June 27, 2011

State Roundup, June 27, 2011

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REVIVING MD ADVOCACY: Maryland’s same-sex marriage advocates are hoping that New York State’s passage of the latest marriage equality law in the nation will revive the issue in Maryland, which failed to pass this year, writes John Wagner for the Post.

11 APPLY TO SHIP WINE: This week, Maryland wine lovers will be able to get their favorite bottles delivered directly to their homes, but, since the state made the applications available on June 10, just eight Maryland wineries and three from out of state have returned the forms, Julie Bykowicz reports for the Sun.

INTERNET SALES TAX: The editorial board for the Sun writes that momentum is growing to find some compromise that would allow states, including Maryland, to collect a tax on Internet sales without unduly burdening Internet retailers, and fairness requires it.

FATAL TEEN CRASHES DOWN: Serious crashes involving the youngest drivers have dropped significantly since Maryland tightened teen driving laws in 2009, reports Katie Moritz for the Annapolis Capital.

JOINT EFFORT FOR JUVIES: Emily Babay of the Washington Examiner reports that group counseling, meetings between offenders and victims, and training for parents are some of the tactics Maryland officials are using to keep juvenile delinquents from committing more crimes.

BPW FAILED TO MONITOR: Brian Hughes of the Washington Examiner writes that a state board composed of Maryland’s top elected officials failed to monitor $200,000 in grant money given to an unnamed recipient, and did not produce legally required procurement reports to state lawmakers for at least seven straight years.

SOLAR POWER’S POWER: Thousands of Maryland homeowners are opting for solar over wind power and state grants help make it possible, reports Barbara Pash for MarylandReporter.com.

CYCLING MAP: The latest map to come out of state government is the Cycle Maryland Map, at cycle.maryland.gov, and it’s just what it sounds like, writes the editorial board for the Salisbury Daily Times. Clearly an ambitious undertaking, the map color-codes thousands of miles of roads according to their suitability for pedal-powered travel, and shows just how unsuitable many are.

A WARM READ: With 250 copies sold, Del. Dana Stein’s first novel – about global warming – is receiving some warm reviews, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

MISPLACED KUDOS? The Rev. Milton Williams said he was “shocked and mesmerized” when a special delivery arrived Saturday morning containing a gubernatorial attaboy for an unorthodox methadone clinic his church is planning, mainly because he hasn’t gotten the go-ahead from the state Health Department, blogs Annie Linskey for the Sun.

FREEWHEELING WITH MO’M: The recent gig by O’Malley’s March is the latest sign that Gov. Martin O’Malley is seeking to recapture a little of the freewheeling spirit that marked his tenure as mayor of Baltimore, a persona he reluctantly recast as his first bid for governor was taking shape six years ago, writes John Wagner for the Post.

EHRLICH AT KIRK FUNERAL: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich spoke at the funeral of his friend, Ruth Kirk, an African-American delegate who died at the age of 81. It was just one week after the state prosecutor’s office accused workers in his 2010 gubernatorial campaign of roles in election night robocalls that attempted to suppress votes in the heavily African-American areas of Baltimore and Prince George’s County, reports Annie Linskey for the Sun.

SCHAEFER ESTATE: WBFF-TV reporter Janice Park interviews Michael Schaefer, the man who is seeking $28,000 from the estate of the late Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

EASTERN SHORE TROUBLE: The Eastern Shore is facing its own set of economic woes, reports the Sun’s Jamie Smith Hopkins, as poultry and grain farmers see more troubled times ahead.

FED CUTS HURT STATE: The Sun’s John Fritze reports that as the pitched battle over the nation’s debt crisis shifts to the White House, federal employees in Maryland are bracing for a series of benefit cuts they say would have a devastating effect on the state’s economy.

LONG LIFE: Life expectancy in the United States is falling behind other countries despite the large amount of money we pour into health care, opines the editorial board of the Frederick News Post. But both Frederick and Montgomery counties are home to long-livers , it adds, and the state of Maryland has worked hard to address the issue.

MD DELEGATION SPLIT: Maryland’s congressional delegation split along party lines Friday over a resolution in the House of Representatives that would have authorized President Barack Obama to continue U.S. military involvement in Libya for one year, with the state’s six Democrats in support and two Republicans opposed, blogs John Fritze in the Sun.

HARRIS VOTE: U.S. Rep. Andy Harris voted on Friday to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission, which helped states upgrade voting machines, according to a press release from his office that ran in the Dagger. Eliminating the EAC would save taxpayers $33 million over the next five years, according to the release.

TECH RECYCLING: Citing the growing number of consumer electronics products that wind up in landfills, U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes proposed giving federal agencies $60 million over the next three years to promote recycling of gadgets and computers, John Fritze reports for the Sun.

LIBERAL BIAS: In an op-ed piece in the Sun, Towson University Professor Richard Vatz takes a look at the intolerance of colleges toward conservatives, including his own TU, which he says is better than most.

MURKY PRIVATIZATION: As it considers privatizing certain services, Frederick County is treading into dark territory, a domain of so many unknowns that the kind of incremental steps that Commissioner Paul Smith flags as necessary make solid sense, using, as he says, “facts and sound reasons,” writes the editorial board for the Frederick News Post.

JOHNSON COURT DATE: The Post’s Ruben Castaneda and Miranda Spivack report that Prince George’s County Council member Leslie Johnson, who faces criminal charges in connection with a sweeping corruption investigation, is scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday for a plea hearing.

Johnson’s husband pleaded guilty last month to federal corruption charges as part of a sweeping probe into wrongdoing in county government, according to an AP story in the Daily Record.

REDISTRICTING ARUNDEL: Anne Arundel County’s Charter Revision Commission will hold its first public hearing tonight to discuss possible changes to the council’s voting districts, Scott Daughtery writes for the Annapolis Capital, and residents are invited to offer their input, particularly on how the commission should redraw the boundaries of Districts 1 and 4.

NEW SOMERSET ADMIN: Somerset County Commissioners have started a search for a new county administrator and could have someone in place by fall, writes Liz Holland for the Salisbury Daily Times.

CECIL EXEC HOPEFUL: Cecil County will change from commissioner to a charter form of government next year, and one official – North East Mayor Robert McKnight – has plans to run for the new post of county executive, according to WTOP-FM.