Thursday, April 4, 2013
The 28-19 vote helps Gov. Martin O'Malley's top legislative priority avoid a conference committee some believed would kill the legislation.
Maryland senators voted Thursday night to approve an amended gun control bill rather than send the legislation to conference committee. Senators approved the bill by a vote of 28-19 just one day after the House debated the bill for 10 hours over two-days and added 17 amendments to a bill previously approved by the Senate. The bill was a major component of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s legislative priorities for the 90-day legislative session. “The fact is, the Firearm Safety Act of 2013 provides no safety,” said Sen. EJ Pipkin, Senate Minority Leader. The concurrence means that the bill goes to Gov. Martin O’Malley for his signature rather than to a conference committee with just four days left in the session. Sen. Brian Frosh, a Montgomery …
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
The amended bill, passed by a 78-61 vote, will go back to the Senate and possibly a conference committee.
The Maryland House of Delegates Wednesday passed gun control legislation proposed by Gov. Martin O'Malley by a vote of 78-61. The amended bill bans 40 kinds of rifles including the AR15, requires fingerprinting and licensing of all purchasers of new guns and broadens the law prohibiting firearms purchases by anyone who is involuntarily committed because of mental illness. The bill was a major component of O'Malley's legislative package announced at the beginning of the 90-day session. The House of Delegates debated the bill for nearly 10 hours over two days. The amended bill will return to the Senate. The bill could go to a conference committee if the Senate does not accept the changes made by the House. Both the House and Senate must …
Monday, April 1, 2013
The ban is expected to pass in the Maryland General Assembly.
Drivers in Maryland still using hand-held mobile devices on the road should be prepared to either make the move to hands-free devices or simply keep their cell phones put away. The Maryland Senate voted 40-6 last week to approve a bill that makes the use of hand-held electronic devices while behind the wheel a "primary offense," The Baltimore Sun reported. Currently, drivers in Maryland can be cited for using a cell phone only if an officer pulls them over for committing another offense—such as speeding. If the proposed ban is approved—which, according to reports, is likely—drivers could be pulled over for using their mobile phones without committing another offense. Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney A. Katz said he could see where it makes sense …
Friday, March 29, 2013
The bill that increases the gasoline tax by as much as 20 cents by 2016 now heads to Gov. Martin O'Malley for his signature.
A tax that will increase the cost of gas by as much as 20 cents by 2016 was given final approval Friday by the Maryland Senate. The bill passed largely along party lines by a vote of 27-20. Eight Democrats joined all 12 Republicans in opposing the tax increase measure. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is expected to sign the tax into law. The final vote came after legislators suspended the rules, allowing them to take both a preliminary and final vote in the same day and allow many lawmakers to leave the capital to observe Good Friday. The bill increases the state's tax on gas by more than 20 cents to 43.7 cents per gallon on July 2016. The tax would increase to 44.6 cents per gallon if the federal government …
Thursday, March 28, 2013
A preliminary vote in the full Maryland Senate could be scheduled as early as Friday.
The Senate Budget and Tax Committee Thursday approved a bill that would increase the gas tax by as much as 20 cents by 2016. Sen. Ed DeGrange, an Anne Arundel County Democrat, joined Republican Sens. David Brinkley, Richard Colburn and George Edwards in voting against the bill. The nine remaining Democrats on the committee voted in favor of the bill as approved last week by the House of Delegates. With the committee's approval, the bill could be scheduled for a preliminary vote by the full 47-member Senate as early as Friday. The bill would increase the state's tax on gas by more than 20 cents to 43.7 cents per gallon on July 2016. The tax would increase to 44.6 cents per gallon if the federal government fails to pass an Internet sales tax…
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
A Washington Post editorial calls out Simmons and Dumais for push to exempt AR-15s from a proposed weapons ban. Montgomery County lawmakers say they were mischaracterized in the editorial.
(Updated 3:20 p.m.) Two Montgomery County lawmakers are being criticized for efforts to weaken a proposed assault weapons ban. In an editorial published Friday (see “Maryland’s shrinking assault-weapons ban”), The Washington Post criticized delegates Luiz R.S. Simmons (D-Dist. 17) and Kathleen M. Dumais (D-Dist. 15), both of Rockville, for suggesting the ban exempt AR-15s, semiautomatic weapons used by the Aurora, CO, shooter and in the Beltway sniper attacks. The Post editorial said: “…the reality is that the number of Marylanders with a legitimate need to own AR-15s is minuscule. By contrast, repeated, tragic and bloody experience in Maryland and elsewhere in the United States makes plain the overwhelming need for a comprehensive ban on …
Friday, March 22, 2013
The final debate on the bill turns contentious amidst accusations that House Speaker Michael Busch cut short the debate and opportunity to vote.
Tempers flared Friday afternoon following the debate and final vote by the House of Delegates on a proposal to raise the gas tax in Maryland. When the final vote was taken, the House approved the bill 78-56 but the actual outcome, and roll call vote, remains a matter of contention amidst accusations from Republicans that the debate and final vote were ended too quickly. The bill would increase the state's tax on gas by more than 20 cents to 43.7 cents per gallon on July 2016. The tax would increase to 44.6 cents per gallon if the federal government fails to pass an Internet sales tax. The tax is also tied to the consumer price index, which would allow for automatic increases without any additional legislative action. Those increases are …
Thursday, March 21, 2013
The proposed fee increase would generate an additional $17 million annually once fully implemented.
UPDATED (10:18 a.m.)—The cost of vehicle registrations would go up as part of a proposed gas tax bill being considered by the Maryland General Assembly. The bill, which is scheduled for a final vote Friday in the House of Delegates, contains an increase of $3.50 on the cost of registering a vehicle. The additional money would be allocated to the Maryland Emergency Medical System Operations Fund. The fee increase would increase revenues by about $17 million annually. The fees will go to offset an increase in salaries offered to pilots for the Maryland State Police. The agency has 11 vacancies within its 50 pilot positions, according to the review of the bill. The base pilot salary under the proposal would increase to $70,000 and the plan …
Friday, March 15, 2013
The bill now goes to Gov. Martin O'Malley for his signature.
The Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill repealing the death penalty in Maryland. With the 82-56 vote, the bill will go to Gov. Martin O'Malley for his signature.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
The House of Delegates rejects 18 amendments to a Senate bill that abolishes capital punishment.
The abolition of the death penalty in Maryland is one step closer to reality with a preliminary vote by the House of Delegates Wednesday night. The House debated the bill for more than two hours with proponents defeating 18 amendments. Only one of the amendments was offered by a Democrat, Del. C.T. Wilson of Charles County. The amendments attempted to change the bill from a full-blown repeal to a partial repeal, keeping capital punishment for contract killers, mass murderers, those who rape and murder or the killers of schoolchildren. The bill now moves to a final vote scheduled for Friday. Opponents of the repeal can still offer amendments before a final vote is taken. Both sides expect that any bill passed will ultimately end up as a …