State Roundup: State leaders agree on tax cuts for seniors, exemptions for child care & medical products; new congressional map proposed

State Roundup: State leaders agree on tax cuts for seniors, exemptions for child care & medical products;  new congressional map proposed

Gov. Hogan signed the latest iteration of the congressional boundaries from the General Assembly. Enhanced map from the proposal.

HOGAN, LAWMAKERS AGREE ON TAX CUT PACKAGE: Maryland seniors would see up to a $1,750 tax cut next year under a deal state leaders announced Monday over how to spend much of a historic surplus. Erin Cox/The Washington Post.

  • The deal will also exempt many child care and medical products from state sales tax, and create a new tax credit for businesses that hire Marylanders from groups who often struggle to find jobs. Bryn Stole/The Baltimore Sun.
  • The final component of the tax agreement is a collection of tax relief bills that would exempt medical, personal care and child care products from the state’s income tax. It includes diapers, car seats, baby bottles, dental hygiene products, diabetic care items and some medical products like thermometers, pulse oximeters, and medical-grade face masks. Those exemptions are expected to reduce state tax revenue by $115.6 million over the next five years. Danielle Gaines/Maryland Matters.
  • The tax relief agreement comes at a time when the state has billions of dollars in surplus that has resulted from enormous federal aid to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The state started the session in January with about $4.6 billion in surplus, and the amount grew even higher as officials revised revenue estimates earlier this month. Brian Witte/The Associated Press.

NEW CONGRESSIONAL MAP PROPOSAL UP FOR HEARING: Maryland lawmakers who produced the first congressional map drawn by Democrats to be struck down this redistricting cycle will vote on a new map this week, leading lawmakers announced Monday. Brian Witte/The Associated Press.

  • Among changes, the new proposed map redraws the district of U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, the state’s lone Republican congressman whom Democrats have lined up to challenge. Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun.
  • The map more closely adheres to county lines and no longer includes a 1st District that crosses over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The new proposal, which will be considered in a joint legislative hearing Tuesday morning, also means the 1st District no longer crosses into Anne Arundel County and instead includes all of Harford County and portions of Baltimore County with the Eastern Shore. Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters.
  • Senate President Bill Ferguson and Speaker of the House of Delegates Adrienne Jones released a joint statement Monday saying the new map, drafted over the weekend, will be introduced to the General Assembly and subject to a joint hearing early Tuesday. Joel McCord/WYPR-FM.
  • View the interactive map by clicking here.

BILL BANNING SCHOOL SECLUSION ROOMS PASSES SENATE: A bill that would ban seclusion in public schools across Maryland is set for a hearing in the House of Delegates after passing comfortably through the Senate. Senate Bill 705 would ban the involuntary confinement of a student, typically in a small space. It would also place strict limits on when nonpublic schools can use seclusion and require state employees to more closely monitor individual counties’ and schools’ use of physical restraint. Jill Atelsek/The Frederick News Post.

BILL WOULD HIKE MEDICAID REIMBURSEMENTS TO EMS: A Maryland Association of Counties-led bill to increase the amount of Medicaid reimbursement emergency medical services providers receive when they perform their duties is making its way through the General Assembly, having successfully passed the Senate last week. Johanna Alonso/The Daily Record.

CLIMATE, ABORTIONS & GHOST GUNS: The House of Delegates gave preliminary approval to the Climate Solutions Now Act on Monday, with changes. A majority in the Maryland Senate gave final approval Monday to the Abortion Care Access Act. And a House chamber gave preliminary approval to a Senate bill that would prohibit the sale and possession of unserialized firearms, or ghost guns, in 2023. Elizabeth Shwe and Hannah Gaskill/Maryland Matters.

Sen. Will Smith did not attend the Oscars Sunday night. Not even remotely.

NO, THE OTHER WILL SMITH: State Sen. William C. Smith Jr. went to bed early Sunday night. He was startled Monday morning when he awoke to a phone that wouldn’t stop dinging. That’s when he learned the following: People had mistaken him for the Oscar-winning actor. Ovetta Wiggins/The Washington Post.

  • Why you hit Chris Rock B***c,” said one message posted on Del. David Moon’s (D-Montgomery) Twitter page. “I threw my remote at my tv so my 5 year old daughter wouldn’t see your violent behavior,” another post read. Glynis Kazanjian/WJLA-News 7

MOORE FLIPS ON TOLL LANE OPPOSITION: When gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore (D) was asked last fall about Maryland’s plans to build privately financed toll lanes along Interstate 270 and the Capital Beltway, he made it clear he was not a fan. “The idea of having a luxury toll lane the overwhelming majority of Marylanders will not be able to benefit from — I’m not OK with that,” Moore said. He has apparently had a change of heart. Bruce DePuyt/Maryland Matters.

MAYOR SCOTT BLAMES BACK RIVER PLANT PROBLEMS ON PREDECESSORS: A day after the state took control of Baltimore’s Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant, Mayor Brandon Scott blamed his predecessors for allowing poor conditions to exist there. Not addressing the state’s finding of “a precipitous decline” at the facility over the last few months, Scott said that Back River and the city-operated Patapsco treatment plants “have had issues that long predate my administration.” Fern Shen/Baltimore Brew.

TECH-AI COMPANY EXEC ENTERS RACE FOR MO CO EXEC: A longtime upcounty resident with a background in technology and artificial intelligence has entered the race for Montgomery County executive. Peter James, 66, of Gaithersburg, filed on Friday to run, creating a five-way race in the July 19 Democratic primary. Steve Bohnel/Bethesda Beat.

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS TO: Sens. JB Jennings and Guy Guzzone on March 27 and Sen. Michael Jackson today, March 29.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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