Legislative Digest

LEGISLATIVE DIGEST

March 31, 2005

Plan to publicly finance campaigns is abandoned

Supporters abandoned their effort to create a public financing system for Maryland election campaigns yesterday, conceding they do not have enough support in the House of Delegates.

Del. Jon S. Cardin, the Baltimore County Democrat who was the bill's lead sponsor in the House, said he was surprised that the bill got as far as it did this year - it received a favorable report from the Ways and Means Committee - but he said not enough time remains in the session to win majority approval. The bill was re-referred to the committee yesterday, effectively killing it for the year.

The plan would have provided funds to incumbents and challengers for House and Senate races who collect a minimum number of petition signatures and small contributions supporting their candidacies. The system would have been financed through a voluntary check-off on state tax returns.

House votes to eliminate agency for youth, families

The House of Delegates voted yesterday to eliminate the Office of Children, Youth and Families, a long-troubled state agency that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. wanted to revive.

Despite objections from Republicans, who favored Ehrlich's plan to make OCYF a Cabinet-level agency, the House voted, 90-42, to eliminate the office and transfer its functions to other state agencies.

The House had eliminated most of the agency's positions in the budget. But the Senate passed a bill that would extend the office's life for a year while a commission studies its functions.

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