The leaders of the Maryland General Assembly announced today that the 2020 session will adjourn on Wednesday March 18th due to the coronavirus outbreak. The 90-day session was scheduled to run through April 6th. This will be the first time since the Civil War that the Maryland lawmaking session has closed early.
EV Related Bills in Limbo
With the abbreviated session and the lawmakers focusing on emergency legislation related to the COVID-19 crisis and getting the budget passed, legislation related to electric vehicle issues will be strained. The House and Senate were in session over the weekend and two bills that we are tracking made some movement.
Howard County, Maryland passed one of the earliest anti-ICEing laws in July, 2014. The ordinance is designed to keep Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars from blocking electric vehicle charging stations. In the five years since it was enacted, only three citations have been given according to the Howard County Police Department. One ticket each in the years 2014, 2017 and 2019.
Signage an Issue
Many anti-ICEing laws require an official sign to be posted in order to be enforced on private or public property. In Howard County, the sign must be at least 12 inches by 18 inches and meet government standards.
A sign that designates a space under this subsection must meet be at least 12 inches by 18 inches and meet any applicable State or Federal standards for parking control signs.
Howard Co. MD Sec. 21.207c3 Parking restrictions – Plug-in vehicle recharging stations
One Sign Considered Enforceable
The Howard County Police Department created a Training Bulletin to provide guidance to officers when responding to calls of non-electric vehicles parked in EV charging spaces.
Some of the key points listed in the bulletin are:
Proposed Legislation Would Double EV Registration Fees
A bill in the Maryland General Assembly proposes a larger annual vehicle registration fee for electric vehicles. The proposal would actually double the annual fee on all classes of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in Maryland.
“Increasing Highway Equity Act”
HB1626, sponsored by Delegate C. T. Wilson of Charles County, is named the Increasing Highway Equity Act. The synopsis of the bill is “Doubling the annual registration fees for motor vehicles of any class that are zero-emission vehicles.”
Maryland has committed to 60,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2020 and 300,000 ZEVs by 2025 as part of the California Clean Cars Program that Maryland adopted in 2007. The state has been struggling to reach that goal. According to data from the MVA, as of January there are 24,615 plug-in electric vehicles registered in Maryland.
Addresses EV Charging Installation for Condo and HOA Members
A “Right to Charge” bill (SB 630) passed in the Virginia General Assembly today. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.
The legislation prohibits HOAs, condominium associations and cooperatives from prohibiting the installation of an electric vehicle charging station in a resident’s designated parking space. The bill sets a certain framework including requiring the EV owner to pay for the electricity plus the cost of the installation of the charging stations.
Joins New York, Florida, Colorado, California, Oregon & Hawaii in Right to Charge
Similar legislation was enacted in New York last December. Five other states have “Right to Charge” laws including Florida, Hawaii and California. Maryland lawmakers are also considering a proposal this session.
Virginia Senator Scott A. Surovell sponsored the “Right to Charge” bill (SB 630) in response to a constituent in Prince William County who reached out to him because his condo association refused to consider his application to install a charging station.
Earlier this week, the House Communications, Technology and Innovation Committee approved SB 630 unanimously, 22 to 0.
Senator Surovell told the committee, “This bill is modeled on Florida law and we made some changes to make it consistent with what we thought was Virginia law.”
Today, I testified before the House Environment and Transportation Committee in support of “Right to Charge” bill HB 111. This bill would prevent HOAs or condo boards from unreasonably restricting a homeowner from installing an EV charging station in their designated parking space.
The hearing went well. No opposition to the bill. In fact, the group that represents the interests of HOAs and condominiums in Maryland testified that they’ve worked out a few tweaks to the bill with the sponsor, Delegate Marc Korman, and are supporting the bill with those amendments.
Right-to-Charge Senate Bill Filed
The Senate cross-file for the Right to Charge legislation is SB 734 sponsored by Senators Lam, Peters, Rosapepe, and Young. The hearing date hasn’t been scheduled yet. Keep an eye on the Electric Vehicle Legislation Tracker for the hearing date on SB 734.
Bill to Extend ZEEVIC
HB 232, sponsored by Del. Fraser-Hidalgo is being heard in the House Environment and Transportation Committee on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 1:00 PM. This bill would extend the term of the Maryland Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council (ZEEVIC) until June 30, 2026. The term of the council sunsets this year.
Today begins the fourth week of the 60-day legislative session in Richmond. Two electric vehicle bills have already made significant progress. Several other pieces of legislation have hearings on the agenda today and tomorrow.
Action on Two Virginia Bills
Here is an update for EV-related legislation in Richmond:
SB 630, a “Right-to-Charge” bill has passed the Senate (39-Y 1-N). This bill, sponsored by Senator Scott Surovell aims to make it easier for residents to install EV charging equipment at condos and homes governed by an HOA. It will head to the House next.
HB 511 was reported from the Transportation Committee with amendments (20-Y 2-N). This would give authority to enable state government agencies to operate retail fee-based electric vehicle charging stations on property controlled by the agency. This bill, sponsored by Del. David Bulova, is similar to charging station legislation he got passed in 2018.
Hearings This Week in Richmond
SB 988 would authorize Dominion Energy to implement projects to encourage the adoption of electric school buses. It is on the agenda for today’s Senate Commerce and Labor, Energy Subcommittee meeting scheduled for 4:00 PM.
Governor Hogan Wants to Double Funding to $12 Million Annually
The Clean Cars Act of 2020 proposes to increase the funding for the Maryland electric vehicle excise tax credit. Annual funding would increase from $6,000,000 to $12,000,000 through fiscal year 2023 under the proposal by Governor Larry Hogan.
Under the proposal, the Maryland Department of Transportation will not approve tax credits after the $12 million allocated for each fiscal year runs out. Applicants will then be put on a waiting list the same as they have done previously.
Maryland Clean Cars Act
The Clean Cars Act of 2020 (SB277 & HB359) would also extend the term of the Maryland Zero Emission Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council (ZEEVIC) until 2023.
Indiana may be the first state in the nation to reconsider their supplemental fee on electric vehicles. In 2017, the Indiana legislature added an annual fee of $150 to register an electric vehicle and $50 to register a hybrid vehicle. House Bill 1227 introduced by Rep. Carey Hamilton and Rep. Rita Fleming would repeal those supplemental fees entirely.
Lost Gasoline Tax Revenue
State legislatures have been targeting plug-in electric vehicles for extra annual registration fees in recent years. About half the states charge these additional fees to make up for lost revenue on state gasoline taxes. West Virginia enacted a $200 annual fee on electric vehicles in 2017.
Electric Vehicle Fee Fair or Punitive?
Last year, Illinois proposed a $1,000 registration fee on electric cars that caused an outcry before they backed off and passed the bill with a lower amount. Some EV advocates say the fees are punitive and chills the market for cleaner cars. Others say it’s fair that all drivers contribute to the cost of the roads.
A Right to Charge bill before the Maryland legislature would require that the governing body of a condominium or HOA approve requests to install electric vehicle charging equipment provided that certain conditions are met.
Addresses Challenges for Multi-Unit Housing Residents
Maryland House Bill 111, sponsored by Delegate Marc Korman, would help establish guidelines and a process for condo boards and home owners associations to approve a resident’s application to install an EV charging station. The resident must pay all the costs, obtain any required permits and follow applicable laws and regulations associated with installing the charging equipment.
Synopsis of Maryland HB 111
Providing that certain provisions of a recorded covenant or restriction, a declaration, or the bylaws or rules of a condominium or homeowners association are void and unenforceable if they prohibit or unreasonably restrict the installation or use of electric vehicle recharging equipment; requiring certain owners of electric vehicle recharging equipment to be responsible for certain costs and disclosures; requiring a unit owner or lot owner to obtain certain permits or approval; etc.
UPDATE: This bill died in Subcommittee on Feb. 17, 2020
Virginia Senator Ghazala F. Hashmi wants to impose serious punishment against people who are guilty of “ICEing” an EV charging station. She has introduced an anti-ICEing bill (SB 911) that proposes a $500 penalty for violators in addition to being subject to being towed.
If Senator Hashmi’s bill is enacted without amendments, Virginia would have one on the harshest anti-ICEing laws in the United States. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Transportation and has a long way to go before the 2020 lawmaking session in Richmond ends on March 7th.