$10.10 minimum wage in 4 years heads for O’Malley signing

The House of Delegates gave final passage to legislation raising the Maryland minimum wage to $10.10 by 2018, sending it to the governor for his certain signature.

The bill had originally passed the House 89-46 and the Senate 34-15 before coming back to the House for a final concurrence vote, which passed 87-47.

The increase had been the most visible legislative priority of Gov. Martin O’Malley and it will be the first minimum wage increase Maryland has seen since 2006.

Hot pot debate ends in close House vote to decriminalize marijuana

Following hours of hot debate, negotiation and shouting, the House of Delegates Saturday approved removing criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana in a 78-55 vote. The measure already approved by the Senate, SB364, would make possessing 10 grams of marijuana or less a civil offense, like a parking ticket. A first-time offender would pay $100, while second and third breaches would get a fine of up to $250 and $500, respectively.

Rascovar column: Stonewalling Md. Health Exchange probe

The Maryland General Assembly concludes its 2014 session Monday in good shape – except for one monumental omission: the mystery surrounding Maryland’s fatally flawed health exchange, which has squandered uncounted tens of millions of dollars.

It’s now clear that both Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown are content to stonewall and impede any detailed investigation of what went wrong in setting up the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange until well after the June 24 primary election.

$10.10 minimum wage gets preliminary OK in Senate

A bill to hike the state’s minimum wage $10.10 has reached its final hurdles after a flurry of attempts from lawmakers Friday to amend the already fragile legislation.

The Senate gave preliminary approval to the legislation, HB295, a chief priority of Gov. Martin O’Malley, that would boost Maryland’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2018.

Budget agreement reached, ditching provisions on stormwater, House of Cards

House and Senate negotiators working out their differences in the $38.7 billion state budget reached agreement Thursday evening, eliminating provisions on stormwater fees and “House of Cards” property. An alternative to the stormwater remediation fee proposed by Anne Arundel Sen. James DeGrange was ultimately eliminated from the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA).

Common Core survey results released, but show discrepancy

Last week, the State Board of Education was shown the results of a survey about Common Core curriculum standards which found "Many Md. teachers, principals unprepared for Common Core,” as reported here. But the survey was not actually released until now, and it misreports one finding of an earlier teacher survey.