House OKs parental consent for tattoos
A proposal to require parental consent for tattoos and body piercings was unanimously approved yesterday by the House of Delegates, days after House Republicans tried and failed to amend the measure to address abortion rights as well. Last week, Del. Gail H. Bates, a Howard County Republican, tried to amend the bill on the chamber floor to have it require parental consent for "other invasive surgical procedures," language intended to refer to abortion. Over heated GOP objections, House Speaker Michael E. Busch, an Anne Arundel County Democrat, declined to consider that amendment, arguing that it changed the purpose of the bill and was therefore out of order. The bill was approved yesterday without discussion on the House floor. The Senate has yet to take action on the measure.
Bill would let owner provide trust for pet
Marylanders would be able to provide for their household pets in the event that the human owner dies before Fido under a bill given preliminary approval in the House of Delegates yesterday. Under the bill, a financial trust could be set up lasting the lifetime of the animal. Other states already allow such trusts. Del. A. Wade Kach, a Baltimore County Republican, said he introduced the legislation at the request of a constituent who worried that her cat would outlive her. Del. John A. Olszewski Jr., a dog-loving Baltimore County Democrat, joined cat-owner Kach as a co-sponsor.
Proposed pay raise for judges rejected
The General Assembly overwhelmingly approved legislation that effectively rejects proposed salary increases for Maryland judges but sets up a mechanism for possible pay raises next year. Lawmakers balked at a recommendation from the Judicial Compensation Commission, an independent panel, that judges get a pay increase of almost $40,000 over the next four years. But the bill calls for the panel to convene in September to consider judicial salary levels, instead of at its next scheduled meeting in four years. The House of Delegates voted 132-to-1 for the bill yesterday, after Senate approval earlier this month. Gov. Martin O'Malley plans to sign the bill, a spokesman said.
Bill advances to deny gun offenders bail
One of Mayor Sheila Dixon's top priorities for the General Assembly advanced yesterday when the House of Delegates gave preliminary approval to a measure to prevent bail commissioners from releasing convicted gun offenders if they are arrested again. The law, which Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III has said will "take guns out of the hands of bad guys," would require courts to hold convicted gun offenders on a no-bail status if they have a new arrest. The bill still requires final approval by the House and consideration by the Maryland Senate.