BILL SIGNING: A bleary-eyed trifecta of Maryland’s most powerful politicians put their signatures on more than 150 bills yesterday in the traditional morning-after the General Assembly session ceremony, reports the Post’s Ann Marimow.
Those bills included ones to limit access to credit reports, allow police to use wiretaps to investigate human trafficking and to prepare the state for the federal health care overhaul, Julie Bykowicz and Annie Linskey report for the Sun.
Brian Witte of the Associated Press reports that Maryland’s efforts to implement federal health care reform topped the list of bills signed by yesterday. The story ran in the Salisbury Daily Times.
Controversial bills to raise the alcohol tax and extend in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants were not among those signed yesterday, Alexander Jackson reports for the Baltimore Business Journal.
“Nothing that was ready for prime time did not get done,” Senate President Mike Miller said at the ceremony where 163 bills were signed, Nick Sohr reports for the Daily Record.
The Sun’s Julie Bykowicz offers a roundup of the bills that made it through the session and those that didn’t.
Here’s a Sun video, shot by Lloyd Fox during the bill signing, of Gov. Martin O’Malley speaking about the legislation passed during session.
FEE, TAX INCREASES: John Rydell of WBFF-TV reports on some of the tax increases.
UPSIDE DOWN: In the Frederick News Post, columnist Marta Mossburg writes about O’Malley’s and Maryland’s “do as I say, not as I do” mentality.
SOME PROGRESS: The editorial board of the Sun writes that the General Assembly made progress, although it was modest and measured in a legislative session hampered by economic and political realities.
NO SURPRISES: The budget was balanced, writes opinionators for the Salisbury Daily Times, but not everyone will be pleased about how it was accomplished. There were, of course, winners and losers.
MEDICAID STUDY: Under Maryland’s newly passed budget, the state health department will be required to convene a workgroup to examine long-term Medicaid funding, Emily Mullin reports for the BBJ.
NEGLIGENT DRIVING: The Sun’s Michael Dresser writes that advocates for Maryland’s bicyclists expressed delight that the General Assembly passed a bill creating a new misdemeanor offense for drivers who kill people as a result of serious negligence, giving prosecutors an alternative that lies between traffic charges and felony manslaughter.
YOUNG HUNTERS: Meg Tully of the Frederick News Post writes that Del. Kelly Schulz began yesterday lined up at the Maryland State House to watch her first piece of legislation signed into law.
That law will allow parents to take junior hunters with them on a full weekend hunting trip this year.
FRACKING: Kerry Davis of the Capital News Service reports that although a bill to set a two-year moratorium on natural gas drilling – “fracking” — in the Marcellus Shale while an environmental impact study is completed failed this legislative session, it is unclear how much the bill’s failure will affect drilling there since a hold has already been unofficially placed on the drilling. The story runs in the Daily Record.
Robert Summers, Maryland’s acting environment secretary, told lawmakers on Capitol Hill yesterday that the federal government must step in to help protect the environment from the possibility of contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing drilling for natural gas, blogs John Fritze of the Sun.
HYDRO BUCKS: Matthew Bieniek of the Cumberland Times-News reports that Frostburg got a double stack of good news when a bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly that would allow the city to reap financial rewards for electricity produced by its small hydroelectric plant was signed into law yesterday. The city has also received a $40,000 grant to help pay for the project.
HOW COUNTIES FARED
PRINCE GEORGE’S: Miranda Spivack of the Post writes that Prince George’s County officials say that despite the state’s fiscal crisis, they emerged from the General Assembly with most of what they wanted, including crucial funds for the school system that could avert some layoffs and restore busing for magnet programs.
The 3% increase in alcohol taxes and months of legislative maneuvering will allow Prince George’s to get more than $958 million in state aid from the recent General Assembly session, the Gazette’s Daniel Valentine reports.
MONTGOMERY: Montgomery County lawmakers touted a bigger increase in education aid than any other jurisdiction and additional school construction dollars as major victories during the General Assembly session that concluded with high drama Monday night, Alan Brody and Sarah Breitenbach report for the Gazette
WASHINGTON: Publicity and an extended deadline for claiming state funding will help the Doleman Black Heritage Museum with its fundraising efforts. Andrew Schotz of the Hagertown Herald Mail writes about this and other local bills passed by the General Assembly.
HOWARD: Howard County alcohol retailers with a tasting license soon will be able to serve liquor samples in addition to beer and wine samples, writes Lindsey McPherson for the Columbia Flyer.
And, McPherson writes, visitors to Howard County will see a hike in their hotel room bills, with an increase the county hotel tax rate from 5% to 7%. O’Malley signed the bill yesterday and it will take effect June 1.
BALTIMORE: Bryan Sears and Nick DiMarco of Patch.com offer a video roundup of how the session affected Baltimore County.
ROLLEY TO FILE: Former city planning director Otis Rolley plans to formally file as a candidate for mayor with the city’s board of elections today, Julie Scharper blogs for the Sun.
O’MALLEY AT CONFERENCE: John Patti of WBAL-AM reports that O’Malley is to speak at a high-level conference on U.S.-Islamic relations in Washington today.