The legislature can no longer ignore the state’s $20 billion in unfunded pension obligations, a group of House and Senate Republicans said on Thursday. “There is a problem in our current pension system,” said Sen. Andrew Serafini, R-Washington County at a press conference. “The current system is unsustainable, it’s uncompetitive, and most powerfully it’s unattractive.”
Hours after the House of Delegates gave final approval to broad new powers for Attorney General Brian Frosh to sue the federal government, he was in front of a House committee asking for $1 million a year to hire five lawyers for his new mission. The delegates approved the new powers for the Democratic AG to go after the Trump administration without the permission of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in a straight party line vote 89-50, with all Republicans opposed.
Financial aid officers across the state oppose two proposals that would require state funded colleges and universities to generate an annual “loan letter” to students that spells out their loan obligations and help them manage their finances better. The letter would be required to include payoff amounts, cost of borrowing and monthly payments – even for loans obtained at other schools.
Thursday afternoon, the House Health and Government Operations Committee will hear testimony on the “Richard E. Israel and Roger ‘Pip’ Moyer End-of-Life Option Act,” HB370. This legislation offers mentally capable, terminally ill adults with no hope of a cure the option to voluntarily request a prescription for medication from their doctor that they can decide to use to die peacefully if their suffering becomes unbearable.
Legislation supported by Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and Gov. Larry Hogan would give new powers to the comptroller’s office to combat tax fraud. Testifying Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, Franchot, a Democrat, asked lawmakers to “give me the power to make a difference here.” At a summit he hosted last month, Franchot said it’s “an existential threat to our agency that tax fraud is increasing.”
By following normal legislative procedure, the House of Delegates Tuesday defused the political fireworks that went off in the Maryland Senate five days earlier when Democrats rammed through a broad expansion of the powers of the Democratic attorney to sue the federal government. A somewhat muted response by House Republicans also helped to reduce the heat by limiting their debate to a single amendment focusing on the constitutional authority legislators were handing over to the Democratic Attorney General Brian Frosh.
These interfaith centers in Wilde Lake and Oakland Mills, the first religious facilities built in the planned new town, were among the unique features most often remarked on with wonder in media coverage of Columbia. While they were consistent with the open, integrated and forward-thinking city Jim Rouse had in mind, they were not part of the original planning process at all.
The introduction again of legislation that would allow people with terminal illnesses to obtain lethal doses of drugs with which to kill themselves has reignited the debate about assisted suicide in Maryland. The passage of these laws relies so heavily on their raw emotional appeal should make us pause. We need to ask some hard questions about these issues and think just as hard about their potentially ugly answers.
The first items on the agenda for the Maryland House of Delegates Monday are House and Senate resolutions that will give Attorney General Brian Frosh sole discretion to sue the Trump administration to protect the “state’s interest as well as the health and welfare of Maryland residents.” The House Rules Committee Friday afternoon voted to report favorably on both resolutions. The Maryland Defense Act of 2017, SJ5, passed the Senate 29-17 Friday morning, after a brief but contentious fight by Senate Republicans to delay the measure.
No one wants to face up to Maryland’s giant $19 billion long-term shortfall in its retirement program for state workers and teachers, writes columnist Barry Rascovar. Not the Republican governor nor the Democratic legislature. Gov. Larry Hogan is calling for a dramatic change – an optional 401(k)-style retirement program for new state employees. It sounds good but falls apart when examined close up.
After four years of trying, many Maryland lawmakers predict this is the year a paid sick leave bill could pass both chambers. Identical bills are in play in the House, HB1, and Senate, SB230. At its Senate hearing, business representatives spoke for and against the legislation that mandates paid sick leave for all businesses with 15 or more employees and unpaid leave for smaller employers.