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Md. Democratic leaders roll out legislation focused on Trump

Senate President Mike Miller and Speaker of the House Michael Busch. (File)

Senate President Mike Miller and Speaker of the House Michael Busch. (File)

ANNAPOLIS — President Donald Trump is front and center in a legislative package rolled out by the state’s top Democratic lawmakers.

The package of bills and resolutions announced Tuesday represent the first publicly stated priorities endorsed by House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. The package focuses on concerns about changes that could be made to programs such as the Affordable Care Act and it also seeks to create a political problem for Republican Gov. Larry Hogan heading into the campaign season that begins when the 2017 session ends.

“We have a change in direction and Maryland is caught in the middle,” Miller said. “When you have these adverse regulations, when you have these adverse appointments being made on Capitol Hill, it affects Maryland more so than any other state in the union. So, we’re going to play defense.”

Miller and others said the legislation they are backing will protect the middle class and health care.

“It’s been 11 days since the new president, Donald Trump, took office,” Busch said. “Since that time, it’s been an assault on civil rights and equal rights throughout this country and particularly in the state of Maryland.”

A Hogan spokeswoman declined to comment directly on any of the bills or resolutions.

“The governor and our legislative agenda will remain focused on Maryland. They should do the same,” said Amelia Chassé, a Hogan spokeswoman.

Included in the leadership package are:

  • A bill and a resolution that directs the Office of the Attorney General “to engage in offensive or defensive action to protect citizens of Maryland from harmful federal efforts.” The measures provide $3 million and five dedicated employees for the office.
  • A resolution calling on the state’s congressional delegation of seven Democrats and one Republican to oppose any repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
  • A proposal to create a Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission that will monitor efforts at the federal level to repeal the Affordable Care Act and develop a reaction if President Barack Obama’s signature law is eliminated.
  • Creation of a Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Task Force to monitor potential changes to banking and investment laws such as the Dodd-Frank Act, implemented after the 2008 financial crisis.
  • A resolution to withdraw the state from previous agreements to call for a Constitutional Convention in order to prevent a re-write under Trump and a Republican controlled U.S. Senate and Congress.

Attorney General Brian E. Frosh called Trump’s first 11 days “alarming.”

“Silence is not acceptable at this point,” Frosh said. “Inaction is dangerous. We need to stand up. We need to protect Marylanders. We need to protect the rights of all Marylanders. Their rights to health care. The rights of minorities. The rights of the LGBT community and we need to make sure every man, woman and child in this state continues to have the right to drink clean water and breathe clean air.”

The release of the proposals came the day before Hogan is to deliver his third State of the State speech.

“We’re hoping (Wednesday) that we hear some message from Governor Hogan during the State of the State on what his plan to do with things like immigration, civil rights, women’s rights, how he plans to protect Maryland from the assault of Washington, D.C., and Donald Trump,” Busch said.

 

 


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