Associated Press (Maryland)
By Brian Witte
March 20, 2017
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A measure aimed at preventing price gouging for prescription drugs and a bill to stop authorities from detaining or arresting immigrants simply on suspicion they are in the country illegally have advanced in Maryland’s House of Delegates.
The House could vote on both measures Monday evening amid a flurry of activity to meet the General Assembly’s crossover deadline. That’s a day on the Legislature’s calendar when the House and Senate aim to approve bills they plan to send to the other chamber for passage this year.
The measure on prescription drugs would authorize the attorney general to take legal action, if the manufacturers of an off-patent or generic drug make an “unconscionable increase” in price. That’s defined as an excessive increase not justified by the cost of producing or distributing the drug.
Supporters say Maryland would be the first state in the nation to make off-patent pharmaceutical price-gouging something state officials could take action against. Under the legislation, the attorney general would be able to request additional information from the corporations that increased prices to help determine if price-gouging has occurred.
Meanwhile, a bill to block authorities from stopping immigrants solely due to their suspected immigration status also advanced in the House. Frederick and Harford counties would be exempt from the legislation, because the two counties are participating in the federal government’s 287(g) program, in which the Department of Homeland Security trains local law enforcement to perform the work of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
The measure also would block state corrections officials from holding arrestees in jail, simply because federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have sent a detainer asking for someone to be held.
Maryland lawmakers have about three weeks left in the 90-day session, which is scheduled to adjourn April 10.
If a bill doesn’t clear one of the chambers by Monday, that doesn’t mean it can’t pass the General Assembly and head to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk. But it puts an extra layer of process in the way. That’s because bills that don’t pass a chamber by Monday are referred to the rules committees, where bills can languish without action.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com