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Published on September 27th, 2011 | by Cynthia Prairie

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State Roundup, September 27, 2011

STATE OFFERS RETRAINING: If you were laid off by JP Morgan Chase’s Credit Card Services division in Frederick or BP Solar, the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation is looking for you, Gary Haber reports for the Baltimore Business Journal. The agency wants to make sure those 884 workers know about state job retraining programs and unemployment benefits.

HIRING SLUMP: The Annapolis Capital’s Editor’s Notebook ponders how the federal government and the state will get out of the hiring slump that seems to have settled in quite comfortably.

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING: A commission working to find ways to revive the state’s lagging transportation financing is set to make a few critical decisions today, writes Sarah Breitenbach for the Gazette. The Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation Funding will vote on recommendations including a means of increasing transportation revenue, changes to transportation funding policies and how to better take advantage of private funding.

MOVE TO NEW CARROLLTON: All of the 350 employees of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development might not move to New Carrollton when the agency departs its Crownsville HQ, writes Barbara Pash of MarylandReporter.com.

FROM STATE TO COUNTY: Maryland Juice took a non-scientific sampling of state legislators to find out why some are willing to jump from the State House to the County Council.

ANNAPOLIS REIMBURSEMENT: Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald Mail writes that the state reimbursed the eight-member Washington County delegation to Annapolis a total of $96,000 for meals, rooms and travel during last year’s session. One member did not file to receive any travel and food reimbursement.

BCCC BOARD REPLACED: Liz Bowie of the Sun reports that Gov. Martin O’Malley, concerned about the academic achievement of students at Baltimore City Community College, has replaced most members of its board of trustees.

BAY REPORT CALLED FLAWED: An AP report in the Daily Record says that a new assessment has found fatal flaws in an agriculture industry report calling for a halt in the new federally-led bay restoration strategy.

CURRIE JURY SELECTION: Jury selection in the federal bribery and extortion trial of state Sen. Ulysses Currie and two Shoppers Food Warehouse executives opened yesterday. The list of potential witnesses reads like a Who’s Who in Maryland Politics, Tricia Bishop writes for the Sun. Gov. Martin O’Malley, Senate President Mike Miller. and former Gov. Bob Ehrlich are among more than two dozen former and current state leaders who are likely to be mentioned during the trial or called to testify.

The Post’s John Wagner also blogs about the potential politico party that could take place at the Currie trial.

Daniel Leaderman of Gazette writes that the trial could last six weeks.

While the trial could determine Currie’s political future, the Sun’s Annie Linskey reports, it also could reveal how behind-the-scenes politicking and lobbying gets done in Annapolis.

PARTNER THREATENS ‘NO’ VOTE: EDF Group, Constellation Energy’s second-largest shareholder and a partner in its nuclear business, is threatening to vote against the company’s plans to sell itself to Exelon Corp. after talks between them broke down last week, Hanah Cho and Liz Kay report for the Sun.

DAIRY INDUSTRY DRYING UP: Dairy farmers are an increasingly rare breed in Maryland, where such operations are disappearing at a rate twice the national average. Nearly 65% of the state’s dairy farmers have left the industry in the past 20 years, including 34 operations that shut down last year, Mary Gail Hare reports for the Sun.

CITY FINANCIAL OFFICER RETIRES: Baltimore’s top financial officer and longtime budget writer will retire from city government, the first Cabinet-level departure since Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake won the Democratic primary this month, Annie Linskey reports for the Sun. Though not a household name, Edward Gallagher has been a behind-the-scenes force in shaping every Baltimore spending plan since he was hired in 1983.

TRIBUTE TO LATE EDITOR: In the Baltimore Brew, Rafael Alvarez pays tribute to Connie Knox, the long-time Sun copy editor and Newspaper Guild chief who died in recently, just barely into her retirement.

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