General Assembly | WYPR

General Assembly

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan previewed his $46-billion fiscal 2020 budget Thursday, and education appears to be his top priority.

Governor's Office

Gov. Larry Hogan is the second Republican in Maryland history to be sworn into a second term. The first was Theodore McKeldin, whose second inauguration occurred in 1955.

When he took his oath during his inauguration ceremony Wednesday, Hogan placed his hand on the same Bible McKeldin used in that 1955 inauguration.

Chris Connelly / WYPR

A proposal before state lawmakers would expand Maryland’s hate crime law to include displaying a noose or swastika on someone else’s property without permission.

Rachel Baye

Senate President Mike Miller is being treated for prostate cancer.  As the 76-year-old legislator made his diagnosis public on Thursday, he promised that he will continue overseeing the state Senate while undergoing chemotherapy during the General Assembly session that began on Wednesday.

Rachel Baye

State Senate President Mike Miller announced today he is being treated for prostate cancer, but the 76-year-old legislator vowed to continue overseeing the chamber while undergoing chemotherapy.

Miller said he told the members of his chamber about the diagnosis in the spirit of honesty.

He became emotional throughout Thursday’s floor session, choking up as he recognized several former legislators and former members of his staff who were watching from the gallery.

Senate President Mike Miller showed up to work on Wednesday, the first day of the General Assembly’s annual session, with a cane, and he hinted at additional ailments.

The 76 year old said he needs the cane because of problems with his hip and knee. When a reporter asked whether he has other health concerns, he promised to disclose more information about his health during Thursday’s floor session.

“I plan to be president of the Senate for quite some time, and my health is very challenged, but we’re going to work through it,” he said.

Rachel Baye

 

The start of the 439th session of the Maryland General Assembly Wednesday ushered in a class of 60 new legislators. The 188 members now include a record number of women and the youngest woman to ever serve in the state Senate.

Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

The 439th session of Maryland’s General Assembly begins today at noon. How will the large influx of new legislators change the dynamic? Will bills that were blocked before now become law?

WYPR statehouse reporter Rachel Baye and Maryland Matters politics reporter Danielle Gaines tee up the issues, from education funding and sports betting, to police training and immigrant’s rights.

Rachel Baye

The Maryland General Assembly begins its annual 90-day session Wednesday in Annapolis, and reducing violent crime in Baltimore is at the top of political leaders’ agendas.

Tom and his panel of of Annapolitan Experts preview the 439th session of the MD General Assembly, which begins on Wednesday. The agenda will, as always, be full.  Last year, lawmakers considered more than 3,000 bills.  They passed nearly  900 of them in a record session that the Governor and Legislative leadership both praised as a success.

Washington Post Maryland politics and government reporter Ovetta Wiggins is on the line from Prince Georges County.  And joining Tom in Studio A are Josh Kurtz, the editor and co-founder of Maryland Matters, and WYPR State House reporter Rachel Baye.

John Lee

With the General Assembly about to get underway, Baltimore County has high hopes of receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from the state for school construction. And for the first time since his December inauguration, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski spoke with Governor Hogan about the county's schools. WYPR’s John Lee joined Morning Edition host Nathan Sterner in the studio to talk about the need for the money and the prospects of the county getting it.

 

 

Maryland Department of Planning

The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will consider a lower-court’s ruling that Maryland’s congressional district map is unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Democrats.

Meanwhile, efforts to redraw Maryland’s sixth congressional district began Friday with the first meeting of a state commission appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan for that purpose.

Creative Commons

Health insurance premiums on plans in Maryland’s individual insurance market decreased this year as a result of a reinsurance fund state lawmakers approved last year, but the fund only has enough money to last a few years.

To keep premiums down over the long term, state lawmakers who return to Annapolis next week are considering a new health insurance mandate and a fine for anyone who lacks insurance.

The proposal is similar to the federal Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate” that Congress repealed late in 2017, but there’s a big difference:  Maryland taxpayers would be able to treat the fine as a down payment on a health insurance plan.

Rachel Baye

Maryland may join the growing list of states that get most of their electricity from renewable sources. Legislation state lawmakers plan to take up when they return to Annapolis next month would require Maryland to hit that goal by the year 2030.

Rachel Baye

A new nine-member commission is being tasked with redrawing Maryland’s sixth congressional district, under an executive order Gov. Larry Hogan signed Monday.

The move follows a ruling by the U.S. District Court in Baltimore earlier this month that the Western Maryland district was unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit Democrats. The court gave the state until March to submit a new, more fair map.

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

This post has been updated.

It’s a windy autumn Saturday at the Bladensburg Festival del Rio, an annual event for environmental groups to entertain and educate Latinos about environmental issues.

There are tents set up with different activities for kids, a live band, and kayaking rides on the Anacostia. I’m here to ask Latinos voters how interested they are in the upcoming midterm election. Bayardo Lune, sits in the shade about to enjoy his lunch. He came to the US 20 years ago from Mexico and says he’s not sure if he’s going to vote on Tuesday.

Rachel Baye

As voters head to the polls starting Thursday for early voting, they will be asked to approve an amendment to the state constitution to allow citizens to register to vote on Election Day.

Rachel Baye

  

Maryland’s red flag law goes into effect on Monday. The law creates a process through which a court can revoke someone’s right to own a gun if the person poses an immediate threat to him or herself or to others.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

 

Tuesday’s 105-degree heat index kept 10 Baltimore County schools without air conditioning closed on the first day of the school year. In Baltimore City, more than 60 schools dismissed students early — some before noon — as a result of the heat.

The lack of air conditioning is part of a larger political fight over school funding.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Former state Sen. Nathaniel Oaks was sentenced Tuesday to three and a half years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He also has to pay a $30,000 fine and perform 80 hours of community service.

Chris Connelly / WYPR

A Russian-backed firm owns the servers where Maryland stores voter registration and other election-related information, officials announced Friday.

State legislative leaders said the FBI warned them and Gov. Larry Hogan about the Russian ties in a meeting earlier in the week.

Rachel Baye

  

State lawmakers and election officials said Thursday that problems with nearly 72,000 voter registrations likely kept people from voting during last month’s primary. But during a rare mid-summer legislative hearing, they also said it’s impossible to know how many people chose not to cast ballots as a result of the errors.

Rachel Baye

The General Assembly will look quite different in January following Tuesday’s primary, in which several incumbent state legislative leaders lost their seats.

Rachel Baye

 

As many as 80,000 voters may have to cast provisional ballots in Tuesday’s primary as a result of a glitch in computer software installed last year by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.

Maryland House of Delegates

The state legislature’s ethics committee is investigating Baltimore City House Delegation Chair Curt Anderson for alleged sexual misconduct.

Rachel Baye

Democratic state Sen. Richard Madaleno has known he wanted to run for office since he was 9 years old.

Rachel Baye

Thirty-five-year-old Cory McCray checked his list of registered Democratic voters before climbing each set of porch steps and knocking on each door in a Northeast Baltimore neighborhood on a recent afternoon.

“I’m Cory McCray, your state delegate,” he told a resident who answered her door. “I’m in a very contentious race, so when you go to the ballot in June, I’ll be trying to elevate from delegate to senator, and I’m just hoping and praying to get your consideration.”

McCray said it was his third time knocking on doors in the neighborhood, so he hoped most people there knew who he is.

Rachel Baye

The Maryland General Assembly ended on Monday night after legislators waded through more than 2,500 bills in the 90-day session. 

Here are some of the most notable bills to pass in the session, along with links to the legislation and WYPR's coverage. 

Joel McCord

The General Assembly wrapped up its 90-day session in Annapolis Monday night with a flurry of activity, passing bills to increase minimum sentences for some repeat offenders, tightening school safety measures and diversifying the medical marijuana industry.

Many lawmakers, including Gov. Larry Hogan, began the legislative session seeking an answer to the recent spike in violent crime in Baltimore. On Monday, the legislature passed what some lawmakers said is part of the solution:  mandatory minimum sentences for repeat offenders caught illegally carrying a gun.

Rachel Baye

The General Assembly voted Monday morning to pass a bill designed to open medical marijuana growing to minority-owned businesses, and specifically to African-Americans. The bill was the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus’s top priority in Annapolis this year.

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