O'Malley's Orders Skirt Assembly; Unionize Child, Health Workers

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 16, 2007 | Go to article overview

O'Malley's Orders Skirt Assembly; Unionize Child, Health Workers


Byline: Tom LoBianco, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

ANNAPOLIS - Gov. Martin O'Malley quietly signed two executive orders last week to unionize day care and in-home health care providers, after the General Assembly rejected similar legislation.

Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, signed the orders just before leaving for a weeklong vacation but made no official announcement except to list the orders on the administration Web site, which drew criticism from Republican lawmakers.

"I don't think you're going to find many people that will argue that we shouldn't be paying our workers fair wages," O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said in response to the criticism.

The orders, similar to bills that failed in legislative committees over the past five years, allow private child care providers and in-home health care providers to bargain collectively with the state.

Republican lawmakers said Mr. O'Malley's action was an "end-run" around the General Assembly.

"I think people thought maybe, because he was on vacation, we wouldn't be checking on things," said Senate Minority Whip Allan H. Kittleman, a Carroll and Howard counties Republican. He also serves on the Senate committee that rejected the child care worker bill in the past two years.

It remains unclear whether the orders violate the separation of powers between the governor's office and the General Assembly. …

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