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Alcohol Tax, Immigrant In-State Tuition Bills Pass Md. Legislature

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Republican Senator David Brinkley reads a book as he filibusters a bill that would allow illegal aliens to receive in-state tuition at state colleges.  While successful initially, the bill passed just before the Senate adjourned for the year.
Matt Bush
Republican Senator David Brinkley reads a book as he filibusters a bill that would allow illegal aliens to receive in-state tuition at state colleges. While successful initially, the bill passed just before the Senate adjourned for the year.

Earlier Monday, the bill seemed in jeopardy, after a Republican David Brinkley filibustered by reading a book aloud. Brinkley relented on blocking the measure after the it was amended to change the requirements that illegal aliens must meet to qualify for in-state tuition.

But he still did not vote for the bill.

"I don't think that it's appropriate, that we be passing along an enhancement for illegal people in here," Brinkley said.

The Senate also passed a sharp increase to the state alcohol tax that the House of Delegates approved earlier in the day. Sales tax on alcohol will increase from 6 to 9 percent.

Republican State Senator E.J. Pipkin was among the opponents of the tax hike.

"The most regressionary of taxes that you can get. The poorest of the poor will pay the same in this increase in tax, as the richest of the rich," Pipkin said after the vote.

But Democrat Richard Madaleno, one of the tax increase's biggest supporters, countered Pipkin's argument by pointing out the financial benefits for Maryland's public schools. "We are putting money into school construction. We have this money," he said. It's going to improve schools. It's going to create jobs."

The new taxes are expected to raise $85 million for the school system. The tax hike goes into effect July 1st.

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