Joseph (Jay) A. Schwartz, III: Senate Bill 30 ‒ The Pundits and Perhaps the Most Extraordinary Vote In General Assembly History

The just concluded General Assembly Session was one that none of the pundits saw coming. So they said: It is an election year; there will be a lot of bills filed but nothing of substance will be enacted; partisan wrangling will be the order of the day; blah, blah, blah. But here’s what happened. It was a remarkably bipartisan 90 days where the Governor and President Miller and Speaker Busch found a way (1) to shore up the Maryland Health Insurance Exchange in spite of efforts to undo Obamacare in Washington, (2) secured an agreement with Virginia and the District of Columbia for dedicated Metro funding which had been argued about for years, (3) agreed on an historic package of tax incentives for the potential Amazon headquarters in Montgomery County, (4) compromised on an omnibus crime package designed to assist law enforcement in Baltimore, (5) changed the school funding/tax formula to... Continue reading
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Tami Howie: Protecting Innovation Protects Patients and Our Economy

Innovation is at the heart of Maryland’s economy and the wellbeing of patients in our state. New, groundbreaking cures and treatments save and extend the lives of patients, pushing the bounds of modern medicine, for the benefit of all. Innovative companies are able to leverage Maryland’s combination of technology know-how, business-friendly climate, and highly-educated, highly-skilled workforce to produce these cures and provide hundreds of thousands of Marylanders with well-paying jobs. However, despite all this, the Maryland General Assembly is currently debating drug pricing legislation that would threaten the innovative potential that makes these benefits possible. New regulations, SB 1023/HB 1194, would create a government-controlled commission with broad leeway to influence drug prices and increase burdensome reporting requirements adding yet another layer of complexity to drug manufacturing. In so doing, it creates new hoops to jump through for manufacturers to simply go about their business. It risks innovation by undercutting the incentive... Continue reading
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ERIC DEAN: Promote Policies that Nurture Innovation and Jobs to Produce Cures

The Pharmaceutical Industry Labor-Management Association (PILMA), a coalition of companies in the biopharmaceutical industry and building construction trades unions, is committed to dual goals of fostering innovation of life-saving cures and securing high-quality union construction jobs. As Chairman of PILMA, I’m invested in the issues that are of importance to our biopharmaceutical industry partners and customers, to the extent that they are of importance and have a connection to the livelihoods of our members and their families. As our industry partners remain healthy, their investment in research and manufacturing facilities – to a very large extent built by our members – grows as well.  Last month, the Washington Post wrote about proposed legislation in the Maryland legislature that would “create a commission to decide the maximum amount that health plans, pharmacies and state programs could shell out for the most expensive brand-name and patented medications.” This so-called transparency legislation is being... Continue reading
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Tami Howie: Only Congress Can Regulate the Internet

It’s a no-brainer to support protecting the rights of consumers to unfettered access to the wide-ranging services and sites offered on the internet. But, similarly, states like Maryland must ensure that the robust internet infrastructure that fuels our digital economy continues to advance and make Maryland an attractive place to do business. There is a way to accomplish both, but the current furor among advocacy groups, state legislators and governors seeking to impose state-by-state solutions, some of which are inconsistent with other state solutions, is not the best approach. While some states have chosen a “go-it-alone” approach, others like Virginia, understand that regulating the internet on a state-by-state basis is not the best policy approach -- particularly as is relates to their state’s economic competitiveness in a digital age that promises such things as automated vehicles, telemedicine, smart cities, and 5G technology. In Maryland, four different bills in the General Assembly... Continue reading
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MINISTER DUANE WILLIAMS, JR: Baltimore’s Baffling Ban Makes Take-Out Containers Criminal

I'm from Baltimore. I'm a former Baltimore City Police Officer and currently an educator at a Baltimore City Public School, and for as long as I can remember, Baltimore has had a littering problem. In a single day, our famous Mr. Trash Wheel has collected as much as 38,000 pounds of trash from the Jones Falls Watershed. Instead of additional recycling and clean up efforts to combat this growing problem, especially in some of our most neglected neighbornoods, the Baltimore City Council has proposed a foam food container ban that brings with it a criminal penalty for restaurant owners who don’t comply. This legislation comes as the homicide rate in Baltimore continues to surge to an all-time high and the city continues to struggle to attract new residents. The city council must get their priorities straight: instead of adding costly and unnecessary criminal legislation to the books, it should focus on... Continue reading
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