June 23, 2010

State Roundup June 23, 2010

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STRANDED MARC TRAIN: MTA and Amtrak officials struggled to explain how 1,000 MARC train commuters were left stranded in sweltering heat until some removed windows and summoned paramedics, writes the Sun’s Michael Dresser. Two people were sent to the hospital, reports WBFF-TV’s Kathleen Cairns.

ELECTIONS BOARD: Auditors find that the State Board of Elections doesn’t do a good job monitoring voter registration and overseeing local election boards,  and it  has serious deficiencies in handling money, reports Barbara Pash for MarylandReporter.com. The Sun writes that more than 30 percent of a small sample of felons remained on voter rolls after they were convicted.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCORES: Far fewer Maryland lawmakers earned perfect scores from environmental activists for their votes in Annapolis this year than in past years, although for the first time in 16 years a Republican managed to earn an A+, blogs Tim Wheeler in the Baltimore Sun.

EHRLICH: Was Ehrlich a shill for big oil as O’Malley claims? No, according to the editorial board of the Sun. Richard Cross analyzes the governor’s race so far.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: Ehrlich rolls out a three-point plan to strengthen Maryland’s charter school rules, blogs Annie Linskey in the Sun.

PAYING FOR SLOTS: The $50 million slots contract that was supposed to be a panacea for the state’s financial woes is not only not making any money, it is costing taxpayers about $47,000 per machine, writes Marta Mossburg in the Frederick News-Post. (Lottery officials countered this in earlier reports found in Friday’s State Roundup here.)

CARROLL ELECTIONS: From the change to five county commissioners elected by district to various races where incumbents aren’t seeking another term, Carroll voters have plenty of reason to research the candidates, writes the editorial board for the Carroll County Times.

FRANCHOT LISTENS: Carroll County business people give an earful to state Comptroller Peter Franchot during the last stop of his listening tour, before he faces a re-election challenge, writes Marc Shapiro of the Carroll County Times.

HARRIS FILES: Republican State Sen. Andy Harris officially filed his candidacy for Congress, setting up a rematch with Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil in the First District, the Sun reports.

KENDEL STUMPS: Kendel Ehrlich hits the Eastern Shore campaign trail for state Senate hopeful Michael James, who is seeking to the seat left vacant by Lowell Stoltzfus, Jenny Hopkinson reports for the Daily Times of Salisbury.

BARTENFELDER: Baltimore County Councilman Joe Bartenfelder, who’s running for county executive,  says he wasn’t endorsed by the local teacher’s union because he refused to ensure that teacher salaries were among the top of state counties, blogs Bryan Sears for Patuxent Publishing.

NOT ENOUGH WORK: Marta Mossburg, for the Sun, takes a look at Baltimore’s unemployment rate and asks, “Isn’t it ironic that at the same time Baltimore Ravens players complain … of being worked too hard, taxpayers who financed their stadium don’t have enough work?”

BOTTLE TAX: Despite the cut from 4 cents, Baltimore bar owners and grocery store operators remain cold to a 2-cent bottle tax backed by the City Council, which is set to vote on it Thursday, writes Ryan Sharrow of the Baltimore Business Journal.

PENSION STAYS: After purging all of its other perks, the Anne Arundel County Council stopped short of pulling its future members out of the pension system, writes Erin Cox of the Annapolis Capital.

SAME-SEX PARTNERS: Annapolis city employees will be able to include same-sex domestic partners on their health plans starting July 1, Nicole Miller reports for the Sun.

ABRAMOFF SELLS PIZZA: Want a convicted lobbyist with that pizza? Jack Abramoff’s notoriety just may pay off at Tov Pizza on Reisterstown Road, where he is serving out the remainder of his sentence for defrauding clients doing marketing,  writes Jean Marabella for the Sun. Phil Jacobs of the Baltimore Jewish Times broke the story, and here’s the  link.