October 25, 2011

State Roundup, October 25, 2011

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BECHTEL BONUS: The Sun’s Jay Hancock writes that Gov. Martin O’Malley didn’t have much choice but to pony up $9.5 million to keep Bechtel Corp. from moving to Virginia, and taking 1,250 jobs with it.

ALCOHOL TAX DISTRIBUTION: Now that funds from the new alcohol tax are being allocated to schools, critics are saying that the money is only going to school buildings in districts where General Assembly members voted for the tax, especially in Howard and Baltimore counties, writes Megan Poinski of MarylandReporter.com. Check out the interactive map that shows where the schools — and the votes — are.

MSEA FOR GAY MARRIAGE: The Maryland State Education Association reiterated their opposition to voucher-funding in the BOAST bill, endorsed U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin for re-election and came out in favor of marriage equality in Maryland, according to Maryland Juice.

The Daily Record runs an AP story that addresses the inequities that are faced by children of gay parents.

NEXT SESSION ISSUES: Following the redistricting special session, state lawmakers now look to the regular session, which begins in January, and issues such as the gas tax and same-sex marriage, Earl Kelly reports for the Annapolis Capital.

SPECIAL SESSION ISSUES: WEAA’s Marc Steiner and his guests discuss bills passed during the special session.  The most notable was a redistricting plan that could significantly change Maryland’s representation in Congress. Joining him are: Del. Mary Washington, from the 43rd District; state Sen. Joseph Getty, from the 5th District, and Radamase Cabrera, spokesman for the Fannie Lou Hamer PAC.

3 REPS FOR HOWARD: Howard County will soon have three congressional representatives instead of two, assuming the redistricting plan adopted last week by the Maryland General Assembly survives an expected court challenge, Lindsey McPherson reports for the Columbia Flier.

ENDORSEMENTS IN THE 6th: Although technically not yet a candidate, state Senate Majority Leader Robert Garagiola (D-Montgomery) is already beginning to roll out supporters in his expected campaign for Maryland’s redrawn 6th Congressional District, the seat, held by Republican U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, blogs Ben Pershing for the Post.

But Del. Kevin Kelly of Cumberland, the only Democrat elected to state office from the General Assembly’s westernmost District 1, said yesterday afternoon, “Under no circumstances am I endorsing him or anyone else.” Margie Hyslop reports the story for the Gazette.

PIPKIN LEGISLATION: Although a slew of bills filed by state lawmakers from the Eastern Shore during the special session failed to get a good hearing, chief sponsor state Sen. E.J. Pipkin remains pleased with the outcome, Daniel Divilio reports for the Easton Star Democrat.

LT. GOV. TESTIFIES FOR CURRIE: In court Monday morning, Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown described Sen. Ulysses Currie as a friend, a mentor and “a man of strong integrity,” blogs the Post’s John Wagner.

Brown also said Currie’s organizational skills is probably where he is lacking, and cited occasions when Currie asked other members of his delegation to handle the logistics of publishing reports for constituents and arranging visits to Annapolis, writes Daniel Leaderman of the Gazette.

Here’s John Rydell’s report for WBFF-TV. He speaks with an attorney who talks about the “dimwit defense.”

EHRLICH WRITES BOOK: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich is coming out with a book in time for Christmas shopping. “Turn This Car Around: The Roadmap to Restoring America”will appear on shelves Dec. 6, writes John Wagner for the Post.

ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY: The Sun’s editorial board writes that, as Congress continues its rewrite of the No Child Left Behind law, there is one proposed change that should draw overwhelming approval. That’s the mandate — added to the bill last week by a Senate committee — to require U.S. public schools to teach environmental literacy.

WINNING? Writing an op-ed for the Annapolis Capital, O’Brien Atkinson, president of the Anne Arundel County Fraternal Order of Police, wonders if Arundel taxpayers can really be “winning” with all the cuts to services.

OLIVER TO RESIGN STATE JOB: Bryan Sears of Patch.com reports that Baltimore County Councilman Ken Oliver has announced his intention of resigning his state job after Sears revealed last week that Oliver is in violation of the county charter, which prohibits councilmembers from holding a state job.

The editorial board for the Sun contends that the latest failure in ethics – Councilman Ken Oliver’s state job that is in violation of the county charter – demonstrates the need for greater transparency in all levels of government.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN PG: With Prince George’s County clergy pressuring county officials to oppose slot machines at recently reopened Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, County Executive Rushern Baker will focus this week on other types of economic development, Miranda Spivack reports for the Post.

SPEED CAMERA BOON: Prince George’s County has issued more than $500,000 in speeding tickets in the first month of its new speed camera program, reports Ben Giles for the Washington Examiner.

LOITERING BILL: Montgomery County legislators will sponsor a loitering bill that some county officials see as a counterproposal to controversial curfew legislation being considered by the county, the Post’s Victor Zapana reports.