-22 -Legislative Climate Assessment Requirements (MoCo Council)
Updated: Mar 4
Recently, Bill 3-22 was introduced into the Montgomery County Council, which would require the Director of the Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) to prepare a climate assessment for certain bills under consideration.
Specifically, Bill 3-22 would require that the OLO Director complete a “climate assessment” for each bill, zoning text amendment, master plan, and master plan amendment the County Council considers. OLO would be mandated to specify to the Council the required contents of a climate assessment and generally amend the law governing the enactment of legislation. In addition, the OLO Director would be required to submit an annual report that collects and evaluates the climate assessments provided during the prior year.
The climate assessment would consist of:
The potential positive or negative effects, if any, of the bill, zoning text amendment, master plan, or master plan amendment upon climate change, including greenhouse gas emissions, sequestration, and carbon drawdown;
Quantitative or qualitative evaluations of the identified effects upon community resilience and adaptative capacity; and
Recommendations regarding amendments or other measures to mitigate any negative climate impacts.
This legislation was drafted in response to Resolution 18-974, which the Council approved back in 2017. The resolution declared a climate emergency in the County and supported two climate goals. First, it supported the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2027. Second, the resolution supported the goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. The overall purpose of the resolution was to support the initiation of large-scale efforts to remove excess carbon from the atmosphere. Bill 3-22 supports the spirit of that resolution by facilitating the County’s agreed-upon climate goals through the requirement of climate assessments.
The bill sets strict deadlines for climate assessment submissions. A climate assessment should be submitted to the Council no more than 21 days after a bill, zoning text amendment, master plan, or master plan amendment is introduced. However, if the OLO Director is unable to submit the assessment within the stated timeframe they must notify the Council President in writing of the delay, state the reason for the delay, and provide a revised delivery date. If the Council President, however, does not agree with the revised delivery date, they have the ability to set a different date altogether.
The lead Sponsors of Bill 3-22 are Councilmember Hucker and Council President Albornoz. Please contact their offices with any questions or concerns about this bill. A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for Bill 3-22 on Tuesday, March 1st.