The 2017 Maryland General Assembly session played true to form ("Package of bills to fight heroin crisis passes," April 10). Of the 2,861 bills introduced, about a third passed, most as a result of negotiated compromises among affected parties. Gov. Larry Hogan and legislative leaders rightly praised each other on their ability to reach agreements on issues of importance to the citizenry, from tax breaks for job-creating manufacturers to Baltimore City school funding (not to mention the sale of more beer in taprooms).
Behavioral health constituencies were especially heartened by the enactment of House Bill 1329, the Heroin and Opioid Prevention Effort (HOPE) and Treatment Act of 2017, that will improve access to mental health and addiction treatment, expand crisis services and boost reimbursement for underfunded community providers, among other helpful provisions.
Of course, not all is perfect or harmonious. A state senator is under recent indictment. The governor says he'll veto the mandated sick leave bill. Still, as I wrote in a commentary last month ("Maryland gets right what D.C. gets wrong," March 27), we are fortunate to have a policymaking process here that does its best to balance competing interests for the good of the whole. Warts and all, it was another productive year.
Herb Cromwell, Catonsville