May 31, 2011

State Roundup, May 31, 2011

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DREAM ACT PETITION DEADLINE: Although the General Assembly recently granted college tuition discounts to illegal immigrants, the conservative governing bodies in Carroll and Frederick counties are encouraging residents to sign petitions challenging the law. Today, reports the Sun’s Mary Gail Hare, petitioners must present the state with 18,500 valid signatures to continue their drive to get a referendum on the ballot next year.

PETITIONERS ASKED TO LEAVE: Del. Kathy Afzali, the organizer of Frederick County’s petition effort, is reporting problems with volunteers being asked to leave public places. She said that on Saturday volunteers were asked to leave their posts outside two post offices and she was asked to leave a town-sponsored event at public park, reports Meg Tully for the Frederick News Post.

JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM: Ask some Maryland leaders interested in juvenile justice what they think of the state’s system, and they say it’s not working. Ask them how they’d reform it, and many point to the model used in Missouri, reports Capital News Service’s Ashley Latta in MarylandReporter.com.

STICKING WITH O’MALLEY: While environmentalists were disappointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley’s decision to sign a bill benefiting companies that burn trash to generate power, writes Sarah Breitenbach of the Gazette, advocacy groups won’t abandon the typically green governor, in part because they have no one else to turn to. (This appeared in Friday’s roundup, but Tuesday’s Gazette newsletter as well.)

GOVERNMENT JOB GROWTH: Government jobs – federal, state and local – grew in Maryland over the last 10 years, but that trend appears to be changing, G. Scott Thomas writes for the Baltimore Business Journal. Read the full report on all state rankings and see a chart here.

PALIN DROPS IN: Robin Abcarian of Los Angeles Times writes in the Sun that Sarah Palin, a maybe candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, made a stop in Baltimore on her bus tour to historic sites yesterday.

Here’s some video from WBFF-TV. And she spoke with Adam May of WJZ-TV.

RACE FOR FRONT-RUNNER: The Sun editorial board writes that Republicans may be fretting that the party isn’t rallying behind a clear front-runner for 2012, but former Alaska Gov. Palin is right that competition will breed success.

SHAREHOLDERS NIX PAY: Constellation Energy Group shareholders voted to reject CEO Mayo Shattuck’s paycheck. However, their input doesn’t bind company board members to any action, and executive compensation for the year has already been set, reports Scott Dance for the Baltimore Business Journal.

“I am disappointed in the company and its management,” said former state Sen. Jack Lapides, adding that he has been a shareholder for 40 years but had never attended a shareholders’ meeting until Friday, writes Rachel Bernstein of the Daily Record.

TAX DECREASE: Property tax rates should remain flat next year, Charles County government proposes, which would result in an average tax decrease in most areas, reports Erica Mitrano for SoMdNews.com.

CIRCUIT JUDGE NAMED: The governor recently appointed Leah Jane Seaton to be the newest judge on the Wicomico County Circuit Court bench, Sharahn Boykin writes for the Salisbury Daily Times.

LIVING WITH PARENTS: Montgomery County planning officials say recent U.S. Census data show that more young adults are living with their parents, likely due to economic challenges, according to an AP report in TBD.com.

NEW ZONING PROCESS: Saying that Anne Arundel County’s current rezoning process is flawed, County Executive John Leopold has moved to delay zoning changes until a new system can be put in place, Scott Daugherty reports for the Annapolis Capital. He announced plans to withdraw a bill June 7 that would rezone portions of central and south county.

REDISTRICTING COMMITTEE: In light of new population statistics from the 2010 Census, the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners has authorized the formation of a committee responsible for overseeing the voter redistricting process at the local level, reports Meghan Russell of SoMdNews.com.

OFFICIAL’S CAR ARSON TARGET: A car belonging to a Laurel city official was destroyed by fire in his driveway in an incident police are calling an act of arson, Melanie Dzwonchyk reports for the Laurel Leader.

FIREFIGHTERS ACCORD: Meg Tully of the Frederick News Post writes that Frederick County has reached an agreement with the career firefighters union.