State Roundup, June 3, 2011

June 03, 2011 at 7:13 am

CHINESE ECONOMIC DEALS: Gov. Martin O’Malley will be bringing more than $45 million worth of economic deals home with him from China – including $40 million for biopharmaceutical firm Tasly Group to open a plant in Montgomery County, and agreements for companies to open in the University of Maryland, College Park’s international incubator, reports The Sun’s Hanah Cho.

The Daily Record’s Rachel Bernstein writes that Tasly Group officials selected Maryland because they wanted to leverage nearby biomedical resources as they prepare for Phase III clinical trials of a traditional Chinese remedy to treat and prevent coronary disease.

Alexander Jackson of the Baltimore Business Journal writes that the company’s leaders were looking for the most talent-rich place to enter the United States, and decided on Maryland.

Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com writes that these deals are among the state’s high expectations when setting up the trip.

PUGH FOR MAYOR: Sen. Catherine Pugh of West Baltimore plans to make a formal announcement on Monday that she will challenge Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in September’s Democratic primary, reports The Sun’s Julie Scharper.

TOLLS CATCHING UP: The Maryland Transportation Authority Board gave preliminary approval to toll increases that seem huge – but that the Sun’s Michael Dresser writes are more on par with other states.

Transportation officials said the toll hike could raise $77 million in its first year, reports David Hill of the Washington Times.

The vote by the Transportation Authority Board starts a 60-day public comment period on the increases, writes The Examiner’s Ben Giles.

In a Daily Record staff editorial, they heartily support the toll increases, saying it is time to pay for the infrastructure improvements.

In his Gazette column, Barry Rascovar writes that Maryland politicians need to have the backbone to raise the revenues the state needs for roads and highways.

TOLL INCREASES: The Maryland Transportation Authority has posted the complete list of recommended toll hikes and the public hearings it will hold on the proposal this month.

CARDIN ON FACEBOOK: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin recently caved in to peer – and constituent – pressure and started a Facebook page, reports The Sun’s Laura Vozzella.

CARDIN CHALLENGER: Republican Daniel Bongino gave up a career as a Secret Service Agent to challenge U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin’s reelection, and he’s not deterred by the challenge, reports Alan Brody in the Gazette.

GASOLINE ALTERNATIVES: U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has joined a bipartisan group of legislators pushing for more alternative-fuel vehicles, reports The Sun’s John Fritze.

THREATS IN MOCO: Montgomery County Council President Valerie Ervin says that threats made by leaders of the county’s police union in the run-up to the vote crossed the line, reports The Post’s Michael Laris.

LET THE PEOPLE VOTE: A staff editorial from the Cumberland Times-News says that given all of the petition signatures – plus a poll overwhelmingly against illegal immigrant tuition breaks – it is time to let the people decide on the issue.

PG PLEA UNSEALED: The latest piece of evidence released in the Prince George’s County corruption case is a September guilty plea from developer Daniel Colton, reports the Examiner’s Ben Giles. The developer bribed county officials with cash, plane tickets, and prostitutes, the plea states.

Colton and other co-conspirators also made large campaign contributions to officials, then attributed those contributions to friends and family members, reports The Washington Times’ Andrea Noble.

O’MALLEY’S SALARY: Tierney Plumb of the Baltimore Business Journal writes that Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s salary is above average for all governors in the United States.

BAKER PROMOTES PG IN MONTGOMERY: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker is working to promote economic development in his county in Montgomery County, saying benefits will cross county lines, reports The Washington Post’s Miranda Spivack.

COST OF EQUAL JUSTICE ACCESS: The Maryland Access to Justice Commission found that it could cost the state $106 million to supplement the services it already has and provide adequate legal help for the state’s poorest people facing civil cases, reports Megan Poinski of MarylandReporter.com.

2014 UNDERCARD: Columnist Josh Kurtz at Center Maryland takes a look at the other potential statewide races in 2014 if all the big names vying for governor stay in the game.

LOTTERY PROSPECTS: State Lottery Director Stephen Martino says lottery revenues are growing for the 14th year in a row despite the advent of slot machine gambling, which the agency also oversees. Alan Brody has the interview in the Gazette.

EQUALITY MARYLAND: The major organization pressing for same-sex marriage, Equality Maryland, faces organizational and financial problems, Sarah Breitenbach reports in the Gazette.

PEPCO OUTAGES: Montgomery County leaders are still hearing about electric power outages even on nice days, writes the Gazette’s Erin Cunningham.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook has items on Hannah Powers, the only lobbyist on the governor’s Asian trip; Jim Smith’s new gig; the plunge by Kevin Kamenetz; Ron George’s plumber; bill killing by Kelly Shulz; and GOP hospice meetings.

UNIVERSITY LABOR COMPLAINT: Facilities workers at the University of Maryland College Park say they have been the targets of racial discrimination and sexual and verbal abuse, according to a story by Daniel Leaderman in the Gazette.

ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE: State Farm Insurance is sponsoring emergency assistance to motorists by the State Highway Administration, Benjamin Ford writes in the Gazette.

CYBERSECURITY: A new report from the university system urges public universities and colleges to add more cybersecurity courses and strengthen ties to the cybersecurity community, Andrew Ujifusa reports in the Gazette.

TUITION PETITION: The Gazette’s Sarah Breitenbach reports on efforts by supporters of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants to fend off the petition drive to put the issue on the ballot.

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