New legislative sessions bring partisan divisions

WASHINGTON — The 2016 legislative session begins this week in Maryland and Virginia, and both states will have to work through their respective partisan divisions as lawmakers get back to work Wednesday.

In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan is calling for tax cuts for small business and retirees.

“People elected me because they wanted some checks and balances. They wanted us to go in a different direction,” Hogan said during a news conference last week.

The Republican is expected to clash with the Democratic-controlled General Assembly, although he said he hopes the two parties can find common ground.

“I don’t care which side of the aisle the ideas come from, as long as they’re good ideas,” he added.

Lawmakers will take up a number of controversial bills, including one that would give terminally ill patients the right to ask a doctor to help them die, and another that would force employers to provide paid sick leave.

In Virginia, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe will face partisan challenges as he works with a Republican-controlled legislature. Republicans are expected to push back against Democratic-led efforts to tighten restrictions on gun owners and expand Medicaid.

Much of the initial debate will be centered on McAuliffe’s recently proposed $109 billion budget, which hikes funding for public schools, colleges and universities.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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