Maryland Legislature's Democrats Announce 2019 Priorities

ANNAPOLIS (January 29, 2019)—Banning 3D printed and "ghost" guns, preserving health care access, raising the minimum wage, increasing the purchasing age of tobacco and lowering child care costs for parents are priorities for the 2019 session, Democrats in Maryland's Legislature announced on Tuesday.

Senate President Mike Miller, D-Prince George's, Charles and Calvert, said the agenda is a progressive package that will carry Maryland through 2019 into 2020.

"Maryland Democrats are taking common sense steps to protecting our middle class," Miller said.

Miller said the supermajority-Democratic Legislature will work with Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, but that, "he (Hogan) will have to compromise."

"We are going to stay strong and stand firm on what our Democratic principles are," said House Majority Leader Kathleen Dumais, D-Montgomery.

Dumais said gun safety is important in Maryland, and that allowing easy access to plastic weapons made with 3D printers would be a threat to security systems.

Ghost guns are untraceable as they are made by purchasing separate parts and assembling at home.

Sen. Delores Kelley, D-Baltimore County, said $20 million would go toward making child care more affordable.

"Make it possible for people to work without having to worry about their children," said Kelley.

Democrats said they are putting forward legislation that would mandate a right to health insurance, without regard to pre-existing conditions, if the Affordable Care Act is overturned.

Delegate Dereck Davis, D-Prince George's, said Maryland needs to continue its efforts against cigarette deaths by increasing the purchasing age to 21.

Davis said the time has come for minimum wage to be raised to $15 for struggling residents.

However, Hogan and some industry representatives are concerned an increase in wages would cause businesses to switch to automation and move to cheaper neighboring states.

House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga, R-Baltimore and Harford counties, said often times, policies that sound good for the middle or working class actually hurt them.

"Republicans continue to advocate for more jobs, better jobs, lower taxes, limited government," Szeliga told Capital News Service. "We know these are proven philosophies and principles of government that work for everyone."

Republican state lawmakers on Friday proposed a public registry for violent offenders, lowering the income tax rate by a quarter percentage point, flexibility for schools to hire police officers and single-member state districts for better voter representation.

Hogan's legislative priorities include reducing small-business taxes, raising sentences for firearm offenders and creating a nonpartisan Congressional redistricting process.

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