The state of Maryland is one step closer to having a two-person crew law on the books.
H.B. 66 passed both houses of the state General Assembly and now heads to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk for consideration. The bill passed the state House with 102 voting yea, 30 voting nay, four not voting, one excused and four absent. H.B. 66 passed the state Senate with 32 voting for the bill, 13 against and two absent.
The fight for two-person crews is not over yet. When a two-person crew bill was passed by legislators and reached Hogan’s desk for signing last year, he vetoed it. This time around, the bill has enough support to override a veto, but any override vote cannot take place until January 2020.
“Again this year the Maryland General Assembly overwhelmingly passed, in a bipartisan manner, our rail safety bill that requires a minimum of two persons on certain freight trains operating in Maryland. The legislature recognizes the importance of safe rail operations and they are not willing to leave safety to chance,” SMART Transportation Division Maryland State Legislative Director Larry Kasecamp said.
“Following the governor’s veto of the legislation last year, our board secured a reputable polling firm to conduct a survey on where the citizens of Maryland stood on this issue. An overwhelming 88 percent of those polled supported a minimum two-person freight crew standard.
“Hopefully the governor will side with the vast majority of legislators and the citizens of Maryland and allow the legislation to become law in Maryland.”
Hogan has 21 days from when the bill reaches his desk to either sign or veto the legislation. If he takes no action, the bill becomes law after the 21-day period.

A mobilization of SMART members urging the passage of a state two-person crew bill in Maryland made their voices heard on Thursday (Feb. 7).
The bill, which requires two crew members on freight rail trains, was introduced by Delegate Dana Stein, who represents Maryland’s District 11.
“I want to personally thank the sponsor, who did an excellent job introducing the legislation and explaining in detail the need for Maryland to pass this very important rail safety legislation, and the members from both Sheet Metal and Transportation Division who came to the hearing in support for the bill and in a show of solidarity,” said Maryland State Legislative Director Larry Kasecamp. “On to the Senate we go!”
Testimony from Kasecamp, SMART TD Designated Legal Counsel Matt Darby, the submission of more than a dozen letters of support from affiliated unions by Donna Edwards, president of the Maryland State & D.C. AFL-CIO, and additional testimony from first responders, local elected officials and Local 631 Legislative Representative Tom Cahill helped to compel the committee.

SMART Sheet Metal and Transportation Division members and other supporters showed up to advocate for HB-66, the state’s two-person crew bill, Feb. 7. Center is Md. SLD Larry Kasecamp (blue striped tie); at Kasecamp’s right is the sponsor of the bill – Md. Delegate Dana Stein (Dist. 11); DLC Matt Darby; and Donna Edwards – president of MD State & D.C. AFL-CIO.