July 19, 2011

State Roundup, July 19, 2011

Print More

O’MALLEY ON DEBT CRISIS: Gov. Martin O’Malley continued making the rounds of national media yesterday to warn of the potential consequences for states from the federal debt standoff, blogs John Wagner for the Post. Scroll down to the video link of O’Malley on MSNBC.

NOT GUILTY PLEAS: Two campaign aides to Republican former Gov. Bob Ehrlich pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges that they violated election laws last fall by ordering Election Day robocalls to Democratic homes in predominantly African-American areas that suggested the vote was over, reports Julie Bykowicz for the Sun.

Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Lawrence P. Fletcher-Hill then scheduled a Sept. 22 trial for Ehrlich’s defacto campaign manager Paul Schurick, and controversial political consultant Julius Henson, blogs Aaron Davis for the Post.

The AP’s Brian Witte reports in the Annapolis Capital that both are charged with three counts of conspiracy to violate state election laws, one count of attempting to influence a voter’s decision whether to go to the polls through the use of fraud and one count of failing to provide an authority line on distributed campaign material.

The indictments resulted from an investigation into robocalls that told supporters of incumbent Democratic Gov. O’Malley to relax, because he already had won, reports WBFF-TV.

REDISTRICTING HEARINGS SET: The Governor’s Redistricting Advisory Committee has scheduled all 12 of its public hearings on reshaping congressional and state legislative districts, blogs Julie Bykowicz for the Sun.

RACE FOR CASH: U.S. Reps. John Sarbanes and Andy Harris raised more campaign cash than any other Baltimore-area members of Congress in the past three months, writes the Sun’s John Fritze.

HARRIS BILL: The first bill submitted by Andy Harris — which would reauthorize study of algae blooms and dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay — made it out of a subcommittee a day after he voted to limit the power of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, reports Daniel Divilio for the Easton Star Democrat.

HIDDEN BAY DANGER: Carrie Madren writes for the op-ed section of the Sun that “ghost gear” – abandoned fishing lines, crab pots and nets – presents a serious danger to the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

BONGINO RUNS: He gave up a 12-year career in the Secret Service, where he had led the protection details for Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, forgoing his government pension. He’s got seven months of savings set aside, his wife is pregnant with their second child and, of course, he’s never run for public office. Meet Dan Bongino, who is hoping to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin in the General Election, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

You can also view Lazarick’s video interview with Bongino.

NEW BLACK DEM CLUB: Residents have started the Thurgood Marshall Democratic Club of Howard County to represent the political values and expand involvement of black Democratic party members, writes Lindsey McPherson of the Columbia Flier.

POULTRY PERIL: Poultry company Allen Family Foods has laid off 28 employees at its Talbot County processing plant, reports Jamie Smith Hopkins for the Sun.

Daniel Menefee of the Chestertown Spy writes that contract poultry growers north of U.S. 301 in Kent and Queen Anne’s counties could be left with empty chicken houses if two major poultry companies consolidate their production chain closer to their processing plants. But state Del. Jay Jacobs said he intends to talk with Gov. O’Malley to “see if anything could be developed from his recent trip to China and Korea to open up markets for our poultry industry.”

TOLL HEARING NO SHOW: Patrick McGrady opines in the Dagger that while there were raucous public hearings on the toll increases in June in Havre de Grace, the mayor and city council of Aberdeen were nowhere to be seen – except at the Maryland Municipal League conference in Ocean City.

CAREFUL CONSIDERATION: The editorial board for the Frederick News Post is encouraging the Frederick County Board of Commissioners to continue to investigate privatizating some county services, but in a careful, deliberate and selective way.

Meanwhile, reports the News Post’s Bethany Rogers, the local branch of the League of Women Voters asked a professor to examine the privatization study that a consultant presented to county officials in June, and yesterday presented the findings along with the league’s recommendations to commissioners.

EARLY END TO CITY BEVERAGE TAX: Baltimore’s controversial beverage tax would end a year sooner than originally planned under a bill scheduled to be introduced at last night’s City Council meeting, Gary Haber and Daniel Sernovitz report for the Baltimore Business Journal.