Crunch time at the State House

Ethics re­form, sep­tic sys­tems top cross­over day agenda

The Washington Times Daily - - Metro - BY DAVID HILL

AN­NAPO­LIS | Law­mak­ers are work­ing over­time of late with just 15 days left in the 2012 Gen­eral Assem­bly and an im­por­tant dead­line loom­ing Mon­day.

With high-pro­file leg­is­la­tion such as same-sex mar­riage and the state bud­get largely set­tled, the House and Se­nate are work­ing fu­ri­ously to pass some of their most im­por­tant re­main­ing bills by Mon­day’s cross­over day — the date by which bills typ­i­cally must pass their ini­tial cham­ber to have a le­git­i­mate shot at be­com­ing law.

Leg­is­la­tors put in long hours Fri­day and Satur­day to pass sev­eral no­table bills ahead of the dead­line, in­clud­ing a mod­i­fied ver­sion of Gov. Martin O’mal­ley’s pro­pos­als to raise the state’s $30-a-year “flush tax.”

A num­ber of other bills — in­clud­ing Se­nate-pro­posed ethics re­forms and the gov­er­nor’s pro­posal to limit sep­tic sys­tems — could be top pri­or­i­ties for law­mak­ers Mon­day as they try to beat the clock.

The 76th day of the 90-day ses­sion is the final day on which bills can pass their ini­tial cham­ber and then be re­ferred im­me­di­ately to a stand­ing com­mit­tee in the op­po­site cham­ber. Any bills passed af­ter Mon­day must go to

BAR­BARA L. SAL­IS­BURY/THE WASHINGTON TIMES

“If you do it the way the bill came in, there’s ab­so­lutely no recog­ni­tion of prop­erty val­ues,” Sen. Thomas M. Mid­dle­ton, Charles Demo­crat, said of changes to the bill on sep­tic sys­tems.

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