ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Martin O'Malley says he believes the Maryland General Assembly has the will to repeal capital punishment this session.
O'Malley, who said Tuesday he will be making repeal a priority, says the death penalty is a waste of resources that could be better used to fight crime in more productive ways.
The potential repeal of capital punishment has received added attention recently, after Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said he believes it will pass this year. Miller, who supports the death penalty, also predicted a repeal bill will be petitioned to the ballot for voters to decide in 2014.
Voters approved ballot questions on same-sex marriage and Maryland's version of the Dream Act in November. O'Malley said Tuesday: "I don't fear the judgment of the people of Maryland."
Gov. Martin O’Malley is scheduled to discuss his plans for Maryland’s budget.
The governor’s office is releasing the budget for fiscal year 2014 on Wednesday. Lawmakers will work on the budget proposal for most of the session, which began last week.
Maryland has made budget cuts and increased taxes to help put the state on better financial footing in recent years. The state is getting close to eliminating an ongoing deficit that had been as high as $2 billion.
However, the state is still waiting to see what happens in Washington, as Congress wrestles with deep spending cuts in coming weeks. Federal budget cuts can have a big impact on Maryland, due to the state’s proximity to the nation’s capital.
Senate President Mike Miller says that he is skeptical about Governor Martin O’Malley’s proposal to require licenses for handgun purchases.
Miller told a group of reports on the Senate floor – in his words – “Licensing begins to trample on Second Amendment rights.”
The state Senate leader added that does believe a ban on assault weapons and limits on bullet capacity of gun magazines can get legislative approval.
O’Malley’s proposal would require handgun buyers to apply for a Maryland State Police license and submit to fingerprinting and stricter background check than is currently needed.