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Published on September 28th, 2011 | by Cynthia Prairie

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State Roundup, September 28, 2011

PSC HEARING ON BGE: Some scolded, some praised. But all feared that BGE would increase rates to recoup losses from the Hurricane Irene cleanup, writes Jon Meoli for Patuxent Publishing. Citizens were speaking at a Maryland Public Service Commission meeting yesterday.

Some residents complained about BGE’s restoration priorities, lack of communication, tree-trimming and other maintenance efforts, reports Hanah Cho for the Sun.

BUDGET OUTLOOK: Writing for the Frederick News Post, columnist Marta Mossburg questions an optimistic report on Maryland’s fiscal 2012 budget with “saying that Maryland will end the year with extra cash is to truth as soda is to health food.”

TRANSPORTATION FUNDS: Recommendations on how to get highway user revenues back to county and municipal governments – and how much money is really needed – dominated discussion as the Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding worked toward finalizing recommendations for the governor and General Assembly, Megan Poinski reports for MarylandReporter.com.

TAKING ON AGENCY MOVE: In an op-ed for the Sun, columnist Marta Mossburg takes on Gov. Martin O’Malley and his apparent lack of transparency and fiscal responsibility with his intention to move the state Department of Housing and Community Development from a state-owned building in Anne Arundel County to a brand new rental in Prince George’s.

POACHING CURBS: A pilot program to install tracking devices on some commercial fishing boats in the Chesapeake Bay may go into effect next year in an attempt to discourage poaching, writes Capital News Service’s Greg Masters in MarylandReporter.com.

GAMBLING ON FUTURE: Hanah Cho of the Sun writes that with casinos now operating in Cecil County and on the Eastern Shore, another under construction at Arundel Mills mall and bidders competing to build slots parlors in Western Maryland and Baltimore, the state’s venture into gambling appears to be settling into its final shape.

CRIB BUMPER PAD BAN: Saying that crib bumper pads pose unnecessary health risks to infants, Maryland health officials are proposing a ban on their sale starting in January 2013, reports Karen Parks for WBFF-TV.

CURRIE TRIAL: Starkly different portrayals of Maryland Sen. Ulysses Currie’s relationship with a local grocery chain were presented to jurors as they began weighing federal bribery and extortion charges against the 74-year-old legislator in a federal courtroom in Baltimore, reports the Post’s John Wagner.

Steve Lash of the Daily Record reports that Currie is standing trial on charges of bribery, conspiracy, extortion and making a false statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison if convicted of all charges.

Annie Linskey of the Sun blogs about the opening statements.

PERRY RAISES BUCKS: Texas Gov. Rick Perry met Maryland Republicans yesterday morning at a breakfast fundraiser in Baltimore and came away with $75,000 as he seeks the Republican nomination for president, writes Aaron Davis of the Post.

And Maryland Juice offers up the lists of those Republican Maryland politicians backing Perry and those backing Mitt Romney.

APG ANIMAL TESTING: Two medical doctors denounce Aberdeen Proving Grounds’ continued use of monkeys in testing chemical agents as cruel, violent and especially unnecessary since, they write in a Sun op-ed, the reactions of the monkeys are not the same as human reactions.

COMMISSIONS REDUCTION: Following up on earlier stories, Erin Cunningham of the Gazette writes that Montgomery County spends about $1.4 million each year on volunteer boards and commissions, and now at least two council members are proposing competing bills to reduce spending on the citizen groups that offer advice to the county’s elected leaders.

UNION BLASTS COUNCIL PRES: Montgomery County Council President Valerie Ervin and Lee Development Group of Silver Spring are under attack by a local government employees union for their alleged collaboration to bring the non-unionized retail giant, Wal-Mart, to eastern Montgomery County, Glynis Kazanjian writes for MarylandReporter.com.

BAN SLOTS IN PG: A Prince George’s County Council member, hoping to keep slots out of the county, introduced a bill yesterday that would ban the gambling devices, just weeks after Rosecroft Raceway was reopened by its new owner, Penn National Gaming, which wants to offer slots and perhaps poker and other table games at the Fort Washington track, Miranda Spivack reports for the Post.

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