State Roundup, March 30, 2017

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HOGAN VETOES EXPECTED: Gov. Larry Hogan has a week to sign or veto a stack of controversial bills the General Assembly sent him Wednesday afternoon, starting the clock for a heightened political fight in final days of the legislative session, reports Erin Cox for the Sun.

TRUMP-TARGETED LEGISLATION: Maryland lawmakers sent several bills approved in reaction to President Donald Trump’s administration to Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday, a move that will give the Democrat-controlled legislature a chance to override any vetoes by the Republican governor before lawmakers adjourn April 10, Brian Witte of the AP reports.

PRESSED BY BAIL BOND LOBBY: With less than two weeks remaining in the legislative session, months of activity aimed at preserving Maryland’s bail system have reached a crescendo. Lawmakers say they are under heavy pressure from lobbyists to support a pro-bail bill that passed the Senate last week and is awaiting action in the more liberal House of Delegates, writes Ovetta Wiggins for the Post.

SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION PROCESS: The General Assembly adopted a capital budget Wednesday that would cut Gov. Larry Hogan out of the process of approving the state’s school construction plans, Michael Dresser of the Sun writes. The House of Delegates and state Senate gave final approval to revised version of the governor’s nearly $1.1 billion capital budget, which funds building projects.

SENATE A ‘NO’ ON SANCTUARY BILL: Senate President Mike Miller said Wednesday his chamber would not follow the House of Delegates in passing what he called a “sanctuary state” bill. The Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee is whittling away at their version of the legislation, which was introduced as the Trust Act, report Michael Dresser and Pamela Wood in the Sun.

BREWERS BLAST BILL: Maryland’s brewers — and representatives for international liquor giant Diageo — pleaded with state senators Wednesday not to pass a bill that they say purports to help the beer industry but actually harms it. The state’s brewers have sounded alarms since the House of Delegates passed a bill about two weeks ago that would allow breweries to sell more beer on site, but restrict operating hours for taprooms and prohibit breweries from selling beer not brewed entirely on the premises, reports the Sun’s Pamela Wood.

CRIMINAL HISTORY & COLLEGE APPLICATIONS: Rachel Baye of WYPR-FM reports on a bill in the General Assembly that prevents Maryland colleges from weighing an applicant’s criminal history in undergraduate admissions decisions. The Senate passed the bill Tuesday, and the House passed a version earlier this month.

METRO COMPACT TALKS: The push to reform Metro’s governance and financing is gaining a new backer, as the Maryland General Assembly prepares to join Virginia in formally proposing talks to revise the Metro Compact, legislators said Tuesday. Robert McCartney of the Post is reporting that two Montgomery County lawmakers have inserted language in the Maryland budget that is similar – but not identical – to a provision already enacted in Richmond regarding the compact, which spells out how Metro is governed and financed. Both states would require top-level talks among the two states, the District and the federal government on restructuring the transit agency.

LEFT-LANE LINGERERS: Drivers who hog the left lane soon could face fines up to $250 in Maryland under a bill designed to ease bottlenecks and reduce road rage by making it easier for motorists to get around slower vehicles. House Bill 1451 would put Maryland among a growing number of states cracking down on drivers who seem to defy a basic lesson of high school driver’s education: Use the left lane to pass, then move back to the right. A hearing in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee is scheduled for today, reports Katherine Shaver in the Post.

‘RIGHT TO TRY’ EXPERIMENTAL DRUG BILL: Legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs before they have received final approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration appears poised to become law in Maryland. The “Right to Try” bill passed the Senate unanimously Wednesday, a week and a half after a similar measure sailed through the House of Delegates, reports Amanda Yeager for the Annapolis Capital.

OYSTER PROTECTION: State lawmakers have quashed talks over whether and how to open Chesapeake Bay oyster sanctuaries to harvest, passing a bill that blocks any changes to the protected areas’ boundaries for nearly two years, writes Scott Dance for the Sun.

HOGAN SEEKS RECIPES: Gov. Larry Hogan has invited chefs using Maryland ingredients to submit original recipes for the Governor’s Buy Local Cookout, which will be held at Government House in Annapolis on July 20. Recipes must be submitted by May 19 and include products from at least one Maryland farmer, waterman or other producer, reports Michel Elben for the Carroll County Times.

  • bob lancione

    You just have to love it. The city of Baltimore is broke, the state is sending 28 million in school aid to them and in the mayor’s first budget she gives city employee’s a 2% pay raise. While the state workers get nothing and are sold down the river by there do nothing union.