June 4, 2010

State Roundup June 4, 2010

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Area governors meet about Chesapeake Bay restoration, O’Malley launches a small business commission, and Democrats look to pick up even more seats in the General Assembly. Plus, the state board of elections endorsed new rules for campaigns using social media.

SLOTS CASE: After more than three days of closing arguments, the case over the validity of a petition authorizing a referendum on slots at Arundel Mills mall awaits a judge’s decision, Liz Farmer reports in The Daily Record.

CHESAPEAKE BAY: Gov. Martin O’Malley and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell met with an EPA official Thursday to discuss Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, Alex Dominguez writes for The Associated Press. O’Malley said Maryland is less than halfway towards reaching two-year cleanup milestones. Tim Wheeler has The Baltimore Sun’s take.

O’S OWE RENT: The Maryland Stadium Authority hasn’t collected $1.8 million in outstanding bills from its tenants, including more than $800,000 from the Baltimore Orioles, Erich Wagner writes for MarylandReporter.com. Nick Sohr has the story for The Daily Record.

PRINCE GEORGE’S HOSPITAL: The head of the state panel that oversees the Prince George’s County Hospital Authority has been offered a job as chief of Dimensions Healthcare, which runs the county’s troubled hospitals. Kenneth Glover’s committee had recently recommended selling the system to Dimensions, Daniel Valentine writes for The Gazette. Barry Rascovar writes in his Gazette column that the system needs new leadership to recover.

BIOTECH: Business leaders are warm to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s plan to inject up to $100 million into technology and life sciences companies, Kevin James Shea and Doug Tallman write for The Gazette.

SMALL BUSINESS: Gov. O’Malley announced that he has formed a commission to study the state’s small businesses, Julie Bykowicz writes in The Sun. The 26-member commission will report on barriers to business growth in December, after the gubernatorial election. Ryan Sharrow has the story for the Baltimore Business Journal. Challenger Bob Ehrlich called the idea for the commission ‘four years too late,’ John Wagner writes on The Washington Post’s Maryland Politics blog.

MORE DEMS?: Maryland Democrats are hoping to pick up seats in the General Assembly, where they already control three quarters of the votes. Alan Brody in The Gazette writes that the party is focusing on vacant seats, including some in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore.

OR FEWER?: But Brody also points out that some of the top Democratic leadership — including the heads of the House Appropriations Committee and the House Judiciary Committee — may be vulnerable this year.

INTEREST RATES: The state’s housing department lowered the interest rate for its state-backed mortgage program for the second time this year, in an attempt to increase first-time homeownership, Daniel Sernovitz writes in the Baltimore Business Journal.

EDITOR DOWN: MarylandReporter.com will lose Associate Editor Andy Rosen in the coming weeks, Len Lazarick writes, rounding up the musical chairs-style career changes made by various members of the State House press corps.

BUSH OFFICIALS: Alan Brody writes in The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook that while Maryland Republicans sought to distance themselves from George W. Bush during the last election, some former administration officials are making their way into state GOP fundraisers.

SOCIAL MEDIA RULES: The state board of elections approved regulations Thursday that would require political candidates to clearly identify their campaign when utilizing social media like Facebook and Twitter, The Associated Press reports. Rules include a requirement that any social media account established to promote or oppose a candidate must have a disclosure sentence that is identical to the one required on printed materials, Annie Linskey writes in The Sun.

LEE: People may not like Bob Ehrlich’s pronouncement that the state can’t afford the proposed Red Line in Baltimore and the Purple Line in the Washington suburbs, Blair Lee writes in his Gazette Column. But he says “the truth hurts,” and the former governor is right.