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Regional Digest


In Maryland

Elected officials petitioned to defer their pay raises

BALTIMORE - About 1,000 state workers in the city are calling on top elected officials to defer their pay raises to help resolve Maryland's approximately $1.3 billion budget shortfall.

Workers at the state office complex at Eutaw and Preston streets signed petitions asking Annapolis to bear some of the burden of the fiscal crunch to avoid cutbacks in services and job cuts, said David Harding, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1535. Local chapters of AFSCME, the American Federation of Teachers and the Maryland Classified Employees Association in Baltimore led the petition drive, Harding said.

The petitions are in response to raises approved last year, including a 38 percent increase over four years for legislators, a $30,000 raise for the governor and a $25,000 raise for the lieutenant governor. The workers - who received no increase - are to meet on the issue tomorrow.

Bill would ease collection for those wrongly convicted

ANNAPOLIS - Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr. urged lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee yesterday to streamline the process by which a wrongfully convicted person can collect compensation from the state, saying someone who is exonerated should not have to secure a governor's pardon before receiving money.

Burns, a Baltimore County Democrat, has introduced a bill that would allow the Board of Public Works to approve funds for someone whose "conviction has been shown conclusively to be in error" without the person first obtaining a pardon, which is required under current law.

The legislation, House Bill 10, is one of several efforts expected this session to revise the way the state deals with wrongful convictions. Sen. Ralph M. Hughes, a Baltimore Democrat, has drafted similar legislation that also would require the state to provide psychological counseling for the wrongfully convicted.

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