DNR 2014 Session Legislative Report

statue in front of Maryland State house


This report provides a summary of actions during the 2014 General Assembly session that had important impacts on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

As in previous years, the Department of Natural Resources initiated and supported legislation consistent with the Department’s stewardship role and mission of preserving, protecting, restoring, and enhancing the State’s natural resources. The Department’s key legislative priorities in the 2014 session were:

Preserving and Protecting Maryland’s Land and Trees

  • Wildlands - Governor O’Malley’s Administration bill created 9 new State-designated Wildlands and expanded 14 of the existing 29 Wildlands. The newly-designated 21,887 acres represent an increase of approximately 50% in the amount of State-owned lands protected by law to retain forever their wild character for future generations. SB 336 / HB 296
  • State Board of Foresters – The State Board of Foresters licenses and regulates individuals who practice forestry in the State of Maryland. Licensed foresters apply, for compensation, scientific techniques to the protection, management, and use of trees. DNR supported successful legislation to keep the Board in existence until July 1, 2025. HB 511

Managing Maryland’s Wildlife and Fisheries

  • Recreational Incentives Pilot Program – Legislation proposed by DNR establishes a pilot program to determine whether offering discounted fishing and hunting licenses to individuals who have not held a recreational fishing or hunting license for at least three years, will increase license sales. SB 93
  • Fisheries Management – Proposed legislation that would have undermined the Department’s oyster restoration efforts was replaced by cooperative pilot programs. SB 466 / HB 1155 / SB 1111 / HB 1551
  • Proposed legislation that would have interfered with recent improvements in management of the striped bass fishery was prevented from passing. HB 1104, SB 591

Protecting Maryland Citizens in our Waterways

  • Impaired Boating – Legislation proposed by DNR would have increased the coverage of “operating under the influence” laws to include nonmotorized sailboats, canoes and kayaks as required by U.S. Coast Guard regulations. The legislation failed on a tie vote in a Senate committee. SB 94 Vessels

Protecting Maryland’s Vulnerable Coastal Areas

  • Climate Adaptation – Legislation proposed by DNR requires State agencies to consider the risk of coastal flooding and sea level rise when making funding decisions for new capital projects. The legislation codifies in law Governor O’Malley’s Climate Change and “Coast Smart” Construction Executive Order 01.01.2012.29 and creates a Coast Smart Council to establish specific criteria for the siting and design of new or reconstructed State structures. HB 615

Protecting Personal Identity Information

  • Social Security Numbers – DNR supported legislation that will allow collection of only the last 4 digits instead of the entire Social Security number from applicants for recreational hunting and fishing licenses. HB 1174

A thorough summary of actions taken during the legislative session is contained in The 90 Day Report written by the Department of Legislative Services. Part K of the report describes actions related to natural resources, environment and agriculture. Part A includes the FY 2015 budget. Detailed budget information is contained in the bills that enacted the fiscal year 2015 operating and capital budgets (SB 170 and SB 171), the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2014 (BRFA – SB 172), and the Joint Chairmen’s Report on the Fiscal 2015 State Operating Budget (SB 170) and the State Capital Budget (SB 171) and Related Recommendations.

Texts of bills and fiscal notes, recordings of hearings and floor debates, and other detailed information on legislation and issues related to the Maryland General Assembly are available online at http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frm1st.aspx?tab=home.

During the Maryland General Assembly’s 2014 session 2,693 pieces of legislation were introduced and 814 (30%) were passed by both the Senate and the House of Delegates. DNR’s Legislative Office tracked 335 bills and provided 150 bill reports expressing support of or opposition to individual bills or providing background information. DNR provided information to the Department of Legislative Services for 136 Fiscal and Policy Notes.

Our shared success during the 2014 legislative session would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of the many people throughout DNR who provided critical assistance and expertise. Special thanks to Legislative Assistant Eileen Mosley and Legislative Fellow Sean McTamany, who were indispensable members of our legislative team.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Department’s Legislative Office at 410-260-8107 with any questions or comments.

Richard D. Norling
Legislative Director
Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Download 2014 DNR Session Legislative Report