September 9, 2011

State Roundup, September 9, 2011

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LAWMAKERS ON JOBS PLAN: After President Obama’s Thursday night speech where he laid out his $447 billion jobs package, The Sun’s John Fritze polled Maryland’s Congressional delegation about it. Democrats agree with the president, while Republicans were skeptical.

JOBS AND SPENDING: Before Obama’s Thursday night speech, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski said she believes voters will support more spending to tackle joblessness, reports The Sun’s John Fritze.

START WITH OLD IDEAS:  U.S. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen, the sole Marylander on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction – also known as the “Super Committee” – said at the committee’s first meeting that they should start their deliberations by looking at older deficit and spending reduction ideas and building from that, reports The Sun’s John Fritze.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: At an Equality Maryland fundraiser this week, state political leaders were optimistic that Maryland would pass a bill allowing same-sex marriage next year, but know that it will need to stand up to a hard fight, likely at the ballot box, writes MarylandReporter.com’s Len Lazarick.

The Sun’s Annie Linskey wrote that Gov. Martin O’Malley made an impassioned plea for the law and asked supporters to “call on the goodness” of people on the other side to gain more support.

In an AP story in the Annapolis Capital, Brian Witte writes that O’Malley said the issue is about protecting Maryland families.

EQUALITY MARYLAND: The organization backing same-sex marriage in Maryland is back in shape financially, Sarah Breitenbach reports in the Gazette.

MORE ROAD MONEY: Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation Funding talked Thursday about where to find $520 million in tax and fee increases to support road and infrastructure projects, reports The Washington Times’ David Hill.

More on the potential expiration of federal transportation funding to the state by Sarah Breitenbach in the Gazette.

JUDICIAL RAISES: The Judicial Compensation Commission will be recommending a raise for the judicial branch to the General Assembly, and now needs to work out the details, reports Megan Poinski for MarylandReporter.com.

MARYLANDERS FOR ROMNEY: GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney released a list on Thursday of prominent Maryland Republicans who have endorsed his bid for the White House, reports The Sun’s John Fritze. They include 10 members of the General Assembly and several former state Republican leaders, including former lieutenant governor candidate Mary Kane.

The Post’s John Wagner points out a few other prominent Marylanders on the list, including both of the state’s national committee members Louis Pope and Joyce Terhes, and former State Senate Minority Leader Allan Kittleman.

OBAMA CASHES IN: President Obama’s 2012 campaign has already received $1 million from Marylanders – more than twice what’s been raised by all the Republican challengers, blogs Maryland Juice’s David Moon.

SUN ENDORSES RAWLINGS-BLAKE:  Tipping its hat to her political leadership and the positive direction the city has gone, the Baltimore Sun’s editorial board endorsed Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for another term in office.

The Sun has a slideshow here featuring its endorsement for Rawlings-Blake, plus endorsements for city council.

TOO MANY HARFORD VOTERS: The state is seeking a criminal investigation into the voter rolls in Harford County, which they feel has several people listed as active voters who should be counted as inactive, reports The Sun’s Annie Linskey.

UMES AUDIT: The University of Maryland Eastern Shore had several control issues in an audit, especially in financial aid areas where no independent supervisors reviewed decisions, reports Megan Poinski of MarylandReporter.com.

9/11 ATTACK: Former Gov. Parris Glendening recalls the state’s reaction to the 9/11 attacks in a story by Benjamin Ford in the Gazette.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook has items on a high school football wager; Ben Roethlisberger giving vests to MoCo police dogs; Sue Kullen’s new job with Cardin; MoCo planning director; ACLU flooding; and Chris Van Hollen.

FICKER PETITIONS: Robin Ficker, the Montgomery County gadfly, has set up a new website to help in petition drives for his initiatives, Erin Cunningham reports in the Gazette.

STATE DRUG USE: A new federal report shows fewer Marylanders using illegal drugs than in other states, writes Benjamin Ford in the Gazette.

HOARDING: Budget constraints will keep Montgomery County from implementing the recommendations of its task force on hoarding, preventing further creep of government intervention, writes Gazette columnist Blair Lee.

PRIVATE POWER: Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar says governments shouldn’t be running utility companies, despite outcries over the storm response.

MORE ON POST PUBLISHER: Jeff Sonderman of the Poynter Institute took away a very different message from the speech by Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth than did Maryland Reporter’s Len Lazarick, drawing a line between “new media” and traditional journalists.