August 16, 2011

State Roundup, August 16, 2011

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OYSTER FARMING: Long-awaited “streamlining” of the tangled state and federal red tape Maryland watermen must navigate for permission to establish oyster farming operations finally took effect yesterday. Now, instead of seeking approvals from three state agencies , then the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, watermen can file a single, joint state-federal application with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Frank Roylance reports for the Sun.

Maryland’s U.S. senators touted the plan to encourage oyster farming and prevent overharvesting of the shellfish in the wild, reports Sarah Breitenbach for the Gazette.

ANTI-POACHING REGS: Alex Demetrick of WJZ-TV explains measures that the state is proposing to stop the rockfish poaching that cut the fishing season short this past year.

MD. DEBT CEILING: David Hill of the Washington Times writes that Maryland officials say the state is drawing nearer to a self-imposed cap that limits its annual debt service to no more than 8% of total revenues and could approach the limit by 2017.

FINANCIAL CRISIS: WYPR’s Midday news review with Dan Rodricks on Friday stuck to one big subject — the financial crisis and its economic and political ramifications in Maryland, across the country and abroad. Scroll down to the Friday show to listen to Dan speak with Sun business columnist Jay Hancock, and political observer Herb Smith, professor of political science at McDaniel College and co-author of the forthcoming “Maryland Politics and Government: Democratic Dominance.”

RELIGION IN CHECK: In an op-ed piece in the Sun, Virginia state Del. Bob Marshall writes that Gov. Martin O’Malley should think twice before he checks his faith at the door of the governor’s mansion when it comes to same-sex marriage. The Catholic Church did not change its clear teaching on marriage for the King of England. It won’t change it for the governor of Maryland.

FEDEX MY WINE: The Baltimore Business Journal writes that since Maryland lawmakers made it legal earlier this year for wineries in and out of the state to ship wine to state homes, nearly 300 wineries have applied for or been approved for a direct shipping permit. Two databases – one listing in-state applicants, the other for those out-of-state – are at the bottom of the article. And for those of us who must have pictures, here’s a gallery of bottle labels of some of the shipping wineries.

OUT OF AFGHANISTAN: U.S. Senate candidate Dan Bongino says the United States needs to get out of Afghanistan, blogs Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

FUTURE GOV & DELEGATE? Peter Franchot stood behind Joe Bartenfelder’s booth at the Baltimore Farmers’ Market looking a bit out of place, writes Bryan Sears of Patch.com. The comptroller from Takoma Park and the farmer from Baltimore County became friends when both served in the House of Delegates. Now there is speculation about what the future has in store for both. Franchot seems to be eyeing the governor’s mansion. But will Bartenfelder head back to the House?

BARVE ‘IN’ COMPTROLLER’S RACE: Maryland Juice is reporting that Del. Kumar Barve is saying that if Peter Franchot vacates his position as comptroller, he’s “all in” for the race.

BUY-BUY: With the first day of classes quickly approaching, many Frederick County parents were at area retailers taking advantage of an opportunity to save the 6% state tax on school clothes, reports Brian Englar of the Frederick News Post.

Lindsey Robbins of the Gazette quotes Patrick Donoho, president of the Maryland Retailers Association, who said, “Last year, it (tax-free week) basically jumpstarted the end-of-summer/fall shopping season. We hope for the same this year, particularly with the volatility of the market.”

In urging shoppers to take advantage this week of Maryland’s tax holiday, opinionaters for the Frederick News Post write that although state coffers will take a hit – between $10 million and $12 million, local retailers struggling with tepid demand will benefit.

HUNGRY IN MARYLAND: More than one in five households with children in Maryland are unable at times to afford enough food for the family, according to a new national report from the Food Research and Action Center, reports C. Benjamin Ford for the Gazette.

PG EXEC GRANT RULES: Prince George’s County’s non-profits will undergo more scrutiny and be required to show detailed spending plans before the county executive hands out $2 million in annual, discretionary grants, blogs Miranda Spivack of the Post. The move by County Executive Rushern Baker changes the grant-making process used by his predecessor Jack Johnson, who put fewer requirements on non-profits seeking county funds.

BALTIMORE MAYORAL ELECTIONS: If you are anywhere within earshot of radio today between 7:30 and 10 a.m., go out of your way to spend some time at 1010 on the AM dial to hear the WOLB mayoral forum hosted by Larry Young, writes David Zurawik of the Sun. Here’s a link to WOLB to listen live.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has raised more than $1.4 million this year for her bid to keep her post, with full campaign finance information for all the mayoral candidates – Clerk of the Courts Frank Conaway Sr., former city Councilman Jody Landers, state Sen. Catherine Pugh, former city planning director Otis Rolley and nurse Wilton Wilson — slated to be filed with the state board of elections tomorrow, less than a month before the Sept. 13 primary, blogs Julie Scharper for the Sun.

TAX ANGER IN MO CO: Rachel Baye of the Washington Examiner writes that Montgomery County taxpayers are angry that their property tax bills are rising as their property values plummet.