The gavel fell at midnight on Monday.
Annapolis, Md (KM). The 2018 Maryland General Assembly ended its 180 day session Monday night at midnight. Lawmakers began to make their way home, leaving behind a lot of bills which passed, and some that didn’t make it. .
Frederick County did rather well, according to Delegate and Delegation Chair Bill Folden. “We had a good session back home for bond bills, We were able to bring back a lot of money for that. We brought back some highway funding which was really important,” he said.
Lawmakers also passed legislation dealing with school safety, in light of the shootings in Parkland, Florida, and Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County in Maryland. It would require school districts to have a resource officer in each school, or plans for adequate law enforcement. Lawmakers set aside $10-million annually to help pay for that. Delegate Folden says he voted for that bill, but would have preferred taking $1-million allocated for the Maryland Attorney General’s Office to file lawsuits against the federal government to be used for school safety. “It still wouldn’t limit the ability to sue. It’s just we don’t need $1-million appropriated without the Governor’s oversight on these type of lawsuits. We need school safety,. We need to put that money where it’s tangible in its use,:” he said,
Folden voted in favor of a ban on bump stocks, which can take a semi-automatic gun and make it fire like an automatic firearm. “It’s just a way to get around the automatic weapon ban that’s been around. I agree with that,” he says.
Another bill would change the way legislators handle sexual harassment suits. Under the measure, an independent investigator would handle these complaints, unless the person who filed the complaint doesn’t want one. It would also extend to lobbyists and prohibit taxpayer money from being used to settle lawsuits involving sexual harassment.
Legislation to fight crime passed the General Assembly on Monday. It would expand wiretapping authority for prosecutors on gun investigations. Penalties for witness intimidation would increase from five to 10 for inducing false testimony or retaliation for testimony. There’s also a provision for helping prosecute volume dealers of fentanyl.
There’s also legislation to improve diversity in the state’s medical marijuana industry. It would increase the number of growers licenses from 15 to as many as 22, and two of the licenses would be set aside to help companies that sued over the licensing process, The bill also works to help minority owned businesses receive licenses, and it increases the number of marijuana processors licenses from 15 to 28.,
Delegates and State Senators have been in Annapolis for 180 days.
By Kevin McManus