The General Assembly of Maryland has concluded its annual 90 day session. Among the bills that were passed during this year’s session was House Bill 795, introduced by Delegate Susan C. Lee.
As introduced, HB 795 was to establish a "Task Force to Study Nanotechnology and Nanobiotechnology", but was amended to focus solely on Nanobiotechnology and was passed by both the MD State Senate and the House of Delegates on April 1, 2010, signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley on April 13, 2010 and Chapterized as Chapter 163 Acts of 2010.
The Task Force is to be composed of members appointed by the President of the MD State Senate, the Speaker of the House of Delegates – these individuals will serve as co-chairs of the task force – the Secretary of Business and Economic Development, Chair of the MD Technology Development Corporation or their designees. The Governor is empowered to appoint three representatives to the task force from universities and colleges in Maryland that are involved in research in nanobiotechnology and two CEOs of nanobiotech companies. In addition, the Directors of NIH, NIST, FDA and the USPTO or their designees are also to be invited to become part of the task force.
The task force is charged with studying the benefits of the nanobiotech industry, ranging from job creation to "the generation of revenues for the state", the state’s role in supporting nanobiotech, including promoting private-public partnerships, offering financial incentives for nanobiotech companies to establish themselves in Maryland, etc.. The task force is also charged with reporting its recommendations to the Governor on or before 01/11/2011, prior to the beginning of the next General Assembly session.
The State of Maryland has been criticized lately as having an "unfriendly" business environment for existing businesses or for companies that might relocate or expand into Maryland. Such criticism may become one of the themes of the 2010 election season in the state. Forward looking legislation such as Chapter 163, designed to help attract the next generation of nanoindustry, may help to prove that criticism wrong.