May 21, 2010

State Roundup May 21, 2010

Print More

Today we have discussion of campaign promises left unfulfilled. There’s more speculation about the Prince George’s hospital system sale, and two counties will ask to cut education funding without state aid penalties.

JUVENILE REFORM: Both Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Gov. Bob Ehrlich promised to reform the state Department of Juvenile Services when they were first elected, and both continue to make that promise now, Julie Bykowicz writes in The Baltimore Sun. But solutions can be evasive, especially with slumping tax revenue and other high-profile agenda items.

HOSPITAL SALE ON?: The company that operates the Prince George’s County hospital system has lined up investors from India to buy the troubled facilities, Daniel Valentine writes for The Gazette. The head of a state commission overseeing the hospitals said earlier this week that he expected it would stay in public hands for now.

TALKING WHILE DRIVING: Gov. O’Malley signed a bill Thursday banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, Michael Dresser reports in The Sun. Alan Brody has the story for The Gazette, and Dave Collins with WBAL TV has video from the bill signing.

MAINTENANCE OF EFFORT: Montgomery and Wicomico counties will again ask the state if they can cut education funding without jeopardizing state aid under the “maintenance of effort law,” according to Marcus Moore of The Gazette.

LAYOFFS: JPMorgan Chase announced it is closing the company’s credit card center in Frederick, leaving 600 people out of work, Ed Waters writes in the Frederick News Post. Officials say the closure will be done in phases until the end of the year.

TERM LIMITS: Some who are challenging incumbent state legislators are talking about General Assembly term limits, according to Alan Brody at The Gazette.

IMMIGRATION: Sean Sedam with The Gazette writes that echoes of the debate over aggressive immigration enforcement in Arizona are being felt here. A lawmaker wants a similar law, and the attorney general says the Arizona policy is unconstitutional.

STALKING LAW: One victim of stalking is pushing the state to increase the severity of the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony, according to Derek Valcourt of WJZ TV in Baltimore.

ATTORNEY GENERAL: A Connecticut court has overturned a law similar to Maryland’s requirement that a lawyer must have 10 years of practice in Maryland before becoming attorney general, Sean Sedam writes for The Gazette in its Reporters Notebook feature.

DISABILITY CARE RAISES: Gov. Martin O’Malley signed into law a bill giving mental health caregivers the same level of pay raises that state employees receive, Nick DiMarco reports for MarylandReporter.com.

SLOTS: Weijia Jang of WJZ TV has a preview of the Monday start for the trial over a proposed ballot measure to throw out zoning for a slots parlor at Arundel Mills Mall.

OYSTERS: Gov. Martin O’Malley is set to announce a long-awaited proposal to manage the state’s oyster population, Pamela Wood writes in The (Annapolis) Capital. The new plan, which includes expansion of sanctuaries, is expected to be lauded by environmentalists but watermen will likely oppose it.

HAINES: As part of our sometimes series Leaving the Legislature, MarylandReporter.com’s Erich Wagner spoke with Carroll County Republican Sen. Larry Haines about his decision to retire and his wife’s reminder that he promised not to become a career politician.

ELECTION TURNOUT: Alan Lichtman writes an op-ed for The Gazette that finds O’Malley could be hurt by a lackluster turnout, partially thanks to another “coronation” for Sen. Barbara Mikulski. He also predicts Ehrlich could be hurt by the conservative Tea Party movement.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Gov. Martin O’Malley signed two bills aimed toward stopping human trafficking Thursday, According to Andre Taylor of The Gazette.

RASCOVAR: Barry Rascovar in The Gazette outlines a series of Maryland laws or legislative efforts that he views as unfriendly toward business.

BPW ONLINE: The (Annapolis) Capital reports that the state Board of Public Works is trying to make its meetings available for live audio-streaming, but there are a few bugs that need to be worked out.