August 4, 2011

State Roundup, August 4, 2011

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PLANMARYLAND OPPOSED: Saying that it should not supercede Cecil County’s own comprehensive plan, Cecil County commissioners want to make it perfectly clear to the state that they oppose PlanMaryland, a proposal for statewide growth to be adopted this fall, reports Cheryl Mattix for the Cecil Whig.

DEBT-CEILING BUDDIES: Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com writes about the strange bedfellows created within the Maryland congressional delegation during the debt-ceiling crisis. Each member had different reasons for voting as he/she did.

HARRIS PROTESTED: A group of demonstrators from several counties on the Eastern and western shores gathered outside the Kent Island office of U.S. Rep. Andy Harris Tuesday to protest votes and positions taken by the First District congressman, Jack Schaum writes for the Easton Star Democrat.

WHERE’S THE ANGER? Sun columnist Dan Rodricks ponders populist and tea party anger and asks why it’s directed at the federal government when the wealthiest Americans continue to accumulate wealth that has contributed to adult poverty levels that this country has not seen since before the federal war on poverty began in the 1960s, the unemployment rate is still north of 9%, and more than 6 million Americans have been out of work for six months or longer.

Dean Minnich, columnist for the Carroll County Times, opines that the rookies in leading roles do not understand the impact of cutting spending and not raising revenues.

DOWNSIZING MARYLAND: This week’s debt ceiling agreement raises the possibility that the ever-growing federal government — like so many private employers — will finally have to downsize, opines the editorial board for the Annapolis Capital. In that event, what happens to Maryland will not be good.

CLEAN AUDITS: Megan Poinski of MarylandReporter.com writes that 1 in 4 agencies audited by the state Office of Legislative Audits earns a clean bill of health.

FAA SHUTDOWN: A day after Congress settled the longstanding debate over the nation’s debt ceiling, Maryland lawmakers are reacting to the next crisis caused by partisan gridlock: The partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, which has caused thousands of employees to be furloughed, blogs John Fritze of the Sun.

In addition to an unknown number of Maryland-based contract workers who are out of a job, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued stop-work orders for six projects in the state, including a new radar system at BWI Airport, writes the Sun’s John Fritze. And seven FAA employees in Maryland have been furloughed.

Ashley Halsey of the Post reports that with lawmakers leaving town or already on recess, there seems to be little hope of a resolution on the horizon. Here’s a Post photo gallery of FAA workers lobbying on Capitol Hill.

TOLL HIKE DELAYS: Jacob Owens of the Cecil Whig writes about the MdTA’s announcement that it is delaying planned toll hikes and how that delay will bring relief to many Cecil County residents who protested the increases in June.

HARRIS HOPES TO KEEP EASTERN SHORE: As redistricting begins in Maryland, U.S. Rep. Andy Harris faces the possibility his Cockeysville home will be drawn out of the 1st District that largely covers the Eastern Shore as well as parts of Anne Arundel, Harford and Baltimore counties. Regardless of where the new boundaries may lie for the 2012 elections, Harris would still like to represent the Eastern Shore, Jennifer Shutt reports for the Salisbury Daily Times.

PG LIQUOR DELIVERY RULES: The Prince George’s liquor board voted last night to require that a liquor delivery person be at least 18, that the business owner record the names of people receiving alcohol deliveries and that the buyer and recipient offer proof that they are at least 21. Deliveries to colleges, fraternities and sororities will be banned, and a $250 fee will be collected from stores applying for permission to make deliveries, Miranda Spivack reports for the Post.

GRASMICK TO HEAD HO CO PANEL: Former State Schools Superintendent Nancy Grasmick may have retired but she’s keeping her hand in the issues, writes Lindsey McPherson for the Laurel Leader. Grasmick will head a commission formed to study the structure of the Howard County Board of Education.

COUNCILMAN LAWYERS UP: The Anne Arundel County councilman who has been charged in federal court for failing to file a tax return in 2005 has hired a prominent Baltimore attorney and Montgomery County communications firm to handle the legal and public relations issues from the allegations, blogs Andy Rosen for the Sun.

NO CONFIDENCE IN COMMISSIONERS: Columnist Elizabeth Marsh Cupino, writing for the Frederick News Post, says that harsh and fiery citizen reaction to actions by the Frederick County Commissioners amounts to a stinging and decisive vote of no confidence.