August 11, 2011

State Roundup, August 11, 2011

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TAX POSSIBILITIES: Gov. Martin O’Malley isn’t ruling out tax proposals during October’s special session on legislative redistricting, according to an AP story on WJZ.

GAY HOUSEHOLDS ON RISE: In the past 10 years, the number of same-sex couples in Maryland rose from 11,243 to 16,987 households, a trend that has been reflected in other states, with lesbian households accounting for more than half of gay households, writes Steve Kilar of the Sun.

The number of households run by same-sex couples has increased by 75% in Frederick County over the past decade, Bethany Rodgers reports for the Frederick News Post.

OLDER POPULATION INCREASES: The percent of the Frederick County population 65 years and older is increasing, mimicking a national trend. Senior citizens make up 11.1% of the county population, up from 9.6 percent in 2000, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, writes Megan Eckstein of the Frederick News Post.

MD TREND BUCKER: Immigration remains a hot topic in state legislatures around the country, but Maryland — as usual — bucks the national trend for laws proposed and enacted that crack down on illegal immigrants, writes Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com.

PUBLIC WORKS OKS LAB RENT: Maryland’s Board of Public Works approved a deal yesterday authorizing one of the highest public rental rates in Baltimore with the construction of a new high-tech health laboratory building in East Baltimore, Daniel Sernovitz reports for the Baltimore Business Journal.

Comptroller Franchot, a member of the Board of Public Works, pointed out before voting for the contract that adding this project to the state’s debt will likely require the state to increase its debt limit, writes Megan Poinski for MarylandReporter.com.

511 TRAFFIC REPORTS: As of today, writes Michael Dresser of the Sun, 511 will be to Maryland traffic reports what 911 has long been to emergency calls. The State Highway Administration is introducing the newest member of the state’s “1-1” family as it launches its new three-digit phone line for information on highway delays and other up-to-the-minute transportation news.

FORMER FIRST LADY DIES: Mimi Lee, 91, wife of former Gov. Blair Lee III, died Tuesday of congestive heart failure at Laurel Regional Hospital, reports Kristi Tousignant of the Gazette.

HARRIS PROTESTED: Local supporters of the national nonprofit MoveOn.org gathered in front of U.S. Rep. Andy Harris’ Salisbury office yesterday to demand that he focus on job creation and not spending cuts, writes Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times. Protesters included the mayor of Salisbury.

CARROLL ETHICS REVAMP: Christian Alexandersen of the Carroll County Times writes that Carroll County government and municipalities will be more stringent after they finish drafting new language to be in line with a new state law, passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2010, mandating that local governments and boards of education adopt ethics laws that are as stringent as the state’s.

PRINCE GEORGE’S RATING RISK: As tremors from the recent budget battle on Capitol Hill continue to afflict local economies across the country, Prince George’s County is among those facing further financial uncertainty with possible risks to its credit rating, writes Jim Bach of the Diamondback.

NO EXCUSES: Columnist Paul Foer of the Annapolis Capital takes on Anne Arundel County Councilman Darryl Jones, who, prior to his election, failed to pay his taxes. Foer writes that Jones should be especially careful about always paying his taxes properly and on time. One, he’s a lawyer. Two, he’s a member of our County Council.

RESPONSE TO STORY: Acting Division of Parole and Probation Patricia Vale responds to a MarylandReporter.com story earlier this week where the head of the probation officers’ union complained they were being stretched too thin.

STATE CENTER RISKY BUSINESS: In her column in the Washington Examiner, Barbara Hollingsworth takes a look at all of the risks to the state embodied in the State Center project.