Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Md Troopers Assoc #20 & Westminster Md Fire Dept Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

20080123 Press Release: Governor O'Malley Delivers 2008 State of the State Address

Press Release - Office of the Governor January 23, 2008

Governor O'Malley Delivers 2008 State of the State Address

Focuses on Protecting Maryland’s Priorities – Public Safety, Public Education, and Opportunity

ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 23, 2008) – Governor Martin O’Malley today delivered his second annual State of the State Address to the Maryland General Assembly focusing on the need to protect Maryland’s critical priorities – to strengthen and protect our middle class, to protect our commitment to improve public safety and public education in every region of our State, and to protect opportunity for the hard-working families of our State.

“The most important days in life are not always the easy days,” said Governor O’Malley in his address. “Time and again we have overcome challenges because of our respect for the dignity of every individual; because of our commitment to the common good; and because we have had the courage to protect our priorities especially when faced with great adversity.”

“For these reasons, Maryland has been a strong state,” he added. “But the future of our State is very much determined by the strength and the security of the families of Maryland – the hard-working and loving families that we have the honor and responsibility to represent. And today, the vast majority of Maryland’s families, like families throughout our country, are finding it harder and harder just to pay their bills and maintain the quality of life that they have worked so hard to achieve.”

During his speech, Governor O’Malley focused on public safety outlining a new proposal to expand DNA fingerprinting for violent offenders and reform the Department of Juvenile Services. In his first year in office, Governor O’Malley closed Maryland’s most troubled and violent prison – the Maryland House of Correction. The Governor’s proposed budget for FY 2009 includes funding to increase community supervision and surveillance of high risk juvenile offenders through the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, and provides historic funding levels to begin the overhaul of detention and treatment facilities for the State’s juvenile services. Governor O’Malley is also introducing legislation to require the collection of a DNA fingerprinting from offenders charged with a crime of violence or burglary at the time of their arrest. This evolution in Maryland’s DNA law is necessary to significantly decrease violent crime in our neighborhoods.

“One of our highest priorities this year will be to fight back against violent crime – wherever it occurs in Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “One year ago, I shared with you how deeply troubled our State public safety departments were. Over the course of this year, we have begun to make progress in turning this situation around so that our State gets back into the business of supporting local police departments and communities in the fight against violent crime.”

Governor O’Malley talked about the need to keep college tuition affordable for Maryland’s families. The Governor has proposed a tuition freeze at Maryland’s public colleges for the third year in a row to keep college tuition affordable for Maryland families. As a result, people like United States Marine Lance Corporal Will Amos, who has just returned from three tours of duty in Iraq, and who was in attendance for today’s address, will attend the University of Maryland, College Park using the Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship Program.

“We can once again hold the line against the rising cost of college tuition,” Governor O’Malley said. “Hard-working families in Maryland should be able to afford to send their children to Maryland colleges.”

Governor O’Malley also outlined his FY 2009 budget priorities and this year’s legislative agenda. Earlier this month, Governor O’Malley unveiled the FY 2009 budget, which grows less than the Spending Affordability Limit set by the General Assembly, while also saving $739 million in the Rainy Day Fund balance by the close of FY 2009. Governor O’Malley also cut spending by $550 million – on top of the $280 million in reductions achieved last July.

The Governor spoke about the need to protect homeownership in Maryland, including his comprehensive proposal to address the mortgage foreclosure crisis confronting families across Maryland. He discussed plans for a sustainable long-term environmental and energy policy for our State. In addition, Governor O’Malley is proposing measures to improve life-long learning opportunities for Maryland’s workforce, and provide local jurisdictions more flexibility to plan for economic development projects. Governor O’Malley is also sponsoring legislation to improve State services for our veterans who have courageously served our nation abroad.

Governor O’Malley used the address to discuss accomplishments during his first year in office to make government work again. In his first year in office, Governor O’Malley implemented StateStat, a performance measurement system that makes government more efficient and accountable. Today, 13 different departments participate in performance measured government to improve efficiency and service delivery.

Governor O’Malley stressed the importance of protecting Maryland’s most valued treasure – the Chesapeake Bay – and Maryland’s environment. In his first year in office, Governor O’Malley implemented several measures to improve the health of the Bay, and to protect the health of Maryland’s environment for Maryland’s children, including passing the Clean Cars Act, the Stormwater Management Act and creating the Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust Fund. In his address, Governor O’Malley asked for support in updating the Critical Areas Law, and support to do more for the health of the Bay with the Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust Fund.

“We need to update our Critical Areas Law so massive developments like the Four Seasons project on Kent Island should be prohibited at the first step in the process, not the last,” he said. “Last year, we vowed to use open space dollars for the purchase of open space. We started to apply performance measured management to the huge challenge of cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay with Baystat. We expanded cover crops to more acreage than ever before while continuing Oyster restoration efforts to help the Bay and watermen. With the creation of the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund we can do even more this year.”

He also asked for support of new legislation to promote Transit Oriented Development (TOD), a smart growth tool to revitalize communities and curb sprawl. The bill codifies TOD as a statewide transportation purpose and provides the legal framework and authority to advance TOD projects around the State. It will allow the Department of Transportation to designate TOD projects and use its property and resources to support mixed use and pedestrian friendly development around existing and future transit stations. In addition, Governor O’Malley vowed to take a number of efforts to secure fair and reasonable energy rates while also ensuring an adequate supply for our future.

Governor O’Malley vowed the importance of protecting Maryland’s priorities in order to protect Maryland’s future.

“I look forward to working with all of you, including members and leaders of the minority party in this chamber, and in local governments around our state, as we face the challenging times ahead,” he said.

“We know that Maryland is a stronger state than most. We can get through these tough economic times more quickly than other parts of our country; but only if we can continue to come together to protect the priorities that make us strong. We will take it from here, striving to do all that we can – especially in these difficult times – for the hardworking people we have the privilege to serve and the One Maryland we carry in our hearts.”

[ Read the speech - Listen to audio mp3 ]

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