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Published on November 18th, 2011 | by Cynthia Prairie

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State Roundup, November 18, 2011

O’M DEFENDS FARM: The Sun’s Tim Wheeler writes that Gov. Martin O’Malley has revived a simmering political dispute over the University of Maryland law school’s role in a lawsuit accusing an Eastern Shore farm and the Perdue poultry company of polluting a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay with a letter to the school complaining about the suit.

Charlene Sharpe of the Salisbury Daily Times writes that Eastern Shore legislators are also saying that the law school clinic that brought the suit should consider representing those who cannot afford legal help – like the family farm it is suing.

REBUILDING CONSTRUCTION: The governor and legislative leaders want to boost jobs in the hard-hit construction industry, but are struggling to find the money to do it, Len Lazarick reports for MarylandReporter.com.

SMALL BUSINESS HELP: Maryland Juice blogs that the state would do better to spend its economic development dollars on helping small innovative businesses rather than the large multinationals.

DBED INDIA BILL: Nick Sohr of the Daily Record reports that the Department of Business and Economic Development will foot the bill for at least a dozen state employees on the governor’s upcoming trade mission to India.

NEW SHA HEAD: Gov. O’Malley has appointed Melinda Peters as the first female head of the Maryland State Highway Administration. For the past six years, Peters was director of the multi-billion dollar Intercounty Connector project. She replaces Neil Pedersen, who retired June 30, Ryan Sharrow reports for the Baltimore Business Journal.

AIR POLLUTION: Tim Wheeler reports for the Sun that while government regulations often get branded as job killers these days, a group of states – including Maryland – have gone to court to get the government to crank down on fine-particle air pollution, which they contend is a real killer.

Maryland’s attorney general may be pushing for tighter federal air pollution regulations, writes the Sun’s Tim Wheeler, but freshman U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md, is pushing back.

GAY MARRIAGE OPERATIVE: Travis Tazelaar, a former executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party and manager of the recent reelection campaign of Baltimore’s mayor, has taken on a new challenge: pushing for legalization of same-sex marriage in the state, blogs John Wagner for the Post.

ELECTION SEASON BEGINS: In his column for the Annapolis Capital, Eric Hartley writes that its the time of year when a potential candidate for governor who also works for state government just might be visiting a location near you.

ELKRIDGE FACILITY: Hundreds of Elkridge residents are looking at new information on the intermodal railroad facility being proposed by the CSX Corp. and the Maryland Department of Transportation with a grain of salt, Kevin Rector writes for the Howard County Times. The railroad giant and state agency served up new posters with updated environmental maps, new cost estimates and new informational charts.

PlanMARYLAND PART 4: The public comment period for PlanMaryland is over, and Gov. O’Malley has the right to enact it without legislative approval, writes Megan Poinski for MarylandReporter.com. But, in this last of a four-part series, she writes that PlanMaryland is far from being a done deal.

Maryland should go slow on implementing its statewide land-use guidelines, writes Barry Rascovar in his Gazette column.

NO DREAMS OF GAMBLING: The editorial board for the Annapolis Capital opines that despite Senate President Mike Miller’s wishes, Prince George’s County isn’t enthusiastic about gambling.

EDWARDS ON TOP: U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, the Democratic incumbent facing a primary in Maryland’s newly redrawn 4th District, enjoys a 68% favorability rating among likely primary voters and would beat all of her challengers if the election were held today, an internal poll says, blogs John Fritze of the Sun.

FBI PROBES AIRLINE TO CUBA: It was undoubtedly exciting news: Baltimore would become one of the few spots in the U.S. offering flights to Cuba, a Communist nation largely off-limits to American travelers. But, writes Steve Kilar for the Sun, one critical item had been overlooked: the paperwork.

FREDERICK LAND USE: Calling it a charade, members of the Frederick County Planning Commission voted last night to recommend that the county’s current land-use plan not be changed, in opposition to what the Frederick County Board of Commissioners wanted, Pete McCarthy writes for the Frederick News-Post.

SMITH SIGNS OFF AT SUN: WBAL-AM radio personality and conservative Sun columnist Ron Smith, who is dying of pancreatic cancer, ends his stint with the Sun in today’s column although he hopes to stay on the air as long as possible. Chris Kaltenbach writes that piece.

ROBO-CALL TRIAL: The trial of Julius Henson and Paul Schurick for robo-calls made for candidate Bob Ehrlich has been delayed till February, Margie Hyslop reports in the Gazette.

ADVANCED DIRECTIVE: The state has failed to create an advanced directive registry, despite a 2006 law establishing one, Benjamin Ford writes in the Gazette. A Silver Spring woman is campaigning to get the law implemented.

ICC: The Gazette’s Lindsey Robbins previews the opening of the Intercounty Connector next week, and its impact on business.

HOCO SCHOOL BOARD: Gazette columnist Blair Lee writes about the attempt to remove a member of the Howard County school board by some of the other members.

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