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General Assembly

The end of the General Assembly’s 2016 session is looming, and legislation is flying at a rapid clip. WYPR’s Rachel Baye joined News Director Joel McCord to discuss veto overrides, taxes and redistricting.

House overrides vetoes

Apr 13, 2016

    

The House of Delegates voted Thursday to override two of Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes; one a key transportation bill, the other a change in the make-up of Anne Arundel County’s school board nominating commission. WYPR’s Rachel Baye joined news director Joel McCord to talk about that and other action as lawmakers close in on the end of this year’s General Assembly session.

Hogan avoids signing or vetoing 22 bills

Apr 13, 2016

Gov. Larry Hogan plans to let nearly two dozen bills become law without his signature, he announced at a news conference Tuesday.

Hogan called the General Assembly’s decision to send the bills to him before Sine Die political gamesmanship.

m01229 / Flickr via Creative Commons

No income tax cuts for Marylanders, but the aerospace corporation Northrup Grumman will get $37.5 million dollars in tax breaks. These were among the many last minute decisions the General Assembly made before the clock struck midnight last night. We look back at the session and examine which proposals made it to Governor Larry Hogan’s desk and what happened once they arrived. WYPR Statehouse reporter Rachel Baye brings us the latest from Annapolis. Plus: Barry Rascovar of the Political Maryland blog and Baltimore Sun opinion editor Andy Green offer their reflections on the testy relationship between our highly popular Republican governor and a legislature dominated by Democrats.

Annapolis Wrap: Rushing to pass veto bait

Apr 2, 2016

    

Democrats in the General Assembly rushed to pass some of this session's more controversial bills this week to get them to the governor's desk by the end of the day Friday, leaving just enough time to override any vetoes before the session ends April 11. WYPR's Rachel Baye joins news director Joel McCord to review this week in Annapolis.

Hogan promises veto for transportation bill

Apr 2, 2016

The General Assembly and Gov. Larry Hogan are at odds over how the state should pick which transportation projects to build.

On Thursday, the legislature passed a bill that ranks projects based on priorities such as safety, cost, economic development and environmental concerns. But Hogan has said he will veto it when it reaches his desk.  

Baltimore bills clear Senate

Apr 2, 2016

State lawmakers approved Wednesday several bills aimed at improving quality of life in Baltimore. The bills pay for extended library hours and school days, and demolition of vacant houses.

Public schools and some private schools will teach students as early as kindergarten about sexual abuse and assault if Gov. Larry Hogan signs a bill headed to his desk. Schools across the state could see the new material as early as next school year.

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The General Assembly wraps up its session in less than three weeks. What bills still have a chance to pass? What effect have testy exchanges between the Republican governor and Democratic leaders had on legislation? We talk politics and legislation this hour with commentator Barry Rascovar and WYPR Statehouse reporter Rachel Baye. What will happen to the Justice Reinvestment Act, a bipartisan effort to save money and reduce the state’s prison population? After amendments, some doubt whether the bill accomplishes meaningful reform. And, in the shadow of cancelling Baltimore’s Red Line, who will set and enforce priorities for transportation projects? Plus Maryland’s state song and motto, tax cuts, college scholarships for middle schoolers, and more.

The Baltimore bills

Mar 18, 2016

    

Fraser Smith and Luke Broadwater, of the Baltimore Sun, talk about the package of Baltimore bills that Democratic leaders in the General Assembly are backing.

Residents in Frederick or Anne Arundel counties may have seen aircraft flying over their property taking photos. State tax assessors there have been using such flyovers on a trial basis to determine property taxes. And the state Senate is scheduled to vote Friday on whether to keep drones out of the property assessment business.

State Senate votes to change state song

Mar 18, 2016

A plan to change the state song passed the state Senate Thursday. The plan retains the tune and one verse of the current song in an effort to remove controversial references to the Confederacy of the Civil War.

Legislative leaders target Baltimore

Mar 18, 2016

With a month left in the General Assembly’s annual 90-day session, the leaders of both houses have announced a focus on Baltimore.

House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Mike Miller are backing a package of bills that includes efforts to renew development and boost education in the city. 

The state Senate passed Wednesday a controversial measure that would offer businesses tax credits in exchange for donations that support scholarships for students to attend private schools. It’s one of a few measures in Annapolis that opponents criticize as pseudo-voucher programs.

Colleges, guns and money for schools

Mar 14, 2016

In a busy week, Maryland's General Assembly took on everything from guns to a significant change in the state university system. WYPR's Rachel Baye joins news director Joel McCord to wrap up this week in Annapolis.

Hogan calls out Democrats on budget mandates

Mar 14, 2016

  Gov. Larry Hogan accused the Democratic leaders of the General Assembly of being reckless with state tax dollars at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. But the call for budget reform quickly turned into political mud-slinging.

Md. Senate passes bee-killing pesticide ban

Mar 14, 2016

The state Senate on Wednesday passed a ban on pesticides that are believed to endanger bee populations. The measure would prevent stores from selling certain products that contain the chemical, known as neonicotinoids.

A tiny break in the partisan wrangling

Mar 8, 2016

    

State lawmakers put aside their partisan battles to apparently reach accord over criminal justice reform last week. But they went right back at it over a transportation bill. WYPR’s Rachel Baye joins news director Joel McCord to wrap up the week in Annapolis.

A political fight is brewing in Annapolis over how the state decides which transportation projects to build.

Democrats have proposed ranking projects based on how well they reduce congestion or increase development. But the governor’s office says the system would hurt rural areas.  

Children lobby state legislators for paid leave

Mar 8, 2016

The lobbyists in the General Assembly Tuesdsay were younger than the Statehouse’s usual crowd. 

Six-year-old Vivienne Martin Mulkey took the day off from her Takoma Park elementary school to advocate for a bill that would guarantee sick leave to Maryland workers.

State legislators voiced strong support Wednesday for a bill expected to reduce prison populations and save the state more than $240 million over 10 years.

The legislation would enact 19 reforms recommended by a bipartisan commission in December. But one reform — sending offenders with underlying drug addictions to get treatment within thirty days of a court order — requires more funding than is currently in the budget.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and Montana all allow terminally ill patients to seek aid in dying. The practice will take effect in California in a few months. New Mexico’s highest court is expected to rule on the issue this year. Here in Maryland, “end of life” legislation is once again before the General Assembly.

Today, a look at both sides of the “right to die” debate. Some call it "death with dignity," others see it as "physician-assisted suicide." We’ll talk to Dr. Michael Strauss, a board-certified internist and volunteer with Compassion and Choices, a nonprofit that supports expanding end-of life choices, as well as forensic psychiatrist Dr. Annette Hanson, who opposes the bill. Should aid in dying be legal? What are the implications for the elderly and disabled?

Imagine you had to call into work every morning to find out if you were on the schedule. How would you arrange child-care? What if you were juggling a second job? Or what if you arrived at work only to find you weren’t needed? This is reality for many low-wage part-time employees. Maryland is one of at least ten states considering legislation to make scheduling more predictable. But employers say a one-size-fits-all mandate will place an unnecessary burden on businesses. Economics and labor-employment relations researcher Lonnie Golden joins us to discuss so-called just-in-time scheduling. We’ll also hear from Mike O’Halloran, Maryland State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

When Gov. Larry Hogan canceled Baltimore's Red Line light rail project and altered the plans for the Purple Line light rail in the Washington suburbs last summer, he didn't give legislators a chance to weigh in first, House Speaker Michael Busch said Tuesday.

As Maryland lawmakers return to Annapolis, one of the first things on the agenda is trying to overturn six of Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes from last year.

Among the most controversial is a measure giving former felons the right to vote while on parole or probation.

In the spring, Hogan said he rejected the measure because felons on parole are still paying their debt to society.  Felons currently regain voting rights after completing their sentences, including parole or probation.

  When police officers are accused of misconduct – whether it’s excessive use of force or other lesser abuses – the internal police investigations are governed by the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights. The rules were written into law in 1974 to protect the due process rights of accused officers, but they’ve become a flashpoint for activists who argue they impede transparency and accountability from their police departments. Yesterday, a panel of state lawmakers took up the question of reforming the so-called LEOBR.

Brett Levin / Flickr / Creative Commons

Twenty states and the District of Columbia, have medical marijuana programs. Patients can either buy or grow marijuana for things like pain relief. The General Assembly took a first, cautious stab at creating a medical marijuana program last year. Marijuana was to be made available through academic medical centers. But, none of the centers in Maryland signed up to participate. Legislators decided this past session to allow certified doctors to write prescriptions for medical marijuana that can be bought from licensed growers and dispensaries.

Credit: Kevin Elliott / The National Guard / Creative Commons
Kevin Elliott

This morning, we examine the priorities of the Maryland Veterans Caucus. Maryland is home to just under 500,000 veterans, and for insight into the issues they’re facing, Tom Hall talks with State Senator Douglas Peters.

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