February 16, 2010

State Roundup Feb. 16, 2010

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FORECLOSURE MEDIATION: The Baltimore Sun reports Gov. Martin O’Malley is scheduled to testify before a legislative committee to push a bill that would create a mandatory mediation process between homeowners and lenders when there is a chance of foreclosure.

IN VITRO: A bill to expand health insurance mandates for in vitro fertilization came to a tie vote on the Senate floor Monday night, leaving the measure’s fate uncertain, according to Erich Wagner with MarylandReporter.com. The bill would force insurance companies to provide benefits to certain couples wanting in vitro fertilization, writes The Associated Press. The Sun’s Annie Linskey reports the bill dominated debate Monday night.

LEGISLATIVE PENSIONS: In a straight party-line vote, the House has refused to consider Republican amendments to a resolution rejecting a pay raise for themselves that would also reduce their pensions, Len Lazarick writes in his analysis on MarylandReporter.com. But Sen. Andy Harris plans to propose the pension-cutting amendments on the Senate version of the resolution about their compensation.

MOTE: The Daily Record’s Robbie Whelan writes about the retirement of the longest-serving president of the University of Maryland. C.D. “Dan” Mote Jr. will step down at the end of August after 12 years leading the university, writes Childs Walker with The Sun. Daniel de Vise has The Post’s story, Scott Dance has Baltimore Business Journal’s take, David Sherfinski has The Examiner’s and Marcus Moore has The Gazette’s story.

The Diamondback’s Kevin Robillard analyzes the Mote departure.

EDUCATION LEGISLATION: The Washington Post reports House Speaker Michael Busch plans to introduce a bill today that would help the state’s schools and police share gang information.

TEACHER STANDARDS: Under legislation proposed by Gov. O’Malley, teachers jobs would be more closely linked to student performance, reports Leah Fabel with The Washington Examiner.

BUDGET: a Sun editorial writes about party clashes on the state budget. It concludes: “The State House is divided between partisans who think budget solutions are pain-free and those who seek to postpone the pain as long as possible. Neither of these approaches sounds like responsible leadership to us.”

INCOME TAX BILL: Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow the state’s seniors and blind residents to count more of their income as tax-exempt, reports The Associated Press.

HARASSMENT BILL: Harassment via text messages or social networking sites could become illegal in the state if legislation makes it though the General Assembly, reports The Washington Examiner’s Hayley Peterson.

NORTHROP GRUMMAN: State officials have made a formal offer to woo military contractor Northrop Grumman to move their headquarters to the state, writes Steve Monroe with The Gazette.

JOB CUTS: Allegany County Sheriff’s office deputies’ jobs could be on the line if the county’s commissioners only fund the minimum positions. Cumberland Times-News reporter Kevin Spradlin writes people are expressing their concerns to the area’s legislative delegation.

BAY FUNDS: Baltimore Business Journal’s Gary Haber writes about a firm in Baltimore that’s launching a fund for environmental projects, including Chesapeake Bay restoration.

STILL SHOVELING OUT: Local officials asked residents to spend yesterday’s federal holiday shoveling sidewalks and school bus stops so schools could reopen. The post reports that counties say not enough progress has been made to reopen safely. Fox 45 has a video on how some are shoveling out and would like to get back to school. WJZ’s Kelly McPherson reports snow-covered roads and sidewalks are still a major problem in getting schools back in session. WTOP has a story on how some schools are reopening as snow removal continues.

KRATOVIL: Brian Shane with The (Salisbury) Daily Times reports first-term Congressman Frank Kratovil talks about term limits and his plan for earmarks in a radio interview set to air today. It will be broadcast on101.1 WQMR-FM with radio host Jack Gillen.

ANOTHER KITTLEMAN: As expected, Republican Trent Kittleman, former head of the Maryland Transportation Authority, announced she is running for Howard County executive, writes Sarah Breitenbach of the Howard County Times, as carried in the Sun. The candidate is the stepmother of Senate Minority Leader Allan Kittleman.