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MD General Assembly Week 3 in Review

Week 3 of the 2016 Session of the Maryland General Assembly had its ups and downs, with the high point being the Governor’s proposal of some commonsense changes that will reduce corruption and bring fiscal sanity to the state. So far, many policy experts, think tanks, and media outlets have overwhelmingly supported the Governor’s proposals, while opposition seems to exist only within the General Assembly’s offices of the Speaker of the House and Senate President.

On Wednesday, we brought you our mid-week review, predicting that it would be an overall boring week. However, the legislature held off submitting its more controversial pieces of legislation until now: assisted suicide, anti-fracking legislation, and yet another proposal that could be used to register illegal immigrants to vote.

The Governor’s Legislation

The Governor has 4 key pieces of legislation critics and policy experts have stated that Maryland must pass if it hopes to experience success in the future:

HB 449 and SB 375 would allow for the Governor to not fully fund certain mandates if revenues fail to meet projections. Senate Hearing Budget and Taxation-2/17

HB 456 and SB 380 would create a non-partisan committee that will determine congressional districts free of bias and gerrymandering. We asked the Senate President to explain the factual inaccuracies in his response/opposition to the Governor’s proposal, but he has yet to answer.

HB 459 and SB 389 would reduce a lot of taxes and fees, rolling back 8 years of aggressive taxing policy during the previous Governor that had a devastating impact on the local economy.

HB 462 and SB 383 would protect dedicated funds related to the transfer tax from being transferred to the General Fund to be spent on unrelated items. This is one of a series of proposals over the years to ensure that dedicated funds are not used as a slush fund for general spending.

 

Other Legislative Proposals

Life and Health

HB 404 and SB 418 Assisted Suicide/Pro-Death Legislation/”Kill Grandma” legislation, cosponsored by Chris West (R-Baltimore County). See Greg Kline’s analysis of the legislation for why the proponents of the bill have been misleading the public.

Environment

HB 394 Anti-Fracking, cosponsored by Chris West (R-Baltimore County). Hearing Environment and Transportation-2/17

SB 361 Anti-Fracking, not the same as HB 394.

SB 398 would prevent some types of industry and manufacturing in poor communities for environmental reasons.

Government Spending and Regulations

HB 368 and SB 370 Places additional burdens on the Board of Public Works only when they will reduce, not add, spending. Hearing Senate Budget and Taxation-2/17

HB 401 “Equal” Pay

Gun Rights

HB 369 and SB 403 would recognize handgun permits from other states.

Education

SB 363 Collective Bargaining for Community Colleges. Hearing Finance-2/18

HB 141 and SB 407 would reduce time devoted to assessment testing to less than 4 days a school year. House Hearing Ways and Means-2/11

Elections

SB 350 Yet another Universal Voter Registration Act. See SB 11 and SB 19.  All heard in State Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs-2/18

HB 388 would propose an amendment that would make appointments to the Circuit Court subject to State Senate approval and reduce the terms of office.

Honorable Mention

SB 353 Commemorative Days – Fred Korematsu Day

HB 417 State Song






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