January 22, 2010

State Roundup, January 22, 2010

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Today, we’ve got the state planning to borrow money from the federal government to save the insolvent unemployment insurance fund, and lawmakers look at changing the foreclosure laws. We’ve also got even more people reacting to Gov. O’Malley’s budget.

Aaron Davis of The Washington Post writes that Gov. Martin O’Malley says he won’t raise taxes until the economy has recovered, and that might not happen until 2012.

The state plans to borrow $250 million from the federal government to protect its nearly empty unemployment insurance fund, Heather Harlan Warnack of the Baltimore Business Journal reports. State Labor Secretary Alexander Sanchez expects the state to pay back the entire loan, interest-free, by the end of the year.

Baltimore Brew has more details about the state unemployment insurance fund’s problems.

Lawmakers discussed changes to foreclosure laws that would require borrowers and lenders to meet in person during the foreclosure process, Nick Sohr reports in The Daily Record. Mandatory mediation is going to be part of  O’Malley’s agenda this session, although the proposal is not yet finalized. And state officials blame rising foreclosures on high unemployment, WBAL-TV reports.

More budget reaction and criticism comes your way thanks to Pat Warren with WJZ-TV. Joel McCord has more for WYPR.

Allegany and Garrett counties react to funding cuts in O’Malley’s budget, Kevin Spradlin reports in the Cumberland Times-News. Although most aid programs are flat-funded in the proposal, the counties’ disparity grants and highway user revenue funds declined.

O’Malley will have a tough time using this year’s lean budget to swing voters in his re-election drive this year, Doug Tallman writes in The Gazette.

Experts and politicians differ about what Republican Scott Brown’s Senate Victory in Massachusetts would mean for a potential gubernatorial run for former Gov. Bob Ehrlich. However, C. Benjamin Ford writes in The Gazette that it doesn’t hurt his chances.

Sean Sedam writes that a more immediate impact of Brown’s win is that the state might not be able to count on federal Medicaid help that O’Malley was counting on in his budget.

And an editorial in The Daily Record described O’Malley’s approach to budget cuts “disappointing, but not surprising.”

Kevin James Shay of The Gazette writes that the Department of Business and Economic Development’s budget, as proposed by O’Malley, is the lowest it’s been since 2005. Tom LoBianco in Center Maryland has more about what the cuts mean.

Erin Cunningham takes a look in The Gazette at Thursday’s campaign finance ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, and what its effect could be on Maryland.

State schools superintendent Nancy Grasmick wants to change how teachers are tenured and compensated in order to win Race to the Top grant money, but some senators aren’t convinced it’s necessary, Julie Bykowicz reports in The Baltimore Sun.

Maryland has 30,000 more children who qualify for the federal school lunch program than last year, Liz Bowie reports in the sun. This is partly a result of the recession, and increased efforts to get kids signed up.

The House of Delegates will soon start putting committee votes online and streaming committee meetings, Doug Tallman writes in The Gazette.

The state slots commission could make its decision regarding allowing slots at Rocky Gap State Park, Robert Lang of WBAL Radio reports in his preview of today’s meeting of the commission.

Alan Brody in The Gazette has a piece about Gov. Martin O’Malley’s decision to delay the purchase of new voting machines in his budget for next year.

Sen. Don Munson’s campaign manager Ryan Miner made a Facebook posting in 2005 that some interpreted as calling homosexuality “subhuman,” Erin Julius writes in The (Hagerstown) Herald-Mail. Miner, who manages Munson’s campaign for reelection against challenger House Minority Whip Chris Shank, says his views have “evolved” since then.

The Sun has a long obituary on former first lady Patricia Hughes.

Good stuff in The Gazette’s “Reporters Notebook,” including a Facebook fight over credit for legislative transparency proposals. Alan Brody also has a little piece on O’Malley’s response to his loss of a bet with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels over last week’s Ravens-Colts game.

WBAL-TV’s David Collins reports on Del. Jeannie Haddaway’s bill requiring the sterilization of dangerous dogs.

Legislation before the General Assembly would give lawmakers final say over oyster sanctuary designations in the Chesapeake Bay, Alan Brody writes in The Gazette.

Sen. E.J. Pipkin, R-Upper Shore, calls out O’Malley for a “war against the Eastern Shore,” in a Gazette op-ed.

Former Prince George’s County Executive Wayne Curry is considering entering the Democratic primary against Gov. O’Malley, Robert Lang reports for WBAL radio. He had a birthday party this week that many thought doubled as a campaign rally.

In his Gazette Column, Laslo Boyd calls for election finance reform.

O’Malley has asked President Barack Obama for federal disaster funding to help pay for the impact of last month’s snow storm, Michelle Basch reports for WTOP.

Blair Lee has part two of his 2009 year-in-review column in The Gazette.

Corridor Inc. has a story about a $2.4 million grant to Bowie State University. It uses federal stimulus dollars for outreach to minority communities to boost participation in medical research.