Senate President Mike Miller is making a push for legislation to split teacher pension costs with local governments. Miller, D-Calvert County, testified Wednesday that change is needed to save Maryland from “a fiscal tsunami” of steeply rising pension costs. Five years ago, Miller noted, the total teacher pension cost was $475 million. This year, it’s $978 million. Maryland is one of the few states in the nation where the state picks up the entire cost of teacher pensions. The senate president, who is sponsoring the bill, said the current system is simply unsustainable.
Del. Carter Says She Is Ready To Vote On Same Sex Marriage Bill. When a Baltimore City delegate held out her House committee vote Tuesday on a same-sex marriage bill, she said she wanted attention for city school funding and her family bill. Having secured that attention, Delegate Jill Carter told WBAL-TV 11 News reporter David Collins on Wednesday afternoon that she’s ready to vote in favor of the marriage bill. Only now, it appears others on the House Judiciary Committee may be reconsidering their votes, Carter told Collins.
Westboro Wins Final Battle, Marine’s Family Saddened. A lawsuit filed against the Westboro Baptist Church that won judgment in Baltimore ultimately lost at the Supreme Court, and the family who filed the suit is now questioning where the country is headed.The First Amendment protects fundamentalist church members who mount attention-getting, anti-gay protests outside military funerals, The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. The court voted 8-1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan.The decision upheld an appeals court ruling that threw out a $5 million judgment to the father of the late Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who died in Iraq in 2006. Albert Snyder sued church members after they picketed his son’s funeral in Westminster.
7 UMD Sorority Members Charged With Hazing. Seven former and current University of Maryland sorority members have been charged with assault and hazing.The women were charged Wednesday after several incidents in October in which a student who was pledging Zeta Phi Beta said she was assaulted by the women.Those charged are Amber Bijou, 22; Bridget Blount, 24; Montressa Hammond, 24; Kandyce Jackson, 32; Tymesha Pendleton, 26; Zakiya Shivers, 26; and Monika Young, 23.The victim said she’d been informed during the pledging process that hazing wasn’t condoned at the sorority. But on several occasions in October, the victim said she was taken to homes in Prince George’s County and assaulted.