- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 29, 2007

State Sen. Joan Carter Conway is warning that Maryland could face sanctions for violating federal desegregation law if nothing is done to address duplicate programs at state universities.

Mrs. Conway, Baltimore Democrat, is sponsoring a bill that would require a review of the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s 2005 decision allowing a joint master’s in business administration program at Towson University and the University of Baltimore over the objections of nearby Morgan State University, a traditionally black college.

Mrs. Conway’s bill would force the commission to review whether unnecessary duplication existed, if a historically black college asked for a review. It also would allow the matter to be taken to circuit court.

Opponents said the bill could create a climate where Maryland’s public universities can end up suing each other.

• Financial literacy could become elective

A resolution up for debate in the Maryland Senate would urge schools to teach financial literacy in high school.

Supporters say teens need to know more about handling debt before they become adults.

Right now, only four school districts in the state have financial literacy requirements. Those are Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and St. Mary’s counties.

The resolution would not require the classes. It would simply urge local schools to start them.

• Maryland wants to be smoke free

An overwhelming majority of Maryland residents want a smoking ban, according to a poll released yesterday that shows 72 percent want to snuff out smoking in bars and restaurants.

Two months ago, the number supporting a smoking ban was 70 percent.

The state legislature is nearing agreement on a ban. Senators say they will remove an exemption for private clubs to agree on a final version for a ban to take effect next year.

The poll is released by Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies, a nonpartisan polling firm in Annapolis. The telephone survey of 820 registered voters was conducted March 19-22. It has a margin of error of 31/2 percentage points.

The poll also showed 52 percent job approval for Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, up 2 percent from late January.

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