December 6, 2011

State Roundup, December 6, 2011

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CONSTELLATION OFFER: Constellation Energy Group Inc. and Exelon Corp. would build a brand-new Baltimore headquarters and develop seven times as much renewable energy under a revised proposal to state energy regulators, Scott Dance reports for the Baltimore Business Journal.

Critics of the Constellation Energy Group-Exelon Corp. merger called for doubling the rate credit for utility customers to $200, even as the companies offered the concessions, the Sun’s Hanah Cho reports.

ROBOCALL CASE TO JURY: John Wagner of the Post reports that an attorney for the 2010 campaign manager for former Gov. Bob Ehrlich Jr. acknowledged yesterday that an election night robocall authorized by his client might now seem a “stupid” political move but argued that it did not amount to a crime. But the prosecutor said that just because it was ineffective doesn’t mean that it should get a pass.

Jury deliberations continued late yesterday afternoon, Wagner and Aaron Davis blog for the Post.

John Rydell of WBFF-TV reports that jurors began deliberations after 2 p.m.

Luke Broadwater of the Sun also writes about the closing arguments.

HOME BIRTH CONCERN: Barbara Pash of MarylandReporter.com writes that a dramatic rise in home births by unlicensed practitioners, as well as in the number of people requesting U.S. birth certificates for babies born that way, has led a state agency to issue a statement on health and safety guidelines for women wanting to deliver their children at home.

PATRIOTIC SPENDING: State Comptroller Peter Franchot is urging Marylanders to shop local, in person during the holiday season, calling it “patriotic,” writes Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

ENERGY ASSISTANCE: Don Aines of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports that although the “crisis season” began Nov. 15 and runs through the end of March, those who need help from the Maryland Energy Assistance Program to stay warm this winter will be waiting longer and receiving less.

CASINO TAKE DOWN: Ryan Sharrow of the Baltimore Business Journal reports that Maryland’s two casinos generated $12.2 million in November, down more than 5% from October.

ONLINE DEGREES: Jerry Shandrowsky of Anne Arundel Politics blog writes about the lower cost of some colleges that offer online learning and how Maryland colleges need to take notice.

LIVELY 6TH: Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News Post writes that observers are saying that last week’s eruption of activity in the race for Western Maryland’s 6th Congressional District heralded what is likely to be a lively election season and could point to turmoil within the Republican ranks.

JACOBS CONSIDERS CONGRESS: State Sen. Nancy Jacobs has launched an exploratory committee to consider a run for Congress from Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District, the seat currently held by Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, John Fritze blogs for the Sun.

Jacobs made the announcement at a fundraiser breakfast for 1st District U.S. Rep. Andy Harris at Pier One restaurant in North East, Cheryl Mattix writes for the Cecil Whig.

BENOIT WON’T RUN: Anne Arundel County Councilman Jamie Benoit, who has said he was considering running to represent Maryland’s newly drawn 4th Congressional district, will forego a campaign and serve out his term on the council, blogs Nicole Fuller for the Sun.

JOHNSON’S WHEELING: In his last year as Prince George’s County executive, Jack Johnson spent much of his time lining up business deals for himself, hoping to cash in once he left county government, Miranda Spivack and Ovetta Wiggins of the Post report.

The head of Prince George’s struggling hospital system has been implicated in the pay-to-play scandal surrounding Johnson, Daniel Leaderman writes for the Gazette, but the current administration doesn’t see a threat to plans to save the system and build a $600 million medical facility.

GENDER ID PROTECTION: The Howard County Council passed bills last night that create a temporary property tax credit for residences built to certain environmental standards and making gender identity a protected classification under the county’s anti-discrimination law, writes Lindsey McPherson for the Howard County Times.

Howard County becomes the third jurisdiction in the state to adopt a law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and expression, writes Jessica Anderson of the Sun.

AA COUNCIL BLOCKS COMMENT: The Sun’s Nicole Fuller blogs about last night’s contentious Anne Arundel County Council meeting, in which citizens were prevented from speaking during the public comment segment by the chairman. They were attempting to address Councilman Daryl Jones’ impending jail term.

BOTTLE TAX: Baltimore City’s proposal to increase the tax on soda, water, beer and juice to pay for school construction has some business owners concerned that it will eat into their profits, Julekha Dash writes for Bmore.