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Published on January 19th, 2011 | by Cynthia Prairie

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State Roundup, January 19, 2011

O’MALLEY INAUGURAL: The Post’s John Wagner recaps what to expect today for Gov. Martin O’Malley’s second inauguration, this one much more subdued than the first. He’ll be sworn in at 12:30 p.m. And he and his wife will greet visitors at the governor’s residence beginning at 2 p.m.

HEALTH COVERAGE THREATENED: A report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that without the health care reform law, up to 2.5 million Maryland residents under 65 who have some type of pre-existing health condition would be at risk of losing health insurance or be denied coverage altogether, Emily Mullin writes for the Baltimore Business Journal.

Gov. Martin O’Malley joined the Obama administration’s fight against repeal and said without reform, health care costs would continue to rise. Those soaring costs have been a huge drain on businesses, stifling the economy, he said. Kelly Brewington writes the story for the Sun.

KITTLEMAN RESIGNS: Republican state Sen. Allan Kittleman, who represents parts of Howard and Carroll County, is resigning as Senate minority leader. “It was apparent that the majority of the (Senate Republican) caucus members do not want a (fiscal) conservative who is also a social moderate as the leader of the caucus,” he wrote. Lindsey McPherson has the story for the Howard County Times.

Two weeks ago, Kittleman announced he would sponsor a bill sanctioning civil unions for heterosexuals and same-sex couples, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

Kittleman said the decision gives him “the freedom to be who I am, to champion issues I really care about without worrying about stepping on anyone’s toes,” Ann Marimow and John Wagner report for the Post.

Maryland Republican Party Chairman Alex Mooney has urged Kittleman to reconsider his decision, writes Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland.

UNKNOWN ED SPENDING: Unless taxpayers and elected officials know what is being spent on schools, they have no way to tell whether current spending levels are worth it, and they need to know now, opines Marta Mossburg in the Sun.

FEWER MILLIONAIRES: The number of Marylanders filing million-dollar tax returns fell 16% in 2009 compared with 2008, according to figures from the comptroller’s office, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com. “The reason we had a lot fewer millionaires in 2008 and 2009 is people made a lot less money,” said the director of the Bureau of Revenue Estimates.

MINIMUM WAGE: Following up yesterday’s news, the BBJ’s Scott Dance reports that Sen. Robert Garagiola, a Montgomery County Democrat, plans to introduce the bill to gradually increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.

FINANCIAL LITERACY: Comptroller Peter Franchot, visiting two Baltimore County schools, was impressed with what he heard from some students about fixing the budget crisis. Franchot wants to make financial literacy mandatory for all high school grads, writes Brian Conlin for the Arbutus Times.

SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY: Noncompliance with the federal Adam Walsh Act – Maryland does not require lifetime registration of juveniles convicted of the most serious sex crimes — could cost the state more than half a million dollars in federal grant money for law enforcement agencies, writes Julie Bykowicz for the Sun.

Abby Rogers of MarylandReporter.com reports that the state is over and above federal standards with some of its sex offender registry standards.

O’MALLEY AUDIENCE: O’Malley is finding himself playing for a wider audience outside of Maryland as his second term as governor gets underway, writes the Sun’s Annie Linskey.

SHRIVER REMEMBERED: Julie Bykowicz of the Sun interviewed a number of Marylanders following the death of Sargent Shriver, who died yesterday at the age of 95. Included are his niece, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, and Gov. O’Malley.

Here’s a full Associated Press article that the Carroll County Times ran. Shriver was a native of Westminster.

Patricia Sullivan and Emma Brown of the Post write that Shriver was know as a “warrior for peace and against poverty.”

NO CUPCAKES: Regulations faced by a small cupcake business in Frederick is sending Del. Michael Hough to Annapolis to try to provide state regulators with more flexibility when dealing with small businesses, the editorial board of the Frederick News Post writes.

BLAKE’S BUCKS: Baltimore city Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is starting her campaign with a pretty penny in the bank– she has $800,000 cash-in-hand, the Sun’s Julie Scharper reports.

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