Author Archives: Len Lazarick

Senate unanimously approves budget, but differs with House

March 26th, 2015 | by Len Lazarick

For the first time in nine years, the Maryland Senate unanimously approved the $40.5 billion state budget in its first go-round, applauding their unanimity and congratulating each other for their bipartisan work. "This year is like no other," said Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings, who praised the Democratic leadership of the Senate Budget Committee for giving Republicans a seat at the table

State Roundup, March 26, 2015

March 26th, 2015 | by Len Lazarick

Miller says Senate will now cooperate with Hogan on some of his agenda; but Hogan's charter school bill is gutted in the Senate; Baltimore looks for its own U.S. Senate candidate, as other groups assess Van Hollen, Edwards; comptroller engineers voluntary ban on powdered alcohol; port company gets tax break that surprises Baltimore; gun law on appeal; senator attempts to squelch PG tax increase; fly bill swatted down; phosphorus compromise moves forward; snow day waivers and more.

State Roundup, March 25, 2015

March 25th, 2015 | by Len Lazarick

Different versions of fracking limits pass the Senate and House; Gov. Hogan gets warm welcome for business-friendly message and claims progress on Bay; covering fertilization procedures for same-sex couples passes Senate and House; Uber goes up against the taxi companies; online travel companies lose battle in Senate; increasing judges retirement age advances; Maryland gun control law to heard in federal appeals court; traffic deaths at historic low; opinionating on charter schools, opioids and marijuana; and happy Maryland Day

Senate approves online travel tax

March 24th, 2015 | by Len Lazarick

The Senate in a 32-15 vote Tuesday passed a bill its sponsors claim closes a tax loophole for online travel sites, but those companies as well as brick-and-motor travel agents are protesting it as a new tax on services

Online travel firms claim bill is new tax, legislators say it closes loophole

March 19th, 2015 | by Len Lazarick

Is a bill targeting online travel companies creating a new tax on services, as opponents claim, or an attempt to close a loophole and collect sales tax on hotel charges the companies are pocketing for themselves? Those are the key issues the state Senate will be debating Friday as it takes up SB190 that passed out of its Budget and Taxation Committee Wednesday

Older, more educated, more male, married: How legislators compare to the people they represent

March 16th, 2015 | by Len Lazarick

Over the next four weeks, Maryland's 188 lawmakers will cast votes on hundreds of bills, particularly this week as they head to next Monday's crossover deadline. These 133 men and 55 women may represent a state population approaching 6 million, but as even this gender breakdown indicates, their demographics show they are hardly representative of the population as a whole

Budget committee restores school aid, pay hikes; cuts pension contribution

March 15th, 2015 | by Len Lazarick

In a unanimous bipartisan vote, the House Appropriations Committee on Friday approved a $40 billion state budget after finding about $250 million to fully restore promised education aid and 2% cost-of-living increases for state employees. Some cuts in health and mental health programs were also restored, winning the praise of health care advocates

House budget committee set to restore $250M for education aid, employee salaries

March 13th, 2015 | by Len Lazarick

The House Appropriations Committee on Friday afternoon is expected to find $250 million in Gov. Larry Hogan's proposed $40 billion budget to fully fund education aid formulas and a state employee pay bump. State employees already began receiving the 2% cost-of-living pay increase in January, and this will continue it through the year

Proposed birth injury fund pits hospitals against trial lawyers

March 6th, 2015 | by Len Lazarick

A bill to create a no-fault birth injury fund in Maryland pits two traditional opponents -- hospitals and the trial lawyers who sue them for malpractice. Sponsored by Sen. Catherine Pugh and 22 delegates in House, including three doctors, SB585 and HB553 would set up a fund paid for by the hospitals that would finance the living and care expenses of any baby suffering a neurological injury from actions at the hospitals

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