March 5, 2010

State Roundup March 5, 2010

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GANSLER: Del. Don Dwyer said he will soon set in motion plans to impeach Attorney General Doug Gansler but won’t specify when, Nick Sohr writes in The Daily Record’s Eye on Annapolis blog. Dwyer’s efforts stem from the attorney general’s legal opinion that Maryland should recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

Sean Sedam at the Gazette examines the impact of the gay-marriage on Gansler’s political career. In his column, Blair Lee argues that Gansler’s personal opinion got in the way of his legal judgment.

BUDGET CUTS: Gov. Martin O’Malley said Thursday that he plans to incorporate some Republican-proposed budget cuts, David Collins reports for WBAL-TV. Republicans say they’re surprised that the governor actually listened to their proposals.

TEACHER SURVEY: Most Maryland teachers are satisfied with their jobs, based on a survey to which 43,000 of them responded, Liz Bowie reports Marcus Moore has the Gazette take.

SCHOOL CLOSINGS: Arthur Hirsch reports for The Sun that people are angry at the Archdiocese of Baltimore for planning to close 13 schools. But although 2,152 students will be displaced by the closures, all have been guaranteed spots in the archdiocese’s remaining schools. WMAR reports that the Archdiocese denied speculation that they would be selling the properties.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was taken to the hospital Thursday morning with chest pains, numbness and dizziness, The Sun reports. After 11 hours, she was released and she went back to work. WBAL-TV reports that she said she needs to “slow down” on her coffee habit.

FALSE CLAIMS: Gov. Martin O’Malley’s plan to recoup money lost through Medicaid has come under fire from health care professionals and businesses, Scott Graham reports for the Baltimore Business Journal. The parties take issue with a provision protecting and rewarding whistleblowers.

TRANSIT FUNDING: The Maryland Transit Administration may not have enough money for personnel and operations in next year’s budget, legislative analysts warn, but state transit officials insist that they’ll make do with the funding the governor gave them, Andy Rosen reports on MarylandReporter.com.

DeVORE: Republican lawmakers called for the resignation of Department of Juvenile Services Secretary Donald DeVore in light of a teacher’s death at one of the facilities last month, Julie Bykowicz writes for The Sun’s Maryland Politics blog. But O’Malley says he has “full confidence” in DeVore. Doug Tallman reports on the resignation request in the Gazette.

LEAD PAINT: Advocates and health officials are pushing for stricter lead-paint laws, specifically requiring landlords to test for lead dust in rental properties built before 1950 if they will be occupied by families with children, Timothy Wheeler writes in The Sun. But Landlords say the bill would force them to make extra repairs and upgrades, costing as much as $1,000 a rental unit.

TAX CREDITS: Del. LeRoy Myers has introduced a bill that would create a tax credit for businesses that that establish or expand a business facility in the state resulting in at least 10 new jobs, Erin Julius reports in The (Hagerstown) Herald-Mail. Myers argues that Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed jobs tax credit doesn’t adequately address job creation.

RENTAL FORECLOSURES: State lawmakers are considering a bill that would protect renters of properties if landlords enter foreclosure, John Rydell reports for WBFF.

TEACHER UNIONS: Local school officials railed against a bill that would create a neutral third party to handle school labor disputes, warning that the measure could usurp local spending authority, Nick DiMarco writes in MarylandReporter.com.

TARP MONEY: Gov. O’Malley is asking the White House to give state governments $3 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program money so they can expand their loan-guarantee programs, Gary Haber writes in the Baltimore Business Journal. Doing so would cause banks to make $18 billion available to small businesses, O’Malley and 27 other governors said in a letter to President Barack Obama.

ROBO CALLS: Rep. Frank Kratovil has been targeted by Republican robo-calls attacking the Democrat over the federal health care debate, Paul West writes for The Sun’s Maryland Politics blog. But Kratovil said this week that he intends to vote against the health care legislation.

LICENSE PLATES: Del. Donald Elliott has proposed dropping the front license plate from vehicles in the state, Meg Tully reports for the Frederick News Post. Elliott suggested the move as a cost-cutting measure, but police and toll workers oppose it because it makes law and toll enforcement easier, Steve Fermier reports for WBAL Radio.

ASSEMBLY WORK: There’s lots left to do in the legislature with five weeks left to do, Doug Tallman reports in the Gazette.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette notebook has items on the Duke-Terps game, Vinnie DeMarco’s book, and more of Mike Miller’s musings from the rostrum.

COUNTY CUTS: Erin Cunningham at the Gazette has more coverage of this week’s news conference by the Maryland Association of Counties, trying to stave off further cuts to local aid.

LIBRARY UNIONS: Library administrators are fighting legislation that would give collective bargaining rights to their employees, Alan Brody reports in the Gazette.

RAMSAY: Barry Rascovar comes to the defense of David Ramsay, retiring president of the University of Maryland at Baltimore, in his Gazette column.

EHRLICH: The FCC has asked the state Democratic Party for the tape that backs up their complaint against former Gov. Bob Ehrlich, Margie Hyslop reports in the Gazette.

BAY FUND: Environmentalists are battling proposed cuts to the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund, Sean Sedam reports in the Gazette.

ALCOHOL TAXES: Legislators continue to push for increases in the alcohol taxes, Erin Cunningham reports in the Gazette.