Md. Legislative Session Is Over -- See How They Run - NBC4 Washington

Md. Legislative Session Is Over -- See How They Run



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    With the Maryland Legislature's session over, lawmakers turn their attention to upcoming elections.

    State lawmakers highlighted their efforts to move forward despite difficult economic times.

    "Our focus, our definition of progress all through this session, has been about job creation, about saving jobs, it's been about job retention, it's about getting lending to our small businesses, it's about protecting home ownership and protecting families," Gov. Martin O'Malley said.

    O'Malley signed 170 bills into law. One of the biggest achievements was cutting the budget without shifting the burden of paying the teacher pensions to the counties and local governments.

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    Gov. Martin O'Malley adjourned Maryland's three-month long legislative session. One measure targeting fraudulent health care claims is expected to save the state millions.
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    "The pension fund is just huge, and especially in this economy, and I just don't know how the county could afford to make any additional contributions," said Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson.

    Now that this legislative session has ended, Maryland politics focuses on the November election, with Gov. Martin O'Malley facing a challenge from former Gov. Bob Ehrlich.

    Republicans say Maryland still faces a $1.5 billion structural deficit and blame Democratic leaders for failing to fix the budget.

    "I think that's going to be the biggest issue for voters is how are you going to deal with this issue," State Senate Minority Leader Allan Kittleman said. "You've overspent, and you raised my taxes historically in 2007. I remember that. Are you going to do that to me again in 2011? I think that's going to be very important."

    Democrats believe they have done a good job and point to the state's Triple A bond rating as proof.

    "I think the governor will run strong," said Sen. Ulysses Currie, who chairs the Budget and Taxation Committee. "I think Prince George's County is a critical county for him. I think he'll do well in Prince George's County. We're all going to work with him well, all be on board together."

    The first step for O'Malley is to begin fundraising now that the legislative session is over. He said Ehrlich raised $1 million in March.