During Tuesday bill signing with Democratic leaders, Republican governor touts successful session and bipartisanship to address school safety, health care exchange crisis, tax hikes from federal over haul; bill making it illegal for police to have sex with those in custody also passes; new law would allow some Marylanders to get free community college tuition; bill to add display of a noose to hate crime law stalls; three former constituents of ex-Sen. Oaks sue to remove his name from the ballot; D.C. pot activist moves to Salisbury to help opponent of U.S. Rep. Harris will election; and Rockville to allow voters to vote by mail.
As lawmakers sign off after another 90-day session, they leave Annapolis having passed crime bills, school safety bills and attempting to fix the state’s medical marijuana industry; legislature sends to Gov. Hogan a bill to create a panel to probe Baltimore City police corruption; attempts to raise the minimum marriage age fails; as General Assembly passes bill to raise election security, congressional democrats ask Hogan to do the same; with failure of redistricting reform, Hogan says he hopes Supreme Court case prevails; lawmakers agree to allow sale of rest area naming rights; and as union targets Senate President Mike Miller’s re-election, Comptroller Peter Franchot joins in, vowing to campaign against him.
The last day: With a record 3,101 bill introduced, guns and crime top list of high-profile unfinished business; meanwhile many high-stakes bills – including $8.5 billion tax lure for Amazon HQ and Metro funding – pass; Maryland could be first state in country to regulate political ads on Facebook; General Assembly expected to pass overhaul of its own sexual harassment policy; tax relief plan doesn’t sit well with everyone; lockbox OK’d for education funds; puppy mills and finding homes for lab animals addressed; a modified crime package passes; $15 minimum wage doesn’t make it this year; Curt Anderson remains city delegation leader; this may be U.S. Rep. Hoyer’s last shot at No. 1 House slot; and Montgomery considers streamlining zoning process to attract “signature HQs” like Amazon.
General Assembly overrides Gov. Hogan’s veto of bill stripping BPW authority on school construction. But in a twist, Republican Del. McDonough voted for the override and Sen. Muse did not vote at all; Gov. Hogan signs a bunch of bills into law, lets others become law without his signature; the legislature also overrode a veto of a bill on teacher discipline, providing for arbitration; meanwhile, state Senate OKs bill to require schools to have resource officers; Del. McKay’s bill to cover adult dental care with Medicaid closer to approval; four Arundel delegates did not vote on conversion therapy bill as Sen. Simonaire attempts to clear up misunderstanding; and Sinclair Broadcast chief says print media has no credibility.
House of Delegates OKs $5.6 billion Amazon tax incentive plan, adding to $2 billion already OK’d; as promised, and with a flourish, Gov. Hogan vetoes bill stripping BPW of oversight on school construction; Del. Simonaire offers personal reason to vote for ban on conversion therapy for minors, a bill her father, Sen. Simonaire, spoke against; General Assembly nearer to banning bump stocks; and Hogan administration opposes federal plan to loosen vehicle emissions standards.
Legislative negotiators agree to cut one-fifth of $500 million state income tax hike as legislators continue to work on school violence reduction; House OKs modifying state hate crime law; General Assembly poised to OK allowing testimony of previous predatory behavior in some cases; Sen. Zirkin at odds with law enforcement over decriminalization of recreational pot; Attorney General Frosh joins suit against Trump administration over a proposal to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census; and gubernatorial candidate Vignarajah won’t buy Sinclair airtime.
General Assembly OKs legislation to put deadline on state admitting inmates needing psychiatric treatment; Baltimore Dems begin process for filling former Sen. Oaks’ seat; ACLU claims victory in settlement with Gov. Hogan, staff on blocking, deleting Facebook posts; Baltimore City to get $11.7 million for capital projects; Annapolis lobbyists schedule parties for end of session; and Democratic, Republican voter registration down.
General Assembly leaders send controversial bills to Gov. Hogan’s desk, hoping for signature or veto with intention to override, including stripping BPW from school construction process; meanwhile, editorial boards urge Hogan to veto and lawmakers to let the veto stand; bill would put an armed guard in every school; Comptroller Franchot hits back at Senate President Miller; lawmakers kill Hopkins policing plan; with nationwide warning on vote interference, lawmakers weigh cybersecurity against voter access; despite crushing loss, craft brewers vow to return next year to loosen restrictions; gubernatorial candidates Ross, Madaleno scuffle over Ross’s “prancing” remark; and Maine’s controversial governor offers opinion of judge allowing Maryland-D.C. emoluments case.
Former Sen. Oaks pleads guilty to felon fraud charges, sentencing set for July 17; Oaks’ resignation leaves little time to replace him in Senate and his district without Senate rep; Democrats’ feud over Board of Public Works’ control of annual school construction funding ‘beg-athon’ boils over; bill to allow evidence of past offenses likely headed for passage; measure hopes to spur investment in cybersecurity startups; pipeline foes may have run out of time; and union endorsement of Baltimore County executive candidate stirs controversy.
Supreme Court hears Maryland gerrymandering case, seems conflicted over arguments; embattled state Sen. Oaks resigns as he is set to appear in court; federal judge rules Maryland, D.C. can sue President Trump over emoluments clause; state Senate OKs plan to study Comptroller Franchot’s oversight of alcohol industry; Senate gives preliminary OK to stripping BPW of its authority over school construction funds; General Assembly moves to give school systems flexibility over calendars; and NY Sen. Gillibrand backs Aruna Miller for John Delaney’s House seat.