The first of more than 150 bills signed into law by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and legislative leaders makes health care more affordable for Maryland families and businesses.
Lawmakers approved $70 million to fund the governor's new program to create jobs called "InvestMaryland."
"We are No. 1 in terms of research that goes on in the labs and institutions throughout our state, and yet we're down in the 40s when it comes to commercializing those great ideas and turning them into jobs,” O'Malley said.
When the legislative session began 90 days ago, it looked like Montgomery and Prince George’s counties were in danger of having school funding cuts and bearing the burden of the state pension system.
"I think the most important thing about this legislative session is the ability of the Senate and House delegation from Prince George’s County along with the County Council working together to restore funding for our education system,” Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker said.
Lawmakers approved in-state tuition for children of undocumented immigrants.
"I think we sent a strong message we’re going a different direction than a lot of states in the way we treat immigrants,” Sen. Victor Ramirez, D-Prince George’s County, one of the sponsors of the bill.
The Legislature increased Maryland’s alcohol tax from 6 percent to 9 percent. Beginning in July, customers will pay more for wine, beer and spirits bought in stores and restaurants with revenues going to services for people with disabilities.
"Unfortunately, Delaware is right around the corner, and I’m a little leery of losing some business there," said Donnie Bailey, manager at O'Brien's Food and Beverage, one of the most popular gathering spots in Annapolis. "I know it's for a good cause, but it's going to be passed on to the consumer."
Advocates for same-sex marriage and a ban on transgender discrimination failed to get their bills passed this session but vow to continue their fight for equality.