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O'Malley Pushes for Wind, Gun Legislation

The governor's seventh State of the State address is seen by many as a prelude to an expected run for president in 2016.

Gov. Martin O'Malley Wednesday urged lawmakers to pass his offshore wind bill and find more money for transportation projects—though he offered no details on a gas tax initiative.

In his seventh State of the State speech, the Democratic governor also used his 35-minute address to remind legislators of what he sees as his major accomplishments since taking office in 2007.

In many ways, the speech seemed to lay the groundwork for what many expect will be a run for President in 2016.

Choice was a major theme in O'Malley's speech.

"Better choices. Better results. The proof is in our progress," O'Malley said.

[Read O'Malley's speech as prepared or watch it.]

O'Malley's Legislative Wish List

On the top of O'Malley's wish list are the passage of a bill creating a subsidy for an electricity-generating windmill farm off the coast of Ocean City, MD as well as stricter gun laws, the repeal of the death penalty and funding for transportation projects.

"There’s another important thing we can do this year to create jobs and that is off-shore wind," O'Malley said "Moving forward with off-shore wind could make Maryland, the new manufacturing hub for wind turbines. We will create jobs and we will generate abundant, clean, renewable energy, but only if we choose. Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, member of the General Assembly, let’s get this done this year."

O'Malley also urged lawmakers to deal with the growing list of unfunded transportation projects.

"There is no reason why we should be content with living with the worst traffic congestion in the country," O'Malley said.

Local jurisdictions have seen some of the biggest cuts in state transportion funding. Since 2007, most local governments have seen the amount of state money for road construction and repairs cut by 90 percent.

In his State of the State speech last year, the governor proposed a gas tax increase to fund those projects. O'Malley offered no such initiative this year.

Instead, he thanked Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller for his work on the issue.

Miller has called for a 3 percent tax on the wholesale price of gas in addition to the 23.5 cents per gallon Marylanders already pay.

The Senate president has also called for regional transportation authorities in the Baltimore and Washington areas that would oversee funding and construction of additional mass transit project such as the red and purple lines.

Miller's plan would also allow local jurisdictions to add a tax of 5 cents per gallon of gas to help fund local roads projects.

In the wake of shootings at schools in Newtown, CT and Perry Hall, MD, O'Malley is seeking stricter gun laws in the state.

"I ask you to ban the sale of military assault weapons in Maryland," O'Malley said. "I ask you to require a license for the purchase of all handguns but not hunting rifles."

The governor is also calling for the repeal of the death penalty in Maryland.

O'Malley said the death penalty is not an effective deterrent and "cannot be administered without racial bias."

"The death penalty is expensive and it does not work and we should stop doing it," he said.

Maryland has not executed an inmate since Wesley Eugene Baker in December 2005. Five inmates remain on death row but the state has had a moratorium on executions since the Court of Appeals ruled that execution protocols were not properly adopted.

Those protocols have not been updated because one of the drugs used in the three-drug cocktail is no longer available.

Republican Disapproval

O'Malley's speech was met with strong disapproval from House and Senate Republicans.

"He took credit for a lot of successes that don't exist," said Del. Anthony O'Donnell, House Minority Leader. "The people I know are all hurting and he wants to raise their taxes."

O'Donnell took issue with O'Malley's claim that job creation must be a top priority.

"It's all lip service," O'Donnell said. "He says that but then pushes policies that hurt businesses."

Rather than focusing on the specific needs of Marylanders, the policies O’Malley spelled out in his speech had more to do with Democrats’ national agenda of taxes and gun control, said Sen. E.J. Pipkin, an Upper Shore Republican and Senate Minority leader.

“He’s coming for your money…he’s coming for your guns,” Pipkin said.

White House Aspirations

For some, the speech was a prelude to O'Malley's expected run for President in 2016.

“Today wasn’t just a State of the State speech, it was an ‘I want your (presidential) nomination’ speech,” said Todd Eberly, assistant professor of political science and public policy at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

As O’Malley, 50, enters the last half of his second term as governor, major speeches like the State of the State address can take on added significance.

O’Malley, who just completed two years as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and was prominently featured at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, is widely believed to have national political aspirations.

His name has been mentioned along with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as possible 2016 candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"When he runs for President he's going to be the best thing that's ever happened to the Maryland Republican party," said O'Donnell. "He's going to make Republicans look like mainstream moderates. This guy is to the left of [President Barack] Obama."

Capital News Service reporter Lucas High contributed to this report.

jag January 31, 2013 at 10:12 PM
"think Solyndra" What a freakin sheep. What, think Solyndra because some conservative nut told you to? Because Solyndra has exactly nothing to do with anything in this article. What on earth does a freaking windmill have to do with a private solar company? I can't stand people who are so uneducated that they just regurgitate whatever talking point they heard 3 years ago and pretend like it was ever relevant, much less to this situation.
Chris W January 31, 2013 at 10:37 PM
Americans are simply not prepared to make the lifestyle changes required to live off of wind and solar. Most renewables are way more expensive per kilowatt than traditional sources. If we were serious about energy independence we would be building nuclear power plants. Cheap, safe, and clean compared to other options.
1ke January 31, 2013 at 11:28 PM
Are we still talking about demand for electricity? What is this demand for wind?
BadStatistics February 01, 2013 at 04:25 PM
Not much description of successful wind-farming stories on here. I would like to point out that the UK and other Economically Developed Countries have successfully promoted and grown offshore wind farms to their (and their investors) advantages. Furthermore, why should the United State's continue to lag behind our developed counterparts in 'other' energy? Can you please provide me with a concrete example of a new technology or energy sector where you think the United States should lead the World? It used to be NASA, for a penny on your dollar, led the United States from manufacturing marvel to technological haven. Now you want to cut their budget, while not reinvesting that money elsewhere. What do we put those funds into? Do we just spend now and forget investing in our future? Isn't that how we got to where we are now?
JustABill February 01, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Steve, The entire country's population increased 9.7% and while Maryland's growth was only 9% below the national average it was the fastest growing state on the East coast in one major category, immigrants. I almost never use the Baltimore Sun as my go to source because of their blatant leftist slant on most articles but in this case they simply cannot recreate the facts from the Census so here you go. http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-12-21/news/bs-md-census-population-20101228_1_hispanic-population-maryland-population-population-shifts Ironically since O'Malley has been in office there was another 9% increase in the number Maryland residents in poverty as the numbers show from 2007 to 2011. So I do not think your misguided claim is all that incorrect, Maryland's population is growing but it is growing with the wrong people to help increase revenues through the tax base.
M. Sullivan February 01, 2013 at 07:35 PM
Frank, CO2 is CO2, all the same regardless of the source, Einstein.
1ke February 01, 2013 at 07:38 PM
I wouldn't call that extreme left, amark. But, it more or less represents my stance. "Rich" might equal two standard deviations beyond the average household income of approximately $50,000 per year in Maryland. Stimulus in order to avoid sudden, massive deflation is indicated. Education is viewed as a function of government not as an industry. Basic healthcare is a right, not a commodity on sale to the highest bidder. Firearms purchased in the open (transparently,eh?), registered and used for hunting or for sport is legitimate. And, yes, we need to hang together or hang severally. Life is tough in a hard world with diminishing natural resources. Predatory individualism will be the death of nearly all of us.
1ke February 01, 2013 at 07:40 PM
Check him out, CP. Tell him there is no role for government. You lout!
Sanchez February 01, 2013 at 07:42 PM
What can possibly be the difference between CO2 and CO2?
M. Sullivan February 01, 2013 at 07:50 PM
The only real reason for the success of alternative energy in Europe is cost. Economics will always control the ultimate success or failure of wind power unless it is artificially supported by govt. If fossil fuels were cheap in Europe, wind power would face the same obstacles as in the U.S.
BadStatistics February 01, 2013 at 08:09 PM
Economics in Europe are that the government discourages fossil fuel usage through high taxation on their use/attainment. That's not really cost economics, that is good policy. How about we prop the gas tax up $3 a gallon here in the U.S., use the billions of dollars to fund additional public transportation and offshore wind farms that reduce our needs for fossil fuels. Would that make you feel better about it? I just think we have the opportunity to do both.
jag February 01, 2013 at 08:58 PM
wtf are you talking about? A. the wind legislation has been pushed for years by O'Malley - pick up a newspaper, guy. B. "NOT ONE SINGLE TIME have I seen a person who purchased a handgun legally use it to commit a crime" This quite possibly is the dumbest statement ever uttered and also completely misses the entire point of the reforms O'Malley is pursuing. "That is just sad..." indeed.
Sanchez February 01, 2013 at 09:02 PM
We can be secure in the knowledge that Owe'Malley will do a much better job than Spain did right?... "Spain stops wind turbines to balance supply Spain had to shut down some of its wind turbines on Wednesday as wet and windy weather caused a surge in green electricity generation at a time of low demand, grid operator Red Electrica said. The country's thousands of wind turbines supplied a new record of 54.1 percent of demand early on Wednesday, forcing gas- and coal-fired power plants to run at minimum output to avoid system overload as hydropower companies drained brimming reservoirs." http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/12/30/us-spain-wind-record-idUSTRE5BT2K620091230
Sanchez February 01, 2013 at 09:03 PM
Spain Stops Green Energy Subsidies Spain halted subsidies for renewable energy projects to help curb its budget deficit and rein in power-system borrowings backed by the state that reached 24 billion euros ($31 billion) at the end of 2011. “What is today an energy problem could become a financial problem,” Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria said in Madrid. The government passed a decree today stopping subsidies for new wind, solar, co-generation or waste incineration plants. The system’s debts were racked up as revenue from state- controlled prices failed to cover the cost of delivering power. Costs have swollen in the past five years because of an increase in regulated payments for the power grid, support for Spanish coal mines and subsidies for renewable energy plants. http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/44251
jag February 01, 2013 at 09:11 PM
"Most renewables are way more expensive per kilowatt than traditional sources." That's the entire point of govt. investment. Why do you think the "traditional sources" are affordable? First, generations of public investment, subsidization that still exists today on a massive scale. Second, over the years the cost of anything comes down as efficiency naturally goes up. Solar is already a fraction of the cost is was even 5 years ago. In another 5 years it might very well be cheaper than drilling, shipping, refining, transporting, distributing oil/coal. That's the entire point of investment and progress (I know that's a bad word in your circles, but it's true).
Sanchez February 01, 2013 at 09:22 PM
"How about we prop the gas tax up $3 a gallon" And that would do what to small business with 3 or 6 trucks on the roads every day? What would that do to the price of food? What would that do to the coat of EVERYTHING delivers by the use of fossil fuels?
Sanchez February 01, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Why are we not doing more with natural gas? The ONLY alternative to transportation fuels we have now or for the next 30 years? We will still need to drill for oil if for nothing else but the thousands and thousands of products we use daily that use oil in their manufacture. One 42-gallon barrel of oil creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline. The rest (over half) is used to make things like: http://www.ranken-energy.com/Products%20from%20Petroleum.htm
jag February 01, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Sanchez...it's called diesel. Diesel =/= gasoline. Not that I agree with BadStatistics, but that certainly isn't based off some loose relation to the "what about the small businesses!" talking point you're trying to regurgitate and fit to the situation.
Sanchez February 01, 2013 at 09:36 PM
Regurgitate? Bite me jag! Go to hell. When the price of gas rises so does the price of diesel. Regurgitate that!
jag February 01, 2013 at 09:36 PM
"Second, over the years the cost of anything comes down as efficiency naturally goes up." Though, to argue with myself, that certainly isn't necessarily the case with non-renewables. Obviously, setting up a massive rig many miles offshore because all the easy-to-reach oil is already out of the ground is extremely expensive compared to the good ol' days.
jag February 01, 2013 at 09:40 PM
Are you an idiot? You think wind turbines meeting demand and some having to be temporarily shutdown is a bad thing? FYI, since, as you've made clear you're an idiot, coal plants are regularly shut down or brought online depending on demand as well. That's how a freakin power grid works, genius. Jesus help me, the things I have to explain to you.
amark February 01, 2013 at 09:46 PM
I believe in freedom and individual rights 1ke. You believe in collectivism. That is just a difference between you and me.
1ke February 01, 2013 at 09:59 PM
Funny, though, amark, I feel kinda free. I mean, don't you? There is not much that I want to do that I am prevented from doing. I guess my only limits are my lack of ambition and drive to be something other than what I am. I feel badly for poor people who need a better cut of the action. I hate institutional racism that carves the republic into pieces. I do not like the fact that I am despised in some circles because I am an American.
Carol February 01, 2013 at 11:56 PM
I wuld like to say one reason we have so many things happening in this Country....We have taken God out of most things and if some people had their way they wouldn't want any body speaking the name God or Jesus unless it was cursing His name. When we were in School we never heard of the things kids have to deal with now days, and come on we are suppose to be so much better off then before. I think every School, Office Building and Police Dept. Local Officials and Government should pray each morning as we did before we started our Class and read from the Bible, I believe we would see a change in our Country our kids and the teachers and guess what it doesn't cost one cent not one cent. WE NEED TO PUT GOD BACK IN OUR SCHOOLS, OUR COUNTRY, AND OUR LIVES. WE NEED TO STOP LETTING PEOPLE TELL US WHAT WE CAN AND CANNOT DO IN OUR OWN SCHOOLS AND CUNTRY. PUT GOD BACK IN, HE WON'T PUSH HIMSELF ON ANYONE BUT HE WILL OPEN HIS ARMS TO EVERYONE.
jm February 02, 2013 at 01:10 AM
DemocRATS keep drinking your kool aid. You fall for everythi g and stand for nothing .people are leaving md soon to be the California of the east so keep voting for those unamerican political azzes you deserve the government you voted for
Steve February 02, 2013 at 01:37 AM
Like I posted before, people aren't leaving. We are gaining in population.
M. Sullivan February 02, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Hey Carol. "cuntry"? Hahahahahahahaha!
Penelope Patch February 03, 2013 at 03:04 AM
jag, have you ever thought of anger management classes?
Penelope Patch February 03, 2013 at 03:17 AM
J, Thanks for putting your life on the line every day as a law enforcement officer. I am sure you never know what you are going to be confronted with on a daily basis. Having previously worked with government on many levels, you are absolutely correct in saying that they are the problem. Unfortunately, a lot of time and money is wasted on trying to work around the needless barriers concocted by government "lifers" who were in their positions by virtue of connections not intelligence or skill. Folks are a little misguided about the gun issue. What they really need to be talking about is having appropriate access to quality mental health services. Our mental health system in this state is deplorable due to managed care and cost-cutting. We also need to be screening troubled youth at a much earlier point in their lives, versus turning a blind eye to what is seen coming in the school doors each and every morning. Teachers and school administrators can and must do better. We need to create a better safety net for our youth. Keep in mind that during O'Malley's tenure, he has consistently cut funding for services to children and families.
Tom Hope February 03, 2013 at 08:55 PM
I'll try to throw a different twist on this topic.... Look up the amendment Representative Jose Serrano from New York is proposing to the 22nd Amendment of our Constitution.

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