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Published on March 10th, 2011 | by Cynthia Prairie

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State Roundup, March 10, 2011

SAME-SEX UNIONS: Reporting for the Sun, Julie Bykowicz writes that the legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry is scheduled for a final vote tomorrow in the House of Delegates after surviving a first day of debate and several attempts to change it.

John Wagner of the Post reports that House Speaker Michael Busch, who supports the bill, said, the vote “will be very close. There are still people mulling it over.”

Attempts by two Washington County delegates to amend the bill failed, writes Andrew Schotz for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

Steve Lash of the Daily Record also writes about the bill’s progress.

Meanwhile, according to the Cumberland Times-News, national opponents began laying out plans to stymie the measure and its supporters. They plan to spend about $1 million.

Charles County Del. Peter Murphy confirmed that he is gay moments before the House of Delegates began debate on legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in the Maryland. He is the only member of the Southern Maryland delegation to back the bill, writes Jeff Newman of the Gazette.

Alissa Gulin of the Diamondback writes about two UM English professors who have been together for 27 and are just waiting for the House of Delegates to pass the legislation legalizing same-sex marriage. “We may not choose to marry,” says one. “But that should be our decision, not the decision of others.”

DREAM ACT: Last night’s six-hour debate and final tally showed that state senators are largely ready to support the controversial legislation state DREAM Act, giving in-state college tuition to students who are illegal aliens, Yasmeen Abutaleb reports for the Diamondback.

The state Senate vote overcame critics who said the proposal is too costly, violates federal law and will displace U.S. citizens, writes Annie Linskey for the Sun.

The estimated cost of the tuition is about $800,000 in fiscal 2014, rising to $3.5 million in 2016, Barbara Pash reports for MarylandReporter.com.

Opponents of the controversial legislation appeared outgunned in the Senate but vowed to fight on, Shankar Vedantam writes for the Post.

In its support of the state DREAM Act, the Diamondback editorial board writes that education is transformative: It helps people succeed, giving them the tools and skills necessary to compete in a global economy.

BROWN’S ILLEGAL GRANDMOTHER: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown revealed yesterday that his Jamaican grandmother had been an illegal immigrant to the United States in the 1930s yet his family’s story is one of service and giving back to the country, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

STOPPING DRUNK DRIVING: In his Second Opinion column for the Sun, Peter Jensen writes that Maryland is closer to passing an effective measure to curb deaths from drunken driving accidents. The House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings this week to consider legislation intended to expand the use of ignition interlock devices that force drivers to prove their sobriety — both to start the vehicle and at periodic intervals while driving.

FARM ESTATE TAX: Gov. Martin O’Malley testified before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee yesterday in favor of a bill intended to make it easier to pass down farms from one generation to the next by easing their estate tax burden, Meg Tully writes for the Frederick News Post.

UM SGA BACKS BAG FEE: After a handful of University of Maryland students voiced their support at last night’s SGA meeting for a statewide tax on plastic bags, the body decided to throw its weight behind the initiative, as well, writes Sarah Meehan for the Diamondback.

SEPTIC SWIM: O’Malley waded into a polluted lake on the Eastern Shore yesterday to call attention to environmental problems caused by leaky septic systems, says an AP story in the Salisbury Times.

PANHANDLE PERMIT: Montgomery County’s delegation in Annapolis is expected to vote tomorrow on legislation that would allow the county to require panhandlers and others to have a permit to solicit money at intersections, the Gazette’s Erin Cunningham writes.

TEACHER UNION PRIMER: George Liebmann of the Calvert Institute, on the Sun op-ed page, offers a 15-point lesson about Maryland’s teachers unions.

BEHIND IN SCIENCE: Liz Bowie writes in the Sun that for all its powerful research universities, its biotech parks, its aerospace and technology companies, Maryland hasn’t been effective in educating its children in science, according to experts.

HARRIS KEEPS BC/BS: Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, who famously complained about having to wait a month for his federal health insurance to kick in, has decided to keep his private health plan, which is a Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan through Johns Hopkins Hospital, reports Nicole Gaudino in the Salisbury Daily Times.

NOT LICENSED: The Sun’s Trisha Bishop reports that Baltimore city’s No. 2 top prosecutor — appointed late last year by Baltimore State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein — isn’t licensed to practice law in Maryland, and can’t be licensed before December, according to the state’s Board of Law Examiners, which deemed the situation “problematic.”

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