In a record year in which 3,127 bills and joint resolutions were introduced, 890 bills or 28% were passed and 142 have already become laws, most of them (114) in Tuesday’s bill signing. At the signing ceremony, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan continued to tout bipartisan cooperation and the contrast with Washington inaction, a theme he plans to carry through his reelection campaign in heavily Democratic Maryland.
Gov. Larry Hogan won this legislative session by not losing too much and not giving Democrats ammunition against his reelection campaign. Hogan also won with success on issues where he cooperated more than usual with Democrats, and by choosing to fight them, and lose, only on issues where he held the high ground.
It was the coldest final day of the Maryland General Assembly that anyone could remember. Sine Die (sign-ee die) in State House speak is usually warm and sunny. For at least nine senators and 29 delegates, it will be the last session in their current posts. Here is a gallery of photos to give a flavor of the day.
A bill allowing public school teachers recommended for suspension or termination to bypass school board discipline hearings and use an outside arbitrator to decide the case will become law, despite Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of the measure. The Senate and House overrode the veto Thursday.
Opposition from lawmakers was across the board Wednesday as a final vote took place in the House of Delegates to ultimately approve a $5.6 billion tax incentive package to lure Amazon.com to Montgomery County. While Montgomery County’s House delegation voted unanimously to approve the measure, legislators from other areas of the state — Republicans and Democrats alike — had nothing nice to say about the bill. Many called it a job killer for small businesses.
After failed attempts over more than a decade, legislation allowing prior sexual predatory behavior to be used in criminal prosecutions of alleged sex offenders passed the Senate unanimously Wednesday and was sent to Gov. Larry Hogan. Hogan sponsored similar legislation this year and has signaled his support for the bill.
Maryland may soon join other states that are putting consumer protections in place to allow residents to determine which personal data Internet service providers may use, while ensuring they’re treated equally regardless of they use the Internet. A bill sponsored by Del. Bill Frick, D-Montgomery, scheduled for a final House vote this week would require Internet service providers to give their customers an opt-in choice before using their personal information for marketing and other third-party uses. The bill would also reset the net neutrality rule requiring Internet providers to treat all customers equally when it comes to Internet speed and fees, a response to the FCC’s 2017 deregulation.
Montgomery County legislators continue to advocate many proposals to encourage people to vote, such as same-day voter registration. But one of the most daunting aspects of voting in Montgomery County is the ballot itself.
Maryland’s governor has long been considered one of the most powerful in the country, mainly because of his control over spending and appointments. The Maryland General Assembly has for decades sought to chip away at the governor’s power, mainly through spending mandates and other legal restraints. Last week’s action in the Senate and House to pass a new mandate on school construction and take the governor out of the decisions on what schools should be funded is just another chapter in that ongoing drive to shift the balance of power.
Determined to pass meaningful legislation in the wake of the Parkland and Great Mills high school shootings, Maryland lawmakers are considering a measure to put an armed school resource officer in every public school. The bill comes as part of a four-bill package being rushed through the General Assembly as session nears end.