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A "Doomsday Budget," Same-Sex Marriage, and Transgender Anti-Discrimination In Baltimore County
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Faced with seemingly intractable budget problems and having little appetite for tax increases, lawmakers in Annapolis are preparing a doomsday budget. WYPR’s Joel McCord has the story here; there's more here from marylandreporter.com and here from the Baltimore Sun.
A State Senate committee yesterday approved legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland. The bill moves to the full Senate today for debate (UPDATE: debate has been postponed until Thursday); a final vote could come before the week is over. More here from WYPR's Joel McCord... here from marylandreporter.com... and here from the Washington Post.
The Baltimore County Council passed a transgender anti-discrimination bill last night, on a party-line 5-2 vote. Three other Maryland jurisdictions already have approved similar legislation, and supporters of the bill say they'll push lawmakers in Annapolis to extend the protections statwide. WYPR’s Matt Purdy was there for the vote and filed this report; there's more here from the Baltimore Sun.
Starting today, people arrested in Baltimore City and Montgomery County could have their citizenship status checked by US immigration officials. It's part of the federal "Secure Communities" program, which is already in effect in other parts of Maryland; since its inception in 2008, it's led to the deportation of 670 people from our state, about a quarter of whom had felony convictions. Immigration advocates argue that program damages relationships between Hispanic communities and the police; local officials, including Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, are speaking out against the decision to implement the program (via the Baltimore Sun).
English is now the official language of Frederick County government, after a 4 to 1 vote yesterday in the Board of County Commissioners. Commissioners President Blaine Young says the county will not spend taxpayer dollars to produce documents in any language except English, and says he thinks the ordinance will help to deter illegal immigrants from settling in the county (via our wire service, the Frederick News Post and the Baltimore Sun).
Republicans in the General Assembly are working to limit public benefits for illegal immigrants. They've introduced a bill in the House of Delegates that would require Marylanders to provide proof that they're in the country legally in order to get benefits not required by federal law (via marylandreporter.com).
There is still a vacant seat on the Anne Arundel County Council. The seat opened up after former Councilman Daryl Jones went to prison, but the council members remain deadlocked over should fill it.The seat will stay vacant for another couple weeks -- at least -- with the next vote not scheduled until March 5th (via the Baltimore Sun).
Maryland officials say they won't renew the license of the state's second-largest foster care provider -- Contemporary Family Services of Hyattsville (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
And, plans for weekly flights from Baltimore to Cuba have been delayed. Florida-based Island Travel & Tours Limited, announced yesterday a lack of demand has caused the delay. The flights were supposed to begin next month -- they now won't start 'till October (via our wire service and the Daily Record).
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