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Taking stock of the session that just ended

The Maryland General Assembly

considered 2,672 bills in the 2014 session that, after 90 days, ended at midnight on April 7, and 811 of them got the thumbs-up in both the Senate and the House of Delegates. That's a lot of business attended to, and

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City Paper

's coverage of the session only touched on tiny fraction of them-36, to be exact, though nearly all involved cross-filed bills, meaning they were introduced in both chambers, and so

CP

's coverage actually involved 19 wannabe laws. Twelve of them passed muster and were sent to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) for approval, while seven failed, either by languishing in or being rejected by legislative committees. Here's the rundown.

Transgender Rights

Winner:

The long-sought goal of many Marylanders to extend the state's civil rights protections to transgender people-those who think of themselves as something other than the gender assigned to them at birth-was finally obtained. Spearheaded by state Sen. Richard Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) and state Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City), the effort had some star-studded backing this year from high-level political leaders, and once the Senate version survived scrutiny by the Judicial Proceedings Committee, its ultimate success came with a 32-15 vote in the Senate and an 82-57 vote in the House.

Third-party Politics

Loser:

State Sen. Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) tried to take two small steps to welcome third-party voters to Maryland's political process, but his efforts failed. One bill, the House version of which was sponsored state Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George's County), sought to assure that people who aren't Democrats or Republicans may serve on state boards and commissions. The other would have made it easier for third parties to retain status as officially recognized by the Maryland Board of Elections so that their candidates can be listed on the state's ballots. It would have lowered the current threshold - at least 1 percent of the state electorate, or about 37,000 voters, must be registered as a member of the party-to 10,000 voters.

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Creeps and Victims

Winners:

Parents of 16- and 17-year-olds can breathe a sigh of relief, since now, if their child has consensual sex with their part-time teacher or coach, said instructor-as long as he or she is at least 21 years old-can be charged with a sex crime. The measure, the House version of which was sponsored by Clippinger, criminalizes what's already illegal for full-time instructors. The Senate version, sponsored by state Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County), passed unanimously in both chambers.

State Del. Barbara Robinson (D-Baltimore City) sought in 2013 to establish a Human Trafficking Address Confidentiality Program which would create a shadow system of public information about victims of human-trafficking crimes so that they could avoid unwanted contact-especially from those who victimized them-but it sat in committee, untended to, as the session ended. This year, with a cross-filed bill sponsored by state Sen. Jennie Forehand (D-Montgomery County), both chambers gave it a unanimous thumbs-up.

Losers:

Burglars who grope or otherwise sexually touch their victims under duress get a reprieve this year from Clippinger's effort to heighten their penalties to a maximum 10 years in prison and sex-offender registration. While it passed the House unanimously, it then languished, unaddressed, in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee as the session came to an end.

Robinson's bill seeking to require Maryland's Police Training Commission to institute mandatory law-enforcement training about human trafficking, so that police learn to recognize victims as such and treat them accordingly, was rejected by the House Judiciary Committee. The cross-filed bill, sponsored by Forehand, was also rejected by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

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Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's Agenda

Baltimore City Hall each year seeks passage of a passel of bills in Annapolis, and this year

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covered seven of them. Five passed, and the other two were struck down in committees.

Winners:

Two punitive bills passed. One assures that Baltimore City residents who are named in outstanding warrants, or anyone who is named in outstanding warrants issued by Baltimore City, can kiss their Maryland tax returns goodbye, thanks to a bill that passed with overwhelming support in both chambers. The other means that anyone caught using a vehicle to dump trash in Baltimore City will see points added to their driver's licenses, prompting their insurance rates to rise.

Three bills passed that aim to ease life for some homeowners and immigrants, as well as for those participating in the city's needle-exchange program that aims to reduce the transmission of HIV among intravenous drug users:

- The Baltimore City property-tax credits for those owning newly constructed or substantially rehabbed homes are now renewed-though the amnesty provisions allowing eligibility for those who missed application deadlines are now repealed.

- Maryland residents who enjoy federal "special immigrant juvenile status" now will gain access to court-appointed guardians or custodians to help them navigate government bureaucracies through their 21st, rather than their 18th, birthdays.

- Participants in the city's needle-exchange will now be able to get all the clean needles they need while turning in as many dirty ones as they can, instead of laboring under the longstanding policy of allowing only one-for-one exchanges of dirty needles for clean ones.

Losers:

The House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee killed two bills the Rawlings-Blake administration had sought. One would have created a data-collection mechanism in the courts, accessible only to judges, police, prosecutors, and the like, so that sentencing judges would have a fuller picture of a convict's background involving gangs. The other would have set up enhanced criminal penalties for anyone convicted of assaulting Baltimore City "special parking enforcement" and "special traffic enforcement" officers who hand out parking tickets and traffic citations, respectively.

Booze

Winners:

Thanks to sponsor Madaleno, opponents of high-octane grain alcohol of 190 proof or higher, such as the brand known as Everclear, can take heart that it is now banned-though, of course, hooch that's below 190-proof will remain legal and still be plenty suitable for getting completely and dangerously sloshed. And state Del. Charles Barkley (D-Montgomery County) sponsored a successful prohibition of "vaportinis," the new-fangled gadgets that allow users to heat up distilled spirits and inhale the vapors, similar to the already-banned Alcohol Without Liquid machines.

Growler aficionados have something to hoist one over-and can toast sponsor Barkley while they're at it-as now they can get their refillable containers filled with beer at any Maryland establishment that's game for doing so, as long as the containers meet all the size and labeling requirements. This is a big improvement to having always to return to the same place that sold you the growler in the first place to get it refilled.

On a much more pedestrian level, pear cider is now defined in Maryland law-just like hard cider, it must be less than 7-percent alcohol and is taxed just like beer, at 9 cents per gallon-thanks to state Sen. Joan Carter Conway (D-Baltimore City), who sponsored the bill.

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Losers:

Liquor-license holders remain protected from lawsuits brought by people damaged by car wrecks caused by people who got drunk at the holders' establishment, despite an attempt by state Sen. Delores Kelley (D-Baltimore County) to make such suits possible.

Bear in mind, though that, as of press time, many of the successful bills described here, which have passed both chambers, still have one more hurdle to cross before becoming law: the signature of O'Malley, who can veto any bill that lands on his desk-but usually doesn't.

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