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Published on October 19th, 2011 | by Cynthia Prairie

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State Roundup, October 19, 2011

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NEW MAP MOVES FORWARD: The Post’s Aaron Davis reports that Gov. Martin O’Malley’s congressional redistricting plan could win final approval today after it sailed through the state Senate yesterday with only one dissenting Democratic vote.

Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com quotes state Sen. David Brinkley, R-Frederick-Carroll, as saying, “This is a gerrymandered map to support a national political goal.”

A House committee also voted 18-5 in favor of the map yesterday. The full House is expected to vote on the bill today, Brian Witte of the AP reports in the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

The same committee rejected a Republican alternative plan similar to one proposed by Republican Sen. E.J. Pipkin in the Senate. The Senate also rejected Pipkin’s plan, reports Bryan Sears for Patch.com.

Republican House leaders said they plan to offer a robust debate today, even if it appears Democrats have enough support to advance the plan, report Annie Linskey and John Fritze of the Sun.

UNCOVERED: In an op-ed piece for the Sun, former congressional candidate Mark Grannis writes that gerrymandering doesn’t just affect the voters, it affects whether candidates are even covered by the press as well.

DISSECTING BUSCH: Writing an op-ed for the Annapolis Capital, Republican Michael Collins writes that it is bad enough that House Speaker Michael Busch, who represents Collins’ district, sat on the panel that hatched this naked power grab in redistricting. It is worse that he allowed Anne Arundel County to be carved up among four congressional districts to provide safe seats to people from four other counties.

ANTI-ECO AGENDA: Tim Wheeler of the Sun reports that state Sen. E.J. Pipkin and more than a dozen GOP delegates from rural (or once-rural) parts of the state are using the special session to introduce 10 bills aiming to counter the O’Malley administration’s push to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, to limit new development on septic systems and to use state funds more effectively in fighting rural sprawl.

TEA PARTY PROTEST: About 300 Maryland Tea Partiers rallied yesterday at Lawyer’s Mall to protest congressional redistricting “gerrymandering” and potential tax increases proposed by Gov. O’Malley earlier this week, Glynis Kazanjian reports for MarylandReporter.com. Here’s a photo gallery she shot at the mall.

Here’s John Rydell’s report on the protest for WBFF-TV.

CRACKS IN THE ICC: Katherine Shaver of the Post reports that inspectors have found hairline cracks in three newly built overpasses on the Intercounty Connector, requiring that parts of their concrete piers be reinforced immediately and perhaps rebuilt.

Maryland Juice writes that the unfortunate thing is, this news comes right as the state looks again to raise much-needed transportation revenues for non-highway projects like the Baltimore Red Line, the Purple Line for Prince George and Montgomery and MoCo’s biotech oriented light rail project, the Corridor Cities Transitway.

PURPLE LINE, TRANSIT BUCKS: Montgomery County Exec Ike Leggett says that Montgomery and Prince George’s will need an infusion of private funds to build the Purple Line, as state and federal funds for transportation projects grow increasingly scarce, writes Ben Giles of the Washington Examiner.

JOBS AND TRANSPORTATION: Elected officials across Maryland are urging state lawmakers to pass the first increase in the state’s gasoline tax in 19 years so the state can spend more on rails, roads and bridges, which they say will create jobs, writes Rachel Baye for the Washington Examiner.

Megan Poinski writes in MarylandReporter.com that government, business and industry leaders told legislators on Tuesday that job creation and work on its transportation infrastructure go hand in hand.

ROCKY GAP SLOTS HEARING: A public meeting of the state Video Lottery Facilities Commission to consider two proposals to bring slots to Rocky Gap will take place starting at 2 p.m. Nov. 8, followed by a public comment hearing at 5 p.m., Matthew Bieniek reports for the Cumberland Times News.

HOYER TESTIFIES FOR CURRIE: U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, the second highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, testified that state Sen. Ulysses S. Currie, on trial in federal court in Baltimore on corruption charges, is “not particularly taken with details or organization,” Luke Broadwater reports for the Sun.

Melinda Roeder of WBFF-TV also reports on the trial.

The Sun editorial board writes that Currie’s defense that he is is too dumb to be held accountable for his actions makes the General Assembly look even worse since he has been given tremendous responsibility for steering the state through billion-dollar budget deficits for the last nine years.

OCCUPY BALTIMORE: Now entering its third week, Occupy Baltimore has settled into its appropriated digs at the Inner Harbor, taking regular deliveries of pizzas and camping out overnight for what its website calls an Indefinitely Long Peaceful Demonstration, Jean Marbella reports for the Sun.

Baltimore Brew’s Mark Reutter spends some time with the Occupy Baltimore protesters to find out why they are there.

DEMOCRAT DAVIS WINS: Derrick Leon Davis, a Democrat, coasted to an easy victory yesterday in the race to fill the Prince George’s County Council seat vacated by Leslie Johnson, reports Miranda Spivack for the Post. With all 26 precincts reporting, Davis received 4,004 votes to Day Gardner’s 389.

Davis succeeded in his third bid for the seat by capturing 91% of the vote in a lopsided race, writes Abby Brownback for the Gazette.

PG ATTORNEY NOMINEE: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker’s nominee for county attorney says she is dedicated to serving the entire county, despite criticism from County Council members that she has demonstrated a lack of respect for the legislative branch, Daniel Leaderman reports for the Gazette.

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