Maryland lawmakers ended their 90-day legislative session Monday with deals and legislation to prevent price gouging by drugmakers and to combat the state’s growing opioid epidemic.
But other progressive policy ideas faltered in the waning hours, including legislation to diversify the state’s medical marijuana industry and to limit the state’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
It capped off a session where lawmakers sent hundreds of bills to Gov. Larry Hogan (R) by the midnight deadline. This is a rundown of some of the other items that passed or failed in the 2017 legislative session:
The overwhelmingly Democratic legislature made defying President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress a defining feature of the legislative session.
Maryland became the first state to agree to reimburse Planned Parenthood clinics if they lose federal funding. Another bill allowed Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) to sue the federal government without first securing permission from the governor.
But lawmakers never voted on bills to require presidential candidates to release tax returns to appear on the Maryland ballot, a measure meant to rebuke Trump for refusing to abide by a decades-long tradition of financial transparency.
And on Monday, a House committee killed an Internet privacy bill meant to protect consumers from legislation signed by Trump allowing Internet service providers to sell users’ browsing data.
Several of Hogan’s legislative priorities went nowhere in the General Assembly, including to provide tax credits for student loans, to offer 401(k) retirement plans to state employees and to create an independent commission to draw legislative district maps.
But he found successes with bills to combat human trafficking, a partial rollback of a new system for scoring transportation projects and to give tax breaks to retired law enforcement and manufacturers in Baltimore City and other economically depressed areas.
Lawmakers rejected Hogan’s proposal for a more modest paid sick leave mandate, passing a more expansive version with enough support to override a veto. They also found surprising agreement with the governor in banning the gas extraction method known as fracking.
Prosecutors in rape cases will no longer need to prove a victim of sexual assault tried to resist to secure convictions if a bill sent to the governor becomes law. And Hogan signed legislation giving people sexually abused as children until the age of 38, instead of 25, to sue their abusers, capping off three years of effort by a lawmaker who said he was repeatedly raped by his adoptive father.
But a bill requiring Maryland schools to teach a “yes means yes” standard of consent during sex education failed, with amendments gutting the bill added in the last hour and not enough time to combat it.
A late-filed bill to abolish a board of gubernatorial appointees that hears appeals of people denied licenses to carry concealed firearms never got a hearing. Legislation to ban guns on college campuses failed after Senate and House negotiators could not reach an agreement.
The legislative session began and ended with corruption charges against lawmakers, with a rare public reprimand of a lawmaker for unethical behavior sandwiched in between.
With that backdrop, lawmakers negotiated an ethics overhaul with Hogan that tightens conflict-of-interest rules and expands financial disclosures. And they also passed legislation subjecting Prince George’s liquor inspectors, commissioners and board staff to more stringent public ethics laws after a federal corruption investigation into the agency resulted in charges against multiple public officials.
The legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes was sidelined in favor of an attempt to overhaul the state’s beleaguered medical marijuana program. But the issue is likely to return next year, when lawmakers have the option to refer the matter to voters in the November 2018 ballot.
While Marylanders may not be able to (legally) toke up, they may be able to enjoy a cold one at big breweries that can sell much more beer at taprooms under legislation that went to the governor’s desk.
A bill headed to the governor limits students to spending 2.2 percent of the school year taking standardized tests. Separate legislation prohibits school districts from suspending and expelling 4-year-olds, while limiting discipline for other young students.
Lawmakers also passed legislation prohibiting universities and colleges from asking applicants about their criminal histories.
Maryland students can’t get out of cutting up fetal pigs and frogs after a bill to allow students to opt out of dissections failed.
Ovetta Wiggins and Josh Hicks contributed to this report.