Gun Control
With relatively modest changes, legislators said yes to Gov. Martin O'Malley's sweeping gun control bill. It would ban the sale of assault weapons, limit magazines to 10 bullets, and require fingerprints, a license and, for first-time purchasers, training to buy a handgun. It also would prohibit more people hospitalized for mental illness from buying a firearm.
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FAVORS

Supporters said the licensing provision, in particular, would save lives by deterring "straw purchases" by people who are really buying the gun for someone else. And they said smaller magazines would limit the number of shots an assailant could fire before having to stop to reload, perhaps creating an opportunity for others to intervene.
OPPOSES

Critics argued the law would not prevent violence and would infringe upon Second Amendment rights. Some have threatened to petition the law to referendum, which would delay its effect until voters decided in November 2014.
Offshore Wind
O'Malley achieved a long-sought victory when legislators approved his bill to encourage development of a wind-driven power plant off the state's Atlantic coast. The legislation would require Maryland electricity customers to pay a subsidy of up to $1.50 a month if the project is built.
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FAVORS

Supporters said the law could encourage development of an industry that would create jobs as it helped the environment.
OPPOSES

Opponents said government should not subsidize the energy source.
Medical Marijuana
Maryland would be the 19th state to have a medical marijuana program under a bill the governor is expected to sign. The drug would be administered by doctors and nurses through academic centers, which also would be charged with studying the effects of the program.
FAVORS

Supporters said the measure would create a safe, limited program to allow patients to use marijuana for pain relief.
OPPOSES

Some opponents objected to the provision of an illegal drug, while others said the program was too limited to be helpful to those who need it.
Gas Tax
Legislators imposed a new sales tax on gas, to be phased in, and tied the existing 23.5-cents-a gallon tax to inflation. The governor is expected to sign the bill. As a result, gas prices would go up about 4 cents July 1 and as much as 20 cents a gallon by 2016.
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FAVORS

Supporters said the increase, the first since 1992, was needed because the state has run out of money for road and mass transit projects.
OPPOSES

Critics said the gas tax unfairly charges rural residents for urban mass transit projects. And they said the tax would be especially hard on the poor.
Driver's Licenses
Maryland would become the first eastern state to issue special driver's licenses to illegal immigrants under a bill headed to the governor's desk for his expected signature.
FAVORS

Supporters said the measure will promote traffic safety.
OPPOSES

Opponents said it will attract illegal immigrants, making Maryland a "sanctuary state."
Baltimore Schools
A law that won broad, bipartisan support will help the Baltimore school system launch a $1 billion construction program. To pay off the bonds that will finance the work, the state will provide $20 million a year from lottery revenue, and the city and the school system will each provide like amounts for 30 years.
FAVORS

Supporters said replacement of dilapidated city school buildings was long overdue and the investment in Baltimore's children would benefit the whole state.
OPPOSES

Opponents said they objected to government borrowing and questioned whether the projects would be well managed.
Death Penalty
At the urging of the NAACP, the Catholic Church and others, lawmakers approved the governor's bill to repeal the state's death penalty. Maryland is the sixth state in as many years to abolish capital punishment. Supporters think the bill might be petitioned to referendum. The law would not apply to the five men currently on death row, and the governor has not said if he would commute their sentences.
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FAVORS

Supporters said repeal would eliminate the possibility that an innocent person would be put to death. They also said the death penalty is not an effective deterrent to crime and is expensive to defend.
OPPOSES

Opponents of repeal said the death penalty should remain for particularly heinous crimes and to give prosecutors a tool in seeking plea bargains.
Photo by Gabriella Demczuk/Baltimore Sun.
Design by Dana Amihere & Nick Tann; reporting by Eileen Canzian/BALTIMORE SUN GRAPHIC