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Banning assault weapons, repealing capital punishment and laying the groundwork to develop offshore wind received strong endorsements by Maryland's top state leaders, who were confident they would pass this year as lawmakers convened Wednesday for the first day of the legislative session.
Gov. Martin O'Malley said Tuesday he is considering the possibility of holding two special sessions, one next month to focus on a revenue package to avoid about a half a billion in budget cuts and another in August to address an expansion of gambling in the state.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch are known for not always seeing eye-to-eye.
On Wednesday, House Speaker Michael Busch will become the longest-serving speaker in Maryland history.
As a challenging legislative session looms in Maryland, Democratic and Republican leaders appealed to local officials Friday to be part of the process, while comments from leaders in the two parties suggest there will be plenty of fighting in Annapolis in a year when tax increases will be debated.
In what promises to be a challenging session, Maryland lawmakers will focus on continuing budget problems and the return of divisive legislation that stalled last year, including same-sex marriage, expanded gambling, offshore wind development and limits on septic systems.