Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Maryland law shields homeless

Maryland is the first state to protect homeless people under hate-crimes legislation that Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, signed Thursday. The law takes effect Oct. 1.

State Sen. Alex X. Mooney, Western Maryland Republican, proposed the legislation four times. Mr. Mooney said the homeless are particularly vulnerable and adding the group to the hate-crimes law means prosecutors can seek tougher penalties.

Texas and California are considering similar legislation.

Bonds to help clean up Bay

The Virginia Resources Authority is issuing bonds to finance $185 million in wastewater treatment and sewer system upgrades to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

The bonds will support improvements to 13 wastewater treatment projects. The upgrades will help to reduce nutrient pollution being discharged into the tributaries that feed the Bay.

Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, said Virginia has dedicated more than $1 billion to cleaning up the Bay since the beginning of his term.

Virginia is part of the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement along with the District, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The agreement calls for each state to reduce by 40 percent the level of nutrients going into the Chesapeake Bay by 2010.

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