As the General Assembly heads into the last week of the 2019 legislative session, MML is still tracking several bills of importance to municipal government. One such bill is HB 1045/SB 917 which would require the establishment of a housing element in all local government comprehensive master plans. A housing element would be required to include references to low-income and workforce housing. MML supported the bill with an amendment to remove a reference to gentrification. The House passed the amended version of the bill, and both bills are currently in the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee awaiting action. If the Senate Committee does not take action on either bill before the final day of session on April 8th, both will die in Committee.
On a related note, SB 203/HB 120 which removes the inclusion of urban trees in the State’s forest definition are also stalled in the House Environment and Transportation Committee. While SB 203 passed the Senate, the House has yet to take action on either the Senate or House versions of the legislation. MML did not take a formal position on the bill, but did express concern that urban tree canopy would no longer be included in the 40% no net loss of forestry definition.