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Lawmakers Return to Annapolis for a Special Session

Gale Horton Gay | , WI Staff Writer | 5/10/2012, 5:37 p.m.

School is not entirely out for the summer for members of the Maryland General Assembly.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Michael Busch reached agreement last week that lawmakers would be called back to Annapolis on May 14 to begin a special session.

Raquel Guillory, the governor's communications director, said that the session will "focus solely on fixing the budget."

She speculated that the session would last a couple of days.

Whether an additional session will be called to address unfinished business such as gaming has yet to be determined, Guillory said.

The 2012 Maryland legislative session wrapped up in April with the passage of 791 bills but without agreement on numerous others including a tax increase to cover the administration's proposed budget. While budget activity focused on attempts to reduce the structural deficit to eliminate the shortfall between general fund revenues and spending, lawmakers couldn't reach accord on a state budget.

This led to the so-called "doomsday" budget with a half billion dollars in contingent cuts in education, public safety, libraries and other programs expected to go into effect. Prince George's County is facing $70 million in cuts, according to one expert. These cuts go into effect July 1 if the legislature doesn't pass a revenue measure.

"There is too much at stake not to move forward," O'Malley said. "I'm confident that we can come together with the Senate president and House speaker to complete this most important work for the people of our state."

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