June 23, 2011

State Roundup, June 23, 2011

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47,288 VALID SIGNATURES: Harford County has collected the third most signatures for Maryland’s anti-DREAM Act petition, according to a press release from John Paff of the drive. The release, published by the Dagger, also says that the state Board of Elections certified 47,288 of the 57,505 signatures collected, leaving 8,448 signatures to be collected by June 30 to bring the issue to referendum.

The first batch of signatures included 17,092 gathered through a website set up by the petition organizers, reports Julie Bykowicz of the Sun.

FINANCIAL LITERACY: State agencies are reporting mixed results in implementing the recommendations of a General Assembly task force to make the public – including public school students – more literate on financial issues, Barbara Pash reports for MarylandReporter.com

ROBOCALL POINTS: An attorney for Julius Henson, a political operative who was indicted last week for his alleged role in an election-night robocall, accused Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler of trying to score political points on the issue, the Post’s John Wagner reports.

PROSPERITY OUTLOOK: One new study finds that Maryland ranks in middle of the pack in economic prosperity, while some analysts warn that high incomes of some Marylanders may be disguising bigger problems, writes Megan Poinski for MarylandReporter.com.

BRINGING JOBS TO MD: In an op-ed piece for the Sun, Brendan Madigan, a former Republican candidate for Maryland comptroller, writes that Texas-style conservative approaches helped bring jobs to that state and could do the same for Maryland, which came in last in job growth.

SCHAEFER ESTATE CONTESTED: Michael Schaefer, an aide to the late Gov. William Donald Schaefer, is claiming that the estate owes him $28,000, according to Stever Fermier of WBAL.com.

BARTLETT WEALTH: U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett — generally among the most wealthy members of Maryland’s delegation to Congress — appears to have boosted his net worth and expanded his real estate holdings in 2010, John Fritze of the Sun blogs.

MIXED ON AFGHAN PULLOUT: Maryland lawmakers offered decidedly mixed reactions yesterday to President Barack Obama’s decision to pull tens of thousands of U.S. troops out of Afghanistan in the coming months, blogs John Fritze for the Sun.

A CUT-RATE COUNCIL: So much for sanity, opines the editorial board of the Annapolis Capital. The Anne Arundel County Council could have done the right thing, but instead it did the political thing and made a show of cutting the county income tax rate for a year.

PG MAY YET GET HHS HQ: Prince George’s County is getting a do-over after a federal government oversight office ruled the headquarters selection process that kept the Department of Health and Human Services headquarters in Montgomery County was flawed, reports Liz Farmer for the Washington Examiner.

CITY TAKES THE TOLL: Jake Stern writes, in an op-ed piece for the Sun, that the poorer Baltimore city residents have long been hit with tolls while the affluent D.C. suburbs are spared the expense.

SLOTS APPEAL: The group vying to build a slots parlor in Baltimore has appealed the rejection of its casino application to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals in the hopes of regaining its right to build a 3,750-machine gaming facility by M&T Bank Stadium, Daniel Sernovitz of the Baltimore Business Journal reports.

RAISED EYEBROWS IN CARROLL: The new Carroll County Commissioners – swept into office on a Tea Party wave – are raising eyebrows with prayers before meetings and their stance on growth, transit and immigration, writes Mary Gail Hare of the Sun. To see who the commissioners are, click here.

BACO REDISTRICTING: The first-ever Baltimore County Council Redistricting Commission voted unanimously yesterday to send its proposed district border changes to the County Council for review, writes Jay Thompson for the Towson Times.

But a portion of the plan – which includes a large minority population – has drawn criticism, Arthur Hirsch reports for the Sun.

ALARMING FEE: Opinionators at the Frederick News Post write that the Frederick County Commissioners will save taxpayers money by eliminating the senseless annual alarm user fee.

RETIREMENT SAVINGS: Washington County’s retirement-incentive program exceeded expectations, prompting 11 retirements that will save the county more than $160,000 a year in salaries and benefits even after the employees are replaced, Heather Keels reports in the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

PATUXENT PROJECT: The Navy’s plan to lease land at Patuxent River Naval Air Station to private developers is now free to move through congressional approval and be implemented, after U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer released his hold on the project’s approval, reports Jay Friess of SoMdNews.com.