Maryland General Assembly 2019 | WYPR

Maryland General Assembly 2019

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.

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Last week, amid the shutdown and paralysis of the federal government, the Maryland General Assembly took action and opened its 2019 legislative session.

Sound of gavel and voice: “I now call the Maryland Senate to order.”

The most sweeping environmental legislation being debated this year is a proposed amendment to the Maryland Constitution that would add to the state's Declaration of Rights the right to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment. 

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, field director of the Maryland Environmental Health Network, is helping to lead the campaign for a constitutional amendment.

“The idea is to have this as a fundamental right, putting it on par with all of the other rights that we have – freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press,” Cardin said. “And as such, it would be sort of written into the DNA of how we construct our society.”

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.

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.

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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.