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The House Budget Package, Early Voting, Online Financial Disclosures, and Baltimore's Anti-Discrimination Policy Toward Immigrants
Friday, March 23, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
The House of Delegates is on track to cast final votes today on its version of a nearly $36-billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year. After a nearly 11-hour-long session yesterday, the House forwarded a package of budget-relate legislation... including bills to double the so-called "flush tax" and raise taxes on some tobacco products. Also advancing: a bill that would shift some of the costs of teacher pensions to the counties, and a bill that requires counties to meet state requirements for education funding. And the plans include an income tax increase for Marylanders who earn more than $100-thousand a year. The House's package contains significant differences from the budget legislation the State Senate passed last week; the two chambers will need to reconcile them before this year's session is over. More here from the Baltimore Sun, here from the Washington Post, and here from marylandreporter.com.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is hoping to do well in tomorrow's Louisiana presidential primary... and then, he's planning to come to Maryland. Delegate Warren Miller, who co-chairs Gingrich's campaign in our state, says Gingrich will visit Annapolis on Tuesday; the Gingrich campaign has not answered requests to confirm the visit (via the Baltimore Sun).
Financier John Delaney has picked up another endorsement in his bid for the Democratic party's nomination in the Sixth District Congressional race. Representative Donna Edwards yesterday announced that she's backing Delaney; Edwards is the only member of Maryland's Congressional delegation to have done so... others, including Representative Steny Hoyer, have backed State Senator Rob Garagiola in the race (via the Baltimore Sun).
Maryland's Primary Election is on April 3rd, but early voting begins tomorrow. There are 46 early voting centers around the state; they'll open through Thursday of next week from 10am to 8pm -- except for Sunday, when they'll be open from noon to 6. Information about early voting locations is available here, and there's more here from the Baltimore Sun.
Last month, the Department of Homeland Security expanded a federal information-sharing program to Baltimore that targets illegal immigrants. Looking to ease concerns about the program, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake signed an executive order earlier this month updating the city’s anti-discrimination policy toward immigrants. Last night, the Mayor presented the executive order at an event organized by Casa de Maryland at the Southeast Anchor branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. WYPR’s Matt Purdy was there and filed this report.
The police chief of Anne Arundel County is refusing to testify before the county council. Chief James Teare was called to testify about the recent indictment against County Executive John Leopold. But his attorney sent a letter to council members yesterday, saying that the Council's subpoena of Teare is "invalid" and that Teare will not testify about Leopold's alleged misuse of his police detail (via the Annapolis Capital and the Baltimore Sun). County Executive Leopold is headed to trial on charges of fraud and misconduct, the trial will start on September 4th (via the Annapolis Capital).
The federal government is considering closing dozens of rural court sites across the country, including one that serves Maryland's Eastern Shore (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
The region's largest grocery chain, Giant Food has decided it will stop selling meat with the additive known as "pink slime" (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
Baltimore's 200-year-old Basilica is in need of major repairs, following last August's earthquake. Starting in June, the building will be closed weekdays during the repairs, which are expected to cost up to $5-million (via the Baltimore Sun).
And folks getting new phone numbers will soon have a new area code: 667. People who already have 410 or 443 area codes will keep them. The new code is needed because the phone company will soon run out of number combinations in the current area codes (via our wire service and the Washington Post).
IN FOCUS TODAY
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