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Steve's News from Annapolis

2018-01-17

The 2018 Session of the Maryland General Assembly began on January 10, 2018.  It is an honor to represent the people of District 42A and I look forward to what will certainly be a busy 90 days. I will continue to serve on the Environment and Transportation Committee and to Chair the Subcommittee on Land Use and Ethics.

Shortly after the Session began, the House quickly moved to override two of the Governor’s vetoes. Although he signed the vast majority of the legislation we passed in 2017, he vetoed a bill that would provide paid sick leave for 700,000 Marylanders whose employment does not provide time off due to illness or the need to attend to sick family members. The Earned Sick Leave bill requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide this coverage under certain circumstances.

The second veto was of a bill referred to as “ ban the box”. The bill prevents a public college or university from asking an applicant about his/her criminal history as a condition of being admitted. The bill does not, however, prevent the college/university from asking about criminal histories after an applicant is admitted. This information can be used to determine access to campus residency or to provide the individual with support services.

Both the Senate and House voted to override these vetoes, so they become law.

The substantial changes in the federal tax laws will have a dramatic impact on Maryland taxpayers. This complicated federal tax bill is expected to have significant negative consequences for the state’s taxpayers. This week, House and Senate Democrats introduced the Taxpayer Protection Plan to mitigate the negative impacts. This will include retaining the personal exemption on Maryland tax returns, decoupling the estate tax from the federal tax and addressing the $10,000 cap on the deductibility of state and local taxes. Details are being developed.

Many Committee hearings started this week. There are numerous, and sometimes difficult, issues to address over the coming weeks. This will include the challenges of adequate health care insurance and the possibility that the federal government will end the funding of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for 140,000 Maryland children. Issues of education, renewable energy, sexual harassment, violence in Baltimore City, job development, Chesapeake Bay pollution and medical cannabis will also be on agenda.

I am very pleased to have Marsha Tracey return as my Legislative Aide. Her experience and ability have been, and will continue to be, vital to helping my constituents in District 42A.

I welcome your comments and thoughts on any of the issues that we are addressing in Annapolis. I can be reached at Stephen.Lafferty@house.state.md.us or at 410-841-3487. I look forward to a productive Session.

Best wishes,

Steve

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By Phone: 410-841-3487
By Email: stephen.lafferty@house.state.md.us

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