Martin O'Malley

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has signed a measure to increase the state's minimum wage in steps over several years.

O'Malley, a Democrat who made the bill a priority of his last legislative session as governor, signed the measure Monday in Annapolis.

The state's minimum wage will rise from $7.25 an hour to $8 in January. The hourly wage will reach $8.25 in July 2015 and $8.75 in July 2016. It will go up to $9.25 in July 2017 and $10.10 in July 2018.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has signed a measure banning the retail sale of alcohol that is 190-proof and stronger.

The new law signed Monday by the Democratic governor had strong backing from leaders of colleges and universities.

Jonathan Gibralter, president of Frostburg State University, says grain alcohol is seen as a cheap and reliable way to get drunk quickly. He says that makes it a popular option for students, who don't realize how intoxicated it can make them very quickly.

official photo

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is visiting Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Netherlands.

The governor is traveling first to Ireland and Northern Ireland as part of a congressional delegation led by the Faith and Politics Institute examining the historic divides on the island and peace and reconciliation efforts.

official photo

BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland's governor says a state jail in Baltimore will no longer automatically comply with federal requests to hold immigrants past their release date for possible deportation.

Gov. Martin O'Malley says the Baltimore City Detention Center will now consider the severity of the charges a person is facing when reviewing U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement requests to hold immigrants through the "Secure Communities" program. O'Malley notified Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson of the change in a letter released last week.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A new law that will decriminalize marijuana in October involves some ambiguities that police and prosecutors are just beginning to confront.

Under the law, possession of rolling papers, pipes and other marijuana accessories will remain a criminal offense, meaning a person could still be arrested for it.

Maryland Republican Party logo

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Republicans in the governor's race agree the state government is essentially a business and the top administrator is an executive.

During a formal debate Thursday evening at Johns Hopkins University, the Republicans' fifth since January, they repeatedly accused Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration of making Maryland unfriendly to investors.

Ronald George and Charles Lollar both touted their business experience as a credential for leading the state. David Craig compared his position as Harford County Executive to managing an enormous business.

creative commons

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Martin O'Malley says he still has misgivings about a bill to set a 13-month moratorium on the development of tall wind turbines within 56 miles of the U.S. Naval Air Station Patuxent River base in southern Maryland.

O'Malley wouldn't say Monday if he would veto legislation that has been sent to his desk. But the governor, who is a strong supporter of wind energy, says, "I have yet to conclude that windmills are quite the threat to Naval air radar that those advocating for this ban have concluded."

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's legislature has given final approval to a bill that would eliminate criminal charges for possessing small amounts of marijuana and the governor says he plants to sign it.

The Senate voted Monday to accept several compromises the House added over the weekend.

The bill would keep marijuana use illegal but make it akin to a traffic violation. The House opted to require all teen offenders to be evaluated for treatment. It also voted to raise the penalties to $20 for a second offense and $500 for a third offense, up from a maximum of $100.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Martin O'Malley says he plans to work on overhauling Maryland's bail hearing system, after a bill that would have done so stalled in the Legislature.

O'Malley told reporters Monday that he will work with stakeholders who supported the overhaul approach backed by Sen. Brian Frosh.

That would use data on each defendant, such as criminal history, to assess the person's risk of committing more crimes if they were released from jail. Low-risk defendants would be released automatically.

With the overwhelming Senate vote to delay the $200 million wind project in Somerset County state Senator Jim Mathias said that this vote would be a $45 million loss for local residents.

Developers had hoped to move forward with construction of the Great Bay Wind Energy projection by next summer.

But the measure would delay that for another 15 months while a study is conducted to examine the impact of the wind turbines the U.S. Naval Air Station on the Patuxent River.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A $4.3 million expansion of pre-kindergarten has been approved by the Maryland General Assembly.

The Senate voted 46-1 for the bill Friday.

The measure now goes to Gov. Martin O'Malley, who proposed the bill. It will enroll an additional 1,600 children around the state for children whose families make up to 300 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

It also creates a pre-K expansion fund for business and philanthropic entities to contribute money to support future expansion.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A measure to expand Maryland's prevailing wage law has been passed by the Maryland General Assembly.

The state Senate passed the bill 32-15 on Wednesday, sending the measure to Gov. Martin O'Malley.

The bill lowers the share of total school construction project costs paid by the state from 50 percent to 25 percent for the prevailing wage law to apply.

crreative commons

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A measure to prevent discrimination against people who are transgender has cleared the Maryland General Assembly.

The House of Delegates passed the measure 82-57 on Thursday. That sends a bill already passed by the Senate to Gov. Martin O'Malley. Nina Smith, an O'Malley spokeswoman, says he will sign the measure.

The bill aims to stop discrimination on matters relating to housing, employment, credit and use of public accommodations.

Passage came after long debate.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - People with developmental disabilities are urging the governor's office and Sen. Thomas Middleton to give their caregivers a raise at the same time they raise Maryland's general minimum wage.

More than 200 disabled residents and caregivers came to Annapolis Wednesday afternoon to give the measure an extra push. After crowding the meeting room of the Senate Finance Committee, a small delegation met with the governor's chief of staff.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has approved raising the exemption on the estate tax.

The Senate voted 36-10 on Thursday for a measure already approved by the House of Delegates. That sends the bill to Gov. Martin O'Malley.

The measure would recouple Maryland's estate tax to the federal one in several years. Now, Maryland estates worth more than $1 million are taxed at a rate of up to 16 percent.

official photo

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A workgroup from Maryland's Senate Finance Committee is set to take up its minimum wage bill.

The measure would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by the 2016 fiscal year. The House passed a similar bill on March 7, but in the House's version, the rate wouldn't reach $10.10 until the beginning of 2017, and in the future it would not be tied to inflation.

The Senate committee is still working with the version proposed by Gov. Martin O'Malley and could make its own modifications.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has approved the state's $39 billion budget.

The Senate voted 41-6 for the budget bill on Thursday. All 35 Senate Democrats and six Republicans voted for the measure. Six Republicans voted against it.

The Senate also approved a companion measure that is needed to balance the budget for this fiscal year and the next on a 42-5 vote.

Together, the measures leave a $111 million cushion and nearly $800 million in the state's Rainy Day Fund. 

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate is scheduled to consider proposed changes to the state budget.

Last week, a Senate budget panel decided to address a downward revision in revenues by tapping into money set aside to shore up the state's pension system in a long-term plan. The Senate is expected to consider the changes Wednesday.

official photo

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - More money set aside to reinvest in Maryland's state employee pension system could be tapped to help fill a budget hole.

The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee is scheduled to make decisions on Gov. Martin O'Malley's budget proposal Friday.

Senators will be looking to fill a bigger budget gap than initially expected. That's because revenue estimates were revised downward Thursday by $238 million for the next 15 months.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House of Delegates is scheduled to vote on increasing the state's minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2017.

The House is scheduled to debate the bill on Friday.

The bill would increase the minimum wage to $8.20 in January. It would rise to $9.15 in January 2016 and $10.10 in January 2017.

The measure as amended by the House does not include an indexing for inflation that Gov. Martin O'Malley had supported.

Don Rush

BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland utility regulators say the high cost of heating homes and businesses during this long, cold winter may put more customers at risk of being shut off after March 31.

The Public Service Commission is asking utility companies at a legislative-style hearing Friday in Baltimore to explain their policies and procedures for terminating service to customers who haven't paid their bills on time.

The commission says it also wants to know the number of current and projected customers in arrears.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House of Delegates has turned full force against Gov. Martin O'Malley's plan to index the minimum wage to inflation.

Only eight delegates voted Wednesday to put an indexing provision back into the minimum wage bill. Another 124 followed the House Economic Matters Committee's recommendation.

Dereck Davis, D-Prince George's, the committee chair, said the Senate would almost certainly reject the provision. Del. Heather Mizeur, D-Montgomery, urged delegates to vote for it anyway.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House of Delegates is scheduled to take up a bill to increase the state's minimum wage.

The House is set to consider changes to the measure on Wednesday.

It would boost the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour by 2017.

A House committee made substantial changes to a bill backed by Gov. Martin O'Malley. For example, it took out a proposal to begin indexing the minimum wage to keep up with inflation starting in 2017.

Don Rush

A Maryland legislative panel voted yesterday to raise the state

Minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour over three years.  

But they turned back an effort to index it to compensate for future inflation.

In addition, lawmakers delayed the implementation of the hikes by six months from June 1st to January 1st.

The vote in the House Economic matters Committee was 13-to-8.

official photo

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Martin O'Malley has announced $20 million in additional help for low-income Maryland residents to pay higher utility bills from colder weather.

The governor announced Monday the assistance will be made available to all income eligible households that apply for the Electric Universal Service Program in fiscal year 2014.

The administration says households that have already been approved for assistance as of July 1 will see the benefit automatically post to their account.

offcial photo

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Board of Public Works has approved a contract modification of up to $2 million due to technical problems with the state's health care exchange.

The board approved the emergency modification 3-0 Wednesday. However, Comptroller Peter Franchot criticized the procurement process. Franchot says more than $160 million in contracts should have come before the Board of Public Works for greater scrutiny, instead of a separate health exchange board.

Governor's blog

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland is already moving toward a "two-tier" minimum wage system, where counties will set their own minimums. But Gov. Martin O'Malley says he wants $10.10 to be the statewide minimum and let counties raise it from there.

O'Malley was arguing for the wage increase Monday before the Senate Finance Committee.

He said $10.10 is "pretty modest," considering the effects of inflation since 1968. The minimum wage that year would be $10.70 in today's economy, according to one measurement of inflation. Another puts it at $9.50.

official photo

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley says he will veto the chicken tax.

That’s a 5-cent per bird tax being proposed in the state legislature.

The Democrat made his remarks during the annual Taste of Maryland dinner and were reported on Twitter by the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that his press secretary Nina Smith issued a statement saying that the governor did not feel the chicken tax would actually strike a balance between the needs of the bay and the needs of the agriculture industry.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley plans Friday to unveil a new cellphone security system at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

The technology automatically blocks calls from all cellphones inside the building, except a small number of phones assigned to employees. It also allows any phone to call 911.

It's a misdemeanor to smuggle a cellphone into a Maryland correctional facility. In 2007, an inmate used a cellphone to arrange the killing of a Baltimore County witness.

official photo

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Martin O'Malley says he is preparing for a possible run for president.

The Maryland Democrat tells The Washington Post that he can't waste time waiting for Hillary Rodham Clinton to decide whether she will run in 2016. He says he needs to get started on the groundwork for a national campaign.

On Friday, O'Malley reported raising nearly $1.7 million last year with his political action committee, O' Say Can You See.