A controversial gas tax hike already passed by the House of Delegates was approved by a Senate committee Thursday, moving it one step closer to becoming law. The committee also approved a constitutional amendment requiring three-fifths votes in both houses to use transportation money for other purposes, a so-called lockbox.
A bill that would prohibit landlords from screening prospective tenants based upon their source of income was sent back to a Maryland Senate committee after three days of floor debate over whether landlords should be allowed to exclude those on public assistance. The 23-22 vote likely dooms the bill’s chances this session.
Senate President Mike Miller told reporters Wednesday that new standards making it more difficult to petition new laws to the ballot are not likely to pass this year, though he agrees that the practice needs to be curtailed.
The chairman of the election law subcommittee handling controversial changes to the referendum and petition process said Tuesday that the bill isn’t dead, despite the fact that it awaits action by the subcommittee and would need numerous amendments to make it palatable to stakeholders. But with just 13 days left in the 90-day session, Election Law Subcommittee Chairman Jon Cardin, D-Baltimore County, conceded, “The chances of it moving have decreased.”
According to a report by the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), Maryland received a C grade for transparency in government spending this year. The grade, which is based on the state’s transparency website, is a half step down from last year’s C+.