The death of House Speaker Michael E. Busch Sunday overshadowed the end of the 2019 General Assembly session. But Busch was a master legislator who ran the House of Delegates effectively.
Here’s a look at legislation affecting Anne Arundel County and how it fared in the 2019 General Assembly.
This year the late House Speaker Mike Busch fought alongside local lawmakers to expand how much money the state pays Annapolis for its services. State buildings aren’t subject to property tax, so the state pays the city an annual amount of money called payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT.
For years the city received $367,000, far below costs estimated by city officials as the city provides public safety and other services to state buildings. Legislation backed by Busch now requires the state pay no less than $750,000 each year with that amount increasing for inflation.
Anne Arundel County will receive about $12.5 million in capital funding to improve nonprofit headquarters, mitigate flooding and upgrade school athletic facilities after lawmakers finalized the Maryland budget last week.
This money is part of the annual tradition that gives lawmakers a set amount of money for local projects but forces them to make the difficult decision of who gets funding and who doesn’t.
A bill modifying hours at a water ski training course on Maynadier Creek passed both chambers and is awaiting a decision by the governor.
Introduced over multiple sessions by Sen. Ed Reilly, R-Crofton, Senate Bill 93 allows use of the course from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays; 8 a.m. to sunset on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and 8 a.m. to noon Sundays. Users could not use the course on Saturdays and state holidays.
Senate legislation requiring the state to produce a gun violence study the origin of up to 8,000 used in crimes passed Monday night.
However, legislation to require background checks for private sales of rifles and shotguns failed late Monday when legislators couldn’t hammer out differences between two versions of the bill. Under current law, background checks are only required for long gun purchases made from a licensed firearms dealer.
Another gun control bill would ban guns created with materials printed on 3D printers, a process that creates firearms without serial numbers. That measure passed the House but has not seen action in the Senate.
Some of the bills were sponsored in response to June 28 shooting in the Capital Gazette newsroom that killed five staff members.
Campaign finance reform
Maryland lawmakers have given Anne Arundel County approval to craft its own changes to campaign finance laws, handing responsibility for campaign finance reform to the County Council.
County Executive Steuart Pittman said his administration is drafting language for a bill but has not decided how that legislation will look compared to the original state proposal.
Legislation that would have expanded state laws on hate crimes had not made it out of committee with only a few hours left in session Monday.
House Bill 4 would have forbidden the placement of symbols or items on a person’s property without permission and with express intent of intimidating a person or group of people.
The Maryland General Assembly approved legislation to expand alcohol licenses at Laurel Park in Anne Arundel County.
The Senate approved House Bill 374 during its first session of Sine Die, the last day of the General Assembly. The bill passed unanimously without amendments.
Its passage expands alcohol licenses governing racetracks given out by the County Board of License Commissioners. This will expand alcohol sales to be more akin to traditional restaurants than previous law which limited alcohol sales to two hours before a race and two hours after.
Minimum Five oyster sanctuaries will be permanently protected from being harvested, following passage of a bill championed by the late House of Delegates speaker, Democrat Michael Busch.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the bill, but senators and delegates overrode the veto in the session’s final days.
Bay Bridge location
Lawmakers rejected bills that would require state government to seek Anne Arundel County approval before building a bridge across the Chesapeake Bay.
A raise is in store for Maryland’s low-wage workers after lawmakers approved a gradual increase in the minimum wage from $10.10 an hour to $15.
Hogan vetoed that bill, too, but lawmakers swiftly voted to override. The first minimum wage increase will be Jan. 1, bringing the minimum hourly pay to $11.
Labor Day school start
Local school boards will be able to decide whether class starts before or after Labor Day. Hogan vetoed the bill, and the legislature overrode the veto.
Sex abuse school vetting
To prevent teachers with records of sexual misconduct from moving from school to school, nondisclosure agreements involving sexual misconduct would be banned for school employees who have direct contact with children. School employers also will have to conduct a thorough review of applicants' employment history.
Maryland's age for buying tobacco will rise from 18 to 21, including for tobacco-related products such as electronic smoking devices.