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The Baltimore Sun

Baltimore smoking ban OK'd

The Baltimore City Council approved a smoking ban by a larger-than expected 9-2 margin after an 11th-hour lobbying effort by Mayor Sheila Dixon. The bill, which Dixon said she will sign, takes effect Jan. 1, 2008. The city action lends impetus to a move for a statewide smoking ban.

Senate backs 'clean cars'

The state Senate approved a "clean cars" bill by a 38-9 vote, making it nearly certain that Maryland will become the 11th state to follow California's lead in cutting smog and greenhouse gases. Gov. Martin O'Malley pledged to sign the measure. The House passed a similar measure.

School overhaul approved

The city school board supported sweeping changes for public education in Baltimore, voting to close seven schools, reconfigure or move others, and place four under the control of Towson University. The moves, which include the restructuring of three failing high schools, address issues that include deteriorating buildings, shrinking nrollments poor student achievement and state pressure to operate more efficiently.

BDC sued over west side

Companies controlled by Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos and developer David Hillman sued Baltimore Development Corp. and the city, asking that a multimillion-dollar deal with a New York-based developer to overhaul a key swath of the city's ailing west side be declared illegal and scrapped.

Miller backs rise in gas tax

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller proposed a 50 percent increase in the gasoline tax this year and resumed his push for slot machine gambling. Gov. Martin O'Malley was receptive to the gas tax proposal but did not explicitly endorse Miller's plan.

Juvenile center to close

Bowling Brook Preparatory School will close, officials said, forcing the state to scramble to find a place to house displaced juvenile offenders. The move comes after documents showed that five months before a student died while being restrained by staff, a school nurse told the state she was concerned about the safety of youths held there.

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