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Annapolis Wrap for Friday, January 11th, 2013
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January 11, 2013
At least three dozen delegates—most clad in Ravens’ jerseys—climbed the House speaker’s rostrum this morning to close out the first week of the 2013 General Assembly session with a show of support for Baltimore’s football team in its playoff game tomorrow with the Denver Broncos.
The Purple Friday camaraderie came a couple days after Governor Martin O’Malley began launching a legislative campaign that is expected to include a ban on assault weapons, repeal of the death penalty and a $2.4 billion program to replace or repair Baltimore city’s ancient schools.
All the proposals have drawn speedy opposition.
House Republican Leader Tony O’Donnell took aim at the gun ban.
“We have to look at comprehensive solutions, not old things that people have been kind of keeping it in their back pocket for years because they couldn’t get it politically passed and now throw them out on the table as if they’re going to solve something.”
Delegate Patrick McDonough, a Republican from Baltimore and Harford counties, is bucking the death penalty repeal with proposals that would mandate capital punishment for certain crimes, such as mass murders like the recent school shootings in Connecticut.
“There are many of us in the legislature and in the community, like the states’ attorneys, correctional officers, and others who are in favor of retaining capital punishment.”
In both cases, though, the General Assembly’s large Democratic majority is expected to back O’Malley.
“I think this legislature will act. We have a majority of members in both houses I’m confident who recognize that we should take appropriate steps to limit access to guns that have no purpose being used anywhere in public….The assault weapons are for the military.”
That was Baltimore Delegate Sandy Rosenberg speaking of O’Malley’s drive to ban the type of rapid-fire killing machines used in Newtown.
Perhaps more challenging for the General Assembly will be the big money measures, such as the Baltimore school construction scheme. But city House delegation chairman Curt Anderson—who today was also serving as chairman of the Ravens delegation—said he believes the city can make its case.
“We keep coming in and getting 25 or 30 million dollars to patch up the schools every year, and it never achieves the goal of building a new school. If you build a new school you don’t have to patch it up later.”
Anderson said the need to better serve Baltimore students is so huge…
Because we haven’t had any schools built in the 21st century. That’s crazy.
Between the Ravens and the school money, Baltimore legislators have a lot to root for.
I’m Karen Hosler, reporting in Annapolis, for 88.1, WYPR
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