SENATE OKs $44.5B BUDGET: The Maryland Senate on Thursday unanimously passed the state’s $44.5 billion budget for fiscal 2019, just 2.2% higher than this year’s spending plan, reports Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter. The senators heaped bipartisan praise on budget committee chairman Ed Kasemeyer, who is retiring from the Senate this year and got three standing ovations from his colleagues over the past three days as he presented the budget.
The budget allocates $200 million in new education funding, using additional tax revenue that state residents are expected to pay as a result of changes in the federal tax code. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) had proposed changing state law to fully offset an estimated $400 million in additional state taxes Marylanders would have to pay as a result of changes on the federal level affecting which state tax deductions residents can claim, Rachel Chason and Ovetta Wiggins of the Post report.
GUN MEASURES PASS HOUSE: With little debate, the Maryland House of Delegates on Thursday passed three gun control bills that expand the state’s assault weapons ban and creates ways to seize guns from dangerous people, Erin Cox writes in the Sun.