Van Hollen resigns budget position over proposed cuts...

ASSEMBLY DIGEST

March 06, 2002|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Van Hollen resigns budget position over proposed cuts

Sen. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. resigned his position as chairman of a Senate budget subcommittee yesterday to protest budget cuts being considered by the General Assembly.

The Montgomery County Democrat, who is running for Congress, said he was uncomfortable with the size of the cuts that he would be asked to defend before the full Senate as a subcommittee chairman. He retains his position as vice chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee.

Van Hollen said he would prefer that the Assembly raise the cigarette tax and delay at least a portion of the 2 percent income tax cut scheduled to take effect this year rather than make large cuts to health care, environmental programs and higher education. Gov. Parris N. Glendening praised Van Hollen for showing "courage and conviction" in supporting those priorities.

House OKs bill allowing mothers to leave babies

The House of Delegates passed a bill yesterday that would allow mothers to leave their newborn babies without being charged with a crime.

Passed by a 114-17 vote, the bill would permit a mother to give her baby to any "responsible person" within the first three days of the infant's life. The person who received the baby would have to take the child to a hospital, social service agency or police station or face criminal charges.

Currently, a mother who abandons her baby could be sentenced to up to three years in jail. Legislation pending in the Senate would allow new parents to leave their babies only at certain facilities.

Senate budget panel votes to eliminate workers' raise

The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee voted yesterday to eliminate a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for state employees from the governor's budget proposal.

Glendening had set aside $25 million in the budget for employee raises - the equivalent of a 2 percent raise effective next January.

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