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The data behind the 2019 Maryland General Assembly session

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The inside of the General Assembly chambers in Annapolis. Photo by Roxanne Ready, via Flickr, used with a Creative Commons license.

By Daniel Oyefusi and Jake Gluck
Capital News Service

Only 40 out of the 188 legislators in the Maryland General Assembly passed at least 50 percent of bills they introduced, and the average success rate for passing bills was 30.6 percent.

Ten lawmakers passed every bill for which they were the primary sponsor.

While some legislators were able to pass multiple bills, others struck out in their attempts and a few didn’t introduce any legislation.

Capital News Service gathered data from the 2019 legislative session and conducted an analysis to report on some of the most striking takeaways from the General Assembly.

MD’s consumer advocates push for new debt collection laws

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Some of Maryland’s debt collection laws haven’t been updated since the Reagan administration. Lawmakers and consumer advocates are trying to update the law to protect low-income Marylanders from collection tactics like body attachments. (Brooks DuBose/Capital News Service)

By Brooks DuBose
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — Jailing a person for an unpaid debt has been illegal for almost two centuries in the United States.

But in Maryland, through a roundabout court procedure, hundreds of people every year are jailed for essentially just that: Owing money.

House of Delegates elects Adrienne Jones as new speaker

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Credit: Capital News Service.

By Daniel Oyefusi
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — Following more than four hours of deliberation, the Maryland House of Delegates made history in a surprise decision Wednesday afternoon, voting Del. Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) the next Speaker of the House.

Marylanders mourn loss of Speaker Busch

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Image via House Speaker Michael Busch’s Facebook page.

By David Jahng and Natalie Jones
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — Family, friends, and public officials gathered to say a final goodbye to former Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch, whose funeral Mass was celebrated Tuesday.

Prior to the service, a small crowd gathered as Busch—who had been lying in state since Monday—was escorted out of the State House for the last time by the Maryland State Police Honor Guard.

Success, failure, mourning at close of MD General Assembly

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The inside of the General Assembly chambers in Annapolis. Photo by Roxanne Ready, via Flickr, used with a Creative Commons license.

By Natalie Jones, David Jahng, Charlie Youngmann, Daniel Oyefusi, Jared Beinart
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — It was a bittersweet and busy day for Maryland legislators as they pushed to get their bills through both House and Senate chambers on Sine Die, the final day of the General Assembly on Monday.

Over 2,400 bills from both chambers and resolutions were proposed in this year’s General Assembly, and at the close of the session Monday night, 864 bills and two resolutions had passed.

In tribute to Henrietta Lacks, Maryland Democrats request study on cancer trials access

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By Alex Rychwalski
Capital News Service

WASHINGTON—Maryland Democrats have introduced legislation honoring Henrietta Lacks’ legacy by examining the access underrepresented groups have to government-funded cancer clinical trials.

Md. House overrides Hogan veto of school start date bill

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The inside of the General Assembly chambers in Annapolis. Photo by Roxanne Ready, via Flickr, used with a Creative Commons license.

By Daniel Oyefusi
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS—Maryland school districts will now have the ability to again start their school year before Labor Day, overturning a previous executive order by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

One day after the Maryland Senate voted to override Hogan’s veto of a bill that would give power to local school boards to determine their respective calendars, the House of Delegates voted Friday to override the measure as well.

The House voted 93-43 to join the Senate in overriding Hogan’s veto.

Delegate Anne Healey (D-Prince George’s County), who served on a year-long task force to study a post-Labor Day start for Maryland public schools, said Hogan’s veto “short circuited” the work of the task force.

Healey said more flexibility was required for schools that needed to account for additional religious holidays and athletics.

Delegate Haven Shoemaker (R-Carroll County) argued against overriding the veto, pointing to numerous businesses that would benefit from the additional week of summer vacation.

On Thursday, the Senate voted 32-15 along party lines to override Hogan’s veto.

Hogan on Wednesday vetoed Senate bill 128, saying that the legislation “unravels years of bipartisan work and study” and citing polls revealing that the bill runs counter to the wishes of most Marylanders.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Paul Pinsky (D-Prince George’s County), overturns Hogan’s 2016 executive order mandating schools start after Labor Day.

“The executive order does not respect the diversity of our state,” said Del. Eric Luedtke (D-Montgomery County).

This was the last of three veto overrides to occur this week. Both chambers also voted Thursday to override Hogan’s veto of a bill to strip alcohol and tobacco regulation from the state comptroller, and a bill to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15.

CNS reporter Natalie Jones contributed to this story.

Discount carrier Wow Air shutters, leaving BWI passengers stranded

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Photo by Oliver Holzbauer, via Flickr

By Alex Rychwalski
Capital News Service

The Wow Air counter at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, usually buzzing with travelers and employees, sat barren without a soul on Thursday, a stark symbol of the airline’s sudden closure.

Legislators override two of Gov. Hogan’s bill vetoes

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Gov. Larry Hogan delivers his State of the State Address in Annapolis, Maryland, on January 29, 2019. (Daniel Oyefusi/Capital News Service)

By Natalie Jones
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — One day after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) vetoed three bills on $15 minimum wage, school districts setting their own calendars and stripping alcohol and tobacco regulation from the state comptroller, the Maryland General Assembly fought back to override him Thursday.

Maryland may expand electric vehicle tax credits

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Photo by Martin Falbisoner, via Wikimedia Commons

By Charlie Youngmann
Capital News Service

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland state legislation could increase the tax credit received for electric cars to $3,000 per vehicle.

Marylander’s currently receive $100 times the number of kilowatt-hours of the battery capacity of their electric vehicle with a maximum of $3,000. With this bill, each new electric vehicle purchased will count for $3,000 regardless of battery size.

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