Published on April 10th, 2012 | by Cynthia Prairie2
State Roundup, April 10, 2012
Len Lazarick and Megan Poinski of MarylandReporter.com writes that a clearly angry Gov. Martin O’Malley told reporters the General Assembly failed to protect the priorities that state voters expected them to. But in a brief press conference, he did not announce he would call a special session, as the Senate and House leaders expect him to do. Click on the video to watch the conference.
Earlier Monday, the conferees signed a budget bill containing deep cuts, Dave Collins reports for WBAL-TV. But because the chambers couldn’t agree on the revenue package, the cuts will take effect — and the only way to reverse those cuts is to hold a special session.
The day ended with both chambers blaming one another, as Senate members accused the House of being inflexible throughout budget discussions, David Hill reports in the Washington Times.
Jim Bach of the Diamondback details the last day of the session, which also included modest hikes in state school tuition.
SPECIAL SESSION? MAYBE: House and Senate leaders said they would ask the governor to call a special session this week to allow them to take up a plan to increase income taxes to avoid the most severe cuts, Michael Dresser and Annie Linskey report in the Sun.
Lawmakers could convene in a special session to take up the revenue bill, the gambling measure and other bills this week, Brian Witte and Sarah Breitenbach of the AP report in the Hagerstown Herald Mail.
Joel McCord of WYPR-FM reports that House Speaker Mike Busch laid the blame at the feet of the Senate.
SUMMING UP: The Sun offers a quick list of what happened to some of the more important pieces of legislation during the session.
HECTIC DAY: John Wagner, Aaron Davis and Greg Masters of the Post tweeted the hectic day as it went on, which included the arrest of three students protesting for offshore windpower and the delays caused by the Prince George’s gaming bill. Jim Bach of the Diamondback offers a brief on the arrests, which he says were four.
WIND, GAS BILLS FAIL: Gov. O’Malley lost two of his biggest legislative battles this year — his push for a gas tax and a bill to require more investment in wind energy — and the General Assembly watered down other bills, writes Hayley Peterson for the Washington Examiner.
MORE GREEN BILLS: The Sun’s Tim Wheeler reports on what happened to the environmental bills put forth, including the flush tax, which was doubled, and wind energy, which failed.
STORMWATER FEE PASSES: Despite a Republican filibuster attempt in the Senate, writes Justin Snow for MarylandReporter.com, the General Assembly successfully passed legislation that would implement a stormwater pollution fee to raise revenue to cleanup the Chesapeake Bay.
State Sen. E.J. Pipkin, who introduced a dozen failed amendments to the bill, said, “We’re going to tax rain water.” He noted that the EPA’s authority to impose a “pollution diet” for the bay is currently being challenged in federal court, blogs Tim Wheeler in the Sun.
The stormwater legislation would require 10 jurisdictions, including Frederick County, to craft the fee to raise money for stormwater cleanup, Bethany Rodgers for the Frederick News-Post.
LEAD PAINT BILL: Tim Wheeler of the Sun reports that a bill that would require landlords with units built before 1978 to protect their tenants from lead-paint hazards cleared the General Assembly last night, along with a provision urging courts to penalize baseless litigation over the problem.
PASSWORD PROTECTION: Maryland will become the first state to ban employers from asking for social media passwords of job applicants and workers to protect their privacy, writes C. Benjamin Ford in the Gazette. The General Assembly passed a measure, which was supported by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland and opposed by the state Chamber of Commerce.
SANCTITY OF DIVORCE: In a column for the Sun, Ralph E. Shaffer staunchly – with tongue in cheek – defends the historical “sanctity of divorce” currently under threat by the Maryland Supreme Court as it decides whether to allow a same-sex couple to separate. He calls up such stalwarts as Jerry Falwell and George W. Bush to bolster his arguments.
DAN BONGINO: Erin Cox of the Annapolis Capital profiles Dan Bongino, who, on the day he was selected as Maryland’s Republican nominee to U.S. Senate, stood in front of a near-empty polling station at Severna Park Middle School, trying to capture enough votes to continue his transformation from U.S. Secret Service agent to politician.
COALITION LOBBYISTS SUCCESSFUL: Carroll County Commissioners in the Maryland Rural Counties Coalition think the lobbyists were very successful in keeping them up-to-date on legislation and helping them strengthen relationships in Annapolis, Christian Alexandersen reports in the Carroll County Times.
NO ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD: Legislation to add elected members to the Baltimore County school board failed in the General Assembly late Monday, amid intense opposition from County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Alison Knezevich writes in the Sun.
Sen. Bobby Zirkin, a sponsor of the bill in the Senate, criticized Kamenetz for his efforts to thwart the move to an elected school board, writes Bryan Sears in Patch.com.