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Wind Energy Becomes First Bill Signed By Gov. O'Malley

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)-- Putting wind to work. Governor Martin O'Malley signs the wind energy bill.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains it is the first new law signed after the General Assembly session ended at midnight Monday.

This is a landmark year for Gov. O'Malley. He got everything he wanted, including a wind energy bill.

It was the first bill he predicted would pass and the first signed into law Tuesday.

"Offshore wind. The heart of all new job creation is innovation: innovation in terms of the things we make and how we make them and in this case renewable energy," O'Malley said.

The Offshore Wind Energy Act authorizes a $1.7 billion subsidy to developers of an offshore wind farm.

The money will come from an extra dollar and a half per month, paid by all residential electric customers.

Offshore wind must then provide 2.5 percent of Maryland's electricity.

"Marylanders would be hired in part of the initial construction, and more than 1,000 businesses across Maryland believe that they have one of the 8,000 components of these offshore wind turbines," said Jen Broack-Cancellieri, wind power advocate.

The wind farm would be located 30 miles off the coast of Ocean City.

The governor has consistently said ratepayers will not see an increase on their bills for years.

The project requires the cooperation of the federal government.

The job creation bill was also signed Tuesday. It allows employers to apply for grants to train people in industries that have a hard time finding skilled workers.

"We know in our state there's a big gap between the jobs that are open and the skills our people have in order to fill those jobs," said O'Malley.

Other major bills approved by the Legislature that will be signed later include a sweeping gun control bill and a repeal of capital punishment.

A bill that didn't make it was legislation designed to undo the court ruling that declared pit bulls "inherently dangerous."

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