November 3, 2011

State Roundup, November 3, 2011

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600 JOBS LOST IN MERGER: With at least 600 corporate jobs on the line, mostly in Baltimore, two state senators plan on announcing today ways to make the Constellation Energy merger with Exelon of Chicago a better deal for Marylander ratepayers, Hanah Cho reports for the Sun.

Meanwhile, Scott Dance of the Baltimore Business Journal reports that 1,000 temporary construction jobs are expected be associated with Exelon’s plan to build a new Baltimore headquarters for Constellation.

BIZ FRIENDLY STATE WANTED: Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com writes that business executives on a panel at a Maryland Chamber of Commerce forum sounded familiar themes yesterday: state government needs to reduce cumbersome regulations, speed approvals and become more “business-friendly.”

CURRIE JURY DELIBERATES: After six weeks of trial, jurors are expected to begin deliberating today in the federal bribery trial of state Sen. Ulysses S. Currie and two Shoppers Food Warehouse executives, the Sun’s Tricia Bishop reports.

MARRIAGE HISTORY: Maryland’s Attorney General Douglas Gansler discussed yesterday the possibility of same-sex marriage in Maryland and about the blockades to marriage other groups have faced throughout history at Salisbury University, writes Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times.

GREENING MARYLAND: The Sun’s Tim Wheeler blogs that Maryland’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% by the end of the decade shouldn’t cost the state any jobs, and may actually trigger new “green” employment, a pair of new studies say.

OYSTER RECOVERY: Concrete that once blocked fish from swimming up the Patapsco River to spawn has a new life as home for aquatic creatures at the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay, writes Candus Thomas for the Sun. Today and Monday, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will seed the site at the mouth of the Chester River with 4 million baby oysters. Click on the video link to view the process in action.

SOLAR FARM: The solar farm being built at the state prison system south of Hagerstown will have 175,000 panels on about 160 acres, an official with the solar company touted the project during a chamber of commerce event yesterday, Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald Mail writes.

NEW MARC TRAINS: Commuters will be getting an easier ride to Washington, D.C., in 54 new multi-level MARC cars and on additional buses from Charles County, all approved by the Board of Public Works yesterday, writes Megan Poinski for MarylandReporter.com.

NEW PERKINS CHIEF: State officials tapped a veteran psychiatric hospital administrator to take over leadership of Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, where two recent killings have sparked questions about the safety and therapy provided at Maryland’s maximum-security mental facility, Annie Linskey, Meredith Cohn and Andrea Walker report for the Sun.

POWERLESS OCCUPY BALTIMORE: Steve Kilar of the Sun writes that electricity was shut off last night to outlets in McKeldin Square that protesters in the Occupy Baltimore movement have used for the past month to power computers, televisions and kitchen appliances. Click on the video above the story to hear an interview with one protester about the local movement’s plans in light of recent attempts to violently break up the protest in other cities.

Keith Daniels of WBFF-TV also reports about the power cutoff.

Fern Shen of Baltimore Brew takes a close look how the movement has been covered in the media and where it will go now that homeless people have moved in.

RURAL LOBBYIST: Frederick County soon might chip in with other rural communities, such as Carroll and Washington counties, to pay for a lobbyist to watch for legislation and regulations that touch on the state’s agricultural areas, Bethany Rodgers reports for the Frederick News Post.

DO IT NOW DAY: Jean Marbella of the Sun writes about “Do It Now Day,” a community service event held to honor the legacy of former Gov. and Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer, who would have turned 90 yesterday. City Council President Jack Young hopes to make it an annual event.

BIG BOX BILL: It was a tense two hours in Rockville on Tuesday night, as dozens of business leaders, developers, residents and politicians testified at a Montgomery County Council hearing about controversial legislation that would require big-box stores to meet with community groups to try to agree on subjects ranging from wages and benefits to traffic and environmental issues, reports The Post’s Victor Zapana. A number of state legislators support the bill.

PG SWEARING IN: Derrick Leon Davis, who will be sworn in Tuesday morning as the newest member of the Prince George’s County Council, is receiving support from current council members who say he will be an asset on education issues, Abby Brownback reports for the Gazette.

ALLEGATIONS DENIED: Attorneys representing the Prince George’s County Council and the operator of a Clinton airfield are defending against allegations the council had a “secret process” for developers to get zoning changes by bypassing public review, the Gazette’s Erich Wagner reports.

PERMITS PROBLEMS: The editorial board of the Hagerstown Herald Mail writes that, for all the consternation and controversy that’s swirled around Washington County’s ever-changing development taxes, the less-discussed and more mind-numbing issue of permits and inspections might have more real-world implications.