October 21, 2011

State Roundup, October 21, 2011

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REDISTRICTING SIGNED INTO LAW: After winning final approval from the General Assembly on Thursday, Gov. Martin O’Malley signed his redistricting plan into law – but there are certain to be legal challenges to it, reports MarylandReporter.com’s Len Lazarick.

At the bill signing, reports The Sun’s Annie Linskey and John Fritze, O’Malley said the process was fair – but he’d never been through a redistricting that wasn’t controversial.

The Post’s Aaron Davis zeroes in on the challenges that minorities may bring to the new map.

The only holdup to the bill’s becoming law was the need to correct 24 typographical errors, reported The Capital’s Earl Kelly.

Redrawing state legislative districts might put even more focus on race and minority representation than this week’s congressional realignment process, Sarah Breitenbach reports in the Gazette.

People from Frederick County – targeted in redistricting to potentially oust longtime Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett – were especially upset by the result, reports The Frederick News-Post’s Bethany Rodgers. Del. Michael Hough said that the county was sacrificed at the altar of partisanship.

JACOBS STEPPING DOWN: Senate Minority Leader Nancy Jacobs is stepping down from her post as she considers a run for higher office, reports The Sun’s Annie Linskey. Jacobs is considering trying to unseat Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger or becoming the next Harford County executive. David Hill broke the story in the Washington Times.

GARAGIOLA CONSIDERS CONGRESS: Soon after the new congressional districts were signed into law, Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola said he was seriously considering running to unseat Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in the newly drawn 6th District, reports The Sun’s John Fritze.

The Washington Times’ David Hill looks at the upcoming 6th District race, which Garagiola has long been rumored to want to get into, and all of its potential challengers.

…AND SO DOES TRACHTENBERG: Former Montgomery County Councilwoman Duchy Trachtenberg, a Democrat, said she plans to run for Bartlett’s seat in 2012, reports The Sun’s John Fritze.

Trachtenberg said that she thinks she can win the Democratic nomination for the seat because “Annapolis insiders and old school politicians have already lost,” Ben Pershing reports for The Post.

…AND COBLENTZ, TOO: Robert Coblentz, vice president of the Washington County Republican Club, also announced he will be challenging Bartlett, reports The Herald-Mail’s Andrew Schotz.

VAN HOLLEN NOTES CHANGES: Seeing what he called “dramatic changes” in the 8th District, Rep. Christoper Van Hollen said he cannot take anything for granted in the 2012 election, reports The Sun’s John Fritze.

WINNERS, LOSERS: The Gazette does its usual shtick on winners and losers from the special session.

GERRYMANDERLAND: Gazette columnist Blair Lee gives a primer on Maryland’s two different processes for redistricting its U.S. House members and the legislature.

JOBS: The governor and legislature missed an opportunity in the special session to create a jobs program, Barry Rascovar writes in his Gazette column.

$1 BILLION SHORTFALL: Budget officials see a $1 billion shortfall for the coming fiscal year, based on slow economic recovery and growth, reports Rachel Baye for The Examiner.

IMMIGRATION LAWSUIT: Casa de Maryland is expected to submit the signatures today that they believe should be disqualified from petitions for a referendum on a law giving illegal immigrants in-state tuition, reports MarylandReporter.com’s Glynis Kazanjian.

URGING LIBYAN DEMOCRACY: As they heard about the death of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, several of Maryland’s congressional leaders urged a time of democracy in the African nation, reports The Sun’s Matthew Hay Brown.

POLITICAL SPENDING: Sen. Allan Kittleman is charging that school construction money from the alcohol tax is being targeted to districts of legislators who voted for the new tax, Andrew Ujifusa writes in the Gazette.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND MERGER: As the Board of Regents prepares to hold hearings on whether the University of Maryland should merge its College Park and Baltimore campuses, Baltimore city leaders speak up and tell The Sun’s Childs Walker that they don’t think it’s a good idea.

RACING BACK AT ROSECROFT: Will horse racing at Rosecroft survive without slots? Brandon Cooper of the Capital News Service asks the question in a story published by the Daily Record.

Penn National did viability studies on making Rosecroft a “racino” – complete with casino gambling. They were presented to the Prince George’s County Council earlier this month, reports The Sentinel’s Oluwatosin Fakile.

OLIVER’S OTHER JOB: Patch.com’s Bryan Sears obtains the contract Baltimore County Councilman Kenneth Oliver has with the Department of Business and Economic Development – which does not have a third party contracting firm listed, contrary to Oliver’s claims.

The Sun’s Alison Knezevich takes another look at the story about Oliver, who may be violating county law by working for DBED.

CURRIE TRIAL: The Gazette’s Daniel Leaderman focuses on the Shoppers Food Warehouse defendants in the trial of Sen. Ulysses Currie.

CAROLINE COUNTY: Caroline County hopes the legislative redistricting coming up will help it get a resident legislator after years without one, The Gazette’s Erin Cunningham reports.

NEW MARC CARS: MARC has reached an agreement with Bombardier Transit Corp of Montreal to purchase 54 new rail cars for $153 million, reports The Sun’s Michael Dresser.

BECHTEL GRANT: The Gazette’s Katherine Heerbrandt gives more details of the state $9.5 subsidy to keep Bechtel Power in Frederick.

ALLEGANY ON PLANMARYLAND: Allegany County’s planning director told Allegany County Commissioners that all but two of their concerns had been addressed in the revised PlanMaryland, reports Matthew Bieniek of the Cumberland Times-News.

CARROLL PLAN MARYLAND FORUM: Carroll County officials are holding an Oct. 31 forum on Plan Maryland at the Pikesville Hilton – which will mostly be for elected officials and will cost members of the public $25 to attend, according to a news brief in ExploreCarroll.

HARFORD REDISTRICTING: Bryna Zumer of The Aegis reports that Harford County Commissioners presented a redistricting map this week that is very close to the current one, rejecting the advisory commission’s recommendations to swap portions of districts in Aberdeen and Havre de Grace.

HOWARD COUNTY SCHOOL REDISTRICTING: Howard County Superintendent of Schools Sydney Cousin submitted a redistricting map that would result in about 1,200 elementary students having to switch schools, reports Sara Toth of Patuxent Publishing.

NO HOMESTEAD CREDITS: Baltimore City officials are asking the state to take away homestead exemptions from 2,157 homes – and will try to collect more than $1.3 in back taxes from the homeowners – unless they can prove they lived there when taxes were assessed, reports Jamie Smith Hopkins of The Sun.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook has items on the Tea Party protest; Sen. Jim Mathias; Baltimore County Councilman Ken Oliver; and WBAL’s Ron Smith.