Several Bills Passed as Md. General Assembly Nears End of Session

A glance at some of the legislation that has cleared the Maryland General Assembly, as lawmakers near the end of 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.


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.


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 will have a new scoring system to prioritize transportation projects. While the governor won't be prevented from funding a project with a lower score than another, an explanation would be required for the decision. The governor vetoed the bill, but his veto was overridden last week.


A partnership between the University of Maryland, College Park, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, would be strengthened, creating one University of Maryland with two campuses and two presidents.

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