These bills passed the Maryland General Assembly
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By Associated Press Brian Witte, April 12, 2016
ANNAPOLIS — A glance at some of the legislation that has cleared the Maryland General Assembly, as lawmakers ended their 90-day session Monday at midnight:
The state will provide about $94 million over the next several years to demolish vacant buildings in Baltimore. It’s part of a package that includes additional funding to help invest in projects in declining communities and provide grants and loans to “anchor institutions” like colleges and universities in blighted areas. The package also includes funds to expand summer programs for students, college scholarships and library hours.
Maryland would become the first state in the country to take pesticides found to harm bees off of retail store shelves, starting in 2018.
With the help of surplus of more than $400 million, Gov. Larry Hogan’s $42 billion budget passed smoothly on bipartisan votes. It includes a provision creating a $5 million scholarship program for private school students from low-income families after years of debate over state funding of private-school scholarships.
A witness would no longer be needed to confirm a couple hasn’t lived together for a year when someone is seeking an uncontested divorce.
Maryland’s equal pay law would be expanded to prohibit businesses from retaliating against employees for discussing or disclosing salaries.
GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTION
A new 40 percent greenhouse gas reduction target has been set for 2030. The governor has already signed the bill.
Funding to the state’s land preservation program known as Program Open Space will be restored. The law, already signed by the governor, will return $60 million over the next two years.
The maximum age of eligibility for state pension benefits for young adult children of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty increases from 18 to 26. The governor already has signed the bill, which was filed in honor of two slain Harford County sheriff’s deputies.
NORTHROP GRUMMAN-TAX CREDITS
Defense contractor Northrop Grumman will get $37.5 million in tax credits over five years as an incentive to keep 10,000 jobs in the state.
A measure aimed at increasing trust between police and communities in the aftermath of unrest in Baltimore last year makes a variety of changes to the police disciplinary process, hiring and training. People will be able to file complaints against police anonymously, and changes have been made to the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights, extending the time residents can file complaints from 90 days to a year and a day.
PRINCE GEORGE’S HOSPITAL
The state and Prince George’s County will be required to provide operating and capital funding for a new Prince George’s County Regional Medical Center. The legislation will become law without the signature of Gov. Larry Hogan, who supports the idea but opposes mandated funding over several years.
Maryland’s requirements to use energy sources like wind and solar will increase to 25 percent by 2020. That’s up from the current goal of 20 percent by 2022.
A retirement savings plan similar to an IRA will be created for private-sector employees without access to a workplace savings program with their employer. Employees would make the contributions
Voter registration will be modernized and streamlined. When people interact with a handful of state agencies, they will be asked if they want to register to vote. Supporters say the bill includes protections to protect personal information. The bill was significantly changed from a bill that would have made registration automatic.