Report on 2018 Maryland Legislative Session

As last year, much of our work has been focused on protecting Maryland from the dangers posed by President Trump and his allies. Among the most important:
  • Restoring the personal exemption on Maryland tax returns taken away by the Republican federal tax law.

  • Based on the recommendation of the Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission, co-chaired by Delegate Peña-Melnyk, we fought Republican attacks on Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid and passed a strong law to block big insurance rate hikes.

  • Responding to Trump’s “drill, baby, drill” energy policy, we passed tough new regulations on offshore oil and gas drilling to protect Maryland's shores.

  • To help protect Marylanders’ jobs, homes, and retirement savings from another economic crisis, we strengthened protections for retirees’ savings, boosted fines on unscrupulous brokers and banks, and put more financial cops on the beat to curb the wolves of Wall Street.

To keep our families safe, we:
  • required insurance companies to expand drug addiction and mental health services through local health departments.

  • required doctors to discuss with patients the risks of prescription painkillers.

  • boosted funding Safe Streets and other programs which get guns off the streets.

  • banned bump stocks which, as we saw in Las Vegas, turn semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic weapons.

  • required every public school by 2021 to have lockable doors for every classroom, a school resource officer or police, and expanded mental health evaluation.

  • gave prosecutors more tools to keep repeat, violent criminals out of our neighborhoods, with longer sentences for gun crimes and big drug dealers.

Other priorities in this year’s State budget include:
  • boosts in state funds for schools in Prince George's by $29.2 million and Anne Arundel by $9.6 million.

  • more jobs in Maryland repairing UM buildings and local schools, increasing investments in roads, bridges, and transit.

  • boosts in investment in the University of Maryland and other public colleges by $60.2 million.

  • balanced the budget, protecting Maryland's AAA bond rating.

  • $150.1 million to protect open space and $2.5 million to improve local parks.

  • $5.6 million for rebuilding Route One in College Park and $12.2 million for modernizing and expanding Route 175 in Odenton.

  • $334.9 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!

  • $5 million for a tax cut for small businesses who provide paid sick leave to their workers.

To help Laurel, College Park, Prince George's, and Anne Arundel Counties fix pot holes and improve local roads, we approved $26.7 million for Prince George's, $26.1 million for Anne Arundel, $2.5 million for College Park, and $3.5 million for Laurel. 

To help homeless and other low-income families in Laurel, we secured funds for Laurel Advocacy & Referral Services (LARS) to help pay first month’s rent, security deposit, and eviction prevention. 

We worked together on all these initiatives:
  • Blocking big hikes in health insurance rates under new law, sponsored by Delegate Peña-Melnyk, chair of the House Public Health Subcommittee.

  • Delegate Frush relentlessly worked on the Chesapeake Bay Commission to protect our environment and the Chesapeake Bay, to make sure that it remains healthy and viable.

  • Delegate Barnes, as Vice Chairman of the Education Subcommittee, has worked to secure record school funding for Anne Arundel and Prince George’s.

  • Restoring state personal tax exemptions endangered by Trump tax plan, 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.