2014 Legislative Session: O'Malley-Brown Continue to Strengthen the Middle Class
Governor's Reception Room, State House. Watch online.
- Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 10:30 am:
Read Governor O'Malley's statement on the passage of the pre-kindergarten bill.
- Monday, April 14, 2014, 10:30 am:
Read the Administration's 2014 Legislative Accomplishments on Public Safety.
- Monday, May 5, 2014, 10:30 am:
Read the Administration's Middle Class Accomplishments.
- Thursday, May 15, 2014, 9:00 am:
Read the FY15 Budget Fact Sheet.
Read the Administration's LGBT Accomplishments.
Legislative Session Highlights
Increased Maryland’s Minimum Wage to $10.10
Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown successfully led the fight to raise Maryland’s
minimum wage to $10.10. Hundreds of thousands of Maryland workers will receive a raise,
injecting money into the economy and creating good-paying, family-supporting jobs.
Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown expanded pre-kindergarten to 1,600 more children across Maryland and laid the groundwork for a further statewide expansion in coming years.
Protected Transgender Marylanders Equally Under the Law
Maryland joined 17 states and the District of Columbia in banning gender identity discrimination. This comes on the heels of Maryland passing civil marriage equality in 2012.
Protected Domestic Violence Victims and Children
Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown enhanced protections for victims of domestic violence. They increased penalties for committing an act of domestic violence in front of a child; made it easier to get a protective order by changing the standard of proof; and added second-degree assault to crimes for which a person can obtain a final protective order.
Passed the 8th Consecutive Balanced Budget
For the 8th year in a row, Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown passed a budget with a balanced approach of spending cuts and investments.
- Investments in job creation and innovation: the budget includes the Biotech Tax Credit ($12 million), the Cyber Tax Credit ($4 million), and the R&D Tax Credit ($9 million); and $7.4 million for the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF), the State’s primary business development and job creation program.
- Investments in education: this year’s budget includes a record $6.1 billion for public education; $275 million for school construction; $1.4 million for the Early College Innovation Fund to support career and technical education (CTE); and $3.5 million for the Digital Learning Innovation Fund to help local school accelerate the transition to digital learning.
- Fiscally Responsible: makes strong progress on retiring the $1.7 billion structural deficit inherited in 2007, and brings the Administration’s total budget cuts to $9.5 billion over 8 years.
Permanently Protected 22,000 Acres of Wildlands
Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown fought to expand the State’s Wildlands
Preservation system by 50 percent in nine counties. The wildlands are natural areas that support
ecosystems, plants, and animals.
Improved Prison Integrity and Security
Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown improved safety and security in the State’s
correctional facilities by combatting the introduction of contraband, enhancing investigatory
capacity, and rooting out corruption.
Entire 2014 Legislative Agenda
This proposal will raise Maryland’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2016 and index the minimum wage to inflation beginning in 2017. The proposal also will require that tipped employees are paid a cash wage of at least 70% of the State’s minimum wage.
According to an analysis from the Economic Policy Institute, a $10.10 minimum wage will benefit 455,000 Maryland workers. Twenty one states and the District of Columbia have minimum wage rates that are higher than the federal rate of $7.25 per hour. And 11 of those states automatically adjust their minimum wage rates each year to offset the effects of inflation.
Prekindergarten Expansion Act of 2014
This proposal is the first step in expanding Maryland’s public prekindergarten program to provide full-day public prekindergarten for all four-year-olds in the State. The bill establishes a competitive Prekindergarten Expansion Grant Program through which local jurisdictions can apply for additional funds to expand and supplement their existing prekindergarten programs.The Administration has included $4.3 million in the fiscal 2015 budget to fund the Program, which is expected to support half-day or full-day pre-kindergarten programs for roughly 1,600 children.
While expanding the State’s pre-kindergarten programs in the near term, the bill also ensures that the State’s long-term planning for education funding take into account future expansion of the State’s pre-kindergarten programs. Specifically, the bill requires that the State’s upcoming study on the adequacy of education funding, which is scheduled to begin later this year, examine the issue of funding universal prekindergarten programs throughout the State.
Designation of New Wildlands
The Governor is proposing legislation that would designate new wildland areas on state lands including State Parks, State Forests, and Wildlife Management Areas. Since 2002, when the General Assembly last designated wildlands, DNR has acquired additional lands, completed the Inventory of Old Growth Forests, and mapped both high conservation forests and environmentally sensitive areas on DNR managed lands. Following a 60 day public input process, with these new acquisitions and additional information, DNR identified 25 areas for wildland designation: expansions of fourteen existing wildlands and nine new areas. If the General Assembly designates all of the areas being considered, Maryland would have 38 separate wildland areas totaling 65,669 acres.
Statewide Communications Interoperability Board-Establishment
In 2008, the Governor established via Executive Order the Maryland Statewide Communications Interoperability Program, the purpose of which is to strengthen public safety radio communications throughout the State by making it easier for first responders to communicate with each other and operate on the same radio system. This legislation codifies several elements of the Executive Order and creates a Board to oversee the final development, operations and management of this program.
Domestic Violence Legislation
The Administration is introducing three pieces of domestic violence legislation. The first alters the standard of proof for a final protective order from "clear and convincing evidence" to a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. While judges grant the majority of orders, victims seeking protection should only be required to meet the same standard of proof that exists for the majority of other civil actions and matters in Maryland. Currently, Maryland is the only state that has the standard of clear and convincing evidence.
The third bill increases the penalties for certain crimes of violence that are committed in the presence of a minor. Research has shown that violence witnessed by a minor can significantly impact a child’s development, behavior and temperament. The purpose of the legislation is to hold abusers accountable by giving courts the ability to impose an enhanced penalty for violent crimes when they are committed in the presence of a minor.
Modernizing Maryland’s Medicare Waiver – Maryland All-Payer Model
This legislation helps implement Maryland’s new all-payer-model, which allows the State to control hospital rates. The legislation finalizes a transition from a system that based control of cost on a per inpatient admission approach to a system that provides for control of cost on a per capita basis while requiring important care and health improvements. The legislation will allow the Health Services Cost Review Commission to set hospital rates, resulting in in some of the lowest and most predictable hospital rates in the country.
Maryland Health Insurance Plan – Access for Bridge Eligible IndividualsThe package also includes a bill to expand the Maryland Health Insurance Plan (MHIP) to provide for retroactive and temporary “bridge” coverage and act as a safety net to individuals, who through no fault of their own, are without insurance and facing potentially costly medical bills.