June 13, 2011

State Roundup, June 13, 2011

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DIGITAL PETITION: A combination of technological savvy and populist anger has helped move the petition to bring the law allowing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants toward referendum – and may also embolden Republicans in the future, reports The Sun’s Annie Linskey.

However, the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union wrote a 20-page letter to the State Board of Elections, asking them to take a close look at the site, blogged The Sun’s Julie Bykowicz. The ACLU called the site “illegal and vulnerable to fraud.”  The ACLU’s major objection is that the online petition form can fill in required information about someone with his or her name, zip code and birthdate, reports The Post’s John Wagner.

CHANGE MD: Larry Hogan’s group, Change Maryland, looks for middle ground, writes Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com. Hogan says, “… it’s more about the difference between right and wrong.”

View Lazarick’s video interview with Hogan here.

TWEETY: Political junkies got a surprise last night when state Sen. Catherine Pugh’s account published the following: @PughforMayor: Mmm mmm good looking men here (@ Martin’s West w/ 4 others), blogs Julie Scharper for the Sun. Pugh, a candidate for Baltimore mayor who was attending the Associated Black Charities gala, says she did not send the tweet — and she did not even have her phone with her.

CUMMINGS’ ROLE: U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the new highest-ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, has quickly proven himself as an effective leader and fearless Democrat, reports The Sun’s John Fritze.

CUMMINGS NEPHEW KILLED: Norfolk, VA, police say this was an apparent random shooting and believe someone broke into Cummings’ apartment and shot him and his roommate, according to WMAR-TV.

WBAL-TV has reaction from U.S. Rep. Cummings.

Cummings was living in an off-campus house with a few friends, reports Adam May of WJZ-TV.  Be sure to scroll down for a video report.

TOLL INCREASES: The Sun’s Michael Dresser calls the proposed toll increases “cruel, but not unfair,” and commends the Maryland Transportation Authority for coming up with a proposal that impacts all toll road users the same.

ROLLEY ON SCHOOLS: Baltimore mayoral candidate Otis Rolley III said he would like to give private school vouchers to parents whose children are attending failing public schools, and that he will fight for mayoral control of the city’s schools, reports The Sun’s Julie Scharper.

PUBLIC SERVICE PAYS: When former governor, comptroller and Baltimore mayor Donald Schaefer died in April, he left behind an estate of $2.5 million. The Sun’s Eileen Ambrose breaks down how a career public servant can make so much money.

BATH SALTS INVESTIGATION: Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Joshua Sharfstein has ordered an investigation into the synthetic drug marketed as “bath salts,” reports The Sun’s Frank Roylance. The investigation could lead to a statewide ban. According to an Associated Press report in The Daily Record, the Heath Department has received 22 “bath salt”-related complaints.

CITY PROPERTY TAX: Baltimore City would need to attract at least 500,000 new residents in order to make up for cutting property tax rates in half over the next four years, according to a study by the city’s Finance Department, reports The Sun’s Julie Scharper.

Mayoral candidate and state Sen. Catherine Pugh is forming a commission to study how she could slash the taxes in half if elected, reports The Sun’s Julie Scharper.

HARFORD BOE CHANGES: On July 1, several changes will be coming to the Harford County Board of Education – including expanding membership from seven to nine, reports Kayla Bawroski of The Aegis.

RESIGN, WEINER: U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen joined the chorus of members of Congress calling for New York Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign after lying about suggestive photos and messages sent over social networking, reports The Sun’s John Fritze.

VIETNAM DEALS: At the end of his Asian economic mission, Gov. Martin O’Malley announced four new deals resulting from the trip, reports The Sun’s Annie Linskey. Three of these are new business partnerships between Vietnamese and Maryland companies, while one was a memorandum of understanding for a possible sister state relationship with Vietnam’s Ninh Thaun province.

UPPING THE ANTE: While Maryland is in the beginning stages of getting slots casinos rolled out, 18 casinos in neighboring states have added table games – and are attracting the gamblers Maryland hopes to target, reports The Washington Post’s John Wagner.

LEOPOLD DENIAL: Attorneys for Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold issued a detailed and point-by-point denial of alleged gender discrimination for the lawsuit he’s involved with, reports The Capital’s Erin Cox.

In other news in the case, no sanctions will be leveled against the plaintiffs’ attorney John Singleton, who circulated a copy of the case to the media, Cox reports.

GRAVEYARD ECONOMY: Greg Latshaw of the Salisbury Daily Times examines how the recession has impacted Maryland’s indigent burials.

FRACKING FUNK: Some of O’Malley’s political opponents, including Garrett County Sen. George Edwards, see the governor’s plan to study drilling for natural gas in Marcellus shale deposits as a political maneuver, reports The Washington Times’ David Hill.

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    So, the ACLU won’t check to see if voters are legitimate, but they will block voters from enjoying their civil rights?  Even IF EVERYONE who signed the petition were a fraud, all that means is the voters would get to have their say.  THAT is what the ACLU is really afraid of. 

    There was a time when the ACLU actually fought for civil rights, but they have lost the meaning of their charter. 

    It is nearly impossible to prove the birth parentage of illegal alien children, so any legal person tied to the illegal network can claim the child and show the tax records.  Many illegals also share one SSN.  The possibility for fraud in this ill-advised law is massive—WHERE OR WHERE IS THE ACLU ON THAT?

    Maryland services have been cut, state workers have had their pay cut, yet our politicians favor illegals with our tax dollars!  What a slap in the face to citizens.  Further, federal law says that if in-state tuition is given to illegals, ALL out of state must get it.  We rely on out-of-state tuititions to help support our universities, which means rates  and/or taxes go up for all. 

    I am an Maryland taxpayer, not the golden goose.  Annapolis needs to stop confusing the two.