Daily Briefing

DAILY BRIEFING

April 02, 2009

Energy regulation bill passes Senate vote

A plan to move the state back to a regulated energy market won approval Wednesday night in the Maryland Senate, after lawmakers sparred over whether the proposal would save ratepayers money. The Senate voted 27-19 for the plan that has the backing of Gov. Martin O'Malley. The Democratic governor said in a statement after the vote that he looks forward to working with the House of Delegates on the bill. But with less than two weeks left in the legislative session, the plan's fate is unclear. Under the proposal, residential and small commercial customers would come under a regulated system, and the state could order utilities to build power plants and set electricity rates.

Laura Smitherman

Legg Mason sells $49 million in SIVs

Legg Mason Inc. sold structured investment vehicles valued at about $49 million from its balance sheet, after removing all of the troubled debt from its money-market funds last month. Legg Mason also repaid debt and amended debt agreements, the Baltimore-based fund manager said Wednesday. The company paid $250 million of its revolving credit facility and reduced its revolver commitment to $500 million from $1 billion. Legg Mason sold $1.8 billion of SIVs on March 5 from its money-market funds, removing the distressed-debt investments that had afflicted its portfolios since the onset of the credit crisis in 2007. Structured investment vehicles seek to make money by issuing short-term securities at low interest rates and buying longer-term debt that pays higher rates.

Bloomberg News

Medical group accused of ADA violation

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Wednesday that it has filed a lawsuit against a Baltimore County medical practice for firing an employee who planned to return to work after breast cancer surgery. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Maryland, contends that Medical Health Group Inc. of Rossville violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by discriminating against Barbara Metzger, a 58-year-old referral clerk, who had worked at the company for nearly 25 years. Metzger was fired in 2007, about a week before her approved five-month medical leave ended, according to the suit. A company manager said that she had no knowledge of the suit.

Mary Gail Hare

TVI Corp. files for Chapter 11

TVI Corp., a Glenn Dale-based manufacturer of disaster shelters and other emergency equipment, sought protection on Wednesday from creditors under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code. The filing came in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Greenbelt. TVI, which faltered after attempting to diversify by buying a tent-rental company, expects to obtain court-approved financing from BB&T Corp. and to continue operations as usual, chief executive Harley Hughes said.

Jay Hancock

Utilities not compelled to protect wildlife

WASHINGTON : The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the government can weigh costs against benefits in deciding whether to order power plants to undertake environmental upgrades that would protect fish. The court's 6-3 decision is a defeat for environmentalists who had urged the justices to uphold a favorable federal appeals court ruling that could have required an estimated 554 power plants to install technology that relies on recycled water to cool machinery.

Associated Press

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