Md. Gov. Hogan signs bills on education, health, crimes against pregnant women

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed 182 new bills into law, including some that regulate tobacco sales, require publicizing the amount of lead in the water in Maryland schools, and make accessing health care easier.

On Monday, Hogan was joined by Senate President Mike Miller and newly-elected House Speaker Adrienne Jones. Hogan commented on the Jones’ no-nonsense style when he noted the bill signing was supposed to start at 11 a.m.

“I’ll tell you, there’s no more fooling around anymore. She just said it’s 11:01 — we have to get to work! So, there’s a new sheriff in town,” Hogan said as Jones chuckled.

Hogan outlined some of the bills being signed into law, including one he has championed that would expand the so-called P-TECH program — the Pathways in Technology Early College High School — that allows students to get a diploma and an associate degree along with career training, all within a six-year period. 

Hogan added, “In addition, we’re enacting important health bills,” including one that raises the age to purchase tobacco products — including vaping products — to 21 years old.

Opioid addiction and the toll it has taken on Maryland got attention with bills that increase the amount of funding the state provides to mental health and substance abuse providers. The bills also require corrections facilities to provide treatment for addiction.

“Laura and Reid’s” law was signed by the governor and legislative leaders. It adds a 10-year sentence to anyone found guilty of a crime of violence against a pregnant woman. The bill was named for Laura Wallen, a Howard County teacher who was murdered in 2017. She was pregnant at the time she was killed and planned to name her baby Reid.

Another bill signed into law is designed to make it easier to access health care. Under the bill, when Maryland taxpayers fill out their state tax returns, they’ll find a question about whether or not they have health coverage. The information can then be used to help low-income residents get enrolled in subsidized health plans or Medicaid.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan reported from Annapolis, Maryland.

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