Assembly Digest

Assembly Digest

April 06, 2003|By From staff reports

City primary change gets preliminary OK from the Senate

The Senate gave preliminary approval yesterday to a measure that would move Baltimore's municipal primary to September of next year and reduce the next term for the mayor and City Council to two years.

Under the Senate's plan, the city would hold its local primary and general elections next year and again with the statewide races in 2006. The mayoral elections would then be held every subsequent four years with the state races.

Sen. George W. Della Jr. attempted to amend the legislation to give the next mayor and council a six-year term as suggested by a key city leader in the House of Delegates, but the Senate rejected the idea. Before the measure goes to the governor for his signature, the House must agree to the changes.

Delegates, senators agree on charter school proposal

A select panel of delegates and senators reached an agreement yesterday on a proposal to encourage more charter schools in Maryland.

The measure, which the conference committee believes Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. will accept, would allow private groups to establish schools upon the approval of local school boards. Schools that have been identified as failing by the state also could receive charters directly from the state school board.

Ehrlich threatened to veto charter schools legislation last month unless the power to grant the charters was given to someone other than local school boards. The governor and some charter school advocates say they fear local boards would be quick to reject applications.

Senate passes tuition bill for illegal immigrants

Despite several attempts to kill the legislation, the Senate passed a bill that would give in-state college tuition rates to illegal immigrants who attend a Maryland public high school for three years and graduate.

Senators also amended the measure to give in-state tuition to military personnel living in Maryland for a year and who are active or honorably discharged within a 12-month period. Some senators and delegates who oppose giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrants attempted to use military amendments to kill the bill.

But supporters of tuition for the undocumented immigrants changed the amendments to bolster support for the bill. The Senate and House must agree on the changes before it goes to the governor.

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