February 10, 2010

State Roundup 2-10-2010

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The snow coverage continues, as the region gets hit with another (not quite as) big storm. We also have tiffs over bond bills and budget debates, and the illegal immigration debate rears its head in Annapolis again.

“SNOVERKILL”: The state geared up yesterday for a fresh round of snow, projected to reach an additional 10 to 20 inches overnight and through today, causing cancellations by schools and state and federal offices. Meredith Cohn has the story in The Baltimore Sun. The state struggled to clean the roads in preparation for more snow, and will close roads if they are deemed dangerous of impassable.

Frustration among Baltimore City residents is mounting over the pace of snow removal in the city, Michael Dresser and Liz Kay report in The Sun. But city officials warned that conditions would likely worsen before they get better.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has so far gotten mixed reviews over her handling of the storm, Gary Haber and Joanna Sullivan write in the Baltimore Business Journal. And Daniel Sernovitz reports that Rawlings-Blake has put a call out to local contractors to help clean city roadways. Fox 45 has video on the City’s effort.

Salisbury residents are also losing patience at the pace of the snow cleanup, Laura D’Alessandro writes in The (Salisbury) Daily Times.

Baltimore County officials say an extra 12 inches of snow would “paralyze” them, Bryan Sears writes for Patuxant Publishing. Fox 45 has more.

Baltimore City officials decided to make use of the anticipated lost time Wednesday by shifting the mandatory furlough day for city employees from May 28th to today, Robbie Whelan writes in The Daily Record.

Gov. Martin O’Malley asked state residents to be patient with local officials as he girded for the storm Tuesday, John Wagner writes for The Washington Post, and officials warned that road closures could come early.

Nick Sohr at his Eye on Annapolis blog for The Daily Record has the scoop on General Assembly operations for snowstorm II. Floor sessions are happening today, but committee hearings aren’t. John Wagner at the Post describes how slow things were on Tuesday in Annapolis.

All state offices are closed Wednesday, Adam Pagnucco writes at Maryland Politics Watch.

Bryan Sears writes at his Strange Bedfellows blog for Patuxent that Republicans in Baltimore County are using snow removal as part of their campaign platform. And some Democrats are shoveling snow as a way to win votes.

Businesses are taking a hit because of the storms, particularly ones that bank on Valentine’s Day, John Rydell reports for Fox 45.

BOND BILLS: Senate President Mike Miller railed against bond bills Tuesday, citing the tough budget year as a reason to hold off on them, Annie Linskey writes in The Sun’s Maryland Politics blog. But Speaker Mike Busch said he had considered doing away with them for the session, until he saw one with Miller’s name on it. Bond bills are the state equivalent of earmarks.

BUDGET DEBATE: Senate Republican leaders declined their Democratic counterparts’ invitation to propose budget cuts, Hayley Peterson reports in the Washington Examiner. Senate Minority Leader Allan Kittleman called the invitation a “partisan political stunt” and said the request for input “lacks sincerity.”

ARAMARK LAYOFFS: Aramark plans to lay off about 450 employees in April once the University of Maryland Medical Center starts doing food service and housekeeping in-house, Jamie Smith Hopkins writes in The Sun. But the hospital said those workers will have the chance to keep their jobs.

INCINERATORS: Frederick and Carroll County officials and industry leaders oppose a bill that would prevent construction of incinerators near parks, residences, churches and schools, Meg Tully reports in the Frederick News Post. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Alex Mooney, is intended to stop the construction of an incinerator across the Monocacy River from the Monocacy National Battlefield. Adam Bednar has more for the Carroll County Times.

IMMIGRATION: A group of Democratic senators, including Senate President Mike Miller, are pushing to require the state prison system to notify federal authorities when it suspects that an inmate is not in the country legally, Julie Bykowicz reports for The Sun. Senators say the proposal could save the state millions if it deported more illegal immigrants instead of incarcerating them.

SLOTS PETITION: Some observers of the anti-slots petition are concerned that the petition’s language was misrepresented at times, Allison Bourg writes for The (Annapolis) Capital. Some petitioners allegedly told people the referendum would put slots at Laurel Park.

POLICE ESCORT: House Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell wants to narrow the driving service for state officials down to just the governor and lieutenant governor, Annie Linskey writes in The Sun. His proposal would eliminate the “fat-cat” service for the attorney general, the comptroller, the treasurer, the House speaker and the Senate president.

MOVE OVER: Lawmakers are considering several proposals requiring drivers to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles and tow trucks that are pulled to the side of the road, The Sun reports. Maryland is one of three states without such a law on the books, Sen. Nancy Jacobs said.

EHRLICH: Pagnucco at Maryland Politics Watch has a discussion about the Republican response to former Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s alleged radio malfeasance.

TERM LIMITS: Brian Griffiths at Red Maryland has a critical piece on Del. Jim King and his proposal for term limits in Maryland.