Author: Dan Menefee

Extra pension fund payment from state surplus would continue under bill approved by House

A bill to pre-fund future pension and health insurance liabilities for state workers passed overwhelmingly in the House of Delegates last week in a 130-5 vote — and now waits in the Senate Budget and Tax Committee for a hearing. The bill, HB28, sponsored by Del. Carol Krimm, D-Frederick, would require 50% of the general fund balance in excess of $10 million be split equally between the pension system and the Postretirement Health Benefits Trust Fund, up to $25 million for each fund.

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New septic bill struggles in the Senate

A bill to require Best Available Technology (BAT) for all new construction on septic everywhere in Maryland is struggling to survive in the Senate.

The bill, SB266, sponsored by Sen. Joan Carter Conway, D-Baltimore City, would establish a 2012 regulation issued under former Gov. Martin O’Malley into law that required BAT systems for all new construction in the state, even beyond the critical areas. Gov. Larry Hogan killed the O’Malley-era regulation last summer and limited BAT system requirements to the critical areas only.

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Dems move to rescind Md. calls for U.S. constitutional convention

Responding to fears about how President Trump and a runaway constitutional convention might tamper with the U.S. Constitution, Democrats at the State House are moving closer to rescinding decades-old calls for a constitutional convention to deal with issues of the day. A Senate resolution that would “rescind, repeal, cancel, void, nullify, and supersede” four historical applications to the U.S. Congress for a convention was adopted in the Senate on Thursday. Republicans fought in vain for an amendment to keep the 1975 call for a balanced budget open for seven years.

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Large chicken houses spur health concerns

With no help from their state representatives, some residents of the lower Eastern Shore have sought help from a Montgomery County Democrat to address health problems blamed on an explosion of large poultry operations. Respiratory problems have been linked to ammonia, hydrogen sulfides and particulates venting from rows of large industrial fans in chicken houses. Large poultry operations have increased dramatically in the last decade, according to residents who testified in Annapolis on Tuesday.

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Trucks plague Dundalk to skirt toll on bridge they don’t take

For years now, southbound trucks working the Port of Baltimore have inundated residential neighborhoods in Dundalk to avoid the toll at the Francis Scott Key Bridge on I-695. A bill in the Maryland General Assembly, SB536, hopes to change that, and boost prospects for a $2 billion redevelopment of the old Sparrows Point steel mill that will bring industry, jobs and traffic to the area. Freight haulers complain the toll is for a bridge they don’t actually cross when their return trip sends them back north with cargo from Dundalk Marine Terminal.

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