ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland General Assembly’s annual 90-day session ends Monday at midnight. Here’s a look at some of the measures that have been passed to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk so far:
Johns Hopkins University could create its own armed police force at its academic campuses and main medical campus in Baltimore.
The legislature removed regulatory authority over alcohol, tobacco and gasoline from the comptroller’s office and placed it with a commission. Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the bill, but the General Assembly overrode the veto.
More than $1 billion in additional education funding would be available in the next three years to begin implementing a state commission’s recommendations to raise teacher pay and help low-income and special education students.
Maryland would become the first state to stop participating in a federal family planning program known as Title X due to a proposed Trump administration rule that would prohibit family planning clinics funded by the program from making abortion referrals. Maryland would fund a family-planning program at the same level as the previous year with state funds.
Maryland would be the first state to ban foam containers for food and drink in an anti-pollution effort.
The state’s Handgun Permit Review Board would be abolished, and decisions on permits would be made by a state administrative judge.
Residents who lack health insurance will be able to check a box on their income tax returns enabling the state’s health exchange to determine an uninsured person’s eligibility for free or low-cost health insurance.
A state health insurance provider fee of 1 percent will be assessed through 2023 to help fund the state’s reinsurance program, which provides a safety net for insurers by helping to pay large claims.
LABOR DAY SCHOOL START
Local school boards will be able to decide whether class starts before or after Labor Day. Hogan vetoed the bill, and the legislature overrode the veto.
MEDICAL SYSTEM REFORM
The board of directors of the University of Maryland Medical System would be overhauled, after about one-third of the system’s board members received compensation through the medical system’s arrangements with their businesses.
Maryland became the sixth state to approve a gradual minimum wage increase to $15 an hour. It will go from $10.10 to $11 in January, followed by increases of 75 cents a year to $14 in 2024 before reaching $15 in 2025. Hogan vetoed the bill, but the General Assembly overrode his veto.
Five oyster sanctuaries will be permanently protected in the law to prohibit catching oysters. Hogan vetoed the bill, and General Assembly overrode his veto.
Law enforcement would be required to send rape kits to a crime lap for testing within 30 days of receiving it, and a grant program has been created to help law enforcement pay for more testing.
Reforms to increase transparency at the University of Maryland Board of Regents have been approved in the aftermath of the handling of a University of Maryland football player’s death last year. It would require the board to livestream meetings online, add four members to the 17-member board, require the chair to be confirmed by the Senate and include vote tallies from open and closed meetings in publicly available meeting minutes.
The state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard would increase from 25% by 2020 to 50% by 2030. The measure continues to allow trash incineration waste-to-energy plants to be eligible for the same subsidies as wind and solar energy.
SEX ABUSE-SCHOOLS VETTING
To prevent teachers with records of sexual misconduct from moving from school to school, nondisclosure agreements involving sexual misconduct would be banned for school employees who have direct contact with children. School employers also will have to conduct a thorough review of applicants’ employment history.
Maryland’s age for buying tobacco will rise from 18 to 21, including for tobacco-related products such as electronic smoking devices.
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS-GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
Federal employees in Maryland who must work without pay during a federal government shutdown will be able to get unemployment assistance via interest-free loans from a state fund. Hogan has signed the bill.
The state would be able to gather more information about agricultural practices, manure transport and water quality on the Eastern Shore. Supporters say it would restore water quality monitoring at six sites on the Eastern Shore that had been discontinued in 2013 due to budget cuts.
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