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Transportation Funding, Gun Legislation, Marijuana Laws, and A Report On The Health Of Marylanders
March 20, 2013
Last year’s cantankerous General Assembly has been replaced this session by a cooperative, almost well-oiled legislative machine with top Democratic priorities on target for success. WYPR’s Karen Hosler has this run-down.
Maryland is one step closer to decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. The bill, passed yesterday by the State Senate, would make it a civil offense to possess of ten grams or less of the drug. The measure would also reduce the penalty for that violation from a maximum of 90-days in jail to at most a 100-dollar fine. The bill now moves on to the House of Delegates (via our wire service, the Washington Post, and the Baltimore Sun).
Legislation that would change Maryland's gun laws could get a vote as soon as today in a House of Delegate committee.But it looks like the bill could see some changes. The measure is designed, in part, to ban military-style assault weapons. And as the Washington Post reports, lawmakers in the House are looking to remove many features common to semi-automatic weapons from the restricted list. Governor Martin O'Malley, who introduced the legislation, says through a spokesperson that he wants the original assault weapons ban to be part of the plan. It has already passed the State Senate, and O'Malley is reportedly working with the House to keep it in (via the Washington Post).
Meanwhile, Maryland State Police are weeks behind processing requests from people who want to buy firearms. Six-thousand requests have arrived just this month... and it's taking some time to process them; the wait is usually seven days, but it's now up to around 40 days (via our wire service and WBFF).
On today's edition of Inside Maryland Politics, WYPR's Fraser Smith is joined by Richard Cross, former Capitol Hill press secretary, former gubernatorial speech writer and current blogger. They talk about the reasons for Dr. Ben Carson's recent political fame and how he might begin a career in elected office.
A new report on the health of Maryland residents find that Baltimore City is the least healthy jurisdiction in the state. The analysis from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and theUniversity of Wisconsin Population Health Institute finds that about 19 percent of Baltimroe residents are in poor health. The state's healthiest jurisdiction, Howard County, has just 8 percent of its residents in poor health (via the Baltimore Sun).
Maryland's so-called "Tax Freedom Day" is coming later than surrounding states. "Tax Freedom Day" marks how long residents have to work to pay federal, state and local taxes. Maryland's day is April 23rd (via our wire service and the Baltimore Business Journal).
Maryland's largest casino will start offering table games next month... and today, the tables will start being installed (via the Annapolis Capital).
Governor Martin O'Malley is headed to South Carolina this week, where he'll speak at an issues conference on Saturday. And he's going to have some company: the Excutive Director of the Maryland Republican Party, David Ferguson, says that either he or someone else from the state GOP will follow O'Malley to the event -- and to all the Governor's other out-of-state appearances in the coming months (via the Washington Post).
In sports news: Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Biscotti says he's willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the Super Bowl champs open the season at home on September 5th (via our wire service and the Baltimore Business Journal).
And: the Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 8 to 7 in yesterday's spring training game. Today, the O's are up against the Toronto Blue Jays.
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