Governor Hogan Signs Measures to Add Marylanders to Health Insurance Rolls, Raise Tobacco Age to 21

May 14, 2019

Also Signs Legislation Introducing Tough Penalties for Violent Crimes Against Pregnant Women

Governor Larry Hogan signed a number of critical health care and crime prevention measures, including legislation that will add more Marylanders to the health insurance rolls, and raise the minimum age tobacco can be sold to 21 amid an epidemic of teen vaping. The governor also signed Laura and Reid’s Law, which introduces tougher penalties for violent crimes against pregnant women.

“There is no more important job than protecting the health and safety of Marylanders,” said Governor Hogan. “The bipartisan measures we are enacting today – to confront the sharp rise in teen vaping and protect pregnant women and unborn children – are important steps in achieving that goal. We are also proud to continue Maryland’s record of leadership on health care by enacting legislation to further improve access and lower costs.”

Health Care

House Bill 1169—Business Regulation—Tobacco Products and Electronic Smoking Devices—Revision. The FDA has declared teen vaping to be an epidemic. This legislation includes vaping in the definition of ‘tobacco products’ and raises the minimum age for purchasing these products from 18 to 21.

House Bill 814—Maryland Easy Enrollment Health Insurance Program. This legislation implements a simple, straightforward process for more Marylanders to obtain health coverage. By checking a box on their state income tax return, uninsured Marylanders can have the  Maryland Health Benefits Exchange determine their eligibility for benefits under the federal Affordable Care Act. This will help enroll as many as 220,000 more Marylanders in Medicaid or the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange, further reducing uncompensated care and lowering health insurance premiums.

House Bill 155/Senate Bill 164—Maryland Department of Health—Capital and Grant Programs—State Grants. This legislation will improve our ability to build community mental health, addiction, and developmental disabilities facilities by increasing the state’s share of the commitment to these projects. It also increases the caps on the percentages of certain costs that may be covered by state grants under the Federally Qualified Health Centers Grant Program.

House Bill 1098—Health Insurance—Maryland Health Benefit Exchange—Small Business Tax Credit Subsidy. This legislation paves the way for the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange to provide tax credit subsidies to small businesses who provide their employees with health care benefits. The tax credit benefits employers who have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees, pay an average wage of less than $51,600 a year, and pay at least half of employee health insurance premiums.

House Bill 116—Public Health—Correctional Services—Opioid Use Disorder Examinations and Treatment. This legislation puts Maryland at the forefront of opioid addiction treatment for inmates. It requires correctional facilities to offer all three FDA-approved forms of medication-assisted treatment to inmates diagnosed with opioid use disorder. The legislation also calls for mental health and substance use status screenings for each inmate.

House Bill 754—Health Insurance and Pharmacy Benefits Managers—Cost Pricing and Reimbursement. This emergency legislation protects pharmacies against a number of predatory practices that have come to light over the last few years regarding contract negotiations with Pharmacy Benefit Managers. The bill also gives the Insurance Commissioner greater powers to review and disapprove contracts if they violate these prohibitions.


Senate Bill 561—Laura and Reid’s Law. This legislation is named after Laura Wallen and her unborn son, Reid. Laura, a Howard County educator, was murdered in 2017. The bill prohibits a person from committing a crime of violence against another person when the offender knows or believes the other person is pregnant. An individual who violates this law is guilty of a felony and—in addition to any other penalty imposed for the underlying crime of violence—is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.

Senate Bill 346—Public Safety—Regulated Firearms—Prohibition of Loans. This legislation is designed to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not possess them. It prohibits the act of loaning a firearm to someone if the individual has cause to believe the recipient meets one of the legal disqualifiers for firearm possession, such as a felony conviction or involuntary commitment for mental illness. The bill also adds to the list of disqualifying circumstances under which a dealer or other person may not sell a regulated firearm to another person.

These measures are among 181 bills Governor Hogan signed on Monday morning, alongside Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller and House Speaker Adrienne Jones.

28 Responses to Governor Hogan Signs Measures to Add Marylanders to Health Insurance Rolls, Raise Tobacco Age to 21

  1. Shawn on May 14, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Just ban cigarettes and vaping everywhere in Maryland. It’s a nasty habit not to mention unhealthy

    • VapeOn on May 14, 2019 at 3:16 pm

      Vaping is unhealthy based on what? Do you have any medical evidence to back that up other than your opinion?

      • Charles on May 15, 2019 at 11:46 am

        If anything it certainly is obnoxious. Nothing more appealing than someone with a huge cloud of smoke coming from their device

      • VapeOff on May 15, 2019 at 12:55 pm


    • Anonymous on May 14, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      While we are at it we can ban junk food, vehicles that go over 55, soda, TV shows/video games that have violence, and force everyone to exercise 1 hour in the morning and 2 hours every evening. We can also change our state name to the peoples republic of Maryland. I guess freedom means something different to you. You can always move to China, they love telling people how they should properly live their lives. Personally, I would rather let people make their own choices on how they should run their own lives.

    • Anonymous on May 14, 2019 at 7:31 pm

      We should ban all people named shawn, and all other whiney complainers who always want things banned. Let’s ban banning.

      • Anonymous on May 15, 2019 at 7:18 am

        You got it.

        The government will run every facet of your life for you now, since you are not able to decide ANYTHING for yourself.

        It is also noteworthy how each bill’s signing also contains its own “sales pitch”; defining it as the best thing for the state’s citizens and how it has saved the day.

        What a spin! Epidemic controls, crisis management, increased inmate benefits, new gun laws, wow! Are we sure this guy is a republican?

        • Joebiden on May 15, 2019 at 12:35 pm

          He’s a Rino

    • VapeOn on May 20, 2019 at 10:05 am

      Ban it all! Alcohol too!

  2. Anonymous on May 14, 2019 at 10:46 am


    • Charles on May 14, 2019 at 1:07 pm

      What if I told you hash tags on this page do nothing? Typical millenial

  3. Anonymous on May 14, 2019 at 10:49 am

    I wonder how much money the state would save if they stopped funding money in attempts to stop the Opioid “crisis”.

    It’s their CHOICE to use it.

    • Anonymous on May 15, 2019 at 7:20 am

      Oh you mean like quit wasting tax dollars?

      What would they do with it all?

      • Anonymous on May 15, 2019 at 10:11 am

        they could rebuild the Solomons Bridge and have the project done in less than a year.

  4. Jeff Spicoli on May 14, 2019 at 11:17 am

    He should sign a bill making heroin illegal while he’s at it.

    • Anonymous on May 15, 2019 at 7:12 am

      I agree. If only Ben Jealous would have been elected all of our problems would have been solved!

  5. Anonymous on May 14, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    Go to jail and get first class drug treatment and counseling all while their victims are out struggling to deal with whatever these junkies did to them. I would rather see criminal junkies get 30 days of solitary confinement to get them clean and offer help to stay clean once they finish their punishment. The money saved could go tot their victims treatment for mental issue suffered at the hands of the junkies. Why are we (the tax payers) always forced to bail people out of bad situations they cause themselves. I didn’t agree when they bailed out the large corporations for their mishandling of their companies and I don’t agree to bailing people out for their mishandling of their lives. Be an adult, have some integrity, and fix your own problems legally. There is no honor or sense of accomplishment by having others get you out of the mess you got yourself into.

    • Anonymous on May 15, 2019 at 7:23 am


      But this is the way we are raising our kids.

      No responsibility.
      No accountability.

      Government aid and socialism for all.

      No one realizes that they are taking YOUR money to do all this.

  6. Susan on May 14, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Hogan for president. I may not agree with everything he is for but his heart is in the right place.

    • Walt Kawolski on May 15, 2019 at 7:47 am

      He’d have to run as a democrat, and they wouldn’t take him either.
      Ya straddle the fence, eventually you get racked. Let his heart be in the right place with his own damn money.

  7. Sylvette on May 14, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    sure and while we are at it, lets just ban alcohol and fast food everywhere in Maryland too. It’s a nasty habit, not to mention unhealthy too…AND the first one should really be first to be banned after-all it is deadly to OTHERS when consumed in excess by the numerous ones choosing to still drive afterwards!! oh and i think showering oneself in perfume/cologne is a nasty habit too, it should also be banned for it is very unhealthy for those of us breathing in the cr-ap and going home afterwards suffering from a migraine sometimes for days because of it!!

    and no i do not smoke or vape myself, just not into others telling me what i can and cannot do as an adult!! and 18 is technically an adult so raising age to 21 is bull too for if a product is legal for adults, then 18-21yr olds should be able to smoke or vape if they want to do so period!!

    anyhow you don’t go banning what legal nasty habits you/others don’t like however, we should restrict some of those ‘nasty habits’ from being done in populated ‘public’ places if it can cause physical health issues in others or is a plain out rude disruptive habit (like those vapers who like to blow humongous clouds of vapor blocking view of others).

    • Sylvette on May 15, 2019 at 12:27 pm

      this was meant to be a reply to “Shawn” above.

      • Aunt Esther on May 17, 2019 at 11:18 am

        Tell it honey!! Amen!!

  8. The REAL Truth on May 14, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Signs the bill because of “an epidemic of teen vaping.” Well, I guess all those teens who get it now even though it is only supposed to be sold to those who are 18 and over will just give up because of Hogan’s new bill huh? Lawmakers need to get a clue!

    If you are old enough to fight and die for your country and elect it’s leaders then you should be old enough to drink and smoke in it too!

  9. Walt Kawolski on May 14, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Typical politician, pass a bunch of feel good laws that do nothing but spend our money, to make yourself look busy. How ’bout quit throwin’ our money at every knee jerk that comes along.
    ‘Ol Reagan was right when he said “The 9 most terrifying words in the English language are, I’m from the Government and I’m here to help”.

  10. Jack Wagon on May 15, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Wow, so many triggered snowflakes on here. Maybe you need a safe space to go and smoke/vape and complain about the awful liberals! I wish you could see how stupid you sound. Actually, no, I dont. If you saw, you might change, and then you wouldnt be near as entertaining.

    • Just Sayin' on May 17, 2019 at 4:50 am

      Maybe you need a punch in the throat.

    • Walt Kawolski on May 17, 2019 at 11:17 am

      Says triggered snowflake flake Jack Wagon.