J.D. Merrill, a former special assistant to the chief of staff in Baltimore City Public Schools and former city schools teacher, today launched a campaign for the State Senate in District 41.
Tag: state senate
State Sen. Michael Hough is hoping to get some early support from gun enthusiasts for his 2018 re-election bid by raffling off a semi-automatic rifle.
The General Assembly begins the final week of its 90-day legislative session today. Some big issues (transgender rights, modification to the estate tax, dog bite liability) have been resolved — at least legislatively — or are about to be. Others (limit on fracking, repeal of the “rain tax,” decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana) are dead or unlikely.
That leaves five or so “thorny” issues (besides the $39 billion budget!) to dominate the tail end of the session. According to the Baltimore Sun, they are:
+ Minimum wage. Gov. Martin O’Malley would like to end his gubernatorial career with one more progressive win: a $10.10-an-hour state minimum, but the bill has been stalled by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Thomas M. Middleton’s demand that it include a pay increase for people who work with the developmentally disabled.
+ House of Cards. The House of Cards people have threatened to move production of the highly-rated Netflix series out of Maryland unless tax breaks increase dramatically, and the Senate and House have two completely different ideas about how to handle that. The Senate prefers total appeasement in the form of an $18.5 million tax credit. The House is currently bent on not looking like pushovers, offering an $11 million tax credit but adding a threatening amendment that would allow Maryland “to acquire the assets of a production company that has received the tax credit but abandons the state.” Yeah right.
This can’t be how anyone wanted it go down, but after Republican central committees in the Upper Eastern Shore counties that comprise the 36th state Senate district — Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, and Cecil — could not reach an agreement on who would succeed former Sen. E.J. Pipkin, it fell to the very, very Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley to choose between the two likely candidates, Del. Mike Smigiel and Del. Steve Hershey.
After an interview with each of the delegates, O’Malley selected Hershey, a choice the governor claims was “guided not by which candidate I would prefer, but rather by which candidate has demonstrated the broadest electoral support in the district.” That may very well be hogwash. The Sun points out that Hershey is the “less confrontational legislator,” and Smigiel thinks the choice has something to do with the fact that he “sued the governor three times and called him a ‘tyrant’ on the floor of the House of Delegates.”
Right now, Maryland’s practice of granting undocumented immigrants second-class driver licenses is set to expire on July 1, 2015. In response, Sen. Victor Ramirez has introduced legislation that would allow the practice to continue indefinitely. And this year’s rendition of the endless debate on illegal immigration has officially opened.
So, yeah, looks like the General Assembly was so shell-shocked after considering cutting edge bills on issues like marriage equality, undocumented immigration, and gambling, they thought they’d unwind with a cute little bottle deposit-return bill to remind themselves of a simpler time.
It was a bitter battle, but Gov. Martin O’Malley’s new, stricter handgun licensing bill passed the Senate more or less intact. The eight-hour-training course was reduced to four hours (so, umm, I guess they’ll walk away with half the knowledge?).