Assembly legislative summary

April 09, 1991

BUDGET

* Approved an $11.6 billion budget for fiscal year 1992 that represented barely a 1 percent increase over the previous year and that could not have been balanced without $90 million in new taxes.

* Transferred $345 million from various funds, including $100 million from "Rainy Day Fund," to balance fiscal year 1991 and fiscal year 1992 budgets.

* Cut $76.1 million in proposed spending in fiscal year 1992.

* Set aside $11.4 million for Baltimore and five of the state's poorest counties.

TAXES

* Referred to summer study a bill to restructure Maryland's tax system and raise $800 million in new revenue -- much of which would have been dedicated to public education and tax relief for Baltimore and the state's poorer counties.

* Approved taxes that would subject cigarettes to the state's 5 percent sales tax and add 3 cents to the 13-cent excise tax on each pack of cigarettes.

* Added a 5 percent tax on carry-out food and beverage where no seating is available and added tax on food items costing less than $1.

* Phased out 40 percent tax exemption on capital gains.

* Approved a tax of up to $1 on new tires for the purpose of recycling used tires.

ENVIRONMENT

* Sent to summer study legislation giving state authority to manage growth in the Chesapeake Bay region.

* Required developers -- including state and local governments -- to replant trees if they cut down more than an acre of woods, and to plant trees on development lots that now are barren.

* Revised and expanded the state's vehicle emissions testing program.

* Killed a bill requiring that new cars and trucks purchased in Maryland after 1994 be outfitted with enhanced emission-reduction equipment required under stiff standards now on the books in California.

* Required publishers of telephone directories to make sure recycled paper accounts for 12 percent of their books in 1994, increasing to 40 percent in 2000.

TRANSPORTATION

* Rejected an increase from 48 feet to 53 feet in the allowable length of trucks using Maryland highways.

* Increased the maximum speed limit on rural portions of interstate highways in Maryland from 55 mph to 65 mph.

* Expanded mandatory seat-belt law to include light trucks.

* Killed legislation that would have added a 5 percent sales tax to the price of gasoline, and would have raised motor vehicle fees to pump $1.5 billion into the Transportation Trust Fund over the next five years.

HEALTH

* Passed legislation preserving the legality of abortions but requiring physicians to inform a parent before a minor has an abortion.

* Added a "conscience clause" bill stating that only in medical emergencies must doctors and nurses who don't believe in abortion refer patients for the procedure.

* Defeated legislation prohibiting smoking in the Camden Yards baseball stadium.

* Killed a bill that would have required people convicted of prostitution to complete an AIDS education program and, at the court's discretion, submit to an AIDS test.

* Approved allowing the sale of a low-cost health insurance policy for small businesses, a measure seen as a first step in addressing the problem of Maryland's more than 500,000 uninsured citizens.

CRIMES & PUNISHMENT

* Allowed the admission of evidence regarding the "battered spouse syndrome" in Maryland courts.

* Defeated proposals to ban assault weapons, and to prohibit adults from keeping unsecured firearms where children might gain access to them.

* Approved state takeover of the Baltimore City Jail and creation of a Division of Pretrial Detention and Services.

* Eliminated nearly 400 jobs at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School for juvenile delinquents and approved a legislative proposal to study the possibility of privatizing the school's operation.

INSURANCE

* Passed the governor's package of insurance regulatory reform bills, strengthening state oversight of the industry to protect against insolvencies and attempting to reduce fraud committed against insurers.

* Killed a variety of consumer-oriented bills involving geographic insurance pricing, the insurance industry's antitrust exemptions and the establishment of a state consumer advocate's office.

* Rejected no-fault auto insurance.

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

* Sent to summer study a bill to create a hybrid corporate form for small companies, combining the tax benefits of partnerships and the legal liability protections of corporations.

* Provided most of the money requested for economic development projects, including: design funding to expand the Baltimore Convention Center; money for the Christopher Columbus marine research center in Baltimore; and a biotechnology facility in Baltimore.

* Killed a bill to require title insurance companies to donate some of the money they earn on client escrow accounts to a non-profit agency that funds legal services for the poor.

* Killed a bill to terminate the private insurer of state-chartered credit unions and force the remaining institutions to obtain federal deposit insurance.

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