June 28, 2011

State Roundup, June 28, 2011

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GAY MARRIAGE: Same-sex marriage advocates are pondering the lessons that can be learned from New York, while foes say it will have little impact on Maryland, writes Julie Bykowicz of the Sun.

Sun columnist Dan Rodricks takes Gov. Martin O’Malley to task for failing to take a stand for gay marriage, writing that at this point he is playing second fiddle to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

And gay marriage advocates are still pressing O’Malley to play a more vigorous role to get it passed in the next General Assembly session, writes John Wagner for the Post.

Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland pulls no punches in his column that he calls “A Triple Play of Political Shame,” writing about the robocall indictments, Maryland’s failure to legalize gay marriage and the continuing ethical saga in Prince George’s County.

TOLL PROTEST: More than 1,000 people from the northeast corner of the state came out last evening to tell state officials not to raise the toll on the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge, which they say connects them to their churches, shopping centers, doctors and friends on the other side of the Susquehanna River, Meredith Cohn reports for the Sun.

The Sun’s Michael Dresser writes that, with the proposed toll increases, Maryland is just now paying for what it said it would pay for.

TUITION PETITION: Meg Tully of the Frederick News Post reports that Del. Michael Hough was able to vote against the bill in the General Assembly that granted in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants, but he’s running into problems getting a valid signature on the petition to overturn the same law.

The ACLU is voicing concerns about how those signatures are collected on-line, John Rydell reports for WBFF-TV. They’re still considering filing suit, challenging the entire process.

And, responding to a Public Information Act request, the State Board of Elections gave immigrant advocacy group Casa de Maryland a disk with names, addresses and signatures of people who have signed the petition to bring in-state tuition for illegal immigrants to the ballot in 2012, reports Glynis Kazanjian for MarylandReporter.com.

FILMING IN MARYLAND: Megan Poinski of MarylandReporter.com writes that a new $7.5 million tax incentive to spur film production in Maryland takes effect this week.

GAMBLING BENEFIT: Plans long in the works to revitalize a neighborhood near the Pimlico Race Track could get started with an influx of $2 million from slots revenue, making this among the first to see a tangible benefit from legalized casino gambling in Maryland, the Sun’s Jessica Anderson reports.

GANSLER ON ROBOCALLS: John Wagner of the Post writes that Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler is defending himself against the accusation that he is just trying to score political points by pursuing the robocall case.

BIG PAYOUTS: Constellation Energy Group Chief Executive Officer Mayo Shattuck and other top executives of the Baltimore company are eligible to receive more than $36 million in cash severance and equity awards if a proposed merger with Chicago-based Exelon Corp. is successful, writes Hanah Cho of the Sun.

CARDIN CRITICIZES OBAMA: The Sun’s John Fritze writes that U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin says he believes President Barack Obama erred in not requesting authority from Congress for the ongoing military effort in Libya despite the administration’s stance that it does not need that approval.

HOPE FOR RED LINE: The Maryland Transit Administration’s proposed Red Line in Baltimore has received federal government approval to move to the next phase of development, writes Michael Dresser of the Sun. It’s a strong indication that the east-west light rail line will eventually qualify for federal funding.

MOCO UNION: The Montgomery County police union is threatening the county government, saying the liberal bastion violated police officers’ civil and constitutional rights when it passed the budget for the new fiscal year, writes Rachel Baye in the Washington Examiner.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE ANNOUNCES: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake officially launched her campaign to retain her seat last night, as the state’s highest elected leaders – Gov. Martin O’Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulksi and Ben Cardin and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, among others – joined in a rally on the lawn of her mother’s West Baltimore home, blogs Julie Scharper of the Sun.