June 21, 2011

State Roundup, June 21, 2011

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BROADBAND COMING: Larry Carson of the Sun writes that Maryland is getting ready to link more than 2,000 miles of existing broadband cable in counties and cities, creating a central electronic infrastructure that would guarantee secure communications in emergencies and save governments millions in commercial fees now paid to telecom firms.

FREEZE TOLLS: Del. Pat McDonough will announce today legislation he is sponsoring that would freeze highway tolls and secure transportation funding during a special session of the General Assembly, reports Sarah Breitenbach of the Gazette.

TOLL HIKE HEARING: State officials will hold a public hearing from 5:30 to 8 tonight to discuss proposals to increase tolls at the Bay Bridge and other facilities, according to a brief in the Annapolis Capital.

SAVINGS ON BONDS: The state of Maryland is hoping to save $7 million by getting a lower interest rate on up to $550 million in bonds, writes Megan Poinski of MarylandReporter.com.

HOMEOWNER HELP: Maryland has until Sept. 30 to give out $36 million in federal aid to homeowners facing foreclosure through no fault of their own, reports Barbara Pash for MarylandReporter.com.

JOBS CREATION: Opinionators at the Sun say Maryland may be lagging in job creation, but it is important to remember we didn’t suffer as much as other states during the recession either.

ROBOCALLS WRONG: In an opinion piece for the Sun, Richard Cross, a former speech writer and campaign worker for Bob Ehrlich, offers four reasons why he thinks prosecutors should pursue the robocall incident.

GAMBLING PROBLEMS: The UMBC survey of thousands of Maryland households determined that one in 30 people – or 150,000 Marylanders – has a serious gambling problem, reports Steve Fermier for WBAL-AM.

FELDMAN STILL INTERESTED: Del. Brian Feldman, chairman of Montgomery County’s House delegation, remains interested in running for Maryland comptroller despite the fact that fellow Montgomery delegate and House Majority Leader Kumar Barve is also eyeing the post, John Wagner blogs for the Post.

FRACKING CONCERNS: Tom Harbold opines in the Carroll County Times that fracking may have financial benefits, but concerns over pollution means that it needs to be closely examined.

CARDIN ON HEALTH REFORM: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin faced a receptive audience yesterday at a Silver Spring retirement community, where he told the 125 in attendance that he would continue to fight for health care reform and called the GOP budget plan a “radical change” in Medicare and Medicaid, reports C. Benjamin Ford of the Gazette.

PETER O’MALLEY: Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland writes about the legacy of the late Peter O’Malley, who was a power broker in Prince George’s County in the ’70s and ’80s, and just how much that county has and hasn’t changed.

HARFORD JOINS DRUG TASK FORCE: After years of seeking assistance in combating its growing drug problem, Harford County won approval yesterday to join a regional task force that will direct additional federal resources to the county’s drug interdiction effort, John Fritze reports for the Sun.

PAYING DOUBLE: Miranda Spivack of the Post writes that a proposal to ban double paying developers who build roads, sewers and other infrastructure is slated to be introduced today in the Montgomery County Council.