Ehrlich's State of the State praised by area lawmakers

January 27, 2006|by TAMELA BAKER


The speech is over, and the reviews are in.

And according to some critiques, Gov. Robert Ehrlich's State of the State address Thursday was the best of his administration.

"So far," Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, quickly added.

"I think it was straight talk; I think he threw down the gauntlet to the General Assembly," he said.

Repeating his theme that "we've changed Maryland and this year, there's more to do," Ehrlich challenged lawmakers to approve his legislative agenda this year.

"I think the governor painted a clear picture of our accomplishments in education, the environment and the economy," said Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, "and laid out what still needs to be done in this session."


Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, called Ehrlich's speech "brilliant," "superbly crafted" and "future-focused."

"I think the governor has a good vision of where we need to go," he said.

Among the issues Ehrlich addressed were his proposals for monitoring sex offenders, reform of medical malpractice laws, tax relief and the perennial issue of legalizing slot machine gambling in Maryland.

"I repeat my request for balanced, meaningful medical liability reform to help curb explosive growth in health-care costs. Passing a short-term subsidy to fix a long-term structural problem will not stand the test of time," Ehrlich said.

"He talked about things that are important to families in my district" such as protecting children from sex offenders, keeping doctors in Western Maryland and relieving tax burdens, Shank said.

And he spoke to "the results of the success of the first three years," said Del. LeRoy E. Myers, R-Washington, which translated for Myers into "jobs, jobs and more jobs. Three years ago Bob Ehrlich promised; now he's delivered."

One other thing that stood out to Myers - other than the governor's reference to the return of Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs - was Ehrlich's proposal to exempt military income for some retired veterans from state taxes. Myers said he'd like to see the state help other retired Marylanders, and "get our teachers' pensions in order."

Del. John Donoghue, the county's lone Democrat in the General Assembly, also complimented the governor's speech - with one criticism.

"The speech was very upbeat; as the governor correctly pointed out, we have a lot of work to do," he said.

While Ehrlich didn't spend as much time seeking respect as he did last year, he did ask the lawmakers to foster "healthy debate and respectful dissent" - free of partisan politics.

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