Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (center) prepares to sign the first batch of bills passed by the General Assembly on Tuesday, joined by Senate President Mike Miller (left) and Speaker of the House Michael Busch (right).
But amidst all the new programs, benefits, fees and tax hikes, O'Malley felt one area of the General Assembly's work was being overlooked.
"This General Assembly came together in order to close a $1.4 billion gap, caused by the recession, between our revenues and our anticipated expenditures," he says.
Two of the governor's top priorities, wind power and a septic tank ban at major new developments, were put off for the year. Senate President Mike Miller said both issues will be back next year.
"There's a Chinese saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step -- that's the abolition of septic tanks. The areas where I come from, the Catholic church where I was an altar boy, still had outhouses. We didn't have a nice thing like septic tanks," he says.
Two of the big-name bills passed by legislators -- an increase in the alcohol tax and the allowance of in-state tuition at state colleges for illegal aliens -- won't be signed by the governor until the coming weeks.