O'Malley Is Pressed to Veto Bill That Would Push Back Phosphate Ban

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By Annapolis Notebook
Sunday, April 27, 2008

Asenior Maryland senator is urging Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to veto a bill that would give companies more time to comply with Maryland's upcoming ban on phosphates in dishwasher detergents.

In a letter to O'Malley, Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery) said that pushing the effective date of the ban from January 2010 to July 2010 would "add up to 15,000 pounds of phosphates to Bay waters."

"Phosphates are particularly pernicious because they end up stored in sediments," wrote Frosh, who sponsored legislation last year authorizing the ban. "Once in the Bay, the phosphates resulting from [the pending bill] will be available for years to fuel the algal blooms that each summer day destroy oxygen in the Bay's deep waters and threaten underwater grasses in the shallows."

The bill allowing the delay, sponsored by Sen. Michael G. Lenett (D-Montgomery), passed the Senate 25 to 22 after heavy lobbying from Proctor & Gamble, one of the affected companies. The margin in the House of Delegates was far more comfortable, 105 to 33.

Lenett agreed to sponsor the bill at the request of the industry, which is seeking to align the date of Maryland's ban with those of other states with similar legislation.

O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said the governor is reviewing Lenett's bill. O'Malley has signed dozens of bills during three signing ceremonies since the April 7 conclusion of the legislative session. He has scheduled two more ceremonies, the last of which will be May 22. Any vetoes are likely to be announced about that time.

-- John Wagner

Printing Blunder Scraps Metal Bill

A printing error in the final hours of the General Assembly contributed to the death of a bill that would have helped police crack down on a growing concern, the theft of scrap metal.

The legislation would have required extensive new reporting to police to help them track illegal sales by thieves ripping scrap from construction sites, highways and cars. The role of Sen. Nathaniel Exum (D-Prince George's) in helping craft it stirred controversy.

Exum is the safety officer for Joseph Smith and Sons, one of Maryland's biggest scrap dealers. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Exum and several Smith executives were active in a work group that negotiated the parameters of the bill with local police departments.


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