December 31, 2009

State Roundup, December 31, 2009

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Today highlights include calls by more Montgomery County legislators for greater transparency at the State House on committee votes and floor action, and a push for even tougher enforcement of Chesapeake Bay regulations by both the federal and state government.

Del. Heather Mizeur, D-Montgomery, has proposed more legislation for greater transparency in Annapolis, reports Aaron Davis in The Washington Post’s Maryland blog. The bill proposes not just electronically recorded committee votes but real-time access to floor action, Webcasting of committee hearings, electronic sign-up for witnesses at hearings and more open information about the Board of Public Works.

Sen. Nancy King, D-Montgomery, has joined the call for electronic reporting of committee votes, according to Adam Pagnucco at Maryland Politics Watch. She writes to Senate President Mike Miller that the process could be handled administratively.

Pamela Wood in The (Annapolis) Capital has a follow-up on EPA threats about enforcement of Chesapeake Bay regulations, calling into question their impact on local governments.

A group of officeholders and scientists favors stronger action on the bay by federal and state governments, Doug Tallman reports in The Gazette.  The group is critical of EPA enforcement, says David Fahrenthold of the Post.

Maryland fishing anglers will have to register with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration before fishing in the new year, Carrie Ann Knauer reports in the Carroll County Times.

Gov. Martin O’Malley is working on a proposal for a process to modify mortgages and prevent foreclosures, Ovetta Wiggins reports in the Post.

Bryan Sears at Patuxent Publishing details a court confrontation between Dels. Michael Smigiel and Rick Impallaria over legal fees.

State furloughs on New Year’s Eve put a chill on wedding plans at local courthouses, Scott Daugherty reports in The Capital.

Leah Fabel in the Washington Examiner reports on the competition among Maryland counties to keep up with the salaries for teachers and administrators in Montgomery County.

There were more layoffs of top editors and staff at The Washington Times, including the entire sports section, according to Hayley Peterson in the Examiner.

The Frederick County Republican Central Committee continues to refuse to release the names of the people who have applied to replace Del. Rick Weldon, Sherry Greenfield reports in The Gazette. Meg Tully has more details on the process in the Frederick News-Post.

Doug Tallman at The Gazette talks to Gov. Martin O’Malley about his unannounced attendance at many funerals.

Barry Rascovar in his Gazette column features the new book by Sen. Jim Rosapepe and his wife, broadcaster Sheilah Kast, about their time in Romania. Rascovar also throws in some comments about the proposed pay hike for the governor.

The top Maryland political stories of the past decade are reviewed by Benjamin Ford at The Gazette.

The Motor Vehicle Administration has put a hold on a new policy requiring transgender drivers to get a new birth certificate before their gender change is reported on their driver’s license, Dave Dishneau of the Associated Press reports.

The Daily Record has a nice slideshow of photos of the year, including some political shots like the Schaefer statue in the Inner Harbor.