Anti-ICEing Bill Proposed in Maryland – 2017 HB 36

Maryland State Delegate Clarence Lam has introduced a bill to penalize “ICEing” if a charging station has a specific sign and the space is marked with green paint. The bill, HB 36, [PDF link] is the fifth attempt at “anti-ICEing” legislation in the Maryland General Assembly.

The language of HB 36 is identical to HB 839 that passed the House in the 2016 Session but didn’t have time to make it through the Senate. This time, the bill will have a much earlier start and should be able to easily pass the House again, as long as there are no significant changes to the bill. The hope is that there will be more time to also get it passed in the Senate in 2017.

Example of signage required to be posted for proposed anti-ICEing law to be enforceable.

Legislation Won’t Be A Cure-All

If the Maryland anti-ICEing bill becomes law, will all charging spots therefore be enforceable? Unfortunately, no. The majority of charging stations in Maryland do not have signs that conform to the state and federal parking sign standards specified in HB 36 and/or don’t have green pavement markings. Each charging station operator or site host must take the initiative to post the official signs that include stating the maximum fine of $100 and they must also apply and maintain green pavement markings in order to comply with the bill’s enforcement provisions.

Official Signs – Easier Said Than Done

It can be a challenge to convince charging station owners to post official signs. I spent over three years trying to get the Columbia Association to post effective signs that act as a deterrent to people thinking of parking an ICE vehicle at a charging station. Some site hosts prefer to have understated “informational signs” that conform to the color and design preferences of the property but are not really effective. There is also the issue of the site host not wanting to risk upsetting customers who may incur fines from the police. The Columbia Association actually removed the signs at their charging stations after the Howard County Council passed an anti-ICEing law enforceable on private property. They “didn’t want people to get tickets.”

The Problem with “Green Pavement Markings”

Requiring green pavement markings to designate enforceable charging spaces is currently unique to Washington State. No other states or local jurisdictions that I am aware of require this. I believe that the requirement to indicate a charging space by green pavement markings in HB 36 is subject to misinterpretation by parking facility managers and law enforcement. It is well-meaning but creates problems in my opinion.

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White pavement marking will not be enforceable under HB 36 – must be green.

Unfortunately, there are no uniform standards for marking the pavement at EV charging spaces. Some charging station operators use white stenciled lettering to mark the pavement. Some paint the whole space green, others only make the lines separating the spaces green. Some even use blue or red instead of green or white paint.

I suggest that HB 36 have a simple amendment to allow white as well as green pavement markings.

What You Need to Know

Here are highlights of the bill.

Enforceable Only With Official Sign and Green Pavement Markings

(C) A sign designating a plug–in electric drive vehicle charging space shall:
(1) Be at least 18 inches high and 12 inches wide;
(2) Be clearly visible to the driver of a motor vehicle entering the plug–in electric drive vehicle charging space;
(3) State the maximum fine that may be incurred for a violation; and
(4) Meet any applicable state and federal requirements for parking signs.
(D) A plug–in electric drive vehicle charging space shall be indicated by green pavement markings.

Towing Provision Included

(E) (1) A privately owned parking facility may have a vehicle that is stopped, standing, or parked in violation of this section towed or removed in accordance with subtitle 10a of this title.
(2) (I) A parking facility owned by a local jurisdiction may have a vehicle that is stopped, standing, or parked in violation of this section ticketed, towed, or removed if authorized by local law.

$100 Fine for ICEing

(G) A person who violates this section is subject to a civil penalty of $100.

Hearing Date is January 26, 2017

A hearing on HB 36 is scheduled for Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 2:00 PM in the House Environment and Transportation Committee. [info] I plan to testify.

Panel testimony to House Committee in Annapolis on 2016 version of Maryland anti-ICEing bill.

Stay tuned to @PlugInSites, for updates.

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