At bill signing ceremony, O'Malley claims 'progress' in tough times
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley on Tuesday used the first in a series of planed bill-signing ceremonies to tout what he characterized as a productive 90-day legislative session, despite tough budgetary times.
"In times of great adversity, we don't make excuses, we make progress," O'Malley (D) told a crowded room of legislators, aides and advocates, many of whom appeared bleary-eyed from the session that ended at midnight Monday.
Flanked by the legislature's two presiding officers, O'Malley signed about 170 bills, including one that seeks to crack down on Medicaid fraud. Most high-profile measures were passed too late in the session to be included in the traditional day-after ceremony and will either be signed or vetoed in coming weeks.
The governor thanked members of both political parties for helping pass a package of bills that he called "some of the toughest child predator laws of any state in the nation."
O'Malley also touted legislation designed to encourage mediation between homeowners at risk of foreclosure and "these faceless mortgage-servicing giants." He called attention to the state's capital budget, which includes $250 million for school construction.
And O'Malley continued to plug a $5,000 tax credit available to businesses for each worker they hire off the unemployment rolls. That bill was signed in a ceremony before the legislative session ended.
"To make progress in the toughest of times, that is what this General Assembly session has been about," O'Malley said.
Former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), who has announced a rematch with O'Malley, is planning to offer his assessment of the session to reporters Tuesday afternoon. His take is certain to be less rosy.
April 13, 2010; 12:55 PM ET
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