Maryland Legislative Wrap-up - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland Legislative Wrap-up

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Maryland's 2016 legislative session has concluded in Annapolis (Credit: maryland.gov) Maryland's 2016 legislative session has concluded in Annapolis (Credit: maryland.gov)

ANNAPOLIS, Md.- Monday was a positively electric day in Annapolis.  Sine Die, the last day of Maryland's legislative session.  While there have been a lot of bills passed that have affected the Eastern Shore this year, some passed with just minutes left in the session.

It has been busy in Annapolis, not just on Sine Die, but through the entire session.  Just last week, hundreds of watermen were in Annapolis opposing an oyster study bill, which as a result, has now been heavily modified.

"It came out of the house environmental matters committee this morning, and I reviewed it this morning.  To me it looks like a very positive step in the fold of oyster restoration," said Republican Del. Johnny Mautz of Talbot County.

The bill now relies more heavily on the Department of Natural Resources and removes a step that would have called for fishery recommendations along with the stock assessment.  It passed as the clock neared midnight in the state house.  The biggest achievement in Mautz's book though is two years of no new taxes.

"When we get a budget that everyone can agree on, we can get funding for our local projects," said Mautz.

Other bills passed include allowing the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center to apply for an alcohol license, and also a study for a third span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

"It's better to study those things now than wait," said Republican Sen. Addie Eckardt of Dorchester County.  Eckardt was able to pass a number of bills this year affecting healthcare workers, and continued the fight on that front through the evening.

But not everything passed was beneficial to the shore, including the transportation bill that was vetoed by Gov. Larry Hogan, but overridden by the General Assembly.

"That's going to change the direction, we're very worried about that.  There's a lot of micromanaging.  Folks have not been happy with what has happened in the past.  Now they've decided to micromanage the new administration which is kind of sad," said Eckardt.

Another bill that most people thought was dead was the mandatory sick leave bill which made a resurgence on Monday.  It was heard in front of the senate finance committee but did not make it past the General Assembly.

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