June 22, 2011

State Roundup, June 22, 2011

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PETITION SIGNERS FLOCK: People eager to sign the petition to put on the ballot the law giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrants flocked to the red-and-white placards outside the Motor Vehicle Administration office in Frederick, writes Julie Bykowicz of the Sun.

ROBOCALL ROBOTS? Columnist Marta Mossburg writes in the Frederick News Post that while the robocalls made by the Ehrlich campaign were inexcusable, the fact that campaign aides thought that African-Americans would fall for such a ruse is almost as bad.

SEPTIC STUDY: Tim Wheeler of the Sun blogs that, continuing his push to limit development on septic systems, Gov. Martin O’Malley has named a 28-member task force to study the environmental and health impacts of on-site sewage disposal.

BYPASSING TOLLS: About 60 people, many saying they would find creative ways around the tolls if the state hikes them, came to the 6th of 10 hearings on the increases, this one in Anne Arundel County, writes Shantee Woodards of the Annapolis Capital.

MBRG RANKINGS: Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com writes that business ratings for Democratic members of the Maryland House of Delegates showed a sharp drop this year and scores for state senators declined as well, according to the latest report from Maryland Business for Responsive Government, which has been rating Annapolis lawmakers for 25 years.

NO TAKE-HOME CARS: Maryland Transportation Authority police officers have lost their effort to force the state to provide them with take-home cars after the state’s highest court ruled that an agreement they made in the final year of the Ehrlich administration was not enforceable, reports Andrea Siegel for the Sun.

BACK ON BALLOT: The Libertarian and Green parties regained their official status on election ballots yesterday after a judge found they had collected enough signatures on petitions, reports Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com.

MD HIGH SCHOOLS RATE: Nineteen Maryland high schools, seven in Baltimore County, are among Newsweek magazine’s list of the top 500 high schools in the nation, writes Jay Thompson for Patuxent Publishing. Here’s the Newsweek article. And here’s the list, which you can filter by state.

ENVIRONMENTAL ABCs: High school seniors in Maryland will have to be literate on environmental matters to graduate, after the state Board of Education passed the environmental literacy graduation requirement yesterday, according to an AP report in the Carroll County Times.

The requirement applies to students entering high school this fall, blogs the Sun’s Tim Wheeler.

NFL LOCKOUT LOSSES: Megan Poinski of MarylandReporter.com writes that if negotiations between the NFL Players’ Association and team owners are unsuccessful in ending the current lockout, Maryland stands to miss out on as much as $42 million in revenue from the lost football season, according to a study done by Comptroller Peter Franchot and the Board of Revenue Estimates.

CITY SLOTS DEAL: The Sun’s Julie Scharper reports that city officials have agreed to pay a local development team $1.2 million to settle a 2007 deal on land slated for the Baltimore slots casino, clearing one of the last legal hurdles before the site can be developed.

FUNERAL PICKETS: Anyone planning on picketing a funeral, memorial service or burial service in Carroll County may be required to be 1,000 feet away from the event and from the entrance to any funeral home, cemetery or burial ground, Christian Alexandersen reports for the Carroll County Times.

MOCO RETIREMENT SYSTEM: A majority of members on the Montgomery County council voted to create a two-tiered retirement system for police and many other county workers that would replace the current one-size-fits-all arrangement, reports the Post’s Michael Laris.

FREDERICK FISCAL HEALTH: Frederick County’s fiscal outlook is looking brighter with its projected deficit expected to be reduced from $16.6 million to $3.3 million in 2013, writes Patti Borda for the Frederick News Post.

AA COUNCIL CUTS RATE: The Anne Arundel County Council voted Monday night to temporarily lower the county’s income tax rate, a move that was sharply rebuked by County Executive John Leopold, reports Nicole Fuller of the Sun.

SECONDHAND FIREARMS: The Sun’s Nicole Fuller also reports that the Arundel Council soundly defeated a measure that would have exempted dealers in secondhand firearms from registering gun acquisitions with county police.

PG ECONOMIC PLAN: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker told the County Council that he wanted to pull back his signature $50 million economic development proposal after council members submitted a new round of amendments that Baker said risks bogging down the fund with too many bureaucratic requirements, Miranda Spivack writes for the Post.

VOTE ON CAB LICENSES: The Prince George’s County Council is expected to vote in the next few weeks on changes to the taxi medallion system that drivers said would undo gains they made last year after a nearly five-year political battle, reports the Post’s Miranda Spivack.