November 12, 2009

State Roundup, November 12, 2009

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The University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents decided not to implement a policy on pornography being shown on the 11 campuses it governs, Laura Gurfein reports at Capital News Service. In piece on the issue in The Baltimore Sun, lawmakers appeared split on whether this would become an issue during the coming legislative session. The planned showing of an adult movie at College Park became a sticking point in Senate budget negotiations this year, and legislators ordered the system to clarify its policy.

Al Redmer Jr., a former Republican delegate and state insurance commissioner, will run for the state Senate seat likely to be vacated by Baltimore County’s Andy Harris. Redmer made the announcement last night, Laura Smitherman reports in The Sun, and enters a crowded field of prospective candidates, including Democratic County Executive Jim Smith and Republican Del. J.B. Jennings.

The state political blogs at both The Sun and The Washington Post picked up a letter from Gov. Martin O’Malley’s campaign manager, which argues that last week’s Republican victories in Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races will not have much of an effect on O’Malley’s re-election chances. Maryland Politics Watch displays the letter in full.

Towson University will be the state’s first smoke-free campus, Childs Walker and Don Markus report in The Sun, banning the activity on all school grounds, even outside. Officials say they hope to limit exposure to second-hand smoke.

Baltimore City and Maryland officials traveled to New York to talk to the committee organizing the U.S. bid for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup of soccer. Ryan Sharrow at the Baltimore Business Journal writes that some of the games could wind up at M&T Bank Stadium.

Kent Krabbe, who runs the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, says his program shows that a public option can work in health insurance, too. He wrote an op-ed in The Sun that compares the federal proposal to Maryland’s auto insurer of last resort.

Neil Bergsman, who heads the liberal-leaning Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute, wrote an op-ed that said the state needs to consider new tax revenue to close its budget gap, arguing that relying on cuts alone “will be counterproductive to meeting today’s needs and positioning the state for future growth.”

Capital News Service reports that state revenues appear to be on the rise heading into the end of this year.

Prince George’s County is trying to figure out how it will deal with about $27 million in state aid cuts that could result from its own reduction in school spending this year, Megan McKeever reports in The Gazette. Montgomery County is dealing with a similar problem with the state’s “maintenance of effort” requirements, and we reported last week that local governments will ask legislators to give them more spending flexibility.

The West Virginia Public Service Commission’s staff is pushing for the dismissal of a proposed power line project seen as important to building Maryland’s capacity, according to The Associated Press.