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Md. General Assembly opens annual session facing challenges imposed by Congress, Trump

(ABC7)

As the Maryland General Assembly convened for its annual 90-day session of lawmaking and budget balancing, the first order of business was electing presiding officers.

No surprises there. In the House Speaker Mike Busch is back after recovering from a liver transplant last summer.

In the Senate Mike Miller remains the state’s longest-serving president in history. He is predicting a tough session as the state grapples with the impacts of congressional actions

“The federal tax cut is a huge challenge and also the fact they didn’t fund childrens health insurance,” JMiller says. “Also, the fact they gutted Obamacare is going to cause our rates to go up dramatically.”

Governor Larry Hogan agrees federal actions, including tax reform, must be dealt with.

“It’s going to force an increase in Maryland taxes for middle-class taxpayers and lower income,” Hogan say. “Nobody wants to see that happen.”

The Republican governor wants to somehow give the money back to taxpayers while Democrats want to wait to see what additional needs there are.

There is also the issue of Senator Nathaniel Oaks of Baltimore, who is under federal indictment for taking bribes and awaiting trial. He showed up to take his seat Wednesday despite calls for his resignation and a pending ethics panel review which could lead to his ouster.

When ABC7 tried to speak to Oaks, he responded, “You got my lawyer’s number!”

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