Last week I previewed the Governor's State of the State address. You can read the speech here or watch it here.
The Governor has also introduced his legislative package, which by tradition is introduced by the Speaker by request of the Administration (yes, the Democratic Speaker would even sponsor the former Republican Governor's bills). Governor Moore's proposed bills are:
Serving Every Region Through Vocational Exploration Act of 2023: Establishing a service year option program for high school graduates to perform a year of service.
Family Prosperity Act of 2023: Extends the state earned income and child tax credits.
Access to Banking Act: Establishes the Maryland Community Venture Investment Fund to incentivize the placement of banks and credit unions in low and moderate income neighborhoods.
Fair Wage Act of 2023: Speeds up the implementation of the $15.00/hour minimum wage and links it to inflation.
Clean Transportation and Energy Act: Increases the incentives for zero emission vehicles, including for trucks.
Broadband Expansion Incentive Act of 2023: Exempts certain broadband related equipment from the sales and use tax.
Innovation Economy Infrastructure Act of 2023: Establishes a grant program in the Department of Commerce for certain technology related infrastructure projects.
Health Care for Heroes Act of 2023: Covers healthcare costs for Maryland's National Guard members.
Keep Our Heroes Home Act: Increases the tax benefit for military retirement income.
The committees in the General Assembly will now do their due diligence and consider these proposals.
Two priorities of the General Assembly have also been introduced. The first is the Speaker's constitutional amendment to enshrine reproductive freedom in the state constitution. The second is the cannabis reform legislation to implement Maryland's new recreational cannabis market, required by the successful constitutional ballot question last year. Recreational cannabis will be regulated like medical cannabis to ensure safety through the renamed Alcohol, Tobacco, and Cannabis Commission. Existing growers, dispensers, and operators in the medical cannabis program would be able to convert--at a cost--to a combination recreational/medical license and additional licenses would become available. The tax rate will begin at 6% and slowly rise to 10%, with most of the funding originally targeted towards implementation and social equity programs.
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