January 11, 2012

State Roundup, January 11, 2012

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JOB CREATION: On the eve of Maryland’s legislative session, Gov. Martin O’Malley signaled yesterday that he will use the promise of job creation to justify asking lawmakers to take several tough votes in the coming 90 days, including some to raise taxes, write the Post’s John Wagner and Aaron Davis.

O’Malley also will seek more than $350 million in school construction funding in next year’s budget, Annie Linskey blogs for the Sun.

Here’s a podcast on the event at MarylandReporter.com by Duane Keenan.

SESSION STARTS: The session starts at noon today, reports Robert Lang for WBAL-AM. By the end of the day O’Malley will have introduced his legislative redistricting plan. Scroll into the story to click on the lists of bills already filed in both the House and Senate.

WYPR reporter Joel McCord and senior news analyst C. Fraser Smith joined Dan Rodricks at WYPR yesterday to discuss hot topics that legislators will tackle this year, including a possible gasoline tax increase, legislative redistricting, same-sex marriage and more.

Mark Newgent of Red Maryland offers his take on what will be important in Annapolis this year.

Nick Sohr of the Daily Record offers up a bit of humor: O’Malley wants to bet against Texas Gov. Rick Perry and several congressmen channel Beyonce.

DO NO HARM: On the eve of the opening of the General Assembly session, the Annapolis Capital editorial wrote that it would be more cheerful if it knew that this session would start with the administration of a politicians’ version of the Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm.

DRILLING FEE: A Maryland panel has recommended that the General Assembly impose a fee on gas leases in the Marcellus Shale to fund studies about the impact of drilling in far western Maryland, the AP’s Brian Witte reports in the Annapolis Capital.

LONG TENURES: Today, when the two chambers of the General Assembly elect their leaders as the annual session begins, the political odd couple of Mike Miller and Michael Busch will become the longest-serving pair of presiding officers in any state in the nation, writes Michael Dresser of the Sun.

Busch’s tenure as speaker, which began in 2003, is no fluke, opines the Sun editorial board. He has been effective in ways that his critics often fail to give him credit for, and he has earned tremendous loyalty and affection from House members.

WIND SUPPORT: As Gov. O’Malley prepares to renew his push to build industrial wind turbines off Maryland’s coast, a new poll shows strong public support even if the outlook for offshore wind development has grown cloudier lately, writes Tim Wheeler for the Sun.

But columnist Marta Mossburg writes in the Frederick News-Post that wind energy isn’t the job and energy creator that it’s cracked up to be.

MUSE SPEAKS: After more than two hours of speeches from Maryland’s leading – and, in many cases, long-winded — Democrats yesterday, what remained of the party faithful had already started to file out of an annual luncheon at the Annapolis Westin when an unbilled Anthony Muse took to the stage, John Wagner and Ben Pershing of the Post report. Muse is challenging fellow Democrat Ben Cardin for his U.S. Senate seat.

Muse was protesting the endorsements of Cardin by U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Gov. Martin O’Malley, Len Lazarick reports in MarylandReporter.com.

6th DISTRICT RACE: In two more surprises in the race for the redrawn 6th Congressional District, state GOP Chairman Alex Mooney says he won’t challenge Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, but freshman Del. Kathy Afzali of Frederick says she will, pitting her against the state senator from her own district, David Brinkley, Glynis Kazanjian writes for MarylandReporter.com.

Mooney was ready to run for his conservative beliefs in the 6th District, Stephanie Mlot writes in the Frederick News-Post. But once Bartlett began making a serious bid for re-election, Mooney backed off.

That move should put to rest any lingering speculation that Bartlett might back out of the contest at the last minute, blogs the Post’s Ben Pershing.

State Sen. Rob Garagiola will report raising $330,000 for his Democratic bid for Congress, twice as large as what Bartlett is expected to report bringing in over the same period, John Fritze reports for the Sun.

Afzali believes she is the GOP’s best bet to prevail over a Democratic candidate for a congressional seat made competitive by redistricting, Bethany Rodgers reports in the Frederick News-Post.

The crowded field is great for the newspaper industry, writes the Frederick News-Post editorial board. But it’s going to be brutal for the candidates who now have to try to distinguish themselves from the pack.

MATHIAS WON’T RUN: While two Democrats have already filed to run against Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, state Sen. Jim Mathias, who has been rumored to be interested, is not one of them, the Salisbury Daily Times’ Brian Shane reports.

ED LIAISON: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker has tapped a union official to be his education liaison, Miranda Spivack reports for the Post.

BA CO PRIORITIES: Baltimore County’s No. 1 priority in Annapolis this year, writes Bryan Sears for Patch.com, is the state’s continued support of education through school renovation and construction funds.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will also ask the Annapolis delegation for sweeping changes to the way liquor licenses are distributed in Baltimore County, writes Jon Meoli for Patuxent Publishing.

REDISTRICTING FALLOUT: Brian Conlin of Patuxent Publishing reports that the plan put forward by the state’s Redistricting Advisory Committee would extend District 12 from the eastern parts of Catonsville and Arbutus into western Columbia.

FREDERICK FIGHT: A squabble between Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young and a planning commissioner is at the center of a complaint filed with the Frederick County Ethics Commission, Pete McCarthy reports for the Frederick News-Post.

WA CO LOBBYING: For the first time since its creation eight years ago, the Washington County Community Lobbying Coalition, which lobbies in Annapolis, will not receive a funding contribution from the Washington County government, Heather Keels reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.