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MSBA Sections carry on their advocacy in Annapolis as the torrent of legislative activity continues unabated. Here are a few examples of how MSBA Sections are helping craft the laws that lawyers must navigate every day.

Business Law Section

On March 6, 2023, Penny Somer-Grief submitted testimony in favor of HB999 (Corporations – Filing Requirements for Dissolution and Termination of Registration or Qualification – Repeal), which would remove the prohibition on the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation from “accepting articles of dissolution filed by a Maryland corporation for record or issuing a certificate of termination to a foreign corporation that has filed an application for termination, in each case if the corporation has not filed all reports required by Title 11 of the Tax-Property Article.”

In her written testimony, submitted on behalf of the Business Law Section Council, Somer-Greif noted that currently there is no such blanket prohibition in the Maryland Limited Liability Act or the Maryland Limited Partnership Act. “Therefore, in general the Bill would put corporations on equal footing with other Maryland limited liability companies, and we believe that, in general, similar entities should be treated similarly under Maryland law unless there is a logical reason to treat them differently, which we do not believe is the case when it comes to the dissolution of such companies.” Somer-Greif is the Chair of the Business Law Section.

Consumer Bankruptcy

On Feb. 24, 2023, Bud Stephen Tayman submitted written testimony on behalf of the Consumer Bankruptcy Section in opposition to HB836 (Residents of Common Ownership Communities – Discharge of Liabilities in Bankruptcy Proceedings), which, in part, would have prohibited “the discharge in bankruptcy proceedings of (1) any assessment, charge, fee, or fine, or (2) any lien related to any assessment, charge, fee, or fine owed to the governing body of a cooperative housing corporation, condominium, or homeowner’s association.”

Noting that “bankruptcy discharge is the essence of bankruptcy law,” Tayman wrote that “since 1970, issues relating to which debts are, or are not, dischargeable in federal bankruptcy proceedings are exclusively a matter of federal law.” The House Environment and Transportation Committee cancelled a Feb. 27 hearing on this bill and on March 6 the bill was withdrawn by its sponsor.

For a learned discourse on federal and state law conflict in the bankruptcy context, read Tayman’s written testimony. Tayman is a member of the Section Council.

Criminal Law & Practice

On Feb. 2, 2023, Carrie J. Williams submitted written testimony in favor of HB481 (Drug Paraphernalia for Administration – Decriminalization), which make “a number of useful and timely changes to the law applying to drug paraphernalia.” For example, “It removes syringes and similar equipment, the inclusion of which has been a bar to a number of drug overdose reduction efforts, while leaving in other items more commonly associated with manufacturing and distribution.” That and other changes, outlined in the written testimony, “… are all useful changes that aligns the statute with past reform efforts for marijuana and with the law enforcement focus more on distribution and manufacturing and less on personal use of substances, especially marijuana.” Williams is the Chair of the Section’s Legislative Committee.

Immigration Law

At the federal level of government, the MSBA Immigration Law Section endorsed the Protect Vulnerable Immigrant Youth Act  of 2023, which was reintroduced by Representatives Gomez, Espaillat and Lofgren. The bill would exempt Special Immigrant Juvenile Status beneficiaries from the numerical visa limitations which causes a backlog. Read the Letter of Endorsement to which the Section is signatory. The MSBA congratulates Section Chair, Eva Cockerham, for organizing the Section Council’s support for this action.

MSBA Advocacy

The MSBA actively shapes practice-based legislation and policy to realize the best possible outcomes for Maryland’s lawyers and legal professionals. Visit MSBA Advocacy to learn more. We welcome questions and comments at advocacy@msba.org.