Published on September 30th, 2011 | by Len Lazarick1
State Roundup, September 30, 2011
JOB CREATION NEEDED: Opinionators at The Daily Record urge Gov. Martin O’Malley and legislative leaders to think creatively to put policies in place that would spur private sector job creation.
CHILD SUPPORT: The Gazette’s Benjamin Ford puts a human face on the recent audit that found $1.7 billion in child support went uncollected by a state agency.
PG POLITICOS: While the careers of two Prince George’s politicians accused of abusing their offices – Sen. Ulysses Currie and Del. Tiffany Alston — may hang in the balance, the county’s political sway should remain largely intact, experts tell the Gazette’s Sarah Breitenbach.
NO READING WHILE DRIVING: Maryland’s new text messaging law, which prohibits motorists from reading text messages while behind the wheel, goes into effect on Saturday, reports Stephanie Mlot of the Frederick News-Post. The new law even applies to vehicles that aren’t moving, reports C. Benjamin Ford of The Gazette.
WBAL’s John Patti examines the new law, and has audio interviews with supporter state Sen. James Brochin, and opponent Del. Michael Smigiel.
The Examiner’s Ben Giles looks at this and other new state laws going into effect this weekend, like stronger punishment for drunk drivers who kill others.
$101M JACKPOT: Hollywood Casino in Perryville made more than $101 million in its first year of operation. The Daily Record’s Jon Sham has an interactive demo here so you can see where the money went.
PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS: Momentum for public-private partnerships in Maryland seems to be gaining, Andrew Ujifusa writes in the Gazette. Three major state meetings in the past two weeks focused on arrangements that could bring an infusion of private-sector dollars to public capital projects.
MONETARY ENERGY: Energy companies have given thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to top Maryland Democrats, reports The Examiner’s Hayley Peterson.
PROGRESSIVE PROBLEMS: Progressive Maryland has lost its executive director and volunteers are performing duties at the organization, which has had financial troubles, Margie Hyslop reports in the Gazette.
LAST DAY FOR MORTGAGE HELP: Maryland officials have until the end of the day today to process mortgage assistance loan applications that meet the $57 million grant given to the state, reports The Sun’s Jamie Smith Hopkins. More than $46 million had been processed by Wednesday. Hopkins blogged that the state is working as quickly as it can to use all of the money for assistance, and return none of it to the federal government.
CYBERSECURITY CAPITOL: DBED Secretary Christian Johansson told 400 people at a BRAC summit in Baltimore that he wants Maryland to become the epicenter of the nation’s cybersecurity industry, and the state is willing to invest in companies to get there, reports the Baltimore Business Journal’s Joanna Sullivan.
“SHADOW INVENTORY:” A California-based real estate consulting group has estimated that there are 50,000 homes in Baltimore where the owners are behind on their mortgages, and their homes will eventually be on the market as foreclosures, blogs The Sun’s Jamie Smith Hopkins.
NFL BIPARTISANSHIP: Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, and his Republican counterpart, California Rep. Darrell Issa, both want NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and representatives from the players’ association to come before Congress and explain delays in human growth hormone testing, writes The Sun’s John Fritze.
HIGH-LEVEL OPENINGS: The Baltimore Business Journal’s Scott Dance highlights three high-level state government job openings in business, biotech and health care.
REDISTRICTING: Despite his very temporary high-ranking position in the U.S. House of Representatives, “Speaker-for-the-Day” Rep. Andy Harris (who got his turn to preside over a pro-forma House session) expects that he will have no input in the shape of his district at a meeting with Gov. O’Malley about redistricting, blogs Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.
Gazette columnist Blair Lee opines that it’s open season on Republicans as Democrats are targeting GOP areas of Maryland in a number of ways.
WARGOTZ MAY RUN: Former Queen Anne’s Commissioner Eric Wargotz, who was unsuccessful last year in his bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, is considering another U.S. Senate run – this time to oust Mikulski’s colleague, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, The Capital’s Political Notebook reports.
GAY RIGHTS: A previously troubled gay rights group, Equality Maryland, has added 16 members to its board, Sarah Breitenbach reports in the Gazette.
GAMBLING: Maryland politicians have let the state fall behind its neighbors in gambling, losing hundreds of millions in potential revenues, Barry Rascovar writes in his Gazette column.
SLOWING DOWN: Baltimore County speed cameras are issuing fewer citations, reports Bryan Sears for Patch.com. This not only means that people are slowing down for the camera, but the program may start losing money soon after being expanded. Meanwhile, Sears reports, three new speed cameras have just been turned on.
PROBE TROUBLES COUNCIL: A U.S. Justice Department probe into whether Baltimore County government violated workplace discrimination laws is bringing long-held concerns of Baltimore County Council members to light, reports The Sun’s Allison Knezevich.
WRITE-IN CAMPAIGNS: Incumbent Belinda Conaway and challenger Shannon Sneed, both of whom lost their bids for Baltimore City Council at this month’s primary, are both launching write-in campaigns to try to be re-elected. The Sun’s Luke Broadwater takes a look at both campaigns and their likelihood to be victorious. David Moon of Maryland Juice blogs on Sneed’s primary race and write-in campaign.
Fern Shen of Baltimore Brew reports on three other write-ins for the city council general election: Adam Van Bavel and Erica White for District 10, and third-place primary finisher Michael Johnson in District 9.
HO CO SCHOOL BOARD MAKEUP: Inspired by the problems with removing member Allen Dyer, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and Del. Frank Turner announced a bill that would change the makeup of the school board to five members elected by district, and two appointed by the county executive, reports The Sun’s Joe Burris.
NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook has items on a protest at Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s office; Howard County Executive Ken Ulman’s pitch; First Lady Katie O’Malley’s cooking; mice at the MoCo Council; and humor at the Currie Trial.