November 8, 2011

State Roundup, November 8, 2011

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REDISTRICTING COURT CHALLENGE: The plan to launch a legal challenge of Maryland’s congressional redistricting has stalled for lack of money, Earl Kelly reports for the Annapolis Capital. Republicans and the Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee, a civil rights organization, have wanted to take the plan to court ever since it passed the General Assembly on Oct. 20.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is calling Maryland’s recent congressional redistricting “outrageously unconstitutional,” and says that his inability to persuade the other justices to overturn partisan gerrymandering like it was “one of my major disappointments in my entire career,” Len Lazarick reports for MarylandReporter.com

BLUE RIBBON RIP: A Washington County businessman who owns and trucking company and who served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Maryland Transportation Funding said yesterday that he did not support the panel’s recommendations that includes several transportation-related fee increases such as a 15-cent gas tax hike over three years, Julie Green reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

JURORS QUESTION TIMELINE: Jurors deliberating in the federal bribery trial of state Sen. Ulysses S. Currie and two former grocery chain execs sent a note to the judge yesterday, indicating that at least some of them believe a conspiracy may have occurred, though not for the length of time alleged in the indictment, writes Tricia Bishop for the Sun.

The Post’s John Wagner blogs that the judge ruled that the jurors can still find the defendants guilty if they believe the conspiracy occurred reasonably within the window alleged.

Daniel Leaderman of the Gazette writes that prosecutors allege Currie accepted nearly a quarter of a million dollars from the Lanham-based Shoppers Food Warehouse between 2003 and 2008 and did not list his work as a paid consultant for the chain on mandatory ethics disclosure forms.

$190 FOR ACCESS: Instead of a service that was once free, Maryland citizens and businesses will now have to pay a $190 annual subscription fee to the Secretary of State’s office if they wish to access the most timely government information published by the Maryland Register, writes Glynis Kazanjian for MarylandReporter.com.

ELECTION DAY: Maryland Juice reminds readers that today is Election Day in some Maryland towns. Among the major jurisdictions voting are Baltimore City, Rockville, Gaithersburg, College Park, Bowie, Takoma Park, Greenbelt, Bel Air and Aberdeen.

CONGRESS & THE BAY: The editorial board for the Sun opines that the latest study on the health of the Chesapeake Bay is offering signs that years of pollution-fighting efforts are having a positive effect. Now, it remains to be seen whether Congress can refrain from pulling the proverbial rug out from under the bay’s cleanup campaign.

JOB CUT CONCERNS: While facing possible budget cuts, employees of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg urged U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin to keep touting the work they do with his congressional colleagues, C. Benjamin Ford reports for the Gazette.

BECHTEL MOVE: While 625 Bechtel jobs move from Maryland to Virginia, Maryland, which recently agreed to pay Bechtel nearly $10 million to ensure that the company’s 1,250 other employees remain in-state, said the company’s decision to move some workers to Virginia was not unexpected, Anita Kumar and Fredrick Kunkle report for the Post.

The move to Virginia will come in 2012, according to Michael Neibauer of the Washington Business Journal.

Bechtel had been hinting at a move to Northern Virginia for months, in part, to be closer to federal military clients, Lindsey Robbins reports for the Gazette.

ELECTRIC STATIONS: Howard County Exec Ken Ulman has unveiled the county’s first electric vehicle charging station and its new electric-gas hybrid cars, Lindsey McPherson reports for the Howard County Times.

ETHICS BILL DELAY: The Baltimore County Council was set to introduce County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s ethics bill last night, but members said administration officials gave them copies of the legislation so late that they didn’t have time to review the measure, blogs the Sun’s Alison Knezevich.

Bryan Sears of Patch.com reports that Kamenetz spokesman Don Mohler said, “This is a complex piece of legislation. We’re talking about changing a law that hasn’t been looked at in 30 years.”

  • Sstrother

    What about the NAACP, what’s their take on the re-districting issue? seems kinda quiet.