During the final hours on the session, the biggest elephant in the legislative room for the Maryland General Assembly was the constitutionally required balanced budget, which faced a midnight deadline.
"In my view, it should have been settled days ago," Democratic House Speaker Michael E. Busch said in Annapolis.
Under Maryland's Constitution, the Assembly must approve a budget for the coming fiscal year. If midnight rolls around and they haven't done their duty, legislative leaders must arrange an extended session, towsonpatch.com said.
"I would really hope all the leaders both the House and Senate come together in a sense of mutual respect, conciliation and compromise in order to do the people's business," O'Malley said.
There were many issues debated in the Assembly. A statewide 5-cent fee on plastic bags was still in play but wasn't expected to pass. The same was true for a proposed 6 percent tax on gasoline to fund transportation projects.
A bill requiring the photo and address of animal abusers to be placed on a public registry for 10 years was killed as was medical marijuana legislation.
A bill allowing same-sex marriage was passed and signed into law March 1 by Gov. Martin O'Malley. It takes effect in January but Maryland's high court is hearing arguments on a precedent-setting case determining whether same-sex marriages granted in other states can be dissolved in one where the marriage is not recognized, ABC News reported Friday.
The General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a bill banning arsenic additives in chicken feed, making Maryland the first state in the country to keep the toxin out of the food chain reaching the human level, The Baltimore Sun reported.
The Assembly also approved two of O'Malley's top priority bills: One would double the so-called "flush fee" on water usage and the other restricting development utilizing septic systems with any resultant fees used to restore the Chesapeake Bay area, the Sun said.
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