State House at Sunset. Photo by MarylandReporter.com

New Maryland laws take effect Oct. 1: drunk driving, police conduct, equal pay

This Saturday, many of the laws passed during this year’s General Assembly session go into effect. Some key new laws Oct. 1 include measures to : require ignition interlocks for drunk driving and increase penalties for killing people while driving drunk; to
make drivers carry cards showing current insurance coverage; to expand protections for equal pay for equal work and employees discussing their salaries; to improve public oversight of the police; to encourage more reporting of child abuse and neglect; and
withhold tax refunds for people with outstanding arrest warrants;. Other new laws deal with solar hookups, pesticides that kill bees, freedom of the press for students, and gambling on card games and mahjong at home (no kidding).

prescription drugs

Md. health group wants legislation to attack high cost of prescription drugs

With EpiPens and other prescription drugs rising in cost, families who desperately need them but do not have health insurance coverage are bearing a huge financial burden, according to community advocates. The Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, a coalition of more than 1,200 religious, labor, business and policy groups seeking affordable health care, wants the state legislature to address that financial burden by overhauling some of the laws governing drug pricing.

Hayley Evans, Gov. Larry Hogan and Gerry Evans. From Evans Facebook page

$19M spent to lobby legislature; Evans stays on top for session; Perry and firm led 12-month figure

Gerry Evans was again the top grossing lobbyist during this year’s General Assembly session, billing close to $2 million. He got a significant boost from his top client, the second highest spending lobbyist employer, the Law Offices of Peter Angelos, which spent $380,000 to lobby the legislature. “It was a great year,” Evans said, but “I question the importance of the figure …. It’s still better than being last.”

Hogan Miller Busch signing

Big news is bills Hogan signed, not his vetoes

With the media’s typical focus on controversy and drama, a big story at the end of May was that Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed five bills for policy reasons, sometimes with harsh language. The really big news is how many bills Hogan signed (621) and the unusually large number (84) he allowed to become law without his signature. Some of those signed and unsigned bills had run into fierce opposition by Republican legislators. A few certainly violated Hogan’s own governing principles — especially his opposition to new mandated spending and increased business regulation.