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O'Malley signs bills into law

April 11, 2007|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

ANNAPOLIS - Gov. Martin O'Malley on Tuesday signed into law bills covering child support payments, drug-exposed infants, jury selection and other wide-ranging topics.

The bills were passed during the 2007 Maryland General Assembly session, which finished Monday.

A bill sponsored by Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, was among those O'Malley signed. The bill changed the compensation for deputy medical examiners from a fee set by statute to a budget item, creating year-to-year flexibility.

Although Munson was the sole sponsor, he didn't attend the bill's signing, which was a ceremonial celebration. Lawmakers whose bills passed were on the list posed for pictures with O'Malley, House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.

Sen. George C. Edwards, R-Garrett/Allegany/Washington, had three bills on Tuesday's list, but he also didn't attend, so his bills weren't signed during the public ceremonial portion.

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One of Edwards' bills changes financial restrictions for mining companies. The other two bills cover Garrett County issues.

O'Malley's office said the governor signed 105 bills. However, because both the House and the Senate versions of bills were counted, the number of new or amended laws was close to half that number.

Two items high on O'Malley's list of legislative priorities were among the bills he signed Tuesday: the creation of a subcabinet on base realignments and closures, and the establishment of StateStat, a performance management system for state agencies.

Other bills of note were a change in how Maryland could award its presidential electoral votes and a call for divesting from companies that do business in Sudan.

Sitting together at the State House, O'Malley, Miller and Busch - all Democrats - praised the General Assembly for its work this year.

Miller said it was unusual that the Democrats, the majority, stood and applauded the work of the Republicans in the minority.

Even when legislators disagreed, they did it in a civil way, O'Malley said.

O'Malley is expected to hold other bill-signing ceremonies in the coming weeks.

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