Do I have to remove the paint on my concrete steps before I lay bricks over them?

No, you can do whatever you want. But, with the paint stripped off you'll have at least some minor mortar or Thin-Set adhesion. For steps though, some people drill Tapcons in or drive Concrete Nails into the old steps to lock the new brick into place. You can use very short fasteners and just lock in the base mortar or you can use taller fasteners to come up into the dry-fit mortar joints.
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