State Roundup, February 22, 2017

In 10-4 ruling, federal appeals court upholds Maryland’s ban on assault rifles; Maryland drops to 2nd after 10-year reign with greatest percentage of students passing AP courses; Senate OKs two bills to aid in sex assault prosecutions, others bill introduced; bills would curb local agency involvement in federal immigrant crackdown; some small towns may be spared from repaying state overpayments; Hogan staff begins unblocking people from Facebook page; and new Democratic ad attacks Hogan over Obama-Trump switch.

80,000 more salaried workers could get overtime pay under proposed bill

A bill that would make 80,000 more salaried employees in Maryland eligible for overtime pay is not sitting well with business and nonprofit groups, whose salaried employees often work more than 40 hours a week. But the bill’s sponsor says companies have avoided paying overtime for decades by unfairly classifying hourly workers as salaried employees. The bill, HB665, would increase the salary cap for white-collar and service workers currently exempt from overtime pay to $47,476 up from the current $23,660.

State Roundup, February 21, 2017

Some of Hogan’s agenda likely to pass; Baltimore state’s attorney returns to Annapolis to push legislation to ease prosecution of repeat sex offenders; Guinness company seeks hike in amount of beer it can sell at planned Relay brewery; bill would outlaw marriage of anyone under 18; Del. Carr offers bill to hike penalties for drivers who repeatedly pass school buses illegally; and Gov. Hogan shares cover of Washington Examiner mag.

State Roundup, February 20, 2017

Senate to consider bills aimed at improve prosecution of rape cases; meanwhile two senators clash over whose statute of limitations bill is whose; bill aims at cutting classroom testing; ACLU complains about Gov. Hogan’s Facebook page deletions; Hogan blasts resolution giving Attorney General unilateral authority to sue federal government; Cheers: it’s liquor bill hearing day in Annapolis; Baltimore Mayor Pugh seeks control over education board appointments; and Baltimore promotions office violated Open Meetings Act.

Rascovar: Giving Frosh his independence

You can’t blame Gov. Larry Hogan, Jr., for getting irritated over the Maryland attorney general’s new authority – granted by the General Assembly – to sue the federal government without the governor’s permission. This strips Hogan of a smidgen of his enormous powers. Yet if the Republican chief executive truly wished to stop this slight weakening of his powers all he did to do was pick up the phone and negotiate a compromise.

GOP legislators offer pension reforms

The legislature can no longer ignore the state’s $20 billion in unfunded pension obligations, a group of House and Senate Republicans said on Thursday. “There is a problem in our current pension system,” said Sen. Andrew Serafini, R-Washington County at a press conference. “The current system is unsustainable, it’s uncompetitive, and most powerfully it’s unattractive.”

State Roundup, February 17, 2017

Appointed legislators early in term would face election; bill would stop landlords from automatic rejection of housing vouchers; legislation to save imperiled bee colonies would allow beekeepers right to kill black bears; six lawmakers offer plans to shore up state pension system; Senate President Miller urges senators to travel in pairs at night around State House; pros, cons line up on either side of end of life legislation; Rep. Delaney offers bill to secure $750 million in regional metro funds; and Rep. Cummings puzzled over President Trump’s claim on planned meeting over drug prices.

State Roundup, February 16, 2017

General Assembly OKs unilateral powers for Attorney General Frosh, who then seeks $1 million to to hire more staff; health-care advocates concerned about rising drug costs, price gouging from manufacturers; bill would mandate computerized vision testing for kids in school; Gov. Hogan comes out against bill to strip governors of parole decision-making; Sen. Young introduces bill to curb brutal cownose ray tournament; citing Soros-led protests, U.S. Rep. Harris nixes face-to-face public meetings; and former House candidate Matthews to run for state Democratic Party chair.

AG Frosh asks for $1 million to exercise new powers

Hours after the House of Delegates gave final approval to broad new powers for Attorney General Brian Frosh to sue the federal government, he was in front of a House committee asking for $1 million a year to hire five lawyers for his new mission. The delegates approved the new powers for the Democratic AG to go after the Trump administration without the permission of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in a straight party line vote 89-50, with all Republicans opposed.