Death penalty, gas tax to go before Maryland general assembly

Gay marriage is legal. The gambling fight is over for now. But Maryland lawmakers have a new wave of controversial bills to deal with.

And former state senator David Harrington says Governor Martin O'Malley is the theme this year.

“If you really want to have a legacy on the national scene and you really want to communicate that on the national way, in the national scene, this is the time do to it,” says Harrington, now the president and CEO of the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce.

And this year is full of controversial issues - with the repeal of the death penalty topping the list.

O'Malley has tried before to eliminate the hotly-contested law. This could be his last chance to make a historic move.

But Senator Brian Frosh said earlier this year that just getting the bill out of committee will be tough.

“It's life and death and people don't usually change their mind during a legislative session the way they do on other less high profile bills,”{ }says Frosh, D-Montgomery County.

A proposal to raise the gas tax will also emerge. It's a way to pump money into a strained transportation budget.

Del. Sam Arora, D-Montgomery County, told Newstalk’s Bruce DePuyt Tuesday that no one wants to raise taxes.

“I think we'll likely see opposition from the more conservative lawmakers who just don't want to support any tax,” Arora says.

O'Malley's other projects include wind energy and gun laws. And, with America's mind on firearms, this could be O'Malley's year to make history on a national stage.

“He has aspirations, there’s no doubt about that,” Harrington says. “So he needs to position himself as someone who has really thought for these social causes.”