Top issues that face the Maryland General Assembly during the coming 2018 session. (Baltimore Sun video)
Medical marijuana: As 2017 ended, it appeared the Senate and House might be close to striking a deal on how to increase the number of growers’ licenses in a way that gave minority businesses a foothold in the industry. Then Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a federal crackdown, putting all such programs in doubt.
Environment: Clean-energy advocates will push a bill requiring that Maryland generate 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 — up from 25 percent by 2020. They want to drop burning trash from the list of renewable sources but have made a strategic decision not to target “black liquor” — a by-product of paper production.
Sick leave override: Democrats in the Senate and House appear poised to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill requiring companies with more than 15 employees to let workers earn paid sick leave. Hogan’s proposed alternative appears doomed unless they fall short.
Redistricting proposal: Hogan is expected to again propose putting the task of drawing congressional and legislative district lines in the hands of an independent commission. There are no signs the majority Democrats are ready to give up that power until Republicans in other states do the same.
Parental rights for rapists: Women’s advocates came to the brink of passing a bill last year to permit revocation of parental rights of fathers when children were conceived through rape. It failed on the last night on a disagreement over details. Legislative leaders want the issue resolved early this session.
Psychiatric beds: The Hogan administration will come under pressure from lawmakers to hire enough staff to add beds in psychiatric hospitals. The state health department is appealing an order finding it in civil contempt for failing to respond to court orders quickly enough when judges commit a defendant to care.