Issues

Report on 2019 Maryland Legislative Session

Higher incomes and lower costs
for working families


Holding down health costs: Senior citizens, and all of us, fear health costs we can’t afford. That’s why we passed powerful new laws to:
  • keep insurance prices under control
  • crack down on drug price hikes
  • protect people with pre-existing conditions
  • expand access to low-cost health insurance
  • cap out-of-pocket drug costs for UMD and state government retirees
Creating family-supporting jobs: Good jobs at good wages. That’s what next year’s $1.085 billion state investment in school construction, transit and roads, hospitals, colleges, and environmental clean-up provides. So does the new Clean Energy Jobs law which fights climate change by investing in solar and wind — right here in Maryland. It also funds new apprenticeships to train Marylanders for these jobs.

Raising the minimum wage to $15: To boost incomes for almost 600,000 Marylanders, we raised the minimum wage. Who benefits? Overwhelmingly adults who work full time (including 1/3 who have children). And the local businesses where they will spend their bigger paychecks.

Reducing child care costs: To help working parents save on child care, we expanded the state child care credit for parents with incomes up to $143,000 and increased state funding for free full day pre-K for lower income families.

Reducing college tuition costs: College costs too much. So we worked successfully to: 
  • expand opportunities for high students to earn college credits tuition-free
  • cap next year’s tuition hikes at Maryland colleges at 2%
  • boost scholarship aid to community college students in apprenticeships and other skills training
Protecting senior citizens: Two priorities this session were giving counties the power to cut property taxes for more homeowners age 65 and over and protecting nursing home residents who move from Medicare to Medicaid to pay their bills.

Cleaning up our environment: Oysters are critical to cleaning the Chesapeake Bay. And forests and tree canopy are critical to fighting climate change. That’s why we passed new laws to protect both.

Investing in our community:
  • Boosted state funds for local schools in Prince George's by $79.2 million and Anne Arundel by $31 million.

  • $6.6 million for rebuilding Route One in College Park and $17.3 million for modernizing and expanding Route 175 in Odenton.

  • $175.1 million for construction of the light rail Purple Line, connecting the Metro Green Line and the University of Maryland with Bethesda, New Carrollton – and New York!

  • To fix pot holes and improve local roads, we approved $10 million for Prince George's, $4.8 million for Anne Arundel, $616,057 for College Park, and $901,252 for Laurel.

  • $325,000 in state funds to help the City of Laurel build a new center for residents in need, $200,000 to build a new community building at the former College Park Woods swimming pool and $250,000 to improve the College Park Woods Neighborhood Park.
We worked together on all these initiatives:
  • New laws to help more Marylanders sign-up for insurance through their tax returns, afford health insurance by holding down rates, and set up new agency for oversight of price increases of prescription drugs, sponsored by Delegate Peña-Melnyk, Vice Chair of the House Health Committee.

  • Efforts to halt chicken manure runoff into the Chesapeake Bay and pass a strong statewide foam ban, championed by Delegate Lehman.

  • Record funding for our local public schools and greater transparency and balance on the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, led by Delegate Barnes.

  • Fixing pot holes on state roads caused by climate change, championed by Senator Rosapepe.
Please let us know if there are other issues you have questions or thoughts about. And, of course, feel free to be in touch if we can be of help to you.