March 16, 2010

State Roundup March 16, 2010

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TEACHERS’ PENSIONS: Shift some of the costs of teachers’ pensions to the counties is “back on the table,” writes Michael Sanderson for Conduit Street (MACo) blog. Considerations for the cut may save about $60 million according to this Associated Press article posted by WTOP Washington.

BUDGET CUTS: The Baltimore Sun’s Annie Linskey followed along as the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee voted on hundreds of line items in Gov. Martin O’Malley’s spending plan. She made special mention in the Baltimore Sun blog of Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, D-Baltimore City, and his attempts to keep some money off the chopping block.

Community and private colleges took the brunt of about $200 million in cuts from Gov. O’Malley’s $32 billion budget, according to Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com. State lawmakers could be calling in the reserves, or rather, a local income tax reserve according this Associated Press article posted by WTOP.

STATE CONTRACTS: AFSCME, the big state employee union, says the state could save millions by cutting spending on contractual services, Sean Sedam reports in the Gazette.

CITY ROADS: A Senate budget subcommittee voted to not share $30 million for Baltimore City roads with other counties, writes Andy Rosen for MarylandReporter.com.

COMBINED REPORTING: The commission studying business taxes will now finish its work in December under legislation passed by both the House and the Senate, Kevin James Shay reports in the Gazette.

PUBLIC BROADCASTING AUDIT: Findings from a report released Monday indicate the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission violated state regulations when awarding contracts according to Anne Kramer for WBAL. The commission disagrees with half of the findings, particular an issue regarding how vendors were paid over the course of two years writes Nick DiMarco for MarylandReporter.com. The Daily Record posted this Associated Press story, detailing the commission’s reasoning for paying the vendors without a contract.

TRANSPARENCY: Marta Mossburg’s column debuts in the Sun with a call for greater transparency in state grants.

VALLARIO: Del. Sue Kullen calls House Judiciary Committee chairman Delegate Joseph Vallario “tyrannical,” reports Tom LoBianco for WYPR. The chairman defends the perception people have of him as unwilling to listen to bills he doesn’t like.

STATE FUNDS: Public schools have the hands held out for $187 million, reports Alex DeMetrick for WJZ.

TEXTING: Support for a bill that would allow police to pull drivers over for texting behind the wheel is growing says WJZ’s Pat Warren.

DROPOUT AGE: Senators voted to amend a bill Monday night that would require school attendance until students were 18-years-old according to this Associated Press article, posted by Fox 45 Baltimore.

SEX OFFENDERS: Senate lawmakers will be hearing two dozen bills Tuesday, regarding cracking down on sex offenders. Hayley Peterson has the story for the Washington Examiner.

BAY PROTECTION: Two identical bills are making there way through the House and Senate that would revoke the licenses of oyster poachers, a measure put forth to protect the Bay, Jennifer Hlad writes for Capital News Service — posted by The Daily Record.

EXPANSION: A proposal has been made for an expansion of the Maryland State Archives facility, writes Annapolis Capital staff writer Liam Farrell.

BAD CREDIT: Lorraine Mirabella talks about how bad credit is keeping people from getting jobs in this Sun column.

ACORN: The Maryland chapter of ACORN will not be reopening according to a group official Monday. A former leader said the tarnished reputation of the group is partly the cause, according to Sun staff writer Brent Jones.

PRISON: Counties say the state’s plan of housing hundreds of federal inmates by 2012 in the Baltimore Supermax prison is “hurting them” financially, according to this Associated Press article posted by Fox 45 Baltimore. Last year the Supermax held an average of 183 prisoners, adds Steve Fermier for WBAL Radio.