- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 10, 2001

Gov. Parris N. Glendening will call for major spending increases for education and more emphasis on the environment and land preservation when the 90-day General Assembly session begins today.
Ending police use of racial profiling and extending anti-discrimination protection to homosexuals also will be part of his agenda this year, he announced yesterday without providing details.
This marks the first time Mr. Glendening has including the racial-profiling measure in his agenda. He tried and failed in 1999 to move the homosexual protection measure through the legislature.
Yesterday, Mr. Glendening, a Democrat, said he will ask legislators to support a "Green Print" program that would supplement the state's ambitious land-preservation programs.
Although Mr. Glendening will release more details on his environmental and other initiatives before he submits his operating budget next week, his plan calls for spending $40 million on Green Print next year and another $145 million over five years to preserve land from development.
Mr. Glendening said the investment along with new $90 million multiyear programs to revitalize older neighborhoods and expand and improve urban parks is necessary for Maryland to reduce the rate of suburban sprawl by 30 percent as part of its obligation under the regional Chesapeake Bay Agreement.
To oversee the effort, Mr. Glendening wants to create an Office of Smart Growth and a new Cabinet position to oversee it.
Still expected to top his wish list are plans to expand access to higher education.
Many legislators share the governor's wish to improve college campuses and Marylanders' access to them, but they may be more committed to improving public education from kindergarten through high school, House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. said yesterday in announcing the House leadership's agenda.
House leaders' proposals will call for disparity grants to help fund schools in economically distressed areas and for new state aid to help defray high costs for
special-education students and their transportation.
Mr. Taylor, Allegany County Democrat, said the General Assembly probably will have to cut $200 million from Mr. Glendening's budget to meet its own guidelines.
Despite indications that Maryland's economy is slowing, legislators again set a cap that will allow state spending to rise at a rate faster than personal income.
Unapologetic in the face of criticism over his spending plans, Mr. Glendening said that he will announce additional programs soon to address poverty, substance abuse and the needs of senior citizens.
Maryland remains one of the most affluent states in the nation, Mr. Glendening said, so "people should not be suffering out there and they are, and it's not right."
The need to make substance-abuse treatment more widely available, as well as to anticipate how that need and others may be funded in years ahead, were behind Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.'s decision to establish special committees on substance abuse and gaming.
"We've got to stop the choke hold on addiction," Mr. Miller said, noting that there are 30,000 addicts in Prince George's County and that the problem is also serious in some rural areas, such as Carroll County, as well as in Baltimore.
On allowing new legalized gambling which advocates are looking to expand after Mr. Glendening leaves office in two years Mr. Miller said the possibilities need to be anticipated.
"I'm not advocating anything, but it's … on all our borders," Mr. Miller said of slot machines, casinos and other forms of gambling in neighboring states. "We have to pay teachers' salaries, [for the costs of] collective bargaining… . We're going to need revenue."
Having won collective-bargaining rights for state employees in 1999, Mr. Glendening is renewing his push this year to extend that advantage to university support staff.
The governor yesterday announced one addition to his legislative program a bill to prohibit most Marylanders from possessing or wearing body armor.
"Criminals have no legitimate purpose to possess this kind of body armor," Mr. Glendening said, holding up a vest that saved the life of a Baltimore police officer in July.
"They feel emboldened," he said. Body armor "gives them a reason to go out and commit violent crimes."
Officer David Azur, who survived being shot at point-blank range with only a bad bruise on his chest, said the bill will help make police a little safer.
"A vest in the hands of the wrong people will be disastrous for [police officers]," he said.


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