O’Malley optimistic on death penalty support -- Gazette.Net


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The vote needed in the Maryland Senate for repealing the death penalty might be within reach, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said Tuesday.

O’Malley told reporters that of the 24 Senate votes needed for repeal, 22 were likely in place.

“I think it’s very possible that there are two more senators that would vote for repeal,” O’Malley told reporters after a Democratic Party luncheon in Annapolis.

The governor favors repealing the law, but hasn’t yet said whether he will include a bill to do so in his 2013 legislative package, which he said he plans to unveil next week.

“I believe very firmly that the death penalty is a waste of money, and it’s ineffective,” O’Malley said. “You shouldn’t do things that are expensive and don’t work.”

The governor reaffirmed his desire for offshore wind energy development, gun control and transportation funding to be addressed in this year’s General Assembly session, which begins Wednesday.

Two options for transportation funding that were discussed last year –– a phased-in, 6 percent sales tax on gasoline and an overall, penny increase in the existing sales tax –– could come up again, O’Malley said.

“I’m agnostic on either of those. I think either way could raise the dollars we need,” he said, adding that he would prefer a single statewide solution rather than a plan that would see different rates in different regions of Maryland.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Dist. 30) of Annapolis told reporters that raising transportation revenue through a gas tax might not be feasible.

“It becomes very challenging when you have gas prices what they are today. So you might have to look into some other kind of initiative,” Busch said.

dleaderman@gazette.net