ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ/AP) — Maryland lawmakers are putting the finishing touches on its 90-day legislative session.
They have until midnight to pass any legislation still unresolved.
WJZ political reporter Pat Warren is in Annapolis.
The Democrat-led legislature has spent the session passing legislation aimed at protecting health care from cuts in Washington.
It also has empowered the attorney general to sue the federal government without the governor’s permission. And the attorney general will get an extra $1 million a year in future budgets to help pay expenses to do that.
The Maryland General Assembly also approved a blueprint for identifying and assisting troubled public schools that blocks public school privatization supported by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. To do that, the legislature overrode a veto from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan last week.
Other big ticket items on the docket today include internet privacy, prescription drug pricing and opioid abuse.
A prescription drug bill that would allow the Attorney General to sue drug companies for suspected price gouging without the approval of the legislature or the governor has been passed by the legislature, and will now be sent to Governor Larry Hogan.
The bill would enable the attorney general to prosecute and fine manufacturers of an off-patent or generic drug who make an “unconscionable increase” in price. That’s described as an excessive increase unjustified by the cost of producing or distributing the drug.
Under the bill, the Maryland Medicaid Assistance Program would report to the attorney general when rapid or excessive price increases occur in off-patent or generic prescription drugs.
The attorney general would be able to request additional information from the corporations who these instituted price increases to help determine if price gouging has occurred.
Opioid abuse has been declared a state of emergency by Governor Hogan, who has asked lawmakers to limit the number of pills in opioid prescriptions to a 7-day supply.
The internet privacy bill is emergency legislation to prevent service providers to prevent service providers from selling or sharing a user’s personal information.
Changing the state’s medical marijuana law is also on deck.
Governor Hogan is already calling it a productive session.
“On opioids and heroin, much of our initiative is going to pass, our entire environmental initiative is going to pass, our justice bills hopefully are going to get through, tougher sentences on repeat drunk drivers. We’re trying to, you know, go after human trafficking, that bill has already passed.
And an ethics bill that was proposed by the governor was passed by both houses on Saturday.
WJZ will have more from the statehouse later this afternoon.
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