August 19, 2011

State Roundup, August 19, 2011

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MONTGOMERY COLLEGE CASE DISMISSED: A judge threw out a lawsuit filed by three Montgomery County taxpayers objecting to Montgomery College’s providing of in-state tuition to recent high school graduates regardless of their citizenship, because the taxpayers did not have the right to file it, reports MarylandReporter.com’s Len Lazarick.

Andrea Siegel of The Sun writes that the case was brought by conservative organization Judicial Watch, which maintains that the practice violates state and federal law.

FEDERAL BUDGET CUTS: John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said that federal budget cuts proposed by the Office of Management and Budget would translate to lost jobs in a down economy, reports The Sun’s John Fritze.

PLAN MARYLAND: County government leaders are unhappy with a statewide development plan and are planning to tell the governor they want to defer its adoption, in part because it usurps their local authority, Sarah Breitenbach reports in the Gazette. Gov. Martin O’Malley will hold a session on the plan at the Maryland Association of Counties convention in Ocean City Friday afternoon.

DEVELOPED LAND GROWTH: Newly updated results on the state’s Planning Department Land Use and Cover Map show an 8.4% increase in developed land since 2002, and underscore the need for a state growth plan, reports the Baltimore Business Journal’s Scott Dance.

PROBLEMS IN DHMH: The Office of Legislative Audits found several control problems at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, including lax controls on birth certificates, leading to an instance of potential fraud, reports Megan Poinski from MarylandReporter.com.

MARYLAND-DELAWARE PARTNERSHIP: Gov. Martin O’Malley and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell announced a partnership to share information across state borders about violent or potentially violent offenders, according to an Associated Press story in the Daily Record.

The agreement will utilize technology to increase communication between members of both states’ law enforcement teams, reports the Salisbury Daily Times’ Sarah Lake.

CYBERSECURITY: Maryland has the potential to become the Silicon Valley of cybersecurity, but could miss out on a major economic opportunity unless it offers more programs aimed at recruiting students into the field, experts said on a panel at MACo, Sarah Breitenbach reports in the Gazette.

TRANSPORTATION GRANTS: The federal government awarded Maryland $5.4 million in grants for things like revamping the Pulaski Highway and to train minority businesses to compete for federal contracts, reports the Baltimore Business Journal’s Daniel Sernovitz.

CARDIN TALKS TO FAITHFUL: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin had a town hall meeting with members of the faith-based community in Salisbury, where he explained how the United States got into its current financial crisis and how the country should get out of it, reports the Salisbury Daily Times’ Jennifer Shutt.

BRAC DELAYS: State Sen. Nancy Jacobs said that the state government is dragging its feet on making infrastructure upgrades in Harford County that are vital to serving the influx of new people coming to Aberdeen Proving Ground as part of base realignment and closure, reports Marissa Gallo of the Aegis.

O’MALLEY APPEALS FOR SOMALIA: Departing from causes impacting Maryland and Democrats, Gov. Martin O’Malley reached out in an e-mail asking people to donate money to help the crisis in Somalia, reports The Sun’s Andy Rosen.

FRANCHOT: In his Gazette column, Barry Rascovar says Comptroller Peter Franchot is positioning himself wisely as the fiscal conservative in the 2014 race for governor.

JUSTICE TOO LONG DELAYED: Following up on an extensive story earlier this week on the long wait for Court of Appeals opinions, The Daily Record’s opinionators say that the time it takes for opinions to be written shows a “disregard bordering on disdain” for people.

POLITICAL FUTURES? With Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell being named to the head of the Republican Governors Association, and O’Malley at the helm of its Democratic counterpart, the Examiner’s Brian Hughes reports on speculation about the political futures of both men.

PG HOSPITAL PLAN: Health officials told legislators that the $600 million plan for a new regional hospital in Prince George’s County that would be affiliated with the University of Maryland will create both potential and unique opportunities, reports The Post’s Miranda Spivack.

SURFING AT MACO: Patch.com’s Bryan Sears examines the laws and regulations for a private event Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and the seven members of the county council will be hosting in Ocean City at the Maryland Association of Counties conference.

6,000 WITHOUT TRANSPORTATION: A new study by the Brookings Institute reports that the Baltimore region has more than 6,000 households without cars or access to public transportation, reports The Sun’s Michael Dresser.

JOBS AND THE BALTIMORE MAYORAL RACE: The Sun’s Julie Scharper and Jamie Smith Hopkins look at Baltimore mayoral candidates and their plans to create and save jobs.

ROLLEY AND A DIFFERENT JOBS: Mayoral candidate Otis Rolley received a $2,000 donation from wife of Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs after Rolley reached out to her with his education plan.

PUGH PAYS HENSON: State Sen. Catherine Pugh paid Julius Henson – currently under indictment for vote suppression for controversial robocalls made during the 2010 gubernatorial race — $250, reports The Sun’s Julie Scharper. Pugh said she and her General Assembly colleagues in the 40th district all hired Henson before he was accused of wrongdoing.

CORRECT THE DATE: Baltimore mayoral candidate state Sen. Catherine Pugh thinks that after sample ballots were sent out to voters with the wrong primary date, the board of elections should send out new sample ballots and the city cable station should run a banner on screen with the correct date, reports The Sun’s Liz Kay.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE ON RADIO: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake spoke with WEAA’s Marc Steiner as part of his series of interviews with mayoral candidates. Listen to the podcast here.

MOCO SCHOOL BOOKS ARE OPEN:  Montgomery County’s new superintendent of schools Joshua Starr says that the school district’s financial records will be completely open, according to a story reported on WTOP.

MoCo GOP: Montgomery County Republicans have put together a plan that will give them a better shot at picking up a seat on the County Council, Erin Cunningham writes in the Gazette.

NO AA BUDGET TRANSFERS: Anne Arundel County Council did not approve a request to transfer $988,000 in school administrator pay to the teacher salary fund, report Joe Burris and Nicole Fuller of The Sun. Council members accused the Board of Education of trying to give teachers raises when other county employees were taking pay cuts.

GRANT FOR MARYLANDREPORTER.COM: The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation has awarded MarylandReporter.com a $50,000 grant over two years to pay for advanced reporting interns who are just finishing college, or moving to a career in journalism later in life.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook has several items on MACo’s Ocean City meeting; the Young Dems; Galen Clagett; and the governor’s rhyming in the style of Dr. Seuss.