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House approves $35.8 billion budget and pension shift

The House of Delegates approved their version of the state’s $35.8 billion budget Friday, moving the process into its final stage to resolve differences with the Senate.

The budget bill was approved 95-43, but not before Republican lawmakers attempted one last time to derail its passage. They described the budget, which would increase state spending by $1 billion for the 5th year in a row, as fiscally irresponsible and destructive. The Democratic chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Norman Conway, had repeatedly called it  “fiscally prudent and socially responsible.” Read more

House moves $35B budget with few cuts and a tax hike to a final vote in marathon session

In a nearly 11-hour session, the House of Delegates fended off proposals to level fund the fiscal 2013 budget, block shifting teacher pension costs, and eliminate an income tax hike.

Scores of amendments were attempted on the controversial bills, but none passed. All of the bills will go for final votes Friday or Saturday exactly as they came from their committees. Read more

Maryland government gets poor grade for corruption prevention

In the midst of a session that has seen ethics and transparency pushed into the spotlight, two reports released this week gave the state poor rankings on both issues.

A nationwide report conducted by the State Integrity Investigation ranked Maryland 40th out of 50 states for corruption prevention, awarding the state a D- on their report card. Half the states scored D or less. Read more