Maryland’s Democratic leadership introduced legislation Tuesday it said would “protect Maryland citizens” from President Trump’s and the federal government’s potentially harmful actions.
The package of five bills responds to Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, as well as Trump’s immigration policies and the influence of banks on consumers in this state, according to a news release from the senate president’s office, the speaker of the House of Delegates and the attorney general.
One piece of legislation, the Maryland Defense Act of 2017, would authorize the state attorney general’s office to pursue legal action on behalf of state residents without permission from Gov. Larry Hogan or the General Assembly. Another, the Repeal of Affordable Care Act Resolution, urges the governor and this state’s congressional delegation to resist a repeal of the ACA.
“The policies that are coming from the leadership in the White House … are hazardous to the welfare of the citizens of Maryland,” said Christine Tobar, a spokeswoman from the attorney general’s office. “This is for their protection. All of these things will protect Marylanders in the event that federal policies no longer do so.”
After Trump signed an executive order Friday restricting citizens from seven predominantly-Muslim countries from traveling to the U.S. for 90 days, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh joined 16 other state attorney generals in condemning the action.
Frosh called the executive order “unconstitutional, un-American, and unlawful” on Twitter Sunday.
He was among several politicians in this state who denounced Trump’s executive order and pressed Hogan to respond to the ban, The Washington Post reported Sunday. A University of Maryland student and her 5-year-old cousin were detained in Washington Dulles International Airport on Saturday night after traveling to visit relatives in Turkey.
Trump also issued an executive order Jan. 20 directing federal agencies to begin scaling back the Affordable Care Act, despite not having an immediate replacement plan. Throughout his campaign, Trump promised to work with Congress to repeal the ACA.
Since the enactment of the ACA, about 260,000 Marylanders have received insurance through the law’s Medicaid expansion, while about 140,000 people receive coverage through Maryland Health Connection, a state marketplace created as a result of the law, according to the state Department for Health and Mental Hygiene.
Hogan has written letters to members of Congress defending the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and lauding the state’s performance under the act, The Baltimore Sun reported. But some state lawmakers said they would like to see him do more. The new ACA resolution presses Hogan and this state’s congress members to oppose an ACA repeal, while another proposed bill — the Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Act — would create a commission to monitor and respond to federal action regarding health care.
Hogan spokesman Doug Mayer told the Sun, “The governor and our legislative agenda will remain focused on Maryland,” and that the General Assembly “should do the same.”
Another piece of legislation in the package would establish the Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Task Force, a body to monitor federal changes in banking policy and consumer protections. The lawmakers behind this proposal wrote in their news release that “it is only a matter of time” before Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress move to repeal these consumer protections. The Constitutional Convention Withdrawal proposal would also rescind this state’s support for previous calls for a constitutional convention. The Baltimore Sun reported some conservatives have called for a convention to limit the power of the federal government, allow for school prayer and impose term limits on members of Congress.
Democratic legislators believe “with the current political climate now is not the time to rewrite the Constitution to endanger Americans,” according to the release.