• CLPA Staff

Legislative Update: Overview of Charles County Legislation in Maryland's General Assembly



During this week’s Board of Charles County Commissioners meeting, a briefing regarding legislation affecting Charles County Maryland in the Maryland General Assembly. Below is an update included with the meeting agenda on the following proposals from the Board of Commissioners to the Charles County Delegation:


  • A proposal to modify the Charles County multiple licensing plan law to permit certain Charles Count Class B License Types to increase the number of alcoholic beverage licenses held by a single individual within the Charles County limits from one license to two licenses. STATUS: Supported by the Delegation, and awaiting bill draft.

  • A proposal to amend Ann. Code MD, Alcoholic Beverages Article to allow removal of an individual/corporate license and hold an alcoholic beverage license inactive or in abeyance for a certain amount of time, until a substitute licensee can qualify to hold the license. (Reintroduced from 2021 Legislative Package.) STATUS: Supported by the Delegation, and awaiting bill draft.

  • A proposal to allow Sunday hunting in Charles County during the Maryland legal hunting season and authorize the Department of Natural Resources to allow a person to hunt on each Sunday of the game bird and game mammal season in Charles County. STATUS: Supported by the Delegation, and awaiting bill draft.

  • A proposal to re-introduce HB 335/SB432 - Charles County - Public Safety - Buildings Used for Agritourism (from 2020 Legislative Session), which proposes to add Charles County to the list of counties where an existing agricultural building used for Agritourism is not considered a change of occupancy that requires a building permit under certain circumstances. STATUS: NOT supported by the Delegation.

  • A proposal to amend Section 9-310 of the Tax Property Article, Ann. Code MD, to allow for the implementation of a real property tax credit for volunteer fire & EMS, (current volunteers, those in the retirement system, and surviving spouses of deceased volunteers receiving a benefit). STATUS: On hold by Delegation.

  • A proposal to amend the definition of “agricultural land management practices” found in COMAR 26.17.02.02, to expressly include the acts of clearing and grading land in preparation for agricultural land management practices, in order to ensure the activity is exempt from the Stormwater Water Management Plan requirements, described in COMAR 26.17.02.09. STATUS: Supported by the Delegation, and awaiting bill draft.

  • A proposal to implement a higher property tax rate on properties deemed blighted. STATUS: Supported by the Delegation, and awaiting bill draft.

  • A proposal to enable the use of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) process for school construction projects - Interagency Commission on School Construction (IAC). STATUS: Supported by the Delegation. Bill draft received (LR 1740).

  • A proposal to ensure posting notifications of newly introduced legislation and enacted legislation is sufficient when the bill is posted to an internet website ordinarily used by the public body to provide information to the public. STATUS: Supported by the Delegation, and awaiting bill draft.


in addition, below is a list of Maryland Senate bills presented during the meeting along with the bill status and a brief summary of the bill. All bills were introduced by Senator Ellis, except for SB00010, which was introduced by Senator Jackson.


Bill Number: SB0035

Title: Charles County - Program Open Space - General Assembly Approval

Current Status: In the Senate - Hearing 1/25 at 1:30 p.m

Committee: Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs


Bill Summary: This bill modifies the Program Open Space (POS) Local approval process in Charles County. Once Charles County’s annual program is reviewed by the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) and approved by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the annual program must be submitted to the General Assembly for approval.


Charles County’s local Land Preservation and Recreation Plan (LPRP) must be submitted to the General Assembly after joint approval by MDP and DNR. In Charles County, POS Local grant agreements can not be executed, and projects will not be approved for grants until the annual program and LPRP have been approved by the General Assembly through legislation. Any Charles County revised annual program or LPRP must also be approved by the General Assembly through legislation.


Department of Legislative Services Analysis (State/Local Fiscal Effect): Although the bill does not change the amount of POS Local funding allocated to Charles County, the bill may affect the timing of when POS Local funding is spent by the county and potentially slow the use of funding in the county (and associated reimbursements provided to Charles County by DNR). By requiring General Assembly approval through legislation, the bill delays the POS Local approval process in Charles County. Currently, to participate in POS Local, local governing bodies must submit to DNR an LPRP every five years and an annual program by July 1 each year.


Once LPRPs and annual programs receive the necessary approval, local governing bodies can determine which project applications to submit to BPW. DNR advises that project applications are submitted to BPW throughout the year and must be submitted before the end of the fiscal year. Once the local project is approved, POS Local grant agreements can be executed. Under the bill, project applications cannot be submitted to BPW by Charles County until legislation approving the local LPRP (when applicable), annual program, and specific projects has been enacted. This could significantly delay BPW approval for certain projects.

Bill Number: SB0076

Title: Motor Vehicle Registration - Exceptions for Golf Carts and Low-Speed Vehicles Cobb Island

Current Status: In the Senate - Hearing 1/18 at 1:00 p.m.

Committee: Judicial Proceedings


Bill Summary: This bill authorizes a person to operate a golf cart or low-speed vehicle equipped with approved lighting on Cobb Island in Charles County between dawn and dusk on a highway on which the maximum posted speed limit does not exceed 30 miles per hour. The golf cart or low-speed vehicle must be kept as far to the right of the roadway as feasible, and the driver must have a valid driver’s license. A golf cart or low-speed vehicle operating pursuant to the bill’s authorization is exempt from the general requirement that each motor vehicle driven on a highway in the State be registered

Bill Number: SB0089

Title: University System of Maryland - Regional Higher Education Center - Charles County

Status: In the Senate- First Reading Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs

Committee: Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs


Bill Summary: Requirers the Board of Regents for the University System of Maryland to adopt a plan on or before July 1, 2023, to establish a regional higher education center in Charles County to provide students in Charles County with access to established, cutting-edge, and high-demand academic programs of degree-granting institutions; and requiring the Board of Regents to implement the plan to establish a regional higher education center in Charles County on or before July 1, 2028

Bill Number: SB0096

Title: Community Parks and Playgrounds Program - Charles County - Basketball Courts

Status: In the Senate - Hearing 1/25 at 1:30 p.m.

Committee: Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs


Bill Summary: Expanding the Community Parks and Playgrounds Program to make grants available to Charles County for the construction and maintenance of basketball courts at county parks with baseball fields; and requiring the governing body of Charles County to apply for grants under the Act and use the grant funding for the construction and maintenance of basketball courts at county parks with baseball fields.

Bill Number: SB0108

Title: Charles CountyPublic Library – Imagination LibraryProgram –Funding

Status: In the Senate - Hearing 2/03 at 1:00 p.m.

Committee: Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs


Bill Summary: Authorizing the Charles County Public Library to partner with an Imagination Library Program to provide free books to children up to 5 years of age; and requiring the Governor to include in the annual budget bill for fiscal years 2024 through 2033 an appropriation of $2.10 for each child for each month that the child is registered in the Program.


Bill Number: SB0116

Title: Public Schools - Inclusive and Diverse English Language Arts - Development of Content Standards and Implementation

Status: In the Senate - Hearing 2/03 at 1:00 p.m.

Committee: Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs


Bill Summary: Requiring the State Board of Education, by December 1, 2022, to develop content standards for inclusive and diverse English language arts to be included in the State Standards and Frameworks for English Language Arts; requiring each county board of education to develop and implement age-appropriate curriculum guides for inclusive and diverse English language arts; and requiring each public school to include inclusive and diverse English language arts in the English language arts curriculum beginning in the 2023-2024 school year.

Bill Number: SB0128

Title: Charles County - Program Open Space - Waldorf Core Zone

Status: In the Senate - Hearing 1/25 at 1:30 p.m.

Committee: Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs


Bill Summary: Requires the Charles County Board of Commissioners, for fiscal 2023 through 2032, to submit, by July 1 each year, an annual program of proposed acquisition and development projects under Program Open Space (POS) Local to the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) for review and to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for approval. All proposed projects and any revisions submitted by the Charles County Board of Commissioners, including acquisitions made through a local advance option and purchase fund or a local land trust grant fund, must be located in the “Waldorf Core Zone.” “Waldorf Core Zone” means the area in Charles County located south of Mattawoman Creek, west of Maryland Route 5, north of Billingsley Road, and east of Bensville Road.


Bill Number: SB0136

Title: College of Southern Maryland - Charles County Campus - Transition to Charles County Community College

Status: In the Senate- First Reading Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs

Committee: Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs


Bill Summary: Establishing the Charles County Community College and the Board of Community College Trustees for Charles County by transitioning the College of Southern Maryland Charles County campus to the Charles County Community College; removing Charles County from certain provisions of law relating to the College of Southern Maryland; exempting the Charles County Community College from certain provisions of law for the 2023-2024 academic year; altering the number of members of the Board of Trustees for the College of Southern Maryland; etc

Bill: SB0010

Title: Workers’ Compensation - COVID-19 Occupational DiseasePresumption

Status: In the Senate - First Reading Finance

Committee: Finance


Bill Summary: Establishing that first responders, public safety employees, and health care workers are presumed to have an occupational disease that is compensable under workers’ compensation law after a positive test or diagnosis for COVID-19; and applying the Act retroactively.





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