Maryland’s legislative session comes to an end
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (ABC7) — Midnight brought the official end to Maryland's legislative session, with majority leaders of the Senate and House saying "Sine die" and then heading home.
The Maryland General Assembly gets 90 days and then there can be no more debate, no matter the subject.
But the final hours of this final day were quite busy.
"There are about a thousand bills they're trying to get done by midnight tonight," said Governor Larry Hogan, who called it one of his most productive legislative sessions since becoming governor. "In fact, I don't know of any session I can remember in my lifetime where any governor got this much done with a legislature, and we happen to be a different party. I think we have worked together in a bipartisan way."
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle echoed that sentiment. Legislation that received bipartisan supported included an anti-crime bill and a school safety measure. Both were passed on Monday, during the final hours before adjournment.
Since convening in January, the House and Senate have approved $167 million in annual funding for Metro, an $8.5 billion incentive package to lure Amazon’s next headquarters to Montgomery County, a one-year plan to stabilize insurance rates, and a ban on bump stocks for guns.
Monday brought progress on a school safety measure that had been one of the most talked about pieces of legislation ever since last month's deadly shooting at Great Mills High School in St. Mary's County.
"The impact of the recent shooting in Great Mills has been extraordinary, because it touched so many people so profoundly," said Senator Stephen Waugh, who represents St. Mary's County. "We're going to make sure that every school either has a school resource officer or they have a deal worked out with local law enforcement so they know how fast police can get there."
The bill also allocates funding that will be used to hire additional school resource officers and make other safety improvements in schools.
"What's real important for folks to know is that this isn't just, we're not just passing a bill that has platitudes in it. There is serious money behind this," said Waugh. "There's I believe about $50 million wrapped up in the school safety bill that we passed today. That's real money."
An anti-crime package that puts tougher sentences in place for repeat offenders also passed on Monday, with bipartisan support.
Voters will be deciding all of the General Assembly's 188 seats in November, plus statewide offices like governor, attorney general and comptroller.
When the sine die motion is made at midnight, confetti and balloons fall from the gallery, in celebration of the end of the legislative session.