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Published on November 30th, 2011 | by Cynthia Prairie

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State Roundup, November 30, 2011

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

IS ROSCOE RUNNING? Maryland’s 6th District incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett continues to insist he is running for reelection next year, writes Glynis Kazanjian for MarylandReporter.com. But his chief of staff and campaign manager, Bud Otis, has been seeking support from Republicans for his own congressional run should Bartlett bow out.

ROBOCALL CASE: State prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed on one key revelation yesterday in the opening statements of a trial to determine whether robo-calls made during Maryland’s gubernatorial election last year were intended to suppress black voter turnout. Paul Schurick, former Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s campaign manager, approved the call, Aaron Davis reports for the Post.

Prosecutors said the plan was hatched shortly before 3 p.m. on a desperate, hectic Election Day last year, writes Luke Broadwater for the Sun.

Maryland State Prosecutor Emmett Davitt played the robocall message sent to about 110,000 residents on Election Day, John Rydell of WBFF-TV reports.

INDIA MISSION: The Skype picture was a little herky-jerky and the audio somewhat spotty, but Gov. Martin O’Malley was unwavering as he talked up his ongoing trade trip from India to a group of reporters in Annapolis, blogs John Wagner of the Post.

Maryland business and economic development Secretary Christian Johansson and U.S. India Importers Council Chairman V. Rangaraj signed an agreement to help companies create trading partnerships between Maryland and India, Scott Dance reports for the Baltimore Business Journal.

O’Malley predicted that India would rank among Maryland’s five largest trade partners within five years, Michael Dresser blogs for the Sun.

O’Malley said his Sunday stopover in Doha, Qatar, where he met with the amir and investment groups, was part of a long-term strategy to “forge a sister-state relationship with a Muslim country in the Middle East,” Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com writes.

REDISTRICTING CHALLENGE: Republicans who would like to see the Democratic-drawn plan for congressional redistricting overturned got a potential advantage as two appointees of GOP presidents were selected for the three-judge panel that will hear a federal lawsuit challenging the map adopted by the General Assembly, writes Michael Dresser of the Sun.

STATE SPENDING: The editorial board for the Sun takes issue with Maryland Business for Responsive Government, which it says is relying on an increasingly unreliable report on state spending. MBRG yesterday blasted the state for its perceived spending habits.

POLLUTION CASE BACKLOG: Tim Wheeler of the Sun reports that a backlog of nearly 300 pollution violation cases in the state are awaiting prosecution.

FERTILIZER REGS: Feeling the heat from farmers and environmentalists alike, the O’Malley administration has put on hold new rules on how and when farmers can fertilizer their fields and will first meet with critics, including municipal officials, blogs the Sun’s Tim Wheeler.

UM SPORTS: Columnist Marta Mossburg, writing in the Frederick News Post, takes the University of Maryland to task for not being honest about the reasons that nine athletic programs are being cut.

MERGER HEARING: A couple of groups in the Baltimore region that believe they stand to benefit expressed support for Constellation Energy Group’s plan to sell itself to Chicago-based Exelon Corp. at a public hearing yesterday in Bel Air, Hanah Cho reports for the Sun.

HURRICANE COST: Maryland suffered $41 million in damage from the 2011 hurricane season, which ends today, Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times reports.

ROSEN PROFILE: Nayana Davis of Patch.com does a quick profile of Wendy Rosen, the Cockeysville businesswoman who hopes to win the Democratic primary and challenge U.S. Rep. Andy Harris in the general.

WOOING CHAFEE: Reports out of Rhode Island indicate that as head of the Democratic Governors Association, Gov. O’Malley has been trying to woo Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent and former Republican U.S. senator, to join the Democratic fold, blogs the Post’s John Wagner.

JOHNSON SENTENCE: Community activists in Prince George’s County agree with prosecutors that former County Exec Jack Johnson should get a long prison term, writes Daniel Leaderman for the Gazette.

MO CO OKS PETITION CHALLENGE: Montgomery legislators yesterday authorized the county to proceed with plans to challenge a petition that could lead to the repeal of a recently enacted law scaling back the collective bargaining rights of the county’s police union, blogs the Post’s Victor Zapana.

BERNSTEIN PRAISED: Speaking at a forum on witness intimidation, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings offered praise of new Baltimore State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein and urged law enforcement leaders to be vigilant in protecting witnesses and victims of crime, blogs Justin Fenton for the Sun.

JONES’S FUTURE: Eric Hartley of the Annapolis Capital profiles Anne Arundel County Councilman Daryl Jones, surrounded by friends and supporters as he is sentenced to jail for failing to file taxes for five years.

The Sun editorial board is urging Jones, who is heading to jail for five months for failing to file taxes, to resign his seat.

FREDERICK ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS: Members of the Frederick County Human Relations Commission say they want to make sure racial profiling does not become an issue as county commissioners make tentative plans to deter illegal immigration, Cara Anthony reports for the Frederick News-Post.

HOLIDAYS LOST: Bethany Rodgers of the News-Post reports that Frederick County employees lost three of their 13 holidays but picked up a vacation day after commissioners passed an array of changes yesterday to their personnel rules.

OUTSOURCING: Frederick County will venture into the market for auditors, commissioners decided yesterday as they move ahead with their look at outsourcing government services, Bethany Rodgers writes for the News-Post.

BIZ PAC: An angry Elkton businessman has formed a PAC to take action against what he sees as a growing anti-business environment in Cecil County, Cheryl Mattix reports for the Cecil Whig.

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