Maryland's lawmakers went back to work Wednesday and the men and women who create our state laws are going into this year with on big problem: a lack of money.
The state's revenue isn't what forecasters expected. The state is $209 million short this fiscal year. Next year it's expected be $544 million short. That means cuts will have to happen somewhere, and budget cuts always cause a fight. This will be a highly politicized issue that pits Republican Governor Larry Hogan against the state's Democratic legislature.
This year's hot topics will include a push for a bill requiring employers to provide paid sick leave. This will be the fifth year the issue comes up in Annapolis. Last year a bill made it through the House of Delegates but stalled at the last minute in the Senate.
Environmentalist will fight for a permanent ban fracking in Maryland. Right now there's a temporary fracking ban in Maryland, but supporters want to bring it to western Maryland, claiming it will bring down energy costs and create jobs. Opponents claim fracking hurts the environment and causes earthquakes.
Maryland state senator Ron Young is once again expected to sponsor bill that would give terminally ill patients the right to end their lives. Young has done so the past two years. Last year's measure would've given patients with six months to live the option of ending their lives medically. The bill didn't have enough votes to get out of committee.
The amount of time schools devote to standardized tests, and Maryland's opioid epidemic will also be a top issue this year.
The session starts Wednesday and ends 90 days later on April 10.