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So far, O'Malley's goals clear, modest for session

Governor

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) appears to have modest goals for when the General Assembly reconvenes next month.

With the state facing an estimated $1.8 billion dollar shortfall, he wants bills to:

  • Force lenders to engage in mandatory mediation with homeowners facing foreclosure.

  • Fix state unemployment insurance rates, which are scheduled to triple next year for many Maryland businesses.

  • Try again to crack down on Medicaid fraud.

  • Extend a tax credit for rehabilitating historic buildings

  • And pass "some" sort of energy legislation.
  • Joseph Bryce, the governor's chief legislative officer, provided a sneak peak of the governor's goals Tuesday in a briefing for the House Appropriations Committee.

    There were few surprises. In recent months, O'Malley has said mandatory mediation would build on counseling services and other aid the state has sought for distressed homeowners.

    Last month he told business leaders he would work for a "more sustainable solution" to keeping the state's employment insurance system solvent. A 2005 law requires an annual review of how much employers pay into the system could send rates skyrocketing next year following a 90-percent increase in claims in recent months.

    One goal that was noticeably murky, however: Energy re-regulation.

    As recently as July, O'Malley said re-regulation of future power plants would be among his legislative priorities next year. Bryce said scope and details of a possible energy bill still have to be worked out.

    Last month, Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George's), chairman of a key House committee that handles energy matters, appeared to complicate the governor's hopes for re-regulation, saying he would not support it.

    By Aaron C. Davis  |  December 1, 2009; 7:07 PM ET
    Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , General Assembly , Governor  
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    Comments

    Aaron, are you saying there is not one single item aimed at increasing jobs on Gov. O'Malley's agenda? Figures.

    Posted by: h20andoil | December 2, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

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