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Published on November 28th, 2011 | by Cynthia Prairie

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State Roundup, November 28, 2011

Due to the paywall at the Sun, and its limit of 15 free stories per month, our roundup will not include Sun stories that contain substantially the same material available in articles from other sites.

PLANMARYLAND ON HOLD: Maryland Secretary of Planning Richard Hall has agreed to hold off implementation of PlanMaryland until after a Dec. 12 Senate committee hearing, Matthew Bieniek reports for the Cumberland Times-News.

REDISTRICTING CHALLENGE: In the continuing challenge to redistricting, Republican Ron George, a delegate from Annapolis, has asked the state’s highest court to block a congressional redistricting plan drawn by Gov. Martin O’Malley, reports Earl Kelly for the Annapolis Capital.

DGA GETS THE BUCKS: The Sun’s Annie Linskey reports that some companies with interests in Maryland have found a new way to show support for Gov. Martin O’Malley: They’re contributing tens of thousands of dollars to the Democratic Governors Association. Some of those companies had never given to the DGA before and one company’s contribution coincided with O’Malley’s signing favorable legislation.

Click here for the list of donors.

TAX SCOFFLAWS: Steve Kelly of the Gazette writes that Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot released a list of the top 25 businessess and top 25 individuals owing back taxes to the state, amounting to almost $21 million in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest. You can find the entire list here.

COMBINED REPORTING: The Sun editorial board urges state legislators who might want to lower the corporate tax rate, as suggested by state Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, to instead adopt combined reporting, which is currently in place in most states.

SAME-SEX AD: Andrea Fuji of WJZ-TV reports on an ad by Charles Nusinov and Sons Jewelers that is directed at same-sex couples,  to the disapproval of a religious community.

ANTI-FREEZE ADDITIVE: A new law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2012 that will require a bittering agent to be added to antifreeze, which is sweet to the taste and has killed both animals and humans, writes Carol Harvat for SoMDNews.com.

WASTEFUL MOVE: The editorial board of the Annapolis Capital is urging the state to stop the wasteful move of the Department of Housing and Community Development from a state-owned building in Crownsville to rented space in Prince George’s County.

NATIVE AMERICANS IN MD: Maryland’s Native Americans find that they have to struggle for state recognition, and some find that struggle is too expensive and time consuming, writes Emaun Kashfipour of Capital News Service for MarylandReporter.com.

TRADE MISSIONS: For the second time this year, Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell (R) and Maryland Gov. O’Malley (D) have nearly crossed paths on overseas trips aimed at opening new markets and luring foreign investment to rival sides of the Potomac, writes Aaron Davis for the Post.

O’Malley spent a rather busy day in Doha, capital of Qatar, the small emirate on the Persian Gulf that has the second highest per capita income in the world due to its oil and gas reserves, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

ICC BENEFITS: The ICC is sure to benefit many businesses, writes the editorial board for the Gazette. But whether commuters are willing to pay the high tolls on a regular basis has yet to be seen.

TURN THIS CAR AROUND: Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com interviews former Gov. Bob Ehrlich about his new book and the issues that prompted its writing. He also interviews him on video.

VAN HOLLEN SPARED: U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen is unlikely to be damaged politically, even though the so-called supercommittee on which he served fail to agree on a debt-reduction plan, writes C. Benjamin Ford for the Gazette.

FUNDING CUTS: Aaron Davis and Laura Vozzella report for the Post that funding cuts for school lunches, home energy assistance, child support enforcement, HIV care, Race to the Top grants and other government programs will come quicker than advertised following the failure last week of the congressional “supercommittee.”

BARTLETT TO RUN: U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has no intention to give up his 6th District seat in Congress, Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports.

CONCEAL CARRY PERMIT: Maryland Juice digs up an article in the Las Vegas Journal Review-Journal by Vin Suprynowicz in which Bartlett’s name comes up because he has proposed allowing those who have concealed gun carry permits in one state to carry in all states. You can access the piece, ”Carrying legal pistols across state lines,” here.

CHALLENGE TO HARRIS: Democrat Wendy Rosen expects to transcend political labels in the 2012 election and unseat Republican Congressman Andy Harris with her message of small-business support being the mechanism to revive the nation’s economy, Daniel Divilio writes in the Eastern Star-Democrat.

CARDIN BILL ANGERS: Legislation drafted by U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin to update the 1917 Espionage Act has angered public disclosure advocates who say the proposal would make it harder for federal employees to expose government fraud and abuse, John Fritze reports for the Sun.

MEDICAL SCHOOLS: Maryland’s two major medical programs are ahead of a national trend that finds that the country’s medical schools are seeing more applications over the past year, Andrew Ujifusa reports for the Gazette.

UM LAW SCHOOL FAIL: Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar lambasts the University of Maryland Law School for failing to do its homework before suing an Eastern Shore family farm.

UM TEAMS TO BE CUT: Eight athletic teams will be eliminated from the University of Maryland College Park if they cannot raise the funds necessary to sustain their programs for the next eight years by June 30, Yasmeen Abutaleb and Jeremy Schneider report for the Diamondback.

In an op-ed for the Sun, Todd Schoenberger writes that the need for the cutbacks can be traced to miscalculations over the Comcast Center deal.

FIRE AT UM GREENHOUSE: A fire ate through a commercial orchid growing greenhouse complex that takes up more than 2.5 acres at University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Calum McKinney reports for the Salisbury Daily Times.

OBAMA AT TU: The Towson Center was transformed Saturday afternoon from a sleepy arena into a vibrant place to be for a few thousand Baltimoreans due to the presence of President Barack Obama and his family, Don Markus writes for the Sun.

Here’s a slew of Sun photos. And here’s a video of comedian Bill Murray, whose son Luke is an assistant coach at Towson University, greeting Obama and first lady Michelle.

Tyler Waldman of Patch.com also was there, complete with a camera.

HONORING RON SMITH: The editorial board for the Sun honors WBAL-AM’s conservative talk show host Ron Smith, who is dying of cancer, writing that although they have disagreed over the years, it “does not diminish the respect we hold for a fellow “talking head” who has always demonstrated far greater intellectual curiosity and independence … he was no captive of dogma or of any political party’s talking points.”

BLOW TO PG: Walt Disney Co. has canceled plans to build a 500-room resort hotel at National Harbor, dealing a blow to an ambitious project that is seen as an integral part of the economic future of Prince George’s County, Thomas Heath of the Post reports.

CHEAP FAVORS: Andrea Noble of the Washington Times reports that it wasn’t always expensive to buy favors from Former Prince George’s County Exec Jack Johnson. Some could be bought for as little as two grand.

LEOPOLD SCHEDULES: Nicole Fuller of the Sun reports that, following Maryland Public Information Act requests, Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold has drastically cut back on his recorded schedules and the amount of overtime of his security detail.

RESCIND ARUNDEL POLICY: The editorial board of the Daily Record writes that revelations that the police officers in charge of the Anne Arundel County Police Department’s gambling investigations are moonlighting as security guards for the developer building the slots casino at Arundel Mills raises disturbing but easily answered questions: The policy that allows such an arrangement is absurd and should be rescinded immediately.

EXCISE TAX: Frederick News-Post columnist Dean Kornreich writes that the Frederick County Commission can rescind its vote to zero out the excise tax and still achieve a business-friendly environment in Frederick that will attract new development as well as create and/or maintain jobs.

HOWARD HIKES: Many elected officials in Howard County are set to accept pay raises this year, after rejecting or donating their automatic increases over several years in which other county employees saw their pay reduced by furloughs, Jessica Anderson reports for the Sun.

SAME-SEX BENEFITS: The editorial board for the Sun is urging Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz to extend health benefits to same-sex spouses of county employees.

CONAWAY’S GUN: Gun rights advocate David Codrea writes in the Examiner.com about Frank Conaway and his confrontation with a blogger, in which Conaway allegedly brandished a handgun. The question for Cordrea is why Conaway had a gun permit and a gun in the first place since, as a delegate, he initiated tough gun laws in the state.

An outside prosecutor is being called in to take charge of the investigation involving Conaway’s expired gun permit, writes Andrea Siegel for the Sun.

COMMISSIONERS REFLECT: Matthew Bieniek of the Cumberland Times-news writes about the new Allegheny County Commissioners as they reflect on their first year in office.

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