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O'Malley's Proposals To Reduce Gun Violence, The Push For Death Penalty Repeal, and A Bottle Deposit Program
January 15, 2013
Governor Martin O'Malley has announced the details of his wide ranging plan to reduce gun violence in the state. The proposal includes a ban on assault weapons and high volume ammunition magazines, and establish strict gun licensing rules. Under them, people who buy handguns would have to submit fingerprints to state police. Handgun buyers would also be required to take a training course. Rifle and shotgun purchases would be exempt from the licensing requirements. O'Malley is also planning to propose measures to beef up school security and improve treatment for people with mental health problems. He'll send the proposals to the legislature later this week (via our wire service, the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Post, and the Frederick News Post).
Today, Governor O'Malley is expected to get behind an effort to repeal Maryland's death penalty. He's scheduled to make an announcement at noon, outside the State House -- where he'll be joined by leaders of the NAACP and other civil rights and human rights organizations... as well as Maryland clergy, legislators and activists. State Senate President Mike Miller has reportedly told O'Malley that if the votes are there to pass a repeal this year, he'll bring the bill up from the committee where it has languished for several sessions. A recent poll of Maryland voters shows a close divide on the death penalty -- with 42 percent in favor of repeal, and 48 percent in favor of keeping it (via the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post).
Some Maryland lawmakers are hoping to boost recycling in our state -- by creating a bottle deposit system. Under the plan, people would pay a five-cent refundable deposit on all cans and bottles bought in Maryland. Similar programs already exist in 10 other states. Delegate Maggie McIntosh, who's introducing the legislation, says she thinks that recycling rates would triple, from their current 22 percent, to somewhere around 75 percent. Bottle deposit bills have died in previous sessions of the General Assembly, amid opposition from beverage distributors retailers, and others. And those groups immediately came out against the proposal yesterday -- calling the deposit a "tax in disguise," and saying that since 80 percent of Marylanders have access to single stream recycling, the new program would be unnecessary, and potentially confusing (via the Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Business Journal, and the Washington Post).
State Senator Bill Ferguson is calling for gambling expansion money to be used to extend pre-kindergarten programs to three and four-year-olds. He'd like to see about $52-million a year go into the program (via our wire service and the Baltimore Business Journal).
Maryland business owners now have a new way of registering their companies -- an online program called the Central Business Licensing System (online at easy.maryland.gov). It's designed to make it easier for entreprenerus to register their businesses; just under 50-thousand new businesses are registered in Maryland in a typical year... in the past, the process has taken up to 10 weeks, but with the new system, it should only take seven days (via the Baltimore Business Journal).
Baltimore's school system has been offering bonuses to teachers and administrators at struggling schools if they reduce the number of suspensions (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
And if you're planning on heading down to DC next week for President Obama's second inauguration, there are still plenty of MARC train seats left. The MTA says the last inauguration was a historic event and there was a huge demand for tickets. This time, the MTA scaled back the number of tickets it has on hand and still has only sold about half of them. Tickets are 25-dollars for a roundtrip to Washington, DC (more on MTA services for inauguration day here; more here from WJZ).
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