State Roundup, April 12, 2016

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POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY PASSES: The Maryland General Assembly approved sweeping changes in criminal sentencing policies and adopted broad new police training and accountability procedures Monday, the final day of the state’s annual legislative session, Ovetta Wiggins, Josh Hicks and Fenit Nirappil of the Washington Post are reporting.

JUSTICE REFORM PASSES: The General Assembly gave its final approval Monday to a sweeping reform of Maryland’s criminal justice system in an effort to reduce incarceration and use the savings to prevent repeat offenses and improve public safety. Both the state Senate and the House voted to approve a deal struck by negotiators Saturday night, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.

  • In the final hours of the General Assembly’s 90-day session, lawmakers came together to pass sweeping criminal justice reforms, with nearly the full support of the Senate and House of Delegates, reports Danielle Gaines in the Frederick News Post. But lawmakers headed into the last day of the legislative session with several high-profile bills still unresolved. Despite earnest late-session negotiations, lawmakers failed to pass modest tax relief, along with a bill that passed the House, giving workers in the state earned paid sick leave.
  • Tamela Baker of the Hagerstown Herald Mail reports that the maximum sentence for child abuse resulting in death has been expanded, but the issue went almost down to the wire as the General Assembly neared adjournment Monday. Having survived lengthy conference committee debate over the weekend, the measure was approved as part of the omnibus Justice Reinvestment Act.

NEW INTERLOCK LAW PASSES: A bill to expand the use of ignition locks for drunk drivers in Maryland was approved in the final hour of the annual legislative session Monday night, giving a measure of solace to the grieving parents of a slain Montgomery County police officer who spent months pushing the bill forward in their son’s memory, Josh Hicks and Ovetta Wiggins of the Post report.

JAIL FOR TEEN-DRINKING ENABLERS: The General Assembly on Monday passed legislation that would permit parents and other adults to be jailed for up to one year for providing alcohol to or hosting drinking parties attended by those under the legal drinking age of 21 who become impaired and seriously injure themselves or others in driving from the event, reports Steve Lash in the Daily Record.

WHAT PASSED: Here’s a roundup of bills that did pass the General Assembly during its 90-day session, from the Daily Record.

MOST LEAD PAINT BILLS FAILED: Most bills targeting child lead poisoning failed this General Assembly session, but advocates say they’re encouraged by some successes, reports Luke Broadwater in the Sun. Lawmakers chose not to pass legislation to open up manufacturers of lead paint to new lawsuits; increase registration fees landlords pay to hire more lead inspectors; and require construction companies demolishing homes to post notices, get permits and comply with certain health standards.

SICK LEAVE BILL DIES: Their fates were inextricably linked, and in the end legislation creating mandatory paid sick leave and a tax cut package both died in the waning hours of the 2016 legislative session, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.

MOST TAX CUTS FAIL: Prospects for a tax cut for Marylanders appeared dim Monday night, with no negotiations scheduled as the end of the 90-day General Assembly session approached, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun. Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer, chairman of the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee, said just before 8 p.m. that talks with the House of Delegates had reached an impasse.

CAMPUS GUN BILL DIES: A legislative proposal to ban guns from the campuses of Maryland’s public higher education institutions, which passed the House but languished in a Senate committee, was folded into a separate proposal in the final hours of this year’s General Assembly session. But that didn’t sit well with Republicans and the bill died in session, Daniel Leaderman reports in the Daily Record.

MOSBY LOBBIES FOR RAPE TRIAL BILL: Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby came to Annapolis in person on Monday to fight for her top legislative priority – a bill that would allow prior evidence of sexual assault to be introduced at trials, writes Erin Cox for the Sun. In the state Senate, that provision has been tacked onto a controversial bill that would allow rape victims to terminate the parental rights of their assailant. That big bill has been waiting to come to the Senate floor for several days.

AID FOR MO CO STUDENT LOANS: The Maryland General Assembly has passed legislation that lets Montgomery County refinance the college loans of people who live there at lower interest rates, a step that could help the wealthy county attract young, college-educated workers and entrepreneurs, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel reports in the Post.

TEACHER STIPENDS IN ARUNDEL: The General Assembly on Monday passed last-minute legislation creating a pilot program that would revive stipends for teachers at high-poverty schools in Anne Arundel County, Amanda Yeager of the Annapolis Capital reports. Lawmakers voted on the stipends, as well as several high-profile statewide bills, as the hours waned in the final day of the legislative session, which ended at midnight.

DEMS, HOGAN ARM WRESTLE: Democratic politicians criticized Gov. Larry Hogan Monday for being “all talk, no action” during the Maryland General Assembly session before its conclusion at midnight. Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the city is getting a significant aid package to improve economic opportunities due to the hard work of lawmakers who “get it,” writes Pamela Wood in the Sun.

HOGAN WINS, AGAIN: Center Maryland columnist Josh Kurtz gives the latest General Assembly to Gov. Hogan as the clear winner, writing that it’s time to wonder whether Democrats are ever going to be able to lay a glove on him … It’s almost as if the voters – even many Democrats – are still exhausted after O’Malley’s eight years of activism.

REPUBLICANS RUN FOR EDWARDS SEAT: In a congressional district where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 4 to 1, there is little chance that the winner of the April 26 Republican primary will win the general election contest to succeed U.S. Rep. Donna F. Edwards, who is running for the U.S. Senate. But the long odds haven’t dissuaded a few Republicans from seeking their party’s nomination in hopes of giving voters another general-election option in the majority-minority jurisdiction, writes Arelis Hernandez for the Post.

BARVE-RASKIN DISPUTE: A dispute between two contenders for the District 8 Democratic congressional nomination — state Del. Kumar Barve and state Sen. Jamie Raskin — over a TV ad being aired by the Raskin campaign is escalating, as an independent fact-checking group weighed in with an analysis that lends support to Barve’s criticism of the commercial, writes Louis Peck for Bethesda Beat.

EDWARDS ENDORSED: Democratic Senate candidate Donna F. Edwards was endorsed Monday by two of the Prince George’s County Democrats hoping to succeed her in the House of Representatives, even as her rival, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), launched an ad calling her an ineffective lawmaker, Rachel Weiner of the Post reports.

VAN HOLLEN ON ATTACK: Rep. Chris Van Hollen new ad attacks his rival in Maryland’s Democratic Senate primary, Rep. Donna Edwards, as ineffective. “Edwards was ranked one of the least effective members of Congress … and the least willing to find common ground,” the narrator says. Rachel Weiner of the Post reports that the ad then quotes a Washington Post editorial comparing Edwards to “Tea Party Republicans.”

KASICH IN MARYLAND: Republican presidential candidate John Kasich will visit Maryland on Wednesday, the first GOP contender to do so since the primary season began, John Fritze of the Sun reports. The Ohio governor, who placed second in a recent poll of likely Maryland voters, will speak at a town hall in Savage, and will also hold a fundraising event at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court in Baltimore on the same day.

SANDERS AD CAMPAIGN IN MD: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is launching a television ad in Maryland that features the daughter of Eric Garner. It’s the first presidential campaign to go up on the air in the state, writes John Fritze for the Sun. The ad tops the article.