The Maryland Senate approved a bill Thursday that would significantly expand Sunday liquor sales in Prince George’s County, part of a slew of legislation being passed in the waning days of the 90-day legislative session.
Another bill given final approval Thursday would require state health officials to issue new birth certificates for individuals who undergo a sex change or have an intersex condition.
Both the liquor bill and the birth certificate bill went to the Senate from the House of Delegates, were voted out of Senate committees with no amendments and were passed on the Senate floor. Both pieces of legislation are headed to the office of Gov. Larry Hogan (R) for his signature before becoming law.
Neither bill received robust debate in the Senate.
Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George’s) cast the sole vote against the bill that would allow Prince George’s liquor stores to compete for licenses to sell liquor seven days a week. Currently, although many restaurants can sell alcohol to patrons on Sunday and a few dozen stores have special permission to sell beer and wine, the sale of hard liquor over the counter for off-site consumption is prohibited.
Neighboring jurisdictions such as the District and Montgomery County permit Sunday sales at privately owned or county-owned liquor-selling establishments.
The Prince George’s bill faced little opposition in the legislature. It was widely seen as long overdue and as enabling county businesses to better compete with their neighbors. But there were pockets of opposition in Prince George’s, especially in poorer neighborhoods inside the Capital Beltway, where the concentration of liquor stores and crime is highest.
“I just had some constituents in our community who had some real concerns about it,” Muse said. “And, as you know, all politics is local, and I want to reflect that.”
House Bill 862, sponsored by Del. David Moon (D-Montgomery), requires the state Department of Health to issue a new birth certificate — absent any marking that would indicate a change — to transgender individuals who have undergone a sex change.
Marylanders would need certification from a licensed health-care practitioner or a court order and other documentation proving a change in gender identity. A licensed physician would have to attest to a sex change, whether by treatment or diagnosis of an intersex condition. The bill does not require an individual to have had sex reassignment surgery.
The measure passed 31 to 16, with many of the ‘no’ votes cast by Senate Republicans.