November 6, 2009

State Roundup, November 6, 2009

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It’s already looking bad for electric re-regulation proposals that might come before the General Assembly next year. Alan Brody and Sean Sedam write in The Gazette that Del. Dereck Davis, who heads the Economic Matters Committee where a proposal failed last year, is not planning to let electric re-regulation consume his panel’s time.

Gov. Martin O’Malley said Thursday night he would help businesses deal with an expected tripling in unemployment insurance rates, WBAL Radio reports with the Associated Press. The Post had an advance on an address before the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, but few specifics were available on the plan this morning.

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Pat Jessamy is pushing for the state to toughen its anti-gang laws, as her office makes its first prosecution under a law passed to toughen penalties for crimes proven to be gang-related. Peter Hermann reports in The Baltimore Sun that prosecutor in the state have used the 2007 law three times, and failed twice.

The IRS is waiting for 1,600 Marylanders to claim $1.7 million in tax refunds, Eileen Ambrose reports in The Sun.

Republican National Committee Chairman and former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele visited Johns Hopkins University Thursday, and urged more young people to get into politics, The Sun reports.

Montgomery County might sue the state to challenge a ruling by Attorney General Doug Gansler that the county didn’t meet the state’s minimum level of education spending, Nelson Hernandez writes in The Washington Post. Prince George’s and Wicomico counties were denied waiver requests on education as well this year, Marcus Moore writes in the Gazette.

Katherine Shaver writes in the Post that the Maryland Transit Administration has calculated that it could get enough riders to convince the federal government to help pay for a “Corridor Cities Transitway” roughly along Interstate 270.

Erin Cunningham reports in The Gazette that Montgomery County’s plans to overhaul its transit system could overlap with the state’s transitway planning.

Pamela Wood reports in The Capital that the federal government is raising its limit for pollutants making their way into the Chesapeake Bay, though the Bay has far exceeded even the new, higher limit in the past year.

The Associated Press writes that the state’s tax amnesty program, which ended Oct. 30, is netting about $9.6 million. That’s well short of the $39.5 million the state brought in last time, in 2001.

Good Reporter’s Notebook in The Gazette today, with a quip about Sen. Jim Rosapepe’s new book about Romania, “Dracula is Dead.” Margie Hyslop writes of Rosapepe, who has been no fan of Constellation Energy, “Next? ‘Mayo Shattuck Has Fangs’ — maybe.”

Nick Sohr at The Daily Record reports on an address by a University of Maryland economist, who expects a “weak” recovery.

Commercial real estate experts aren’t expecting a recovery in their market until 2011, Lauren Cooper reports in the Baltimore Business Journal.

The state got federal approval to use the double-decker cars on MARC’s Penn Line, WBAL radio reports. It bought the cars from Virginia last year.

Michael Dresser reports in his “Getting There” blog for The Sun that Baltimore City issued almost 1,500 warnings using two speed cameras on 33rd Street this month. Dresser calls speed camera offenders “negligent, irresponsible drivers who could have easily moved down a schoolkid and who are lucky to have gotten off with a warning.”