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Monday, January 25, 2010:

The Agenda

Delay in State address further hints at modest O'Malley agenda
Thumbnail image for O'Malley mouth open.jpgThe surprise that Gov. Martin O'Malley will not deliver his State of the State address this Wednesday (to not compete with President Obama's) will likely turn out to be a bigger surprise than anything in the speech by the time he delivers it on Feb. 4.

The governor is expected to lay out the remaining items of his legislative agenda early this week, including another version of previous bills to require lifetime supervision of the state's worst sex offenders. But his proposal is expected to stop short of setting up a process for civil commitment of those deemed violent predators - one option that some Eastern Shore lawmakers have voiced support for since the killing of 11-year-old Sarah Foxwell over Christmas.

The governor also is expected to send bills to the General Assembly to carry out expedited small business lending and other narrowly tailored economic stimulus efforts, but he has discussed all of those publicly in recent weeks. In all, it appears the governor has now shown all of the cards in his legislative agenda, and that it will remain relatively modest compared to his first three years in office.

There will be no effort to broadly re-regulate the state's energy markets. No continued tuition freeze, which has been a staple of his State of the State addresses the last three years. And with the Foxwell case stirring emotions over capital punishment, it's unlikely he will use the address to again call for Maryland to repeal the death penalty.

To be sure, O'Malley has never delivered a shocker in his State of the State address, and the General Assembly is still largely in warm-up mode to tackle the budget and other big issues later in the session.

But with the delay, the legislative session will be more than 25 percent complete by the time O'Malley addresses the General Assembly on Feb. 4, and by then lawmakers may be more focused on racing to meet legislative deadlines to propose their own bills.

-- Aaron C. Davis

News That You Should Know

O'Malley supports lifetime supervision of some sex offenders
"Gov. Martin O'Malley will announce this week that he wants lifetime supervision of violent and repeat sex offenders, part of a flood of promised reforms in the wake of the murder of an 11-year-old Eastern Shore girl," reports The Sun's Julie Bykowicz. "But as the Democratic governor introduces new proposals, some lawmakers want him to explain why get-tough laws already on the books have barely been used.But as the Democratic governor introduces new proposals, some lawmakers want him to explain why get-tough laws already on the books have barely been used."

GOP elephant.jpgMd. GOP remains saddled with debt
"The Maryland Republican Party is starting the election year still saddled with debt and at a major financial disadvantage compared to the state's Democrats," reports The Post's John Wagner. "The GOP reported having less than $14,300 in cash sitting in two state accounts as of mid-month -- with about $147,000 in unpaid bills and outstanding loans. The party reported just $264.37 in a separately maintained federal account."

Are full-blown casinos coming to Maryland?
Black jack.jpg"Even before Maryland opens its first slots parlor, a state commission is suggesting that lawmakers consider allowing Las Vegas-style table games at some point," reports Wagner. "The recommendation was among several adopted Friday by the commission, whose primary job is awarding the five slot-machine licenses Maryland voters authorized in 2008." Donald C. Fry, the commission's chairman, said that since lawmakers agreed to a referendum more than two years ago, the surrounding states of West Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania have all moved toward legalization of table games.

A Look Ahead

  • Monday: The budget committees in the House and Senate meet for an afternoon briefing by legislative staff on Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposed fiscal year 2011 budget. The meeting will mark the start of lawmaker's session-long review of the governor's spending plan, which is certain to end with millions more in budget cuts.
  • Tuesday: Lawmakers receive a briefing on the state's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. Fixing it will be a major issue this session.
  • Wednesday: Gov. Martin O'Malley's scheduled "State of the State" address, scheduled for noon, is postponed so as to not be overshadowed by President Obama's "State of the Union" address in the evening. O'Malley's address is now Feb. 4.
  • Wednesday: Lawmakers receive a briefing on the state's sex offender registry.
  • -----

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    By John Wagner  |  January 25, 2010; 6:26 AM ET
    Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Md. Republican Party remains saddled with debt, report shows
    Next: Now It's Your Turn: What's Wayne Curry up to?


    Who cares about the state of the state address? The state is practically broke, the gov is a budgetary wizard but what do you expect in an election year? In 2011 no matter who is gov, they will tgry to hit us with HUGE tax increases, either that or shut down state government.

    Posted by: VikingRider | January 25, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

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