Legislative Digest

Legislative Digest

March 23, 2003|By From staff reports

Anti-terrorism law advances despite civil rights concerns

Despite concerns from some lawmakers about possible civil rights infringement, the House of Delegates passed a measure yesterday creating a state crime for committing or threatening terrorism. Harboring a terrorist would also become a crime.

The bill, which passed 105-32, now goes to the Senate, where a similar proposal died last year. If approved, those convicted could face up to life in prison.

Supporters of the bill argued that the law is necessary so the state could prosecute cases such as the sniper attacks in the fall. Opponents countered that the federal government should be responsible for prosecuting terrorism-related crimes.

Senate OKs in-state tuition for undocumented aliens

One day after passing the House, a bill to give in-state tuition rates to undocumented immigrants who live in Maryland was approved by the Senate.

After some debate, the bill passed yesterday by a vote of 33-14, with all but one of the opponents Republican. Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said yesterday he would "have to be convinced" to sign the bill.

Should the bill become law, it would give in-state tuition rates at Maryland's public colleges and universities to students who have attended public schools in the state for at least three years and graduated.

Downtown Partnership expansion passes House

The House of Delegates voted unanimously yesterday to expand the boundaries of Baltimore's Downtown Commercial District Management Authority to include the Inner Harbor East and the western fringes of Fells Point.

The proposal requires commercial properties and the owners of four or more residential units in the area to pay a property tax surcharge. In exchange, they receive services offered by the Downtown Partnership, including marketing, promotion, safety escorts and cleaning teams.

Legislative analysts estimate the expanded boundaries would generate almost $300,000 in additional revenues for the partnership.

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