The state Senate relented yesterday and agreed to allo Republican Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker his $40,000-a-year pension on top of his $80,000-a-year salary.
Maryland law prohibits retirees who receive state pensions from such "double-dipping," but the legislature passes bills every two years exempting newly elected officials. The exemption is intended to encourage retirees to run for generally low-paying municipal and county posts, but this year's bill also would apply to Mr. Ecker, who earned his pension after 36 years in the public school system.
The Senate thought it improper to permit a pension for someone with such a high-paying job and added an amendment denying pensions to county executives. But the House killed the amendment and sent the bill back to the Senate, which yesterday approved it, 42-1. The dissenting vote came from Mr. Ecker's Democratic colleague from Howard County, Sen. Thomas M. Yeager.
PAC limits bargain
House and Senate conferees agreed yesterday to reform Maryland's campaign finance laws by setting limits on how much money political action committees may contribute to candidates.
The conferees' reports must now be accepted by the two houses, an action that awaits tomorrow's final legislative day. The bill did not appear to face any major hurdle.
The agreement permits PACs to give up to $6,000 to each candidate during any four-year election cycle. Under current law, PACs may make unlimited contributions.
The bill would also raise the contribution limit for individual givers, moving the figure from $2,000 to $4,000 per cycle.
Maryland Common Cause hailed the agreement and credited the leadership of Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Prince George's, and House Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., D-Kent. Both men said they wished to sharply reduce the role of campaign fund raising in shaping public policy.
Quote of the day
"The possibility of a special session has been researched onlbecause threats have been made by the governor to veto all meaningful legislation enacted by the Assembly."
TD -- Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Prince George's Today The General Assembly has no meetings scheduled today.
Tomorrow is the last day of the 1991 General Assembly session.