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.
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.
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.
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.
The Maryland Constitution – and 80 years of state case law – make clear that a person cannot be jailed for disobeying an order to pay money based on a debt. Yet, debtors’ prisons continue to exist in our state. Legislation (SB 1050/HB 1081) to eliminate debtors prisons in Maryland has passed the Senate but is currently awaiting a vote in the House Judiciary Committee.
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.
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.
Even as Baltimore Mayor Pugh is asking for the business community to open their wallets to provide jobs and money for government programs, the Baltimore City Council just passed anti-business legislation that will make it harder for the restaurants, hospitals, and caterers to hire new staff and balance their books.