Cumberland Times-News

Local News

January 23, 2014

O’Malley calls for minimum wage hike in final address

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley used his final State of the State speech on Thursday to urge lawmakers to raise the state’s minimum wage and to assure residents his administration would keep working on the troubled health care exchange.

The term-limited governor, making his eighth annual speech to the Maryland General Assembly, said raising minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour by 2016 would help the economy.

“When every worker earns more money, every business has more customers, and — by the way — every taxpayer is relieved from funding poverty programs for workers who are being paid poverty-level wages,” the Democrat said.

The governor also wants to index the minimum wage in 2017 to keep up with inflation. His proposal would increase the cash wage rate that business would pay to tipped workers from 50 percent to 70 percent of the state’s minimum.

Lawmakers will be wrestling with how to raise the minimum wage in a diverse state. Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in the suburbs of the nation’s capital already have decided to raise the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by 2017. Lawmakers have said rural parts of the state will have a hard time raising the wage that much. Some say different regions will need to have flexibility.

Del. Tom Hucker, D-Montgomery, said he thinks the minimum wage bill has strong prospects this year, though he expects a vigorous debate over the proper amount. He supports a statewide increase that would leave room for counties to further increase their local minimum wages.

O’Malley, who is considering a run for the White House in 2016, used the 31-minute speech to reflect on tough budget choices he has made throughout his tenure during the Great Recession, while still managing to invest in high levels of education funding and maintaining the state’s triple-A bond rating.

The governor also highlighted some of his main accomplishments on social issues during his tenure. They included legalizing same-sex marriage, repealing capital punishment and allowing in-state tuition rates for immigrants who are in the country illegally, if they have paid state income taxes.

However, the governor noted ongoing problems with the health care exchange. The troubled rollout has been frustrating for state officials who aspired to make Maryland a model for health care reform implementation. O’Malley described the glitch-ridden exchange website as “a source of great frustration, especially for those Marylanders who were looking forward to obtaining health care for the very first time in their lives.”

“My administration and I have not succeeded at every first try, but we have never ever given up,” O’Malley said. “We learn from both success and failure. Sometimes failure kicks the deepest spur, so we will continue to improve. We will continue to help those seeking health care and we will continue to enroll as many Marylanders as possible by the March 31 deadline.”

O’Malley also called attention to reduced crime rates in Maryland. He said violent crime is now at a 30-year low, and fewer people are now incarcerated in Maryland’s prisons now than at any time since 1994. However, the governor avoided mention of a variety of steps he is taking this year to increase prison security in the aftermath of the federal indictments of 44 people last year in a contraband conspiracy involving correctional officers and gang members at the Baltimore City Detention Center. The indictments included charges against 27 correctional officers.

O’Malley is pushing for changes to the Correctional Officers’ Bill of Rights to enable internal investigators to bring charges against a correctional officer, if a criminal investigation takes longer than 90 days. He also has put money in the budget security cameras and for technology to make contraband cellphones useless in the Baltimore facility and to boost the internal investigations unit by 12 new positions. The governor has included $4 million in the budget to hire 100 more correctional officers.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • House of cards House of cards

    Sixth-graders James Patalinghug, left, and Nina Cutter build a multilevel tower out of index cards Tuesday afternoon at Washington Middle School. The activity was part of a science, technology, engineering, math, known as STEM, lesson designed to teach students about load distribution, friction and gravity.
     

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • CORY ORNDORFF Green Spring man sentenced to 40 years for toddler’s death

    ROMNEY, W.Va. — Hampshire County Circuit Court Judge H. Charles Carl III sentenced 22-year-old Cory A. Orndorff of Green Spring to 40 years in prison for one count of child abuse resulting in the death of an 18-month-old child Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Glen Bell, a public information officer 900-acre Bear Den wildfire 70 percent contained

    CENTERVILLE, Pa. — A 900-acre wildfire on Wills Mountain in Bedford County was said Wednesday to be “the largest fire in Pennsylvania this spring season,” according to Cecile Stelter, Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry public information officer.
    The fire that was reportedly situated mostly on state game lands began Saturday at about 2 p.m., with initial firefighting efforts handled by the Cumberland Valley Township Volunteer Fire Department at Centerville.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • System to provide firefighters quick access could be required in new Mineral businesses

    KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Commission agreed to look into the possibility of implementing an ordinance that would require new commercial businesses to install a KNOX-BOX Rapid Entry System.

    April 23, 2014

  • Puff & Stuff owners agree to settlement over claims they sold synthetic drugs

    CUMBERLAND — Charles and Traci Casey, owners of Puff & Stuff stores in Cumberland and LaVale, have agreed to forfeit $173,988.61, to settle claims that they sold synthetic drugs at their stores.

    April 23, 2014

  • Mall maulers

    Chad Trail, Rick Ryan, Mike Lawrence and Rusty Pyles, Cumberland Street Department employees, work on replacing the concrete strips that run between the bricks on the Downtown Cumberland Mall between Centre and Liberty streets.

    April 23, 2014

  • CHARLES  SEVERANCE W.Va. judge orders Severance extradited to Virginia

    WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — A man wanted for questioning in relation to three unsolved slayings in Alexandria, Va., in the past decade should be extradited to Virginia on an unrelated weapons charge, a West Virginia judge ruled Wednesday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Keyser man faces charges in Easter incident

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Mineral County Prosecuting Attorney Jay Courrier is faced with deciding whether to charge a Keyser man with disturbing a religious worship.

    April 23, 2014

  • 43-year-old receives prison time for molesting his niece

    CUMBERLAND — A 43-year-old city man was sentenced Wednesday to a 10-year prison term for the sexual assault of a 5-year-old girl, according to the Office of the State’s Attorney for Allegany County.

    April 23, 2014

  • ISAAC SPONAUGLE Isaac Sponaugle seeking re-election to West Virginia House of Delegates

    FRANKLIN, W.Va. — Del. Isaac Sponaugle of Franklin announced recently that he will seek re-election to the West Virginia House of Delegates for the 55th District. Sponaugle will be seeking his second term as delegate after having been first elected in 2012.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo