Published on September 22nd, 2011 | by Cynthia Prairie1
State Roundup, September 22, 2011
Megan Poinski of MarylandReporter.com writes that Comptroller Peter Franchot said that with the national economy teetering, jobless rates staying stagnant, and consumer confidence falling, the state faces an “extraordinary degree of economic volatility.”
STATE TARGETS JOBLESS: With the state unemployment rate inching upward, Gov. Martin O’Malley is considering several jobs measures when the General Assembly meets in special session next month, including an expansion of business tax credits for research and development and biotech investments, both of which have been popular, reports Annie Linskey for the Sun.
John Rydell of WBFF also reports that O’Malley will likely ask lawmakers to address the jobless issue when they meet next month.
Filling the gap between job openings in Maryland and those who may not yet be qualified to fill them is something the secretary of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, is focused on. Passing the president’s jobs act and investing in a skilled, intelligent work force, he said, are two important ways to lower the state’s unemployment numbers, Jennifer Shutt reports for the Salisbury Daily Times.
VENTURE SOCIALISM: Red Maryland’s Mark Newgent ties the Washington Post’s criticism of government loans to startup tech firms to something closer to home, the new InvestMaryland fund.
CHILD SUPPORT AGENCY TURNOVER: The head of the state office that collects child support acknowledged his agency has done a poor job collecting funds and said he will consider replacing employees to improve operations, writes Earl Kelly for the Annapolis Capital.
EMAIL TO MOVE TO CLOUD: Maryland state government is going to be moving to cloud-based e-mail, after a divided Board of Public Works approved a contract for up to $56 million with California-based SADA Systems yesterday, reports Megan Poinski for MarylandReporter.com.
MCDONOUGH SEEKS APOLOGY:David Hill of the Washington Times writes Del. Pat McDonough wants an apology from Gov. Martin O’Malley for calling many Republicans “immigrant bashers” whose attitudes toward illegal immigrants are motivated by “thinly veiled racism.”
STATE PROGRESSIVES RALLY: A hall packed with progressives applauded the prospects of cutting back military spending, reinstating the millionaires’ tax, passing President Obama’s job creation legislation and transforming Maryland’s health-care system into a state-run single-payer operation, writes Megan Poinski for MarylandReporter.com. State Sens. Jamie Raskin and Roger Manno, both of Montgomery County, participated.
PIPELINE PROTEST: Following up on an earlier story, John Wagner of the Post writes that Del. Heather Mizeur is circulating a resolution among fellow DNC Committee members in an effort to get Obama to kill the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline.
O’MALLEY ON EDUCATION: The governors of Maryland and Virginia are among those slated to take part in a panel discussion Monday on the state of education as part of NBC News’s “Education Nation” initiative, blog John Wagner and Anita Kumar of the Post.
SCIENTISTS SWARM TO BAY: Following Tropical Storm Lee, more scientists are flooding the Chesapeake Bay, poring over satellite photos, taking water samples and dissecting data to try to get a clear picture of the Bay’s health, reports Pamela Wood for the Annapolis Capital.
BAY PLAN FRUSTRATES LOCALS: The state of Maryland’s plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay will not only cost billions of dollars, but it continues to frustrate local officials who have to implement it, reports the Gazette’s Katherine Heerbrandt.
LANDOW TO BID ON ROCKY GAP: Nathan Landow, a major real estate developer and former chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party, says his company plans to bid this week to operate a slots casino at Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort in Western Maryland, blogs John Wagner of the Post.
CRAB PICKER PAY: A new federal rule that would require crab processing plants on the Eastern Shore and elsewhere to pay a higher wage to temporary foreign workers would be delayed for a year under legislation approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday, blogs John Fritze for the Sun. The rule was advanced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
BGE SPENT $81 MILLION AFTER IRENE: Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. spent $81 million to restore electricity to households and businesses that lost power in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene — costs that are expected to be passed on in part to all customers, the Sun’s Hanah Cho reports.
ADA IN MONTGOMERY: Montgomery County will have to pay at least $20 million to improve access to public facilities for people with disabilities under a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, reports Erin Cunningham for the Gazette.
HOWARD COUNCIL EXPANSION: The Howard County Charter Review Commission is considering adding two more seats to the five-member County Council and debating whether they should be county-wide seats or two additional district seats, write Lindsey McPherson and Sara Toth of the Howard County Times. But not everyone is applauding the possible expansion.
MINORITY POWER SOUGHT: More than 50 members of the county’s African-American community urged the Anne Arundel County Council to work to strengthen the role of minority communities in political life, government contracts and public agencies, Erin Cox writes for the Annapolis Capital.
CITY SHORTFALL PREDICTED: Baltimore city budget analysts are predicting a “significant” shortfall this budget cycle, which will cause the mayor to make “difficult reductions” to city government when the budget process begins next spring, Luke Broadwater blogs for the Sun.
POVERTY RATES RISE: Twenty-five percent of Baltimore city residents are living in poverty following a 20% hike from 2009 to 2010, Steve Kilar writes for the Sun.
BRANCH WINS: Baltimore City Councilman Warren Branch is claiming victory against challenger Shannon Sneed in the District 13 Democratic primary, Luke Broadwater reports for the Sun.
BESTS OF BALTIMORE: The Baltimore City Paper named David Paulson, now with the office of Attorney General, as the best public information officer. Click on each item for further information. Other bests include best politician for Getting the Job Done (Nathaniel McFadden), for Personality (Frank Conaway) and in Need of a Slap Upside the Head (Belinda Conaway).
NEW COUNCIL MEMBER OFFERS HOPE: The promise of a new leader — and one with full voting privileges — on the Prince George’s County Council gives District 6 residents hope they will see change when their new council member is sworn in Nov. 8, Abby Brownback of the Gazette reports.