June 30, 2011

State Roundup, June 30, 2011

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BOOZE TAX HIKE: Peter Panepinto of the Carroll County Times writes that while the liquor tax increase, which takes effect tomorrow, amounts to a small increase overall, no one wants to pay more. He speaks with retailers on the issue.

Maryland’s restaurateurs, bar and tavern owners, liquor store operators and point-of-sale system programmers have spent the last couple of weeks scrambling to get ready to collect the state’s new tax, writes Megan Poinski for MarylandReporter.com.

OTHER LAWS: Starting tomorrow, Maryland residents will be able to have wine shipped directly to their doorstep and know more precisely where some of their food is coming from, reports Carrie Ann Knauer of the Carroll County Times.

DREAM DEFERRED: The measure allowing in-state tuition for certain illegal immigrants in Maryland won’t be among the many bills taking effect tomorrow as scheduled, according to an AP report in the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

The law would have made Maryland the 11th state to allow undocumented students to pay the lower in-state tuition rate for higher education under certain conditions, according to Andrea Fujii reporting for WJZ-TV.

Nicholas Stern of the Frederick News Post reports that Casa de Maryland, which opposes the petition, and Dels. Michael Smigiel, Neil Parrott and Pat McDonough — all Republicans who support the petition — received copies of a database that includes petition signatories’ names and addresses and reasons for rejection, if applicable, from the Maryland State Board of Elections.

On a recent grocery shopping trip, Sun columnist Dan Rodricks wondered about the Maryland DREAM Act petition and if shoppers realize that the food we buy, and the prices we pay for it, are directly connected to farms that employ immigrants?

At least two members of the House of Delegates were among the 10,000 Marylanders whose signatures were rejected from the first batch of in-state tuition petitions, blogs Annie Linskey for the Sun.

NEW JOBS GROUP: A new business group is seeking a blueprint to bring more private sector jobs to Maryland, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

MIDDLING BIZ CLIMATE: The Baltimore Business Journal is reporting that Maryland dropped two spots to No. 29 in CNBC’s latest ranking of states for business climate. Here’s the complete list.

DUTCH PRO MERGER: John Fritze of the Sun blogs that U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger is jumping into the fray on one of the most controversial issues facing federal anti-trust regulators this year by joining 75 other congressional Democrats in a high profile letter touting the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile.

ONE COUNTY, TWO POLICIES: If you’re a gay employee of Anne Arundel County Schools and get married in another state, your partner qualifies for health benefits starting tomorrow. But, if you work for county government, your partner does not qualify, writes Rick Hutzell for the Annapolis Capital.

NO LICENSE TRANSFER: Washington County liquor officials want the public to know that business owners can’t sell their liquor licenses under any circumstances, reports Dan Dearth of the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

WILL JOHNSON STAY? Prince George’s County Council member Leslie Johnson, who is expected to appear in federal court today to face charges of witness tampering and destruction of evidence, set off a flurry of questions last night when her office sent out an invitation for residents to meet with county officials who handle small-business issues and minority contracting, blogs Miranda Spivack for the Post.