Budget and Income Tax: The House and Senate reached tentative agreement Monday night on a $35 billion state budget for the coming year and the taxes to help pay for it. But the tax measure did not come up for a vote. The measure would have increased taxes for Marylanders with taxable incomes of more than $100,000. Rates would have gone up by one-quarter to three-quarters of a percentage point.
Gas tax, sales tax: Gov. Martin O'Malley's proposal to apply the sales tax to gasoline didn't win General Assembly support, nor did his backup plan of raising Maryland's 6 percent sales tax to 7 percent and earmarking the extra money for highway and transit projects.
Same-sex marriage: The General Assembly approved the governor's proposal to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland, and O'Malley signed it into law. But voters are likely to have the final say. Opponents are expected to gather enough signatures to force a November referendum on the law.
Education: The legislature passed a bill requiring counties to keep up a minimum level of spending on their school systems. If they don't, the state can seize local tax revenues and send the money directly to school systems. A measure to require youths to stay in school until their 18th birthdays, starting in 2015, won final approval Monday night.
Flush tax: Lawmakers doubled the $2.50-a-month fee that households pay to finance upgrades at sewage treatment plants. Parts of Garrett and Worcester counties are off the hook — Sen. George Edwards amended the bill so people who don't live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed don't have to pay more.
Limiting septic systems: The governor proposed a more modest version of last year's bill to make parts of the state off limits for septic systems. The legislature made it still more modest, keeping most land-use decisions at the local level. But environmentalists and O'Malley counted passage as a win. Counties will be required to designate areas where septics are not permitted.
Off-shore wind: Late Monday, O'Malley still didn't have the votes he needed in a Senate committee to win approval of his plan to bring off-shore wind power to Maryland.
Arsenic: Lawmakers passed a bill that, if signed by O'Malley, would make Maryland the first state to ban arsenic in chicken feed.
Gambling expansion: A proposal to allow a sixth casino in Maryland, to be located in Prince George's County, and to allow all casinos to offer table games failed to win approval Monday night. The Assembly approved a measure to give the Ocean Downs racetrack a $1.2 million subsidy.
City elections: Baltimore's next mayoral election will be in 2016, the same year the country elects a president, under a change passed in the General Assembly. Others had argued it would make more sense to align city elections with the gubernatorial cycle,
17th Amendment: A century after the country adopted the change, Maryland's General Assembly ratified the 17th Amendment, which provided for the direct election of senators. The move has no legal effect, but it means that the Old Line State has now ratified all of the constitutional amendments.
Online privacy: The Assembly approved a bill that would prohibit employers in Maryland from asking current and prospective employees for their usernames and passwords to online websites like Facebook and Twitter. It was unclear whether the governor will sign it.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun