Several bills advance during 2018 Session

When the clock hit midnight on April 9, Maryland’s General Assembly concluded its annual legislative session. By the end, multiple bills were passed that will benefit the state for years to come. However, one bill that was supported by many of the state’s residents, did not progress.  

In fact, multiple bills did not make it past this year’s General Legislative Session. This includes a bill that would leave it up to Maryland’s voters to decide if selling marijuana would be legal. Another bill that was shot down was a statewide minimum wage increase. The bill, which was heavily supported by many of Maryland’s Democratic leaders, would raise the state’s minimum wage for $15 an hour by the year 2024. It was noted for being especially beneficial towards Maryland’s single mothers, low-income families, and small-business owners.

Although the bill was not continued, it was heavily supported by the state’s residents. In fact, prior to the conclusion of Maryland’s General Assembly, GBA Strategies took a phone survey of 300 likely voters within three of the state’s swing districts. District 8, 28, and 38 were examined and the results concluded the majority of the residents supported the minimum-wage increase.

The districts varied in terms of demographic and political makeups. However, all districts maintained a notable approval of Gov. Larry Hogan while also supporting a democratically-lead bill. Even so, the bill failed to move forward. GBA Strategies’ survey highlights that although Maryland made a large amount of progress this legislative session, there is still more to go.

One of the most notable approvals was the bill that would improve the state’s public transportation system. The bill, which is part of a regional plan, will allocate $167 million a year to Metro. Another heavily discussed bill that passed was the $5 billion incentive for Amazon to move the company’s second headquarters to the state. Although the $5 billion was approved, many legislators argued that a more accurate number would be upwards of $8.5 billion.

For the state’s healthcare, a bill that will keep healthcare premiums from majorly rising over the next year was passed. Likewise, the state’s legislatures protected the state’s citizens from the Republican tax overhaul by concluding a bill that will help Marylanders with the higher state and local tax bills.

After years of debate, Maryland also enacted a bill that permits rape victims to remove the parental rights of their rapist through a petition in court. Now, the court can end the parental rights of a rapist if the rapist has been convicted or if there remains “clear and convincing evidence.” Maryland joined the 30 other states that have similar bills as it went into effect immediately.

Several other bills progressed, such as ones that regulate political ads on Facebook, support sexual-harassment reporting in the government, and encourages school safety. Although much progress was made, there is still much room for the state to grow until next year’s session.