General Assembly | WYPR

General Assembly

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  A bill extending a major poverty-fighting tool to low-income immigrants cleared an initial vote in the Maryland House of Delegates Thursday, despite Republicans’ objections to extending the benefit to immigrants without legal status in the United States. 

 

The legislation expands the state’s existing Earned Income Tax Credit so that low-income residents who file taxes with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, or ITINs, instead of Social Security numbers may qualify.

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Students at dozens of public schools in Maryland who get routine medical care through their schools have been unable to access that care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike other medical providers, these school-based health centers are not allowed to use telehealth to reach their patients.

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A bill making immigrants eligible for an anti-poverty tax measure passed largely along party lines in the state Senate Friday.

After an at-times acrimonious debate, the Senate voted 32 to 15 to expand the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit to immigrants, including those without legal residency in the United States, by opening it up to people who file their taxes with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, or ITINs, in lieu of Social Security numbers.

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Republicans in the House of Delegates unveiled a package of bills Thursday that they say is aimed at helping Maryland businesses cope with the pandemic.

The bills are mostly a combination of tax breaks and tax credits.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

A debate over whether to expand an anti-poverty tax measure to immigrants is breaking down along party lines in the Maryland General Assembly, with Republicans vehemently opposing the move. The bill cleared an initial vote in the Senate Wednesday, with just one Democrat voting with the Republicans.

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The Maryland General Assembly is considering legislation that would ban hate symbols like swastikas, Confederate flags and nooses at public schools statewide.

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Gov. Larry Hogan signed a roughly $1.1 billion pandemic relief package into law Monday afternoon. The measure, which passed the legislature almost unanimously, takes effect immediately.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

The General Assembly has sent a roughly $1.1 billion COVID-19 relief package to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk after passing it unanimously in the Senate and with the support of all but one member in the House of Delegates. Hogan has said he will sign it.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

The COVID-19 relief bill making its way through the Maryland General Assembly has been amended to make funds available to immigrants — both legal residents and those without legal status in the United States.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

The House of Delegates continued overriding Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes Thursday. One of the bills the House passed increases taxes on tobacco products and imposes a new tax on digital advertising.

Ken Baye

Four bills vetoed by Gov. Larry Hogan are a step closer to becoming law after the state Senate voted Tuesday to override the vetoes. 

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The Maryland House of Delegates voted Monday largely along party lines to override 11 of Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes. The two most controversial were a massive education overhaul known as the “Kirwan” bill, and to help pay for it, a tax on digital products. WYPR’s Rachel Baye speaks with Nathan Sterner to give a refresher on these bills.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

A nearly $1.5 billion COVID-19 relief package unanimously passed the state Senate Friday. The bill contains a hybrid of proposals from Gov. Larry Hogan and the Senate. 

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State lawmakers heard testimony Thursday on a bill limiting the situations in which police can use lethal force. The bill is just one of a host of measures under consideration this year that aim to reshape policing in Maryland.

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The state Senate gave initial approval Wednesday to a COVID-19 relief package expected to cost nearly $1.3 billion initially, plus more in future years. Rachel Baye and Nathan Sterner talk about what’s in the bill.

Morgan State University

A bill giving $577 million dollars to Maryland’s four historically Black colleges and universities gained initial approval in the state Senate Wednesday. 

Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed an almost-identical bill last year, citing its cost and uncertainty about the state’s finances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Some Maryland hospitals have told officials they aren’t getting enough second doses of the new COVID-19 vaccine. State lawmakers raised concerns about these reports at a meeting Monday afternoon.

Rachel Baye and Nathan Sterner discuss the problem.

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Republican leaders in the Maryland House of Delegates, who are frustrated by students’ slow return to in-person learning, have proposed a new option for parents who are as frustrated as they are. 

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Democratic leaders in the state Senate have proposed a $520 million amendment to the governor’s proposed pandemic relief package.

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Cristobal Gomez was in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, detention center in Frederick County for a month and 18 days before a lawyer took on his case. 

 

“Without a lawyer, they don’t tell you anything,” he said through an interpreter.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Former Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., a potent force in Maryland politics for half a century and the longest serving state senate president in US history, died Friday after a two-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 78.

Miller, who stepped down as Senate President in 2019 because of his failing health and resigned his seat representing parts of Southern Maryland last month, was recognized as a master politician.

Baltimore City Health Department / Wikimedia Commons

The state Senate on Friday voted along party lines to override 16 of Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes. The list of bills includes three intended to reduce crime in Baltimore City that passed last year with bipartisan support.

  

Rachel Baye / WYPR

The Maryland General Assembly convened for its annual 90-day session Wednesday, and it is already unlike any session the state has seen before. Rachel Baye and Nathan Sterner discuss how lawmakers have adjusted their long-held traditions for a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. 

Rachel Baye / WYPR

The Maryland General Assembly returns to Annapolis Wednesday for its annual 90-day legislative session, and it will be unlike any session the state has seen before. The COVID-19 pandemic will shape not just how the laws are made, but is expected to be a focal point of the policies written. 

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State legislators are trying to make it easier for students at Maryland colleges and universities and members of the military to vote via a bill legislators announced Wednesday and is expected to be introduced after the General Assembly convenes next week.

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State legislators have proposed a series of changes at the Maryland Environmental Service, including substantial changes to the organization’s board of directors.

The quasi-public state entity has been embroiled in a scandal following the news that former director, Roy McGrath, took a six-figure severance payment when he left to become Gov. Larry Hogan’s top aide.

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Roy McGrath, former chief of staff to Gov. Larry Hogan, appeared Wednesday before a legislative panel that is investigating a six-figure payout McGrath received when he left his job at a state agency to join Hogan’s staff. During the four-hour hearing, McGrath declined to answer many questions. 

 

Rachel Baye and Nathan Sterner discuss what we know about this controversy.

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The former director of operations for the Maryland Environmental Service, Matthew Sherring, spent three hours being grilled Thursday by a state legislative panel about his hefty travel and expenses. The hearing is part of an ongoing investigation into a six-figure payout to Roy McGrath, his former boss.

During the hearing, Sherring declined to answer nearly all questions, invoking the 5th Amendment more than 150 times.

Courtesy of Senate President's Office


Annapolis in January is usually buzzing with activity as the Maryland General Assembly meets for its annual 90-day session. Because of the pandemic, the 2021 legislative session is expected to look quite different, with all meetings live-streamed but access to the public restricted.

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Maryland child care providers are pleading with elected officials to loosen COVID-19 safety rules and provide additional financial support. Without those changes, providers warned state lawmakers on Thursday that many will have to permanently close their doors in a matter of months.

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