MD lawmakers approve legislation on schools, drug dealers, tax laws

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Maryland adjourned its General Assembly yesterday, with lawmakers parting ways until next January. As one could expect a flurry of legislation passed through in the final hours, some highlights:

Maryland lawmakers cracking down on fentanyl dealers

The general Assembly approving expansions to the Volume Dealer Law. Now a person may not manufacture, distribute, or possess 5 grams or more of fentanyl or equivalents, or over an ounce of any mixture containing a detectable amount of fentanyl. Lawmakers hope the updated definitions will target high volume dealers of heroin and fentanyl and allow for easier prosecution of such high-level drug dealers.

School safety a focus yesterday in Annapolis

Lawmakers approving a slew of measures aimed at shoring up schools in Maryland, including increasing funding for the Maryland Center for School Safety by $2 million annually. Also, next year school systems must adopt a policy to develop behavioral health assessment teams to identify at-risk students who could pose a risk to themselves or others. Lawmakers also requiring a school safety coordinator for each local school system by next fall. The coordinator will act as a go-between for the school system, local law enforcement and Center for School Safety, as well as develop training curriculum for school resource officers. The school safety legislation package passed through with near unanimous approval.

Lawmakers approve state tax law revisions

Maryland General Assembly passing a tax relief provision to allow Marylanders to claim state return exemptions and itemized tax deductions. According to analysis from the State Comptroller, the legislation could provide up to $1.2 billion in tax relief for Marylanders next year. Lawmakers also voted to increase the value of maximum standard deductions for both single and joint taxpayers, which the Department of Budget and Management estimates could provide upwards of $55 million in tax relief next year. Both provisions passed through both state houses unanimously.