Miller: Legal pot will happen ‘in my lifetime’

The legalization of recreational marijuana is coming to Maryland but probably not this year or any time soon, according to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller

“It’s going to happen,” Miller said. “I’m not advocating it but it’s going to happen.” Continue reading

Senate greenlights rule allowing live-streaming of voting sessions

Maryland residents will now have greater opportunity to see how the legislative sausage is made in Annapolis.

Rule Change Vote

The Senate late Monday voted 41-3 to change the rules and allow committees to live stream voting sessions at the discretion of the respective chairmen.

The Senate approved 41-3 a change in rules that gives committee chairmen discretion in broadcasting voting sessions in the four standing Senate committees.

The rule change is two years in the making. Continue reading

Senate approves emergency health care bill in preliminary vote

The Maryland Senate late Monday approved a bill that would provide insurance benefits to people who were unsuccessful in their attempt to sign up for coverage through the state health benefits exchange website.

Senate Health Care Bill Vote

The Maryland Senate late Monday gave preliminary approval to an amended version of an emergency health care bill by a vote of 36-8 largely along party lines.

The Senate voted 36-8 in a preliminary vote on an amended emergency legislation.

The Senate amendments allow the insurance program to extend benefits beyond March 31 to individuals who continue to be unsuccessful at registering for insurance. The bill would also allow the board to develop the regulations it needs, but it would have to notify the legislature within 15 days of creating them. Another amendment sunsets the bill on June 30, 2015. Continue reading

Maryland fairs poorly in university solvency evaluation

Maryland ranks among the worst states when it comes to short-, medium- and long-term fiscal solvency, according to a review released by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Gov. Martin O'Malley

Gov. Martin J. O’Malley during a Jan. 15, 2014 news conference explains what he called “the bad math of the past’ that resulted in structural budget deficitis for much of the last decade.

Maryland ranked no higher than 41 of 50 states in three categories meant to rate the liquidity of each state government, the ability to meet current expenses without running a deficit and the ability to meet all long-term costs, based on 2012 budget numbers. Continue reading

Miller predicts changes to O’Malley minimum wage bill

With Maryland’s top three Democrats on board, an increase in the state’s minimum wage may look like the stone cold lock of the 2014 General Assembly session but exactly how much the increase will be and other details may not be so certain.

Gov. Martin J. O'Malley

Gov. Martin O’Malley is making raising the minimum wage to $10.10 one of his top priorities for the 2014 General Assembly Session.

Gov. Martin J. O’Malley announced Monday that increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour was tops on his to-do list for his last 90-day session.

But Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller raised concerns about the proposal and predicted significant changes to the governor’s plan days O’Malley released his legislative agenda.

“It’s going to be a very tough sell—the bill as it is now,” Miller said last week. “I’m telling you, it’s going to be a very tough sell.” Continue reading

The decision of the judges is final, unless…

The decision of the judges shall be final.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller

It’s a statement that anyone that’s every entered a contest has probably seen at least once.

In the case of attorneys at initial bail hearing in Maryland that line might very well read: The decision of the judges shall remain final unless we don’t like it. Continue reading

Mission failure: O’Malley budget won’t erase structural deficit

A structural budget deficit that has plagued the state for more than a decade will continue to vex the next governor, according to a budget expected to be released later today by Gov. Martin J. O’Malley.

Maryland State Budget

Maryland State Budget

The Baltimore Sun reports this morning that O’Malley will present a $39 million billion budget that will close a $400 million gap in the budget without raising taxes but leaves the next governor and General Assembly holding the bag next year to the tune of about $188 million in structural deficit. Continue reading

Emergency health care bill ‘just another Band-Aid’

A proposal to create bridge for people who thought they signed up for health insurance through a state website is not getting rave reviews from some Republicans.

Del. Susan Krebs [Photo: Maryland State Archives]

Del. Susan Krebs [Photo: Maryland State Archives]

“I think it’s just another Band-Aid on our very disastrous rollout of our Maryland Health benefit exchange,” Del. Susan Krebs, R-Carroll and a member of the House Health and Government Operations Committee, told ABC 2 News. “And it’s just going to keep popping up, problem after problem, and we’ve got to find the underlying problem. Continue reading

Busch: Dwyer ‘lost his privilege’

House Speaker Michael E. Busch Thursday said the decision to remove Del. Don Dwyer from the House Ways and Means Committee was prompted by the Anne Arundel County Republican’s two DUI-related convictions and a jail sentence Dwyer continues to serve on weekends during the session.

Michael Busch

Speaker Michael Busch addresses the delegation on the opening day of the General Assembly in Annapolis, Md. on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

“It was basically reflective of the fact that we’re all lawmakers here and we should have a higher standard,” Busch said in an interview with The Daily Record. Continue reading

Dwyer removed from committee assignment

Del. Don Dwyer’s afternoons for the next 90 days have been suddenly freed up.

Del. Don Dwyer [Photo: Maryland State Archives]

Del. Don Dwyer [Photo: Maryland State Archives]

The embattled Anne Arundel County Republican who was twice-convicted of operating vehicles while under the influence is officially a man without a committee assignment.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch announced that Dwyer was being removed from the House Ways and Means Committee. Dwyer, a three-term Republican, has served on the committee since 2013. Continue reading