November 23, 2010

State Roundup, Nov. 23, 2010

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HARRIS HEALTH CARE: A liberal organization is going after Maryland Congressman-elect Andy Harris, starting now, with its “Drop it or Stop it” mini-campaign. The campaign against Harris, who favors repeal of the new national health care law, argues that he should either drop his own government-provided health care or quit trying to deny coverage to others, Paul West blogs for the Sun.

Ben Pershing blogs for the Post that Harris has been a staunch opponent of the federal health care law that expanded coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

Here’s the report from Jayne Miller of WBAL-TV, who runs a portion of the radio ad for viewers.

PAPERWORK NIGHTMARE: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin is co-sponsoring a bill to repeal a portion of the federal health care law that would create a “paperwork nightmare” for thousands of Maryland businesses by drastically increasing the number of 1099 tax forms they have to file, Barbara Pash reports for MarylandReporter.com.

DEEP CUTS: Julie Bykowicz of the Sun blogs that while Gov. Martin O’Malley was at a governors conference in Denver over the weekend, he said the state’s budget woes would be solved with “deep and painful” budget cuts.

JUDGE PICKS: Gov. O’Malley will get to nominate at least four appellate judges in the next four years, adding to the 10 jurists that he has picked so far in his first term, Alan Brody reports for the Gazette.

PG LOOPHOLE: Daniel Valentine of the Gazette reports that a Hyattsville state delegate has proposed closing a loophole that allows Prince George’s County leaders to receive donations from developers through shared accounts — a tactic used to circumvent a law preventing them from accepting direct contributions from builders with projects under consideration. The bill was being drafted more than two months ago, but seems more significant in light of the arrests of County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife Leslie Johnson, who was just elected to the County Council.

MOCO BUDGET: A proposed bill would change bargaining practices as Montgomery County seeks to cut spending, which has soared on health and retirement benefits for county workers, Michael Laris reports for the Post.

And, WTOP-Radio reports, the Montgomery council is exploring fundamental changes to avoid another huge budget deficit, but new taxes likely aren’t on the immediate horizon.

DELEGATION STRONG: While almost half the members of the Montgomery County legislative delegation will have a term or less under their belts when the General Assembly convenes in January, observers believe the group is strong, reports Sarah Brietenbach for the Gazette.

PAGNUCCO JOINS RIEMER: Adam Pagnucco, a former labor union organizer who has been a major contributor to Maryland Politics Watch, a blog that focuses on state politics news and analysis, will become chief of staff to Montgomery County Councilman-elect Hans Riemer, Alan Brody reports for the Gazette.

BA CO GOP: Baltimore County Republican Central Committee Chairman Tony Campbell is challenging political opponents inside his own party to impeach him, writes Bryan Sears of Patch.com.

Campbell faced criticism for suggesting that his committee support Democratic Councilman Ken Oliver as County Council chairman and for requesting compensation if he organized a fundraiser for Republican candidates back when he was chairman-elect, blogs Raven Hill in the Sun.

BRINKLEY HEADS: State Sen. David Brinkley, a Republican, will serve as the new chairman of Frederick County’s delegation of state lawmakers and Del. Galen Clagett, a Democrat, will be vice chairman, the Frederick News Post reports.

SNOW READY: Brandon Oland of the Carroll County Times reports on a Q&A with a snowplow operator with the State Highway Administration as its looks back on last winter’s difficulty and prepares for this winter. Kim Dacey of WBAL-TV also reports on the SHA preparations.