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Maryland's Lawmakers Cap Session Aimed Against Trump

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    Maryland's Lawmakers Cap Session Aimed Against Trump
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    Maryland lawmakers on Monday were putting the finishing touches on a legislative session that has been full of measures to express displeasure with President Donald Trump and to counter his administration and the GOP-led Congress.

    One Republican said Democrats are suffering from a "Trumpertantrum," frustration that Trump is president. Other Republicans said Maryland Democrats have wandered away from their responsibilities at home to play politics with issues in Washington.

    Maryland's Democrat-led legislature, which adjourns at midnight, has passed legislation aimed at protecting health care from cuts in Washington, thwarting school privatization and protecting the environment.

    Maryland Democrats have been playing defense on multiple fronts from early on this session in reaction to Trump. They've also been on the offense in a year before state elections, working to link popular Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to a Republican president who only received 34 percent of the vote in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1.

    The theme has pervaded the state's 90-day session.

    Democrats were moving swiftly to add another bill to the list: An internet privacy protection measure. It's in response to a vote in Congress to repeal regulations that would have required internet providers to obtain their customers' consent before collecting their personal information.

    "It's about protecting Marylanders from Mr. Trump's attacks on our rights, our health insurance, our jobs, our homes and our retirement plans, so it's just another piece of protecting Marylanders from the dangers coming out of Washington," said Sen. James Rosapepe, a Prince George's County Democrat.

    Sen. Stephen Waugh, a St. Mary's County Republican who voted against the measure, described the bill as a measure of "zero efficacy, as far as changing anything real for anybody."

    "It is nothing more than a Trumpertantrum," Waugh said, adding he believes its biggest impact will be to prompt large internet companies to stay away from Maryland.

    The House of Delegates was moving toward a vote on a resolution opposing federal budget cuts proposed by Trump to the Chesapeake Bay Program and urging Hogan to publicly oppose cuts to cleaning up the nation's largest estuary.

    Hogan, who did not support Trump in November, said he's focused on improving the state, particularly its business climate, and fighting opioid addiction. Despite the Trump-related measures, Hogan pointed to some successful efforts at bipartisanship. He noted passage of an ethics reform bill he put forward, a measure that comes during a session that has been marked by corruption charges against lawmakers at the session's beginning and as recently as Friday.

    Hogan also was hopeful more progress would be made in the session's waning hours, including with a bill aimed at attracting manufacturing jobs.

    Early in the session, Democrats approved a resolution to empower the attorney general to sue the federal government without the governor's permission. Weeks later, they passed a bill to allocate an extra $1 million a year in future budgets to help pay expenses to do that.

    Maryland also became the first state in the nation to enact legislation to mitigate future federal cuts to Planned Parenthood.

    House and Senate Democrats were divided on another issue related to Trump: immigration.

    The House voted for a bill to prevent authorities from stopping or detaining people solely to ask about their immigration status, and the Senate is supporting that provision in a separate bill.

    However, the House also sought to block corrections officials from holding arrestees in jail without a court order, simply because federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have sent a request to hold someone. The Senate has rejected that part of the measure.