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General Assembly rushes to pass legislation before midnight adjournment

Jim Peaco
Firefighters spray foam

Lawmakers worked their way through stacks of bills Monday as they approached adjournment at midnight.

Among those that received final approval from The Senate was one that bans the use of dangerous per and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, or PFAS, in Maryland,

Under the bill, PFAS, synthetic chemicals used in carpeting, to prevent leakage in takeout containers, and in firefighting foam will no longer be allowed in the state beginning July first.

The bill was named for George “Walter” Taylor, a former Calvert County firefighter, who died at age 46 of cancer that an autopsy determined was caused at least in part by the PFAS found in firefighting foam and in the gear that he used since becoming a volunteer firefighter at age 15.

The Maryland firefighter community lobbied heavily for its passage.

With the deadline looming, the General Assembly raced to pass bills including a heavily-amended bill that would grant students excused absences for mental health reasons; a bill that would establish a fund to assist HIV+ residents with obtaining medical care; and a bill that would create a commission to establish a Maryland Women Veterans Memorial.

On Saturday, lawmakers in both chambers voted by wide margins to override all ten vetoes Gov. Larry Hogan delivered the day before.

Callan Tansill-Suddath is a State House Reporter for WYPR, where she covers the General Assembly.