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Maryland lawmakers passed bills on abortion, taxes, ‘ghost guns’ and the environment. Here’s a look at what’s becoming law.

The 2022 Maryland General Assembly session was marked by a gradual return to a pre-pandemic normalcy, and by the shadow of elections shaken up in a battle over how to draw congressional district lines. That meant fewer struggles this year to broker debates over complex legislative issues via Zoom, and plenty of incentive to pass major initiatives that will motivate voters on both ends of the political spectrum.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore County attorney: Councilwoman who moved outside district violated charter, but no ‘legal precedent’ to remove her

A Baltimore County councilwoman violated the county charter when she briefly moved out of her district in 2021, but there’s no legal precedent for making her leave office, the county attorney has concluded. The legal opinion by County Attorney James Benjamin found that while Councilwoman Cathy Bevins’ move was a violation of the charter, it is “unclear that the Charter requires Councilwoman Bevins to immediately vacate” her seat.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott’s proposed budget would increase police spending, add civilian investigators

Baltimore’s police budget would increase by $5 million under a proposal from Mayor Brandon Scott unveiled Monday that calls for using 35 civilian investigators for police work and adding other staff to assist with an anti-violence initiative. The $4 billion proposed spending plan, a small decrease in overall spending over the previous year, would hold the line on taxes despite increases to police spending and a $65 million increase in education spending mandated by the state. About $742 million would be spent on capital projects in addition to $3.2 billion in general fund spending.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
After passing abortion and climate laws, plus tax relief, Maryland lawmakers to hit the campaign trail. Both sides have something to talk about.

The Democratic supermajorities in Annapolis entered this year’s General Assembly session with an agenda of issues to please core blocs of voters they will depend on in statewide elections later this year: Protecting abortion rights, fighting climate change, helping workers, legalizing recreational marijuana. They ended 90 days of lawmaking late Monday having checked those boxes. Bills are set to become law that will expand abortion access, curtail the use of fossil fuels, create a paid family leave program for most workers and send marijuana legalization to voters to decide.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Hogan will allow bill banning seclusion to become law

A bill banning seclusion in Maryland public schools will become law without Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature, he announced Friday. House Bill 1255 will take effect July 1. It will place strict limits on the use of seclusion in nonpublic schools and institute more stringent requirements on how all districts track and report instances of physical restraint.

Md. Court of Appeals set to hear arguments over redistricting

Maryland state elections officials say Aug. 16 is the latest possible date for this year’s primary election, if the state’s highest court decides to accept challenges to the legislative redistricting map. The Court of Appeals has scheduled arguments for Wednesday. The court will consider a Republican challenge to the Democratic-drawn map of 47 districts in the state House of Delegates and state Senate.

Read More: WTOP
Maryland General Assembly’s final hours of the 2022 session counting down to midnight

The General Assembly passed bills raising the minimum age for marriage without parental consent and banning many uses of chemicals known as PFAS as they began the final day of this year’s 90-day legislative session Monday. Lawmakers convened at midday for a last push to pass bills before the legislature adjourns amid celebrations at midnight and most of them strike out on the campaign trail ahead of upcoming elections.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Maryland legislature enters last day, most priorities done

Maryland lawmakers enter the last day of their legislative session on Monday with most high-profile measures already passed into law, including tax relief, a paid family leave program and an extensive measure aimed at slowing climate change. Democrats, who control the legislature, and Republican Gov. Larry Hogan already have signed a bipartisan budget deal with nearly $1.86 billion in tax relief over five years for Maryland retirees, small businesses and low-income families in a year of enormous budget surplus for the state’s $58.5 billion budget.

Explore the major changes to Maryland’s congressional map

As a tight battle nears for control of the U.S. House, Maryland has passed a significantly changed congressional map that changes the outlook for its midterm races — and moves thousands of voters into new, more compact districts that no longer “look like prehistoric animals,” as one anti-gerrymandering group put it. After a legal fight stymied a previous Democratic map, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) approved this redrawn version, which keeps one safe Republican seat and seven Democrat-held districts. But one of those seven now promises to be much more competitive, leaving some Democrats worried.

With Laurel Park over budget, lawmakers seek to expedite Pimlico redo

The already-delayed redevelopment of Laurel Park faces additional questions about how it will move forward as costs have risen and pushed the project over budget. Maryland lawmakers now intend to pass legislation that seeks to expedite the redevelopment of Pimlico Race Course while the Maryland Stadium Authority prepares a study to determine how much it will cost to get Laurel Park done. A deal ratified by Maryland lawmakers in 2020 aimed to have redevelopments of both Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park completed by 2025.

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