Maryland General Assembly: What Passed, What Didn’t and What’s Still in Play
Patch follows up on in the last hours of the Maryland 2012 General Assembly.
Monday is the last scheduled day of the 2012 Maryland General Assembly session, and lawmakers are still wrangling over details regarding the budget, which faces a midnight deadline.
Failure to reach a budget agreement would require legislators to come back on Tuesday, according to Towson Patch.
In the meantime, Patch checked out the status Monday of some of the bills that garnered interest on our sites in Maryland.
Have a bill status you’d like us to check out? Let us know in comments.
Same-Sex Marriage: A Done Deal. On March 1, Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the bill that takes effect in January of 2013. It would allow same-sex couples to marry, but a new question is being debated: Can same-sex married couples residing in Maryland, which hasn’t up to this point recognized same-sex marriage, get a divorce? Maryland’s highest court is hearing arguments on this question this month, according to ABC News.
Teacher Pensions: In Play. Though House and Senate members intend to shift the normal costs of teacher pensions from the state to the counties, joint committees haven't been able to reach a consensus on how to help counties offset the costs.
Puppy Mill Bill: In Play. The bill that would require pet stores to provide more information on the origin of their dogs and to reimburse consumers if a dog gets sick has passed both chambers, and is awaiting the governor's signature, according to Tami Santelli, the Maryland director of the Humane Society. "I believe the law will improve animal welfare and protect consumers," said bill sponsor Del. Nic Kipke, R-Anne Arundel County.
Animal Abuse Registry: Dead. The bill would have placed an animal abuser’s photo and address on a registry for 10 years. Representatives from the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council testified against the bill, saying it would create excessive burdens on pet-store owners
Gas Tax: Likely Dead. O’Malley has agreed that his proposal to apply the state’s 6 percent tax to gas to raise money for transportation projects is "effectively dead," according to The Gazette. He has now floated the idea of a penny increase to the sale tax, but lawmakers said it doesn’t have much support, the Gazette reported.
Medical Marijuana: Dead. Gov. Martin O’Malley has said he will oppose medical marijuana legislation, citing the possibility of federal prosecution against state employees who implement medical marijuana programs.
Prince George’s Casino: Uncertain. The General Assembly is still wrangling over details concerning the bill that could bring a $1 billion casino to National Harbor in Prince George's County. Proponents have said the county, facing widening budget deficit, could use the tax revenues generated by gambling. Opponents say the bill has some fundamental flaws over how much revenue the casino would be able to keep.
Statewide Bag Tax: Probably Dead. There was some talk in January of a statewide bag tax. Several groups were pushing for the measure, including the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, which made a plastic bag tax one of its top priorities for the 2012 legislative session. The bill, HB 1247, which would have imposed a 5-cent statewide fee on plastic bags, will likely die in committee, said Del. Al Carr, D-Montgomery.