December 1, 2011

State Roundup, December 1, 2011

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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.

ROBOCALL TRIAL: State prosecutors rested their election fraud case yesterday against a top aide to former Gov. Bob Ehrlich after introducing matter-of-fact campaign documents addressing a plan to suppress African-American votes, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

The Post’s Aaron Davis reports that the woman who recorded the robocall on Election Day 2010 that told African-American Democrats in Maryland not go to the polls said a consultant for the Ehrlich campaign told her that his “client” did not want the call to contain a mandatory line identifying who had paid for the message.

And the Sun editorial board writes that no matter how illegal the robocalls were, they were certainly pointless.

DISABILITIES FUNDS: Maryland Health Secretary Joshua Sharfstein told two Senate committees yesterday that the state has hired an outside consultant to help figure out how Maryland’s Developmental Disabilities Administration failed to spend $25 million that had to be returned to the general fund, Andrea Walker reports for the Sun.

The Health department also will immediately begin to provide emergency assistance to those in the top tier of the DDA waiting list, report Glynis Kazanjian and Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com

GAY MARRIAGE: Christian Schaffer of WMAR-TV reports that religious leaders of many different faiths are uniting as the Maryland Marriage Alliance to try and defeat a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland. They held two press conferences yesterday.

Pat Warren of WJZ-TV also reports on the pressers.

FINANCE TRANSPARENCY: Campaign finance reports in Maryland are getting more transparent and easier to search with the new campaign finance website launched this week by the Maryland State Board of Elections, writes Megan Poinski of MarylandReporter.com. The new website, www.campaignfinance.maryland.gov, upgrades and further automates reporting and disclosure of the money behind campaigns.

FAMILY PLANNING: Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM hosted state Sen. Catherine Pugh and Del. Heather Mizeur to talk about new legislation that will increase the accessibility of family planning services to Maryland residents.

UM TEAMS TEAM UP: The men’s and women’s teams that face being cut at the University of Maryland College Park have teamed up to raise the money they need to save their sports, Yasmeen Abutaleb of the Diamondback reports.

MUSE JOINS SUIT: Democratic state Sen. Anthony Muse of Prince George’s County has thrown his support behind a lawsuit challenging the congressional redistricting map the General Assembly adopted during its recent special session, calling it ”unfair to the voiceless citizens of this state,” Michael Dresser blogs for the Sun.

FOOD STAMP FRAUD: Maryland ranks second in the amount of taxpayer dollars wasted on food stamp fraud. For every $100 in benefits, Maryland gave out $6.11 to people who weren’t eligible, amounting to about $60 million, Hayley Peterson and Brian Hughes report for the Washington Examiner. Peterson writes a sidebar on what it takes to qualify for the food aid.

ROSCOE BARTLETT: The Post’s Ben Pershing recounts reasons why some people think U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett may not be running for re-election after all.

Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald Mail follows up yesterday’s MarylandReporter story on Bartlett’s chief of staff Bud Otis putting out feelers for support should he run for Bartlett’s seat.

OBAMA BACKS CARDIN: President Barack Obama offered a public endorsement of U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin yesterday, giving the Maryland Democrat an early boost in his reelection contest, Ben Pershing reports for the Post.

DUTCH BILL: U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and Republican committee Chairman Mike Rogers introduced legislation yesterday that would allow the government to share classified information on potential cyberattacks with private businesses, writes Matthew Hay Brow of the Sun.

BLASTING REPUBLICANS: Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation and two public employee unions lashed out at a Republican Senate proposal that would pay for an extension of President Obama’s payroll tax cut by continuing a pay freeze on federal employees, the Sun’s John Fritze reports.

JONES’S SEAT: It’s up to Daryl Jones whether his spot on the Anne Arundel County Council remains vacant while he’s in prison since there’s nothing in the County Charter to force the District 1 councilman to give up his seat, despite his conviction for failing to file dozens of federal income tax returns, Allison Bourg reports for the Annapolis Capital.

The Sun’s Nicole Fuller reports that a number of his constituents in his northern county district said they would like to see the Severn Democrat keep his seat — and return after he’s served his time — even as his opponents clamor for his resignation.

The editorial board for the Annapolis Capital says that after doing a good job for his constituents for five years, Jones now has just one more thing he can do for them: resign.

WTE INCINERATOR: Construction of a waste-to-energy incinerator in Frederick County is on pace to start by August 2012, and the plant could be up and running three years later, Pete McCarthy reports for the Frederick News-Post.

MO CO HIRES ATTY: The Montgomery County Council has hired a private attorney to represent the county in a lawsuit that claims that some of the signatures gathered in a petition to bring to the ballot a new law eliminating effects bargaining for the county police union might not be valid, and that those gathering signatures might have committed fraud, Erin Cunningham reports for the Gazette. (This link was not working when we published; the Gazette’s site appeared to be temporarily offline.)

NO HOLIDAY BONUS: Despite rumors, Wicomico County employees are not getting a $200 holiday bonus this year, Jennifer Shutt reports for the Salisbury Daily Times. County Executive Rick Pollitt propose giving all county employees, save department heads, the holiday boost. But he needed County Council approval, which he did not receive.

FEW CECIL CANDIDATES: Cecil County’s director of elections is worried about the lack of candidates filing to run in the primary election on April 3, with the filing deadline just six weeks away, Cheryl Mattix writes for the Cecil Whig.

  • David Aughenbaugh

    Thanks for NOT linking to the SUN, it made me smile….