Gansler pushes proposals for session

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler released his wish-list for the 2014 legislative session Wednesday and it closely resembles the policies he's backed in his campaign for governor.

Gansler, a two-term Democrat, outlined five ideas he will push for next year including raising Maryland's minimum wage and doubling the amount of the state's electricity required to come from renewable sources.

Each year, Gansler releases legislative goals for the Maryland General Assembly session. As attorney general, Gansler doesn't have a direct influence on lawmaking, but his voice can carry political weight.

“Why accept the status quo when we can make Maryland a better place by providing a fair wage, honestly addressing the current failures of our criminal justice system and promoting sustainable, clean energy,” Gansler said in a statement.

This year, Gansler suggested raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 an hour. Montgomery and Prince George's counties in recent weeks have voted to raise the rate even higher in their jurisdictions, and advocates of higher wages are pushing for a statewide increase.

Both Gov. Martin O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Gansler's chief rival in the Democratic primary race for governor, have backed a higher wage in general but have not supported a specific dollar amount.

Gansler also suggested stricter penalties for people who commit domestic violence in front of children and opening a new attorney general satellite office for consumer protection issues in Prince George's County. 

In his campaign, Gansler has suggested a series of ideas to help inmates transition to life outside prison, reducing the likelihood they will end up back behind bars. Wednesday, he suggested that ex-offenders should be allowed to have certain non-violent crimes shielded from public criminal records searches used in job applications.

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