General Assembly | WYPR

General Assembly

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.

Smythe Richbourg/Creative Commons

The General Assembly has a little more 14 hours to solve some thorny legislative issues that have eluded compromise for months. For example, the crushing wave of homicides in Baltimore, or the new industry being created around medical marijuana. And, is the state legislature going to demand changes in safety features in public schools? We find out how this last day looks to two political analysts who have kept their eyes on the legislature for years. Barry Rascovar writes for the blog Political Maryland. Charles Robinson is a political reporter for State Circle on Maryland Public Television. 

Rachel Baye

The General Assembly voted Thursday to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of two school-focused bills. One of these takes oversight of school construction projects away from the Board of Public Works, which Hogan presides over.

Rachel Baye

Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday morning vetoed a bill taking the Board of Public Works out of the school construction approval process.

The Interagency Committee on School Construction, or IAC, makes recommendations to the Board of Public Works on school construction projects. The bill instead makes the IAC independent and gives it final approval of those projects.

Rachel Baye

With less than a week to go before the General Assembly’s 90-day session ends, legislators are racing to pass the bills that remain unsettled. On Tuesday, legislators considered measures dealing with topics such as guns, medical marijuana and net neutrality.

Rachel Baye

A bill intended to diversify Maryland’s medical marijuana industry gained initial approval in the state Senate Monday night. The legislation is the state Legislative Black Caucus’s top priority in Annapolis this year.

Rachel Baye

Former State Sen. Nathaniel Oaks pleaded guilty to two wire fraud charges Thursday morning, two hours after resigning his seat representing West Baltimore. The 71-year-old Democrat had been scheduled to stand trial in about two weeks.

Wikimedia Commons

  

It is illegal for a correctional officer to engage in sexual acts with people in their custody, but most law enforcement officials don’t face the same restriction. State lawmakers are considering legislation that would close that loophole.

Rachel Baye

State lawmakers are considering something billed as the “Comprehensive Crime Bill of 2018.” The legislation was developed in large part as a response to the record levels of violent crime in Baltimore last year, and one of its biggest impacts would be tougher sentences for repeat violent offenders.

Chris Connelly / WYPR

State lawmakers are considering a bipartisan package of bills aimed at making public schools better equipped to handle shootings.

On Thursday, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee considered a bill establishing what the sponsor called a “last line of defense,” should a shooter get inside the building.

Wikimedia Commons

The Maryland Legislative Black Caucus has for more than a year been fighting to bring more African American-owned businesses into the state’s fledgling medical marijuana industry. Legislation aimed at doing that has passed the House of Delegates and was considered Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee. But the hearing raised questions about the effects the proposed changes would have on the price of the drug.

Monday, March 19, was the 69th day of the Maryland General Assembly's annual session. It's what's known in the State House as Cross-over Day. All bills must pass at least one chamber of the General Assembly and "cross-over" to the other to have a decent chance of getting to the governor's desk.

WYPR's state politics reporter, Rachel Baye, joins news director Joel McCord to discuss what will make it and what might not.

Rachel Baye

In a largely bipartisan move, the Maryland House of Delegates voted Thursday night to ban bump stocks, the device used in the Las Vegas shooting last October to make a semi-automatic rifle fire rapidly like an automatic weapon.

Rachel Baye

  

The House of Delegates gave initial approval Thursday night to a bill raising the minimum age at which someone can get married to 17. The bill was also introduced during the previous two legislative sessions but was not successful.

Rachel Baye

A state senator says newly released security footage proves her claim earlier this month that a lobbyist groped her at a karaoke event in Annapolis. But the lobbyist says the video exonerates him.

Rachel Baye

Since the first 9-1-1 call was made 50 years ago, not much has changed about how Maryland’s 9-1-1 system functions. As a result, there are times when 9-1-1 doesn’t work.

Rachel Baye

In the wake of the shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut a little more than five years ago, Maryland passed a law banning “assault weapons” and large-capacity, detachable magazines. The ban includes a long list of semi-automatic handguns and rifles, including AR-15-style rifles, like those used in several mass shootings, including last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Now Republican lawmakers in Annapolis are sponsoring a bill to remove the rifles and other long guns from the ban.

Rachel Baye

It’s legal in Maryland to carry a concealed weapon on private property, with or without a concealed-carry permit, as long as the property owner approves. Legislation under consideration in Annapolis would extend that concept to religious institutions.

Office of the Governor

With the state fighting to cancel its agreement with the developer of State Center, it’s not clear what will eventually replace the current 1950’s-era buildings at the 28-acre state office complex just north of downtown Baltimore. Two competing lawsuits between the state and the developer could take years to wrap up, and until they do, the project is at a standstill.

But when the fight is resolved, members of the surrounding communities want to make sure that they get a vote on what gets built.

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