October 20, 2011

State Roundup, October 20, 2011

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HOUSE OKS MAP: Gov. Martin O’Malley’s controversial redistricting plan passed the House of Delegates yesterday, but with technical changes that will require the state Senate to reconvene today to amend its version before the measure can be signed into law, Aaron Davis reports for the Post.

The plan won approval in the House after five hours of debate, overcoming unified opposition from Republicans and ire from suburban Washington Democrats, Annie Linskey and John Fritze report for the Sun.

U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, a Prince George’s County Democrat who became a leading critic of Gov. O’Malley’s plan, acknowledged yesterday that she had lost her effort to change the map and said she looked forward to representing her new district, John Fritze writes for the Sun.

The bill needed 85 votes to pass as an emergency measure that will go into law as soon as the governor signs it, which may happen as soon as today, reports Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News Post quotes Del. Kathy Afzali, a Republican, who told House members, “There is a war against rural Maryland,” and legislators were sending a message to her community that “not only are we going to stick it to you with our regulations, but we’re going to take away your voice to the national government.”

The AP’s Brian Witte reports, in the Annapolis Capital, that Democrats said the map reflects population growth in the suburbs of the nation’s capital and up the Interstate 270 corridor northwest of Washington.

WBAL-TV’s Dave Collins also reports on yesterday’s events. Read the story, then scroll down to view his report. And here’s John Rydell’s report for WBFF-TV.

Maryland Juice is publishing a reader’s maps showing a Silver Spring apartment complex that is split between two districts and the neighboring small Naval Surface Weapons Center split among three.

BARTLETT TO RUN: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, the incumbent member of Congress with the most to lose under the new redistricting plan, announced that he plans to run for re-election, despite a more competitive district and recent lackluster fundraising, the Sun’s John Fritze reports.

FRANCHOT CRITICIZES BA CO ON SCHOOLS: During a Board of Public Works meeting yesterday, State Comptroller Peter Franchot criticized Baltimore County leaders for failing to use $7 million in school construction funds to air-condition schools, writes Liz Bowie for the Sun. But Gov. O’Malley and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, the other board members, said they would not interfere with local decisions on school construction spending.

Franchot voted against Baltimore County’s roof and windows projects because he felt the lack of air conditioning in 65 of the 172 county schools should be the district’s priority, writes Megan Poinski for MarylandReporter.com.

FROSH TESTIFIES FOR CURRIE: Saying he’s an “open, honest” person, state Sen. Brian Frosh yesterday became the latest Maryland politician to be called on as a character witness for Sen. Ulysses Currie, who is on trial on bribery charges, John Wagner blogs for the Post.

Sun Columnist Dan Rodricks writes about stupid criminals he has been chronicling for years and how they relate to Sen. Currie’s predicament.

COUNCILMAN’S STATE JOB A CONFLICT? A Baltimore County councilman has held a paid, full-time contract position with a state government agency, a job that appears to run afoul of a County Charter rule prohibiting such employment, reports Bryan Sears of Patch.com.

EHRLICH HEADS ROMNEY MD CAMPAIGN: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich Jr. (R) has been enlisted as chairman of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in Maryland, while Rick Perry has picked two state legislators and a political consultant to lead his effort in the heavily Democratic state, the Post’s John Wagner blogs.

John Fritze also blogs about this for the Sun.

ROCKFISH SPAWN: Good news, fishermen: Rockfish had a banner 2011 for, well, making other rockfish, reports Pamela Wood for the Annapolis Capital.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE PROMOTION: Ten states from Massachusetts to Maryland are joining forces as the Northeast Electric Vehicle Network to promote electric vehicles by working to help plan and install charging stations throughout the region, as well as attract private investment in clean vehicle infrastructure, according to an AP story in the Frederick News Post.

OCCUPY CONTROVERSY: Writing for the Sun, Peter Hermann says that efforts by the Occupy Baltimore protest group to evolve into a self-contained, self-governing community have erupted into controversy with the distribution of a pamphlet that victim advocates and health workers fear discourages victims of sexual assaults from contacting police.

COUNCIL VS EXEC IN PG: Following up on earlier stories, Ben Giles of the Washington Examiner writes that the Prince George’s County Council and County Executive Rushern Baker have found little to agree on lately as friction between them intensifies.

EDUCATION PRIORITY: Derrick Leon Davis, who won 91% of vote to fill the Prince George’s County Council’s vacant District 6 seat, said one of his priorities is to “get focused on how we’re going to improve our education system. … We know that’s what drives economic development,” Abby Brownback reports for the Gazette.

MO CO FIRE COMMISSION: Montgomery Fire and Rescue Service Chief Richard Bowers is totally in favor of a controversial bill that would restructure the fire department and curb the power of the county’s fire commission. His boss, County Executive Ike Leggett, is less so, writes Victor Zapana for the Post.