General Assembly | WYPR

General Assembly

Md. Senate passes bee-killing pesticide ban

Mar 14, 2016

The state Senate on Wednesday passed a ban on pesticides that are believed to endanger bee populations. The measure would prevent stores from selling certain products that contain the chemical, known as neonicotinoids.

A tiny break in the partisan wrangling

Mar 8, 2016

    

State lawmakers put aside their partisan battles to apparently reach accord over criminal justice reform last week. But they went right back at it over a transportation bill. WYPR’s Rachel Baye joins news director Joel McCord to wrap up the week in Annapolis.

A political fight is brewing in Annapolis over how the state decides which transportation projects to build.

Democrats have proposed ranking projects based on how well they reduce congestion or increase development. But the governor’s office says the system would hurt rural areas.  

Children lobby state legislators for paid leave

Mar 8, 2016

The lobbyists in the General Assembly Tuesdsay were younger than the Statehouse’s usual crowd. 

Six-year-old Vivienne Martin Mulkey took the day off from her Takoma Park elementary school to advocate for a bill that would guarantee sick leave to Maryland workers.

State legislators voiced strong support Wednesday for a bill expected to reduce prison populations and save the state more than $240 million over 10 years.

The legislation would enact 19 reforms recommended by a bipartisan commission in December. But one reform — sending offenders with underlying drug addictions to get treatment within thirty days of a court order — requires more funding than is currently in the budget.

Rachel Baye / WYPR

Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and Montana all allow terminally ill patients to seek aid in dying. The practice will take effect in California in a few months. New Mexico’s highest court is expected to rule on the issue this year. Here in Maryland, “end of life” legislation is once again before the General Assembly.

Today, a look at both sides of the “right to die” debate. Some call it "death with dignity," others see it as "physician-assisted suicide." We’ll talk to Dr. Michael Strauss, a board-certified internist and volunteer with Compassion and Choices, a nonprofit that supports expanding end-of life choices, as well as forensic psychiatrist Dr. Annette Hanson, who opposes the bill. Should aid in dying be legal? What are the implications for the elderly and disabled?

Imagine you had to call into work every morning to find out if you were on the schedule. How would you arrange child-care? What if you were juggling a second job? Or what if you arrived at work only to find you weren’t needed? This is reality for many low-wage part-time employees. Maryland is one of at least ten states considering legislation to make scheduling more predictable. But employers say a one-size-fits-all mandate will place an unnecessary burden on businesses. Economics and labor-employment relations researcher Lonnie Golden joins us to discuss so-called just-in-time scheduling. We’ll also hear from Mike O’Halloran, Maryland State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

When Gov. Larry Hogan canceled Baltimore's Red Line light rail project and altered the plans for the Purple Line light rail in the Washington suburbs last summer, he didn't give legislators a chance to weigh in first, House Speaker Michael Busch said Tuesday.

As Maryland lawmakers return to Annapolis, one of the first things on the agenda is trying to overturn six of Gov. Larry Hogan’s vetoes from last year.

Among the most controversial is a measure giving former felons the right to vote while on parole or probation.

In the spring, Hogan said he rejected the measure because felons on parole are still paying their debt to society.  Felons currently regain voting rights after completing their sentences, including parole or probation.

  When police officers are accused of misconduct – whether it’s excessive use of force or other lesser abuses – the internal police investigations are governed by the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights. The rules were written into law in 1974 to protect the due process rights of accused officers, but they’ve become a flashpoint for activists who argue they impede transparency and accountability from their police departments. Yesterday, a panel of state lawmakers took up the question of reforming the so-called LEOBR.

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