State Roundup: In ‘boring’ end of session, lawmakers pass cyberattacks protections, raise the marriage age, go after PFAS,

State Roundup: In ‘boring’ end of session, lawmakers pass cyberattacks protections, raise the marriage age, go after PFAS,

Sine die was marked at midnight Monday with a confetti drop. Governor's office file photo.

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BILL PUSH, CONFETTI DROP MARK A MORE NORMAL SINE DIE: The Maryland General Assembly approved legislation to help state and local governments to better prepare and protect themselves from cyberattacks late Monday evening as midnight adjournment of its annual 90-day session approached. Lawmakers also passed bills raising the minimum age for marriage, banning many uses of chemicals known as PFAS, improving transparency in the criminal justice system, protecting crime witnesses and victims in Baltimore and enforcing city bus lane restrictions. Bryn Stole and Scott Dance/The Baltimore Sun.

  • The pace of the closing day stood in contrast to two weeks earlier, when lawmakers worked feverishly to send more than three dozen bills to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk. That effort set up a series of successful veto overrides over the weekend. But Monday started slower. Some long-time observers called the day one of the “most boring” in recent memory. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record.
  • Maryland lawmakers closed their legislative session late Monday with approval of legislation to strengthen cybersecurity in a year marked by a budget surplus that enabled upgrades to parks, infrastructure, schools and information technology systems, as well as tax relief. Brian Witte/The Associated Press.
  • With sun-splashed receptions and a midnight confetti drop, it was the most normal Sine Die the State House complex has seen since 2018, as it was the first time this cycle that the close of a legislative session was not overtaken by the sudden death of a beloved presiding officer or the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff/Maryland Matters.
  • The 2022 Maryland General Assembly session was marked by a gradual return to a pre-pandemic normalcy, and by the shadow of elections shaken up in a battle over how to draw congressional district lines. Bryn Stole and Scott Dance/The Baltimore Sun.

Maryland is setting aside $400 million to revamp the community around FedEx Field in Prince George’s.
Fedex Field in 2011by Mrs. Gemstone CC BY-SA 2.0.

FEDEX FIELD COMMUNITY TO GET $400M REVAMP: Maryland will borrow as much as $400 million to revamp the area around the Washington Commanders’ FedEx Field stadium, even if the Commanders leave Maryland, under a deal that Gov. Larry Hogan (R) plans to sign into law Tuesday. Erin Cox/The Washington Post.

DEM LAWMAKERS PASS VOTERS’ AGENDA: The Democratic supermajorities in Annapolis entered this year’s General Assembly session with an agenda of issues to please core blocs of voters they will depend on in statewide elections later this year: Protecting abortion rights, fighting climate change, helping workers, legalizing recreational marijuana. They ended 90 days of lawmaking late Monday having checked those boxes. Scott Dance/The Baltimore Sun.

SCHOOL SECLUSION BAN TO BECOME LAW: A bill banning seclusion in Maryland public schools will become law without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature, he announced Friday. House Bill 1255 will take effect July 1. It will place strict limits on the use of seclusion in nonpublic schools and institute more stringent requirements on how all districts track and report instances of physical restraint. Jillian Atelsek/The Frederick News Post.

LEGISLATIVE MAP UPHEAVAL TO KEEP ELECTIONS OFFICIALS BUSY: Local election officials are unlikely to be ready for the already delayed July 19 primary election if the Court of Appeals strikes down Maryland’s state legislative map, according to a Monday court filing by state officials. The latest possible date for the primary election to take place without encroaching on the November general election would be Tuesday, Aug. 16, Donna Duncan, the assistant deputy administrator for election policy at the State Board of Elections, wrote in an affidavit. Bennett Leckrone/Maryland Matters.

BILL WOULD CURB SPOUSAL PRIVILEGE: The protection criminal defendants have against their spouses testifying against them would not apply in cases when the wedding occurred after the alleged crime was committed, under legislation headed to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk. Steve Lash/The Daily Record.

MARRIAGE AGE WOULD RISE TO 17: The General Assembly on Monday passed legislation to raise the minimum age for marriage in Maryland from 15 to 17. The measure, headed to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk, would prohibit 17-year-olds from marrying someone more than four years their elder. Steve Lash/The Daily Record.

A farm in Oakland. Photo by Howard Gorrell

OPINION: FARMERS VOTING STRENGTH RETURNS IN NEW MAP: After Gov. Larry Hogan signed a quickly redrawn congressional district map into law last week, agriculture-related electorates living in the Western Maryland and Eastern Shore regions were pleased. This new map could restore farmers’ voting power strength like what the 2002 congressional map showed. Howard Gorrell/Maryland Reporter.

SEN. YOUNG ENDS LONG POLITCAL RUN: Sen. Ron Young, a Democrat who represented Frederick County in the Maryland Senate for three terms but is perhaps best known for his 16 years as Frederick’s mayor, concluded a political career spanning more than half a century on Monday as the legislature wrapped up its 2022 session. Jack Hogan/The Frederick News Post.

DEL. SAAB TO RUN FOR SEN. REILLY’s SEAT; REILLY MULLS RETIRING: Del. Sid A. Saab (R-Anne Arundel) plans to run for state Senate in the District 33 Republican primary this year, thrusting the political future of veteran Sen. Edward R. Reilly (R) in doubt. In an interview, Reilly said Saab’s decision to run for Senate has prompted him to consider retiring. He said he’d make a final decision after legislative district lines are finalized. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

Del. Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk (D) has been named chair of the House Health and Government Operations Committee.

JONES TAPS BARNES, PENA-MELNYK TO CHAIR HOUSE COMMITTEES: In the waning moments of the General Assembly session late Monday night, House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) read through an order that she was appointing Del. Benjamin S. Barnes (D) chair of the House Appropriations Committee and Del. Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk (D) chair of the House Health and Government Operations Committee. Both represent District 21, which is anchored in Prince George’s County and includes a piece of Anne Arundel County. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

FBI WANTS TO STAY IN DC; CONGRESS HAS OTHER PLANS: FBI leaders have been vocal in recent years about their desire to keep the agency’s headquarters in the nation’s capital. But lawmakers in Maryland and Virginia, riled when the Trump administration shelved long-standing efforts to move the headquarters to the suburbs, have put the old plan back in play. Last month, they secured language in a federal spending plan to steer the nation’s premier crime-fighting institution to one of their states. Steve Thompson and Meagan Flynn/The Washington Post.

TRI-STATE RENEWABLE ENERGY ROLLOUT CAUGHT UP IN REVIEW: The rollout of solar and other renewable energy projects that Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia are counting on to end fossil-fuel reliance is caught up in a review bottleneck that is severely hampering the transition. In those three Chesapeake Bay drainage states, 807 utility-scale, commercial rooftop, community solar and solar storage projects have been stuck in a growing regulatory traffic jam. Ad Crable and Timothy Wheeler of the Bay Journal News Service/Maryland Reporter.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

cynthiaprairie@gmail.com
https://www.chestertelegraph.org/

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: cynthiaprairie@gmail.com

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