Maryland Stands Up for Wildlife and Bans Chlorpyrifos – 2020 Session Recap

The 2020 Legislative Session ended at 5:00 pm on March 18, 2020, a decision in Maryland’s history that had not happened since the Civil War. Many emergency bills passed in the wake of the COVID- 19 virus as well 600 other pieces of legislation. Maryland Votes for Animals worked on 24 bills that involved animals in 2020. One bill passed both chambers And will become law unless it is vetoed by Governor Hogan in 30 days.

Pesticides – Use of Chlorpyrifos- Prohibition HB 229/SB 300 sponsored by Delegate Dana Stein and Senator Clarence Lam. As of January 1, 2021, it will be illegal to use Chlorpyrifos in Maryland. Maryland becomes the fourth state in the nation to ban the use of Chlorpyrifos, the second to do it by statute, and the first state in the Continental United States to ban a toxic pesticide that was used in agriculture and on golf courses. Banned for indoor use in the 1990s due to its association with causing brain damage in children, Chlorpyrifos is still legal for outdoor use. Chlorpyrifos is toxic to many species of birds including robins, grackles, pigeons, and Mallard Ducklings. In addition to laying fewer eggs, the eggshells of eggs laid by Mallards exposed to Chlorpyrifos are thinner than normal, so fewer ducklings survive. DDT, a pesticide similar to Chlorpyrifos, was banned in the US in 1972 after Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring exposed the hazards of DDT to people and wildlife, especially birds.

Chlorpyrifos was scheduled to be banned by the Obama Administration in 2017. However, the ban was reversed by the Trump Administration despite the fact that in 2017 the US Fish and Wildlife Service found Chlorpyrifos would “jeopardize the existence” of more than 1200 endangered species including including birds, fish, and other wildlife.
We are proud that Maryland’s legislators have taken this bold step to protect Maryland’s citizens, wildlife, and environment. While the bill passed with a four-year sunset, we are confident that Maryland’s legislators will see fit to keep the ban on use of this toxic pesticide in place.

Bills That Did Not Pass- Likely to be Reintroduced in 2021 We are optimistic that these bills will progress swiftly after successful hearings and passing in one chamber of the Maryland General Assembly in 2020.

Organized Wildlife Killing Contests – HB 863 sponsored by Delegate Dana Stein passed the House 106-27.
Unattended Dogs in Extreme Weather – HB 406 sponsored by Delegate Mary Lehman passed the House 123-9. SB 627, the Senate version sponsored by Senator Ben Kramer did not advance out of committee.
Business Regulation – Retail Pet Stores – No More Puppy and Kitten Mills Act of 2020 SB 625 sponsored by Senator Ben Kramer passed the Senate unanimously 45-0.
Pets for Vets Act of 2020– SB 128 sponsored by Senator Bryan Simonaire passed the Senate unanimously 45-0.
Prohibition on Balloon Releases – SB 28 sponsored by Senator Clarence Lam passed the Senate 38-8. HB 13, the House version sponsored by Delegate Wayne Hartman passed the House 92-47.
Prohibition on Testing Cosmetics on Animals – SB 729 sponsored by Senator Clarence Lam passed the Senate unanimously 45-0.
Although they did not make it out of committee, the Prohibition on Cat Declawing and Required Training of Animal Control Officers bills will be reintroduced in 2021.

While many bills didn’t make it over the finish line, thanks to you, the many groups and advocates who supported animal bills, we are in a better position to pass these bills in 2021. Together, we raised the awareness of animal issues with the legislators and the general public.

Image Credit: Pixabay