Category Archives: Legislation

Maryland Anti-ICEing Law Proposed for 2017

An “anti-ICEing” law is being proposed for the 2017 session of the Maryland General Assembly. The bill, HB 36 [PDF link], has been pre-filed by Delegate Clarence Lam who represents District 12 with parts of Howard and Baltimore Counties. The bill has 12 additional co-sponsors.

This bill is very similar to HB 839 that passed the House in the 2016 session but died in the Senate. This will be the fifth attempt at “anti-ICEing” legislation in Maryland.

The bill, as introduced, will require “green pavement markings” in addition to a sign that meets applicable requirements in order to be enforceable.

Sign and Green Pavement Markings Specified

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

(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

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

List of Sponsors

Primary Sponsor: Clarence Lam, Co-Sponsors: Tawanna Gaines, Carol Krimm, Karen Young, Terri Hill, Stephen Lafferty, Frank Turner, David Fraser-Hidalgo, Jimmy Tarlau, Eric Ebersole, Shane Robinson, Eric Luedtke and Barrie Ciliberti.

More Details Soon

Stay tuned to @PlugInSites, we expect to report additional details including a hearing date shortly.

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Funds Nearly Depleted for Maryland Plug-In Vehicle Excise Tax Credit for Fiscal Year 2017

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UPDATE: Funds are now depleted.

Maryland plug-in electric vehicle buyers may want to be aware of this. According to the Maryland MVA, the funds for the Plug-In Vehicle Excise Tax Credit for fiscal year 2017 are nearly depleted.

The following bulletin is dated August 29, 2016

Please be advised that the allotted funds for plug-in electric vehicles for fiscal year 2017 are nearly depleted. Once funds are gone, the program will end and we will not accept or process any excise tax credits for plug-in electric vehicles. Please alert your customers to this information prior to their purchase.

We will issue another Bulletin when the funds are gone.

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White House Announces Bold Plan to Accelerate Deployment of EV Charging Infrastructure in US

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The White House announced a plan to help put more electric vehicles on the road by accelerating the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The coalition of nearly 50 auto manufacturers, electric utilities, charging station companies, states  and organizations seeks to ensure that electric vehicle drivers will have access to charging stations at home, where they work, and while traveling on the road.

Highlights from the announcement include:

  • Unlocking up to $4.5 billion in loan guarantees and inviting applications to support the commercial-scale deployment of innovative electric vehicle charging facilities;
  • Launching the FAST Act process to identify zero emission and alternative fuel corridors, including for electric vehicle charging across the country, and standing up an effort to develop a 2020 vision for a national network of electric vehicle fast charging stations that will help determine where along the corridors it makes the most sense to locate the fast charging infrastructure;
  • Announcing a call for state, county, and municipal governments to partner with the Federal government to procure electric vehicle fleets at a discounted value;
  • Leveraging the power of data and hosting an ‘Electric Vehicle Hackathon’ to discover insights and develop new solutions for electric vehicle charging;
  • Publishing a guide to Federal funding, financing, and technical assistance for electric vehicles and charging stations; and
  • 35 new businesses, non-profits, universities, and utilities signing on to DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge and committing to provide electric vehicle charging access for their workforce.

Continue reading

Maryland PSC Conference – Details for Public Comments

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If you are interested in expressing your comments to the Maryland Public Service Commission Public Conference on the deployment of electric vehicles in the state that we posted here last week, here is the information you need to know.

Instructions for Public Comment

The public conference is scheduled for July 14, 2016 starting at 10:00 AM. It will be held in the Commission’s 16th Floor Hearing Room, at William Donald Schaefer Tower, 6 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD

No Need to Pre-Register

The following info was provided to PlugInSites by the Maryland Public Service Commission Chairman’s Senior Advisor.

Individuals from the general public will be permitted to make brief remarks (no more than 5 minutes each) at the conclusion of the panels for PC43. Individuals are encouraged, but not required, to sign up in advance by email to Marissa Gillett at the address on page 3 of the Notice of Public Conference. Otherwise, there will be a sign-up sheet provided the morning of July 14th at the entrance to the Commission’s 16th floor hearing room. At the conclusion of the three panels, the Chairman will invite members of the public to the table to offer their comments. No materials need to be prepared or submitted in advance.

The proceedings will be live-streamed from the hearing room. The public can watch online from the Maryland PSC website. Archived proceedings will also be available to view after the Public Conference.

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Conference to Explore Role of Maryland Utilities in EV Deployment

MarylandPSClogo

The Public Service Commission of Maryland has announced a Public Conference to explore regulatory issues related to the deployment of electric vehicles in the state.

The public conference is scheduled for July 14, 2016 starting at 10:00 AM in Baltimore. The PSC plans to provide a live stream of the panels.

Three panels are currently scheduled:

1) Utility Investment in Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

This panel will discuss the potential for utility involvement in deploying EV charging infrastructure in Maryland.

2) The Grid-Related Costs Associated with Vehicle Fleet Electrification

This will address strategies, such as time-of-use tariffs to minimize grid-related costs associated with EV deployment.

3) Energy Justice Spotlight: Access to Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Charging Incentives in Limited-Income and Other Under-Served Communities

Panelists will discuss potential energy justice issues and identify potential methods to address them through coordinated EV deployment strategies in the State.

Download a PDF of the notice here.

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Private Property Anti-ICEing Law in Effect for Howard County

Ticket for blocking an EV Charging Spot Parking Citation SUV

Allows Police to Enforce on Private Property

As of May 11, 2016, the Howard County, Maryland law that gives police the explicit authority to write tickets for ICEing on private property is in effect. The space at the charging station must be designated with a sign that conforms to applicable standards.

Howard County Council Bill CB7-2016

In March, the Howard County Council passed an amendment that added the following two sentences to the existing anti-ICEing law:
(1) THE POLICE DEPARTMENT MAY ENFORCE THIS SECTION ON PUBLIC PROPERTY OR PRIVATE PROPERTY.
(2) THE POLICE DEPARTMENT MAY IMPOUND A VEHICLE THAT IS PARKED IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION.

no-parking-sign

Regulatory Signage Needed in Order to be Enforceable

In order for the Howard County Police to enforce the law, the spot must have a sign that is at least 12 inches by 18 inches and meet applicable State or Federal standards for parking control signs, i.e. standards as defined in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

Very few charging stations in Howard County have these signs. The dark blue signs at Columbia Association parking lots have not conformed to the standards but they are working with Howard County on getting new signs that do. As of May 10, 2016, the new signs had not been installed but unofficial pavement markings at each of the charging spots have been applied and when combined with the official signs, is expected to help reduce the ICEing problem.

A Role for Local EV Organizations?

The next challenge is to convince private parking lot managers to post the regulatory signs that will allow the laws to be enforced. I’ve suggested that local non-profit EV organizations could use their status in the community and leverage their sizable memberships as well as their financial resources to educate property owners and supply signs that meet the standards required in Howard, Montgomery and Baltimore Counties. A coordinated effort to get official signs installed would be more productive than public “shaming” on social media and freelance spray painting like happened a few years ago. (see: Is Graffiti the Right Response to ICEing Problem?)

@Lanny

Anti-ICEing Law Now in Effect in Baltimore County

Violation Punishable by $75 Fine

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Baltimore County Anti-ICEing Law Took Effect April 4, 2016

Baltimore County now joins Montgomery and Howard Counties in Maryland as having a law to prohibit non plug-in electric vehicles from blocking EV charging spaces. The bill was sponsored by Cathy Bevins and Tom Quirk and was passed unanimously by Baltimore County Council on March 21.

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Example of an official sign

The law is enforceable on private property that is used by the public such as shopping centers. The law says that in order to be enforced, the charging space must be designated by a sign approved by the police. Presumably, this includes that the signs must conform in design, color, size, and placement to the standards established in the “Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways.”

A violation will be punishable by a fine of $75.00. There is no towing provision spelled out in the Baltimore County law.

The Baltimore County Police non-emergency number is 410-887-2222.

COUNTY COUNCIL OF BALTIMORE COUNTY, MARYLAND
Legislative Session 2015, Legislative Day No. 4

Bill No. 9-16A PERSON MAY NOT PARK A VEHICLE THAT IS NOT A PLUG-IN VEHICLE IN A SPACE, INCLUDING A SPACE ON PRIVATE PROPERTY USED BY THE PUBLIC IN GENERAL, THAT

(1) IS DESIGNATED FOR THE USE OF PLUG-IN VEHICLES WITH A SIGN APPROVED BY THE POLICE DEPARTMENT STATING THE PROHIBITION OF THIS SECTION; AND

(2) PROVIDES ACCESS TO A PLUG-IN VEHICLE RECHARGING STATION.

(8) PARKING IN A SPACE DESIGNATED FOR PLUG-IN VEHICLES IN VIOLATION OF §18-2-212 IS A VIOLATION PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF $75; AND

SECTION 2. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, that this Act, having been passed by the affirmative vote of five members of the County Council shall take effect on April 4, 2016.

Source PDF

Columbia Association Asks Police Not to Enforce ICEing Law

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Recently, the Columbia Association took down the “EV PARKING ONLY” signs at their five EV charging stations in Howard County, MD. [See: Signs Removed to Prevent Enforcement of Anti-ICEing Law] The staff said that they didn’t want people to get tickets after a law was passed to clarify enforcement at charging stations on private parking facilities in the county.

Taking down the signs was a surprise and contradicted the Columbia Association’s earlier position that the “EV PARKING ONLY” signs were posted only because Howard County had a law that the Council passed in July, 2014. [See: Anti-ICEing Bill Passed in Howard County]

I attended the March 24, 2016 Columbia Association Board Meeting and “resident speak out” session to bring the matter to the attention of the CA President/CEO Milton Matthews and Board Members to seek a resolution. Here is audio from that session:


Audio: @Lanny speaks to Columbia Association Board of Directors about EV Parking Signs.

At about the 3:50 mark, CA President Milton Matthews says the signs have been put back up, however they have reached out to the Howard County Police Department and told them that if a non-electric vehicle parks there, they (CA) does not want them ticketed or towed. This of course goes against the spirit of the anti-ICEing law that Columbia Association said they wanted and that the EV community and local lawmakers led by Jen Terrasa and Calvin Ball spent several years getting passed.

It doesn’t make sense to wait until there is an enforceable regulation to put up signs that reserve the spots for EVs and then to take the signs down or ask the police to not enforce the hard-won law.

The Columbia Association President told me to check back in about a month and he will tell me where they stand at that time.

pluginsites_org-CAmeet-2

Temporary signs are back up at Columbia Association but the ICEing continues.

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Maryland Anti-ICEing Bill Advances – Green Pavement Marking Required for Enforcement

PlugInSites_hb839bw
If the current Maryland anti-ICEing bill becomes law, will most charging spots actually be enforceable? Probably not, unless charging station owners take the initiative to post the special signs and apply and maintain green painted markings on the pavement to designate each EV charging space.

Key Proposed Amendment Missing

House Bill 839 has passed a vote in the Maryland House of Delegates today, although it doesn’t have all the amendments that we asked for. Disappointingly, the bill still requires “green pavement markings” in addition to a sign in order to be enforceable. The inclusion of the pavement markings provision is reportedly at the request of law enforcement who say that they will not enforce parking restrictions at handicapped parking spots if the spot is not marked on the pavement and will apply that same policy to EV charging spaces.

Compared to Handicapped Parking Enforcement

Oddly, there is no requirement for handicapped parking spots to have pavement markings under Federal or Maryland State Code. The law enforcement sources that were consulted by the legislature reported said that some courts routinely throw out cases involving handicapped parking if the pavement is not marked and that is the basis for their position.

PlugInSites_RFSw

White pavement marking will not be enforceable – 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 instead of green or white paint.

Signs Simplified

We were, however, successful in getting two amendments that we asked for. One was to remove language requiring that vehicles be connected for charging purposes. That was struck from the bill. The other amendment that we suggested was to remove the requirement for lengthy language to be stated on the sign detailing that violators would be subject to a fine and towing or removal at the owner’s expense. We suggested that the sign simply meet the applicable standards for parking control signs. That was adopted and the requirement is now simply to state the maximum fine on the sign, i.e. “$100 MAX FINE”.

Effective signage is possibly more important than laws in keeping people with gas cars from parking in EV charging station spots. It has been a challenge to convince charging station owners to post signs that are effective. There is also the issue of unintended consequences. A number of charging stations in Howard County Maryland had their signs removed recently as a result of the County Council passing an anti-ICEing law. The station’s owner, the Columbia Association, “didn’t want people to get tickets.”

Next Step

The bill heads to the Senate now. Stay tuned for developments.

Howard County Passes Update to Anti-ICEing Law

PlugInSites_org_hocoCB7-2016

Allows Police to Enforce on Private Property

In 2014, Howard County Councilmember Jen Terassa sponsored Council Bill 36-2014 which was designed to prohibit ICEing of EV charging stations. The bill passed and a law went into effect a few months later. Soon after, there arose varying interpretations of the Police Department’s legal authority to enforce EV parking spaces on private property. (see: Police: No Authority to Ticket for ICEing on Private Property)

In response, a new bill was introduced by Councilmember Terrasa and co-sponsored by County Council Chairperson Calvin Ball. (see: Message to Maryland EV Advocates from Howard County Council Member Jen Terrasa)

Howard County CB7-2016 will add the following two sentences to the existing anti-ICEing law:
(1) THE POLICE DEPARTMENT MAY ENFORCE THIS SECTION ON PUBLIC PROPERTY OR PRIVATE PROPERTY.
(2) THE POLICE DEPARTMENT MAY IMPOUND A VEHICLE THAT IS PARKED IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION.

Council Voted to Pass CB7-2016

On March 7, 2016, the County Council voted in favor of CB7-2016. During the vote, Council Chairperson Ball thanked Councilmember Jen Terrasa for her leadership and partnership on this issue. Ball said, “I believe that renewable energy is important and I believe that we should continue moving toward a more sustainable future for our environment.”

Terassa said, “This is an important addition to the bill that we did before.”

no-parking-sign

Regulatory Signage Needed in Order to be Enforceable

EV drivers shouldn’t get too excited and think that the police can now just write tickets at any and all charging stations in Howard County. The law will require a sign that is at least 12 inches by 18 inches and must meet any applicable State or Federal standards for parking control signs. That means that in order to be enforceable, the sign must meet standards defined in the Federal or Maryland Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Very few charging stations in Howard County have these signs installed. The only place I’ve seen them are at Howard County government charging stations. Importantly, the signs at Columbia Association parking lots do not seem to conform to the standards.

A Role for Local EV Organizations?

It will be a challenge to convince private parking facility owners and managers to post regulatory signs that will allow the police to ticket. Perhaps some of the Maryland-based EV organizations that have memberships, money and influence can take the initiative to get signs that meet the required standards installed at frequently ICEd charging stations in Howard and Montgomery Counties. The Columbia Association Athletic Club would be a good place to begin. (see: Is Graffiti the Right Response to ICEing Problem?)

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