Medical Marijuana, Pit Bull Bills Loom on Md. Session’s Last Day
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Medical marijuana and a measure addressing legal responsibilities related to dog bites are some of the remaining issues before Maryland lawmakers on the last day of the legislative session.
The session is scheduled to end at midnight Monday. Most major bills have already been passed, including: one relating to gun control; a gas tax increase; a Baltimore schools funding plan; and a repeal of the death penalty.
The medical marijuana bill will put Maryland on track to have a program at academic medical research centers that decide to participate.
The dog-bite measure would change the impact of a court ruling last year that designated pit bulls as an “inherently dangerous” breed.
Another bill would give Maryland farmers more certainty about how Chesapeake Bay restoration regulations will affect them.
Here are a few measures that the Maryland General Assembly have already passed this year:
- BALTIMORE SCHOOLS FUNDING
Baltimore will be able to issue about $1 billion in bonds to build new schools and renovate others.
Harassing minors over the Internet will be prohibited under state law.
- DEATH PENALTY
Maryland’s death penalty is repealed.
- DNA SAMPLES
A Maryland law allowing police to take DNA samples from people arrested for certain violent crimes has been extended indefinitely.
- FILM-TAX CREDIT
Tax credited for film production more than triples from $7.5 million to $25 million in next fiscal year. Returns to $7.5 million for fiscal years 2015 and 2016.
- GAS SURCHARGE
Natural gas companies in Maryland would be able to seek a surcharge of up to $2 on monthly gas bills to help recover costs for replacing aging infrastructure.
- GAS TAX
Maryland’s first gas tax increase in 20 years will phase in a sales tax beginning with 1 percent in June, adding about 4 cents to a gallon of gas in July and as much as 20 cents in 2016.
- GUN CONTROL
Handgun purchasers will need to submit fingerprints to get a license. People involuntarily committed to a mental health facility will be prohibited from owning a gun. There will be a limit on magazines to 10 bullets, and 45 assault weapons will be banned.
- HEALTH OVERHAUL
An existing 2 percent tax on state-regulated insurance plans will pay for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange as part of implementing the federal health care law. Medicaid eligibility will be expanded from 124 percent of the federal poverty line to 133 percent.
- IMMIGRANT LICENSES
Immigrants living in the U.S. illegally will be able to continue obtaining Maryland driver’s licenses.
- OFFSHORE WIND
Marylanders would pay about $1.50 a month more on their electric bills to help pay for offshore wind. They would not start paying until an offshore wind project begins generating electricity, which could be years away.
Counties and municipalities that own or operate swimming pools will be required to develop and implement an automated external defibrillator program.
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