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Morning Read: O'Malley Likely To Veto Any Medical Marijuana Bill

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AM Read: Likely Veto for MD Pot Bill

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Doesn't look like pot is going to legally make its way to Maryland anytime soon.

At least, not if Gov. Martin O'Malley has anything to do with it.

O’Malley would likely veto any legislation to legalize medical marijuana because of concerns over whether it would stand up to federal scrutiny, his spokeswoman told the Baltimore Sun Thursday.

Maryland legislators will begin debating medical marijuana bills in House committee hearings today.

One of the bills being discussed calls for a monitored program where selected educational research institutions would dispense the drug to patients.

Another would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients and create a network of state-anctioned and supervised dispensaries and growers, according to The Sun.

* A bill that would prohibit state and local officers from enforcing a provision of the 2012 federal National Defense Authorization Act—which allows for the arrest and indefinite detention of suspected terrorists without charges or trial—is headed to Gov. McDonnell’s desk.

The bill has sponsored a mix of conservative and liberal supporters. According to the Virginian-Pilot, Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax County, who helped draft the bill, said McDonnell has quietly tried to defeat it, in part because of his national aspirations.

A spokesperson for McDonnell told the Pilot that the governor has concerns about the bill, but did address Petersen’s accusations.

* State Senator David Marsden wrote this letter in Virginia community newspapers explaining why Senate Democrats voted against the Virginia budget twice.

First, Virginia chose an evenly split Senate, 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans. The Senate budget is better than the House budget for my constituents, but better does not mean good. I was elected to fight for things that my constituents elected me to stand for. To this end I have used the only leverage I have, which is the budget, to do that which I was hired to do. Did you want someone to go to Richmond and roll over and play dead? This is our state and I will not stop fighting for a budget that will strengthen our economy, create jobs and take care of our most vulnerable citizens. These budgets fall short.

* Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a statement Thursday following the U.S. Senate’s rejection of two job-related amendments to the Surface Transportation Bill.

The first bill would have approved the Keystone XL pipeline, which McDonnell wrote would lead to the creation of thousands of jobs.

The second would have provided the EPA with additional time to review and revise their proposed Boiler MACT rules, which, according to McDonnell, could put thousands of American jobs at risk.

"Today, the United States Senate had the opportunity to act positively on two important job-related amendments. The first would have cleared the way for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a critical project that would increase our nation's energy security while creating thousands of good-paying jobs for our citizens. America needs more energy and more jobs. The Keystone XL pipeline would deliver both. This vote is especially disappointing given the rising energy prices – especially at the gas pump - that are impacting all Americans in this difficult economy.

* President Obama will speak about the economy today in Prince George County at the Rolls-Royce Crosspointe.

Gov. Bob McDonnell will be there to greet the president at Richmond International Airport and plans to attend the event in Prince George.

* A Maryland Senate committee voted Thursday to approve Gov. O’Malley’s proposal to increase the income tax rate of top earners and to shift part of the state’s teacher pension to the counties.

The Senate Committee voted 8-3 for approval, with all Republicans dissenting.

According to the Sun, the pension shift was passed, but would be introduced at a more gradual pace than proposed by O’Malley.

The Senate is expected to debate the budget on the floor starting Wednesday.

* In response to the federal raid into D.C. political donor of the federal raid of Jeffrey Thompson’s home and offices, the Washington Post has an editorial about the “need to do something about the unseemly nexus of contracts and campaign contributions in D.C. politics. “

The city’s lax campaign-finance laws on corporate giving have fostered a culture of “pay to play,” in which donors can use subsidiaries to obscure their identities and circumvent legal limits. “How and from what sources candidates for public office fund their campaigns needs to be more transparent,” said D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) in unveiling legislation co-sponsored by Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) that would impose strict curbs on campaign donations. Ms. Cheh and Mr. Wells are on the right track in wanting to reform the process, and their proposals are worthy of serious study. Unfortunately, they don’t appear to have much support from council colleagues, which could mean that a citizen effort for a ballot initiative this fall may be the only way to force this important issue onto the public agenda.

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