Senate wants city to explain lead paint payments
The amendment, offered by Baltimore Sen. Cathy Pugh, does not carry the force of law. It was approved by voice vote.
The House and Senate have passed different versions of the state's $1.45 billion capital budget. Pugh's amendment is one of many differences that will have to be worked out in conference committee meetings over the next 96 hours.
Pugh said she became outraged after reading a Baltimore Sun story that revealed the city's housing authority had no intention to pay roughly $12 million owed the victims of lead paint poisoning. “I think this is unconscionable," Pugh said. "We owe our citizens better than that.”
She denied this signaled her making a move into the 2011 mayor’s race. “This has nothing to do with that,” she said. But the second half of her answer was decidedly political: "It was not about taking a pot shot at the mayor or the city housing. It was a reaction to their lack of response to the public," she said.
An earlier draft of the amendment tied up funds for youth facility until a report was issues. The amendment that passed does not do that.
She talked about the well-documented harm caused by lead poisoning, including mental disabilities and behavioral problems that can lead to incarceration.
“It just makes no sense that we think we can walk away from a responsibility like this.”