- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
Guns, death penalty, roads lead Maryland assembly agenda in a busy week
The Maryland General Assembly is entering one of the busiest stretches of its 90-day session, with lawmakers poised this week to give final approval to a gun control bill, advance legislation abolishing the death penalty and possibly begin considering a transportation funding bill.
Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, is expected as early as Monday to introduce a bill aimed at funding roads and transit in the wake of the Virginia assembly’s passage of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell’s own transportation package last month.
The proposal, which is expected to include some type of tax increase, would add another item to the governor’s progressive agenda which is one of the most liberal in the country and has thus far been well-received by the Democrat-controlled legislature.
“There was sort of every reason to think that the assembly might push back against O'Malley with re-election coming up [in 2014],” said Todd Eberly, director of public policy studies at St. Mary's College of Maryland. “Instead, they’ve got another session in a row now where they are looking at some really weighty issues.”
After a 2011 session in which lawmakers failed to pass a same-sex marriage bill and some of Mr. O'Malley’s marquee proposals, the governor is closing in on a second-straight year during which he has led passage of most of the big-ticket items on his agenda.
Last year, he helped shepherd passage of a gay marriage bill and a set of tax increases but missed on a proposal to raise the state’s gas tax to fund transportation.
This year, Mr. O'Malley has found success with a bill to tighten gun laws by banning assault weapons and requiring residents to obtain a permit before buying a handgun.
The Senate passed its version of the gun bill last week, despite protests from Second Amendment activists and gun owners, and two House committees are expected to send their version to the House floor this week.
The Senate also is expected this week to pass a bill banning the death penalty, sending it to the House. The bill would add Maryland to the 17 states and the District which have abolished capital punishment. Maryland has not executed a prisoner since 2005.
Maryland Democrats have pushed in recent years for social legislation that they say has put Maryland at the forefront of progressive politics.
They have also taken a liberal approach to fiscal policy, passing tax increases and adding spending that they say has allowed the state to weather the economic downturn without cutting from education and important social programs, and could help the state to all but eliminate its structural deficit over the next year.
Unemployment in Maryland stood at 6.6 percent in December, well below the national average of 7.8 percent.
Nonetheless, Republicans argue that tax increases and increased regulations have hamstrung the middle class and business owners and could come back to haunt the state in coming years.
They contend that a prime example is the governor’s gun bill, which has drawn protests from many residents and has even led gun manufacturer Beretta to explore moving its U.S. factory out of Prince George’s County to another state.
The bill would institute new licensing fees for gun buyers and would include restrictions on purchases by the mentally ill.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Hill joined The Washington Times in February 2011 as a Maryland political reporter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Md. drivers could face eventual doubling of gas tax
- Federal appeals court restores Maryland's concealed carry law
- Md. bill would end student suspensions for mimicking gun behavior
- Maryland Senate passes bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana
- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell assailed on transportation
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- BRUCE: Obama's bizarre immigration rules
- IRS to turn over Lerner emails in tea party targeting probe
- DELAY: A revolution for the Constitution
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again