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O'Malley's Budget Proposal, Gun Laws, Pit Bulls, and Fundraising Totals For Likely 2014 Gubernatorial Candidates
January 17, 2013
Governor Martin O'Malley has issued his budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. The spending plan comes in at $37-billion, and is accompanied by a $3.7-billion dollar capital budget, to pay for construction projects; O'Malley says those projects will create 43-thousand jobs. The budget includes an extra $153-million for the state's Rainy Day fund, which O'Malley says will protect the state's bottom line should Congress be unable to reach compromise during upcoming budget battles. It also cuts the so-called structural deficit to $66-million $166-million -- recently, it had been as big as $2-billion. The spending plan includes $6-million dollars in aid for public schools, and raises tuition at Maryland colleges by 3%. It includes pay raises for state workers and tax credits designed to encourage the growth the cybersecurity and biotechnology industries. The budget would send more money to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, and it also sets aside $1.5-million to study the potential impact of extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation in Western Maryland. The budget also sets aside 25 million dollars in credits, aimed at getting film crews to make movies in Maryland. O'Malley hasn't put any tax increases or new taxes in his budget proposals, but the governor says he may still seek to raise the state's sales or gasoline tax in separate legislation (WYPR's Karen Hosler has a report on the budget here; there's more here and here from the Baltimore Sun, here from the Washington Post, here from the Gazette, and here from the Frederick News Post). O'Malley's budget proposal does not include any money to pay for a juvenile jail in Baltimore City. The Baltimore Sun reports that the state has decided against building the long-planned facility -- instead, officials want to spend more money on treatment programs for teenagers, and renovate a smaller facility for those accused of violent offenses.
President Obama yesterday signed into law 23 executive orders allowing federal agencies to improve the tracking of stolen guns, promote research on gun violence and strengthen the nation's existing gun background check system. The President also proposed a number of far-reaching gun-related proposals, including a ban on military-style assault weapons, and a ban on ammunition magazines holding more than ten bullets. Whether any of those proposals will make it through the divided Congress remains to be seen. Earlier this week, Governor Martin O'Malley proposed his own list of state-level gun control legislation, which also faces opposition in the General Assembly. WYPR Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith says that both O'Malley and Obama are now facing leadership challenges, shaped by their political circumstances. Fraser comments in his weekly essay.
Two men have been accused of illegally selling high-capacity magazines at the Gun and Knife Show at the Timonium Fairgrounds earlier this month. Maryland law bans any ammunition magazines that hold more than 20 bullets; the magazines siezed contained 30 (via our wire service and WJZ)*. President Obama yesterday proposed a nationwide ban on the sale of ammunition magazines holding more than 10 bullets, but the passage of that measure is unclear in the divided Congress (via the Washington Post). Governor O'Malley has also called for a statewide ban of high capacity magazines.
*An early broadcast of this story incorrectly stated that the siezures occurred yesterday.
The politicans looking to become Maryland's next governor were required to report their fundraising activities to the State Board of Elections last night. On the Democratic side, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown reported raising $1.25-million last year; Attorney General Doug Gansler said he brought in $1.24-million, and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said he raised about $1.14-million. Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur raised just under $250-thousand. On the Republican side, Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young raised about $445-thousand in 2012. And no report came in from Harford County Executive David Craig -- the Baltimore Sun reports that it's unclear why his report is not available. The largest warchest, by far, belongs to Attorney General Gansler -- whose campaign has more than $5-million cash on hand (more here from the Washington Post and here from the Baltimore Sun).
A new bill in the Maryland General Assembly could overturn a court ruling that defines all pit bulls as vicious dogs. Delegate Luiz Simmons is proposing emergency legislation that he says preserves defenses for dog owners -- and limits the liability of landlords if one or their tenants' dogs attack. Shelters have been flooded with pit bulls since the court ruling this spring (via our wire service and WJZ).
Jury selection has begun in the misconduct and fraud trial of Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold. The 69-year-old Leopold was indicted by a grand jury last year on charges accusing him of using police officers to run political and personal errands (via our wire service and the Washington Post).
And in sports: The Orioles have granted a contract extension to manager Buck Showalter. Showalter was runner-up for American League Manager of the Year after guiding the Orioles to a 93-and-69 record last season and their first playoff appearance since 1997 (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
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