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Funding for University System of Maryland Office threatened, officials say

Administrators from the University System of Maryland delivered impassioned and at times confusing testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and Economic Development on Wednesday in response to recommended budget cuts.

Chancellor William Kirwan, who, with the Board of Regents, oversees the state’s 12 public universities, slammed a proposed $4 million cut to the University System of Maryland Office as recommended by the Department of Legislative Services. The system office plays an integral role in implementing broad strategic planning for the state’s various campuses. Read more

Republicans try to curb benefits for illegal immigrants

Republicans are again trying to curb public benefits for illegal immigrants, as they have repeatedly in past years, against the continued opposition of social service groups.

The bill before the House Appropriations Committee would enact stricter laws requiring Marylanders provide proof of lawful presence in order to receive public benefits. For several years, Republicans have introduced similar legislation, but have been rebuffed by the committee. Read more

Advocates testify against proposed cut to student breakfast program

Childhood hunger activists were out in force on Monday, opposing a recommendation to cut additional funding for a program that provides thousands of students with a free classroom breakfast in participating schools across the state.

Maryland Meals for Achievement (MMFA) has received $2.8 million annually since 2009, but because of tough economic times and an increase in childhood hunger among Maryland children, Gov. Martin O’Malley has allotted for a $560,000 increase in his budget for the 14-year-old program as part of his broader goal to eliminate childhood hunger by 2015. In its review of the governor’s budget, the Department of Legislative Services has recommended slashing that allotment in half to $280,000. Read more