Message From Governor Larry Hogan
This legislative session – one of the most productive in our state’s history – has come and gone, resulting in a big win for the people of Maryland. But much more has happened in the past month. While we were working hard to protect our communities from violent crime, provide tax relief for hardworking Marylanders, ensure our citizens have access to health care, and create even more jobs, we faced a horrible tragedy.
On the morning of March 20, a student shot two other students at Great Mills High School, leading to the tragic death of 16-year-old Jaelynn Willey. Maryland State Police were quickly on the scene assisting local and federal law enforcement; the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office and all of the first responders who took action to secure the school are true heroes.
While improving safety in our schools was already on our agenda for the session, it became clear that we could not wait to take action. Of all of our accomplishments this session, I’m most proud that we joined together with the General Assembly to enact a landmark school safety package to help ensure that our kids feel safe in their schools.
My Deputy Chief of Staff Sean Powell is a graduate of Great Mills, and he delivered nearly 3,000 #GreatMillsStrong bands for students, faculty, staff, and community members, and I was sure to get one for myself.
We keep Jaelynn Willey’s family and all those in the Great Mills community in our prayers.
We all remain #GreatMillsStrong.
Below, you’ll read about our successes for the people of Maryland this legislative session and learn how we’ve continued to work to Change Maryland for the Better. As always, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat (Larry Hogan).
Session 2018 – A Big Win For The People Of Maryland
The 2018 legislative session officially came to a close on Monday, April 9, 2018. The following day, Governor Larry Hogan was joined by Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller and Speaker of the House Michael Busch to sign 114 bills into law at a signing ceremony at the Maryland State House in Annapolis.
“The success of our legislative session shows that, unlike the partisan gridlock we see in Washington, here in Annapolis, we work together in a common sense, bipartisan way to get things done,” said Governor Hogan. “I want to thank the legislature for joining with us to make our schools safer, protect our communities from violent crime, provide tax relief for hardworking Marylanders, ensure our citizens have access to health care, and create even more jobs.
“I want to thank our presiding officers and legislators on both sides of the aisle for their hard work over the past 90 days. This has been one of the most productive legislative sessions in the history of our state and a win for the people of Maryland.”
Protecting Our Students
Among the bills signed into law were the Maryland Safe To Learn Act (SB 1265), a landmark school safety package that includes key provisions from Governor Hogan’s Safe Schools Act Of 2018, including increased funding for the Maryland Center for School Safety, the creation of aggressive statewide standards for school safety, requirements for the standardized training and certification for all school resource officers, and requirements for each school system to develop behavioral assessment teams to identify and provide interventions for students who may pose a threat to safety.
“No mom or dad should ever have to worry when they send their kids off to school whether their son or daughter is going to come home safely,” said Governor Hogan. “I want to thank legislators on both sides of the aisle for coming together and working with us to make our schools safer.”
“Washington Wouldn’t Act – So We Did”
Governor Hogan enacted landmark legislation to stabilize Maryland’s health care insurance market and prevent rates from skyrocketing due to the repeated failures of Congress and multiple federal administrations to find and implement solutions to this well-identified problem.
“This problem should have been solved in Washington, but nothing has been done. Our team has been working on potential solutions for more than a year, and I want to thank the Speaker, the Senate President, and legislators from both parties for working together with us in a common sense, bipartisan manner to address this crisis head-on and to prevent these massive rate increases,” said Governor Hogan. “This is an example of what can be accomplished when we work together, and I’m proud to be signing these protections into law.”
In the absence of a comprehensive health care solution from Congress and the federal government, health insurance rates on Maryland’s individual market were set to increase by 50 percent or more in the coming year. After nearly a decade of increasing rates under the Affordable Care Act, the overall stability and foundation of Maryland’s health care market was in clear jeopardy. The legislation signed (HB 1795/SB 1267) creates the structure for a reinsurance program to be administered by the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange (MHBE), which is predicted to help stabilize rates for the next several years. MHBE’s board must vote to formally apply for a waiver from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to create the reinsurance program.
The governor also signed Senate Bill 387 and House Bill 1782, which completed the successful bipartisan effort to stop health care costs from skyrocketing due to inaction by the federal government.
To see a complete list of the bills that have been signed, click here.