Saturday, December 31, 2016

Mount Rainier Business Association (MRBA) invites you to celebrate the New Year in Mount Rainier

The Mount Rainier Business Association (MRBA) request your support of MRBA and its members by ringing in the New Year with a great meal at Bird Kitchen & Cocktails! They'll be offering an exciting 3-course menu for only $35. Choose from three tasty main dishes: Pan Roasted Halibut, Pan Roasted Organic Ribeye, or the Earth Pan Roast. Reservations are still available by calling 240-467-3089 so do it now!

Full Menu:

1st Course

Mixed Greens, Honey Crisp Apple, & Cashews 
Blue Crab Soup + Sherry

Main Dishes

Pan Roasted Halibut, Corn, Blackeyed Peas & Lima Beans + Orange Butter
Scallops, Corn, Lima Bean & Green Tea Butter
Pan Roasted Organic Ribeye, Mashed Potatoes, Spinach + Syrah Pan Jus
Earth Pan Roast (Parsnips, Beets, Wild mushrooms + Wheatberries and Miso)


Flourless Chocolate Tart + Lavender Gelato

Blackberry Crisp + Vanilla Creme

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tonight's Work Session has been Cancelled!

Mayor and Council apologize for any inconvenience that the cancellation of tonight's work session may cause you.

Unfortunately, it is necessary for us to make this decision now.  We will reconvene shortly, and as is our practice, we will post the date and time of the next work session and meeting.

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Electronic Recycling December 17, 2016

The Department of Public Works is hosting an electronic recycling drop-off on Saturday, December 17, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at 3715 Wells Ave. This is an opportunity for the community to responsibly dispose of unwanted electronic items for reuse and recycling. Any items with a battery or a plug are acceptable, including televisions, computer equipment, printers, cell phones, extension cords, and holiday lights. Items with refrigerants can not be accepted for electronic recycling.

Please see the link below for more details of the upcoming December electronic recycling drop event.

Electronics may be dropped off at the Department of Public Works Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM in addition to the Saturday drop-off dates, scheduled quarterly (third Saturday in March, June, September, and December).

Best Regards,

Kourosh Kamali
Director of Public Works
City of Mount Rainier
One Municipal Place
Mount Rainier, MD 20712

Monday, December 05, 2016

Donate Christmas Baskets (or whatever you can) for Mount Rainier Residents

THINKING about Christmas Baskets for our families this morning. Here is the meal I am familiar with on Christmas Day:

Traditional Christmas dinner features turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and vegetables such as collard greens, green beans, candied yams, potato salad, boiled corn on the cob, cornbread, roast beef, ham, lots of cakes, pies, and other sweet treats.

Others have carrots, turnip, parsnips, etc. as well as other types of poultry, roast beef, ham, venison, duck, goat, fish are also used.

When you prepare your Christmas Basket this year, think about your traditional Christmas Dinner, and give it to someone else. Make sure you include enough to feed a family of four (4).

Here are some basic items to include:

A meat (poultry, roast beef, ham, venison, duck, goat, fish)
Vegetables (green beans, collard greens, green peas, corn, carrots, turnip, parsnips, asparagus, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, etc.)
Starches (cornbread mix, flour, rice, stuffing mix, pasta including noodles, pie crusts, ready made rolls, etc.)

Desserts (cake mix, pies, cakes, etc.)

Seasonings (salt, pepper, poultry seasonings, sage, celery seeds, mayonnaise, honey, butter or margarine, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, ginger, dry mustard, etc.)
Drinks (tea, coffee, sodas, juice, water, etc.)

CRANBERRY SAUCE or cranberries to make sauce, pineapple, apples, etc.
Not doing a Christmas Basket -- that's okay too. Just select items from the above list and donate them. WE will make sure that the baskets have your items in them.

WHATEVER, you decide to do, will be appreciated by those who will be receiving the Christmas Baskets.

WHEN ARE ITEMS DUE? Nonperishable items may be donated anytime.
Perishable items should be donated the DAY BEFORE, Monday, December 19, the Christmas Baskets are due.

WHERE CAN YOU DONATE? Mount Rainier, MD Police Department, 3409 Rhode Island Ave Mount Rainier, Maryland 20712 (301)985-6590.

Cash/check donations are always appreciated and accepted.

WANT TO VOLUNTEER: Email me at or just show up on Monday, December 19 between the hours of 12:00 noon and 8:30 pm, and again on Tuesday, December 20 between the hours of 8:30 am and 10:00 am.

Thank you for your support!

Sunday, December 04, 2016


The Mayor and City Council members in Mount Rainier are elected the first Monday in May.

The Mayor is elected at large, and two Councilmembers are elected from each of the two Wards -- Ward 1 and Ward 2.

The four councilmembers and the mayor make up the Mount Rainier City Council.

Terms of office for the mayor and council is four years.
The mayor and two council members

For more information about City elections, please contact the City Clerk’s office at 301-985-6585 or the Mount Rainier Board of Election (MRBE) at



Councilmember  -- Ward 2

Councilmember -- Ward 1  -- Two-year term

Councilmember -- Ward 1 -- Four-year-term

Polls are open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hearing on Permitting Undocumented Residents to Vote in Mount Rainier's City Elections December 6

The Mayor and Council of Mount Rainier will be hosting a hearing on Tuesday, December 6 (and later voting) on allowing undocumented immigrants to vote in Mount Rainier's City Elections.

Here is the Agenda for the Mayor and Council Meeting at which the public will be invited to weigh in on this crucial issue.

Agenda of the Legislative Meeting of the Mayor and City Council City of Mount Rainier Potts Hall 3405 Rhode Island Avenue Mount Rainier, MD 20712
TUESDAY, December 6, 2016, 7:00 P.M.

Action Taken
1. Call to Order / Pledge of Allegiance _____________
2. Additions to the Agenda / Review of Rolling Agenda
3. Public Hearing for the Proposed Charter Changes
regarding: Charter Amendment Resolution 1-2016: “A Resolution to amend Article V, Registration, Nomination, and Election Procedures, Sections 502 and 503 of the Charter of the City of Mount Rainier to allow non-United States citizens to vote in City elections, require that non-United States citizens register to vote in City elections with the Mount Rainier Board of Elections, and incorporate State of Maryland restrictions on voting by persons currently imprisoned under a felony conviction, currently under a mental disability, or after having been convicted of buying or selling votes, and to amend Article III, Organization of Mayor and Council, to retain the requirement that candidates for elected City office be United States Citizens despite the amendment of Article V.” and Charter Amendment Resolution 2-2016: “A Resolution to amend Article V, Registration, Nomination, and Election Procedures, Sections 501, 504, and 505 of the Charter of the City of Mount Rainier to change the appointment date and terms of the Board of Elections, remove responsibility for determining the qualifications of the Board of Elections from the Ethics Commission, 
allow voters to vote by absentee ballot even if they are able to vote in person on election day, allow for rolling submission of candidate nomination petitions until six weeks before a City election.”

William Broadus Vice-President of Brentwood Fire Station
Deni Tavares County Councilmember: District 2

4. 3200 Rhode Island Avenue Property
5. Charter Changes (1st Reading)
• Charter Amendment Resolution 1-2016: A resolution to amend Article V, Registration, Nomination, and Election Procedures Sections 502 and 503 of the Charter of the City of Mount Rainier
• Charter Amendment Resolution 2-2016: A resolution to amend Article V, Registration, Nomination, and Election Procedures Sections 501, 504, and 505 of the Charter of the City of Mount Rainier

6. Minutes _____________
- June 21, 2016, Work Session - June 22, 2016, Closed Session
7. Resolution 11-2016 – Appointing a Youth and _____________
Recreation Committee
8. Resolution 12-2016 – Participating in a _____________
Municipal Collaboration
9. Resolution 13-2016 – FY18 Budget Calendar _____________
10. Ordinance 06-2016 – Budget Amendment _____________
1st Quarter (2nd Reading/Vote)
11. Ordinance 07-2016 – Updated Urban Forest _____________
Chapter/Trees (2nd Reading/Vote)
12. Ordinance 08-2016: Increase Board of Elections _____________
Stipends (2nd Reading/Vote)
13. Ordinance 09-2016: Increase Councilmember _____________
Stipends (2nd Reading/Vote)

14. Mayor and Council Member Announcements
15. Report of the City Manager
16. Public Comment
17. Adjournment _____________

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Free Thanksgiving Dinner at 3401 Rhode Island Avenue, in Mount Rainier, MD

 Home alone for Thanksgiving. No family in the area. No home. Feeling lonely and left out of the holiday season.

No problem. The Associated Churches for Community Service (ACCS), the Mount Rainier Police Department, and Mayor Malinda Miles (that's me folks) are preparing Thanksgiving Dinner JUST FOR YOU.

The menu will include four pies -- Chief Michael E. Scott, baked or smoked turkey -- Captain James Stoots, fried turkeys -- Mayor Malinda Miles, homemade cakes (two very large ones) -- Sandra Bramble, fried chicken -- Pastor Dee Pullum, several native Spanish dishes -- Pastor Martinez and his first lady, green beans, cornbread, cranberry sauces, and lots of other foods to delight the palate!

We invite you, one and all, to join us for a FULL Thanksgiving Dinner at Greater Rock Creek Church, 3401 Rhode Island Avenue, Mount Rainier, Maryland MD 20712.  The meal will be served from 11:00 am until 1:30 pm.

The TABLE will be SPREAD just for YOU! Come out and join us in giving thanks for our community.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Are you a Veteran or do you know a Veteran living in Mount Rainier?

I still need information on veterans living in Mount Rainier. You can inbox or email me with their full name, rank, branch of service, and date of discharge. I would appreciate receiving this information no later than Monday close of business. Email address is

The Veterans Day Brunch will be held at Potts Hall 3405 Rhode Island Avenue, Mount Rainier, MD 20712 from 11:30 am until 1:30 pm.


Mount Rainier's Call-A-Bus Available on Election Day

The Mount Rainier Call-A-Bus will again transport residents to the election polls in Mount Rainier on Election Day.

Our driver will be available to drive the Call A Bus from 9:00 am to 5:00pm to take residents to polling places on Election day, Tuesday, November 8th.

Residents who would like to request transportation on this date should call 301-985-6583 to make an appointment in advance.

The Call-A-Bus will also strive to handle many of its regular calls to make sure our seniors can get to their appointments and get out to vote.

The Call-A-Bus will make stops in front of Queenstown Apartment's Rental Office, Rainier Manor, Queens Manor Apartments Rental Office, Kaywood Rental Office, and Newton Square Apartments with stops at Thomas Stone Elementary and Mount Rainier Elementary.

Please circulate to your constituents/residents. On Election Day anyone going to the polls or home from the polls may ride at no cost.

Thank you for circulating.

Early Voting ends today

THIS IS THE LAST DAY FOR EARLY VOTING! Please get out there and vote. Who knows what will come up on November 8 that might get in the way of you voting then. NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT.

You can vote up to 8 pm.

Friday, October 28, 2016



ELECTION DAY:                  TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2016, from 7am to 8pm.


Polling Place: Thomas Stone Elementary School
Address4500 34th St, Mount Rainier, MD 20712


Polling Place:  Mount Rainier Elementary School
Address4011 32nd St, Mt Rainier, MD 20712

Residents may call for free transportation to the Polling Places on Election Day November 8 2016, from 9:00 am to 5:00pm.  Please call 301-985-6583 to request a ride.  The Call-a-Bus will RUN continuously.  It will stop frequently at Rainier Manor, Queenstown Rental Office, Queens Manor Rental Office, and Kaywood Gardens’ Rental office.   It will also pick up at Newton Apartments and apartments for pick-ups during these times indicated.

Information you can use on Election Day
 Something you need to know if voting At the Polls on Election Day: SOME FIRST-TIME VOTERS IN MARYLAND MAY BE ASKED TO SHOW ID BEFORE VOTING. IF YOU ARE ASKED TO SHOW ID, PLEASE SHOW AN ELECTION JUDGE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING FORMS OF ID: A copy of a current and valid photo ID (i.e., Maryland driver's license, MVA ID card, student, employee, or military ID card, U.S. passport, or any other State or federal government-issued ID card); OR A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows your name and address. Current means that the document is dated within 3 months of the election.

EARLY VOTING STARTS October 27th thru November 3rd 8am -8pm

Early Voting Locations close to Mount Rainier:
College Park Community Center 5051 Pierce Avenue, College Park, MD 20740
Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Complex 8001 Sheriff Road, Landover, MD 20785 
 Absentee Ballot Request deadline - Electronic: Deadline for a registered voter to request an electronic absentee ballot (Delivered via internet) November 4, 2016.

Absentee Voting
 Absentee Ballot Request deadline - In Person: Deadline for a registered voter or voter\'s agent to request an absentee ballot in person at a local Board of Election is November 8, 2016.
Absentee Ballot return deadline - By Mail: Deadline for a registered voter to request a mailed or faxed absentee ballot November 1, 2016!

Mayor and Council urge each resident that's registered to vote in the State of Maryland, Prince George's County to PLEASE get out and vote.


There is always something going on in my life. Not complaining, but explaining.

On October 31 -- The Halloween Bash -- Trick or Treaters invited -- the Bash starts at 6:00 pm and ends at 9:30 pm.

November 3 -- Community Planning Meeting 6:30pm Mount Rainier Police Department

November 11 -- Veterans in Mount Rainier are appreciated -- brunch from 11:30 am until 1:30 pm. Time to network, meet someone new and show our appreciation. ARE YOU A VET or DO YOU KNOW A VET LIVING IN MOUNT RAINIER? Call 301-985-6585 and give us their name.

November 22 - Thanksgiving Baskets donated to families I NEED CAN GOODS, TURKEYS, HAMS, CHICKENS, and all the trimmings for Thanksgiving dinner for our families in need.

December20 --Christmas Baskets donated to families I NEED CAN GOODS, TURKEYS, HAMS, CHICKENS, and all the trimmings for Thanksgiving dinner for our families in need.

Mount Rainier a community that believes in helping each other to survive. Please help make this coming holiday season special for our neighbors and seniors.

You may drop off can goods, nonperishables to Mount Rainier City Hall and the Mount Rainier Police Station.

LAST YEAR, you helped to provide 155 Thanksgiving Baskets and another 155 Christmas Baskets. WILL YOU HELP TO DO IT AGAIN? The schools are putting their list of families together NOW.

If you know a family that NEEDS Thanksgiving or Christmas joy, emails me at

THANK YOU in advance, and I look to seeing many of you over the next two months.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


The City will be providing free rides to the Election Polls on Election Day!

Tthe Call A Bus will be available on Election Day from 9:00 am to 5:00pm to take residents to polling places on Election day, Tuesday, November 8th.

Residents who would like to request transportation on this date should call 301-985-6583to make an appointment in advance.

Mayor and Council urge each resident that's registered to vote in the State of Maryland, Prince George's County in particular, to PLEASE get out and vote.


Friday, October 21, 2016


WMATA/Metro is proposing permanent end late night operations. This closure will negatively affect many workers and visitors to the Washington Metropolitan area.

WILL IT negatively affect you, your family, or friends who depend on Metro transportation? If so, read this article, go down to the bottom and submit your comments.

NOW, is the time to let your voice be heard.

Copy and paste the link below into your browser to get the full story and register your concerns.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Important notification from Alert Prince George's. The Prince Georges County Police Department reports the Silver Alert has been resolved in the case of Shirley Ann Siler.

Important notification from Alert Prince George's. 

The Prince Georges County Police Department reports the Silver Alert has been resolved in the case of Shirley Ann Siler.

Did you miss the Mayor and Council's Work Session? You can catch it now.

Thanks to Gerome Williams, you can view the last Mayor and Council work  session on this link.  Please copy and paste it in your browser.

Have you seen her? Shirley Ann Siler is MISSING!

The Prince Georges County Police Department has issued a Silver Alert for 75-year-old Shirley Ann Siler. 

Ms. Siler is a black female with brown eyes and black hair, and wears glasses. She was last seen on 10/18/2016 @ 2:30 pm, the area of Central Hills Lane, Landover, MD wearing a white Shirt and purple pants.

She may be operating a 2008 LIGHT BLUE TOYOTA HIGHLANDER MARYLAND TAG 14768M6.

Contact the Prince Georges County Police Department 301-352-1200  or dial 911if you see her or have information.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Time To Talk Campaign launched by President Tracy Gant

Dear Colleagues:

I began my term as President of this organization with the goal of building greater inclusivity in our communities. The need for greater understanding and compassion has only grown since we gathered in Ocean City this past June. From the horrific attack at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the multiple and ongoing shootings of unarmed black men in communities across the country, to the senseless killing of five Dallas police officers in early July.

On some level, all of these incidents are the result of our fears, our anger, and our failure to effectively empathize with each other. And the only way we can overcome these symptoms of our disconnection is to engage with each other. So, I am encouraging each and every municipality throughout Maryland to consider who among us may feel excluded, unheard and marginalized, because if we cannot discuss the issues that divide us, we cannot begin to address them.

I'm pleased to announce that MML has launched Time To Talk MD, a campaign designed to help communities talk through their tough issues. For some communities, it may be racial inequity, for others it may be ensuring they're not marginalizing community members based on gender, gender identification, age, physical or mental ability, religion, culture, or language barriers.

So that each and every one of us has the tools and inspiration to initiate these conversations, and participate in them effectively, Time To Talk MD will begin with a series of regional forums. These forums will bring together a number of mediators, facilitators and community leaders who have successfully conducted community conversations. These gatherings will provide us, as municipal leaders, with resources and best practices to move forward with our own community conversations.

Time To Talk MD was jumpstarted by a video featuring several officials, who answered the call when I asked for help to articulate my vision. And now, I ask each of you as municipal officials with the health and well-being of the State of Maryland as our common bond, to help us chip away at our disconnection.

Please distribute the video via your local cable access networks. Let residents know that you're a part of a State League that will help you tackle tough discussions.

If you're a central Maryland municipality, plan to attend MML's first Regional forum in early December.

If your region is interested in hosting a forum please contact Tom Reynolds, MML Education Director. Remember, these dialogues will specifically target training municipal officials to help them host town halls/conversations revolved around issues specific to your community.

Spread the word about what both you and the League are doing via social media by using the hashtag #TimeToTalkMD

You will also see elements of inclusivity and tackling tough conversations within upcoming Municipal Maryland articles and workshops at the 2017 Summer Conference. As municipal officials, we must lead by example and I'm proud that our League is, once again, arming us with the tools we need to be the strongest, most effective leaders we can be.

I look forward to you joining this journey to engage one another and your community,'s #TimeToTalkMD.


Tracy Gant
MML President

Mayor, Edmonston

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

School Boundary Hearing for MOUNT RAINIER is TONIGHT!

MOUNT RAINIER -- School Board Hearing on our boundary lines for Thomas Stone Elementary and Mount Rainier Elementary is TONIGHT!

The dates and locations for the public discussions are confirmed and are as follows 

Tuesday, Oct 11 @ 6:30pm - Bladensburg High
Tuesday, Oct 4 @ 6:30pm - Accokeek Academy
Thursday, Oct 6 @ 6:30pm - James Madison Middle

PLEASE go  and let your voices be heard.

Mayor and Council are in a special session tonight, but I promise to make sure that I get on the record in support of changing our school boundaries.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Obituary for Dorothy G. Varnado

Brentwood Councilmember Gina Morlan's mother passed last week. Here is the information about her mother and funeral arrangements.

Obituary for Dorothy G. Varnado

On October 8, 2016 Dorothy G. Varnado of Brentwood, Maryland, wife of the late Damon Varnado, mother of Gina Morlan and Charles (Corky) Sims and his wife Cindy, daughter of the late Norman J. and Lollie A. Gilroy, died at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

She was grandmother to Christopher David Morlan, Kelly Marie Evans (Marcus), Stacey Lynn Morlan, Ashley Nicole Young (Michael) and Caitlyn Marguerite Sims; great-grandmother to Kelcey Nicole Morlan, Christopher David Morlan Jr., Keaton Hunter Evans, Gabrielle Taylor Wilde, Brayden Marcus Evans, Patrick Floyd Morlan, Jaiden Tyler Sims, Talon Jacob Evans, Cassidy Nicole Young, Marley Marie Mae Evans, Nathaniel Robert Morlan and Abigail Rose Morlan.

She was also preceded in death by her siblings Ruth Van Ness, Agnes Lewis, Sarah Butterfield, Mable Windsor, Mary Jane Andre, Shirley Furlong, Norman E. Gilroy and Pat J. Gilroy.

The viewing will be held on Friday, October 14, 2016 at Gasch’s Funeral Home at 4739 Baltimore Avenue, Hyattsville, MD from 10:00am until the funeral service at 12:00pm, internment at Fort Lincoln Cemetery in Brentwood, MD.

Memorial contributions may be made to Veterans of Foreign Wars in her name.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Mount Rainier's City Offices CLOSED for Columbus Day

Mount Rainier's City offices will be closed Monday, October 10, 2016, for Columbus Say.  Yard waste will be collected on Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Emergency Preparedness Committee Members Needed

The Emergency Preparedness Committee is a critical committee for the City of Mount Rainier. The Committee has NOT functioned properly since its inception and is in desperate need of members.

FREE emergency preparedness training will be made available to all members of the committee, and members will be encouraged to keep their skills and training up-to-date.

If you are interested in serving on this committee, please contact Mayor Malinda Miles at

The first meeting of the Emergency Preparedness Committee will take place on Tuesday, October 25, 7 to 9 pm Mount Rainier Police Department.

INTERESTED? Please come out and become a part of this critical Committee.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Yes, we are a green sustainable City...

Monday, October 03, 2016

Online Voting is here!

Well, while we were sleeping, our government came up with another way to allow voters in Maryland to vote -- online voting was approved on September 14.

The system allows voters who request an absentee ballot to access the form online and send back a printed hard copy, with their votes marked by hand or with a new online tool that allows users to mark the document with the click of a mouse or the touch of a keyboard, then print it for mail delivery. Until this year, in large part because of security concerns, the latter option was available only to people with disabilities.

Read the full article at the website listed here.  Please copy link and place in your web address.

Baby Bombers and Millennials Degree but no experience -- NO JOB!

Many are trying to make an issue of the leaked taping of Hillary Clinton's regarding the Millenials.  Well, some of us Baby Boomers remember getting that prized education and being told we were NOT qualified for the job because we did not have experience.  We lived in the basements, one room boarding houses, in our cars, and a host of other places while we tried to make our degrees work for us.

With a Bachelor's degree in hand, I worked at RCA as a welder.  I also worked at an electronic company in Silver Spring as a welder, until they learned that I could type.  I was hired at the NEA as a secretary with my Bachelor;s degree, a husband, and a baby.

SO, what is the problem with Ms. Clinton noting in her speech the plight of the Millenials?   They are going through the same crisis in their lives that has been the standard in America for decades.  Instead of attacking Ms. Clinton and her statement, we should be fixing the problem!  The problem is real.  We are encouraged to go to college, get a degree, and then come out to no jobs in our fields, huge student loans, and no choice but to live in our families' basements, and other places until we can get our "big break." -- whatever that is.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Memories from Mount Rainier Day 2016

Friday, September 30, 2016

New Maryland Laws -- October 1, 2016

Well, the end of September is already here and, of course, a number of new laws passed by our legislators will be enacted, AND the public that has not been paying attention will be required to follow them. IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NO EXCUSE!

Here is what Maryland's Legislators did during their90 day stint in Annapolis while you were sleeping or working for minimum wages or looking for a job or just plain trying to cope with life.

This Saturday, many of the laws passed during this year’s General Assembly session go into effect.

Some key new laws Oct. 1 include measures to:

require ignition interlocks for drunk driving and increase penalties for killing people while driving drunk;

make drivers carry cards showing current insurance coverage;

reform asset forfeiture by police;

expand protections for equal pay for equal work and employees discussing their salaries;

improve child custody rules for parents with disabilities;

change rules for divorcing couples;

keep nonviolent drug offenders from spending long times in prison;

improve public oversight of the police;

encourage more reporting of child abuse and neglect;

withhold tax refunds for people with outstanding arrest warrants;

Other new laws deal with solar hookups, pesticides that kill bees, freedom of the press for students, and gambling on card games at home (no kidding).

Here is a roundup, by subject area, of some of the legislation that begins Saturday:


Drunk Driving Reduction Act/ Noah’s Law (SB 945): The Motor Vehicle Administration will require people convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drivers found to have a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher to use the Ignition Interlock System Program for a specified time. This bill was initiated after Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta was struck and killed by a drunk driver. A sticker honoring the officer will be on each interlock device.

Death or Injury by Vehicle (SB0160, HB157): The law increases penalties for offenders who commit vehicular manslaughter who have been convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol previously. Offenders can now face up to 15 years in prison and $15,000 in fines.

Motor Vehicle Insurance — Carrying Proof of Coverage (SB544, HB 0720): This law requires drivers to have a current insurance identification card — paper, plastic or electronic — with them or in their vehicle, or face a $50 fine starting July 1.

Historic Motor Vehicles – Authorized Uses and Inspections (HB 0058): This law requires historic motor vehicle owners to certify that it will not be used for transportation to employment or school, or for commercial purposes. The law changes some requirements for vehicles from 1985 or earlier.

HOV Lanes – Plug-In Electric Drive and Hybrid Vehicles (HB 1179): This bill issues an HOV permit to a “qualified hybrid vehicle,” allowing the vehicle to be driven in the HOV lane on U.S. Route 50 between I-95 / I-495 and U.S. Route 301, regardless of the number of people in the vehicle.  

-By Vickie Connor


Children in Need of Assistance, Guardianship, Adoption, Custody, and Visitation — Blindness of Parent/Guardian (SB765): In cases with parents with disabilities, these disabling conditions, including blindness, cannot discredit the parent unless proven that the disability is against the best interest of the child.

Divorce-Corroboration of Testimony (SB359, HB274): Reversing previous laws, this allows courts to enter decrees of divorce on behalf of one spouse without the agreement of the other. It also establishes that a separation agreement is no longer sufficient to show both spouses want an absolute divorce.

Testimony by Perjurer (SB150, HB237): People who have been convicted of perjuring themselves, or lying under oath, will no longer be prohibited from testifying in court.

–By Sam Reilly


Providing Alcohol to Underage Drinkers/Alex and Calvin’s Law (HB409): Following the death of Alex Murk and Calvin Li in a 2015 drunken-driving accident after a party, this law prohibits a person from allowing underage individuals to consume alcohol if they should have known that individual would drive under the influence.

Justice Reinvestment Act (SB1005): This law will try to keep more nonviolent offenders and minor drug offenders from going to prison or staying in prison for a long time. It expands drug treatment in the state health department, and treatment for substance abuse and mental health through the corrections department, including risk and needs assessments to determine risks of reoffending. The law also calls for plans for more inmate rehabilitation.

Public Safety and Policing Workgroup (HB1016): This law enacts a number of suggestions from the Public Safety and Policing Workgroup, including protecting law enforcement officers from being penalized or retaliated against for disclosing information about other officers. It also puts a member of the public on the hearing board for police.

Seizure and Forfeiture (SB161/HB336): This law fundamentally reforms how and when law enforcement can seize money and other assets from people suspected of crimes. The asset forfeiture process has been abused in the past, and property has been taken from people with no connection to crime.

Child Abuse and Neglect (SB310, HB245): Anyone involved in an investigation of child abuse or neglect must report suspicions of another individual knowingly failing to report child abuse to the appropriate board, agency, institution or facility.

Criminal Law-Stalking (SB278/HB155): This law expands the definition of stalker from inciting physical fears or threats to include causing emotional distress.
Pretrial Release-Prior Crime of Violence (SB603): A District Court commissioner may not authorize the pretrial release of defendants who have been convicted of a crime of violence or with a weapon.

–By Sam Reilly


Equal Pay for Equal Work (SB 481): An expansion of the current law, this legislation prohibits employers from paying employees of one gender identity at a lesser rate than other employees. The bill does not allow employers to prohibit employees from discussing or disclosing salaries.

Minimum Wage for the Disabled (SB 417): Starting Oct. 1, over four years, this law eventually prohibits any employer from paying subminimum wages to people with disabilities as currently allowed.

–By Katishi Maake


Student Journalists (SB 764): Expands the rights of freedom of speech and of the press to student journalists in public elementary or secondary schools or public institutions of higher education.

University of Maryland Strategic Partnership Act (SB 1052): The law cements a partnership between the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Additionally, it calls for the University System of Maryland to create a headquarters in Baltimore. The alliance leverages resources on both campuses to improve academic programs, and economic and community development.

Consumer Protection Provisions (SB 427): Establishes criminal and civil penalties for private career schools and for-profit institutions that enroll students in programs intended to lead to employment in fields that require a license or certification in Maryland, but that do not meet state requirements for those licenses or certifications.

–By Katishi Maake


Greenhouse Gas Emissions (SB 323): This bill repeals the termination date of the current requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 2006 levels by 2020 and requires the State to reduce GHG emissions by 40% from 2006 levels by 2030.

Pollinator Protection Act — Bees (SB 198/HB 211): Bans the sale of certain pesticides believed to kill bees, unless applied by a certified applicator.

Solar Electric Generating Facility (SB 811/HB 440): Requires electric companies to issue final approval to operate a customer-generator’s solar electric facility on the company’s distribution facilities within 20 business days after the completion of the installation process and receipt of paperwork.

Oysters: Aquaculture – Liability for Trespass (HB 799): Establishes that a person who willfully, negligently, recklessly, wrongfully, or maliciously enters any area leased to another person for aquaculture purposes to harvest, damage, or transfer shellfish or to alter, damage, or remove any markings or equipment is liable for specified damages, which may include attorney fees or court costs.

–By Eleanor Mueller 


Maryland Income Tax Refunds – Warrant Intercept Program (SB 425/HB 390): If an individual has an outstanding arrest warrant, county officials may request that the comptroller withhold that person’s income tax refund, including for active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The state must also study the program to ensure there is no racial bias.

Senior Citizen Activities Center Operating Fund (SB 805/HB 262): This law increases, from $500,000 to $750,000, the minimum annual funding to the fund, requires additional expenditures under specified circumstances, and alters how the funds are distributed to jurisdictions.

–By Eleanor Mueller 


Gaming – Home Games (HB 127): Anyone 21 years or older can bet on home card games or mahjong as long as the games do not occur more than once a week and are played with friends. There is a $1,000 limit per 24-hour period and no fees may be charged.

State Lottery and Video Lottery Facility Payouts — Remittance of Intercepted Prizes (SB 78): The bill repeals the 15-day waiting period for the State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency to transfer the lottery prize payout of a winner who is overdue on child-support payments.

–By Robbie Greenspan


Opioid-Associated Disease Prevention and Outreach Programs (SB 97): The bill repeals Prince George’s County AIDS-related needle exchange program, and will instead authorize health departments or community-based organizations in every county to establish an opioid-associated disease prevention and outreach program, with the approval of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Hospitals – Designation of Lay Caregivers (HB 1277): A hospital is required before the patient is discharged to provide a patient or their legal guardian with an opportunity to designate a “lay caregiver.”

State Board of Physicians – Licensing Exemption – Physicians with Traveling Athletic and Sports Teams (HB 119): Physicians are exempt from state licensing requirements, including the requirement to submit to a criminal history records check.

–By Robbie Greenspan


Open Meetings Act – Agendas (HB 217): Agendas for public body meetings must be made available to the public at the time of the notice of the meeting or at least 24 hours before the meeting.

Open Meetings Act – (SB 17, HB 984): Public bodies will keep a written copy of minutes or video or audio recordings for five years instead of one of an open session.

–By Vickie Connor

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