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This Week in Annapolis: April 1-5, 2019


Maryland’s General Assembly heads into the last full week of its 90-day session with a number of issues yet to be resolved, including legislation that would strip trash incinerators of their “green energy” label and  bills to raise the legal smoking age to 21 and to forbid members of the University of Maryland Medical System’s board of directors from doing business with the system.

Gov. Larry Hogan introduced his bill to redraw the state’s Sixth and Eighth Congressional Districts Friday, but the Democratic leaders who drew the original districts don’t appear to be receptive to the Republican governor’s plan.

Meanwhile, bills related to Pimlico Race Course and the Preakness Stakes appear to remain mired in their respective committees. The House and Senate versions of one bill would establish a work group to determine how to implement a $400 million plus plan to upgrade Pimlico to make it the permanent home of the second jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown. The other would help the Stronach Group, which owns Pimlico and Laurel race courses, turn Laurel into a super track and move the Preakness there.

In addition, the Senate has twice put off final votes on bills designed to protect Planned Parenthood from potential federal funding cuts. The House and Senate versions are expected to come up for final votes Monday.

While much of the action will be on the floors of both chambers, some committees have scheduled hearings on bills still making their way through the process. Here is a partial listing of those hearings and other items of interest in Annapolis this week.


There are no hearings scheduled  There are no committee hearings scheduled in either house Monday, but the Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee is to hold a mark-up session on a bill that would provide $1 billion in increased funding for public schools as recommended by the so-called Kirwan Commission.



The Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on the Senate version of a bill to abolish the Handgun Permit Review Board. The Senate passed that bill March 21. The House version remains in committee.



The Economic Matters Committee has scheduled a hearing on the Senate version of a bill to ban the sale of loose cigarettes. That bill passed the Senate unanimously in early March. There has been no hearing on the House version.


Meets in the Governor’s Reception Room on the second floor of the State House. The board’s agenda is available at https://bpw.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx


There are no committee hearings scheduled Thursday and Friday, though that could change as the week progresses.

For more details go to: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmHearingSchedule.aspx?pid=2&View=Day&tab=subject2

Joel McCord is a trumpet player who learned early in life that that’s no way to make a living.
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