SLOTS VOTE UNCONSTITUTIONAL: A provision in a Maryland bill that would give Prince George’s County voters an effective veto over hosting a slots casino violates the Maryland Constitution, a state lawyer has concluded, writes John Wagner and and Miranda Spivack for the Post. The development could complicate an already controversial push to expand Maryland’s fledgling gambling program during the 90-day session of the General Assembly.
Ben Giles of the Washington Examiner writes that some Prince George’s County leaders are working to find a way around the ruling.
GAS TAX, CURRIE REPORT: As early as today, Gov. Martin O’Malley is expected to submit legislation to impose the state’s sales tax on gasoline purchases, reports Robert Lang of WBAL-AM, and this week the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee is expected to forward its final report to the Senate on state Sen. Ulysses Currie.
BREAST-FEEDING HELP: For the first time, Maryland health officials are pushing all hospitals in the state to create policies to help make it easier for new mothers to learn to breast feed since they say breast milk is better for a baby’s health and too many mothers are switching to formula feedings, Andrea Walker reports in the Sun.
CURBING CORRUPTION: Recent Maryland political scandals have inspired a flurry of legislation in the General Assembly seeking to clamp down on corrupt public officials. And a special Senate committee is recommending changes to the legislature’s ethics rules, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports.
RESEARCH FOR JOBS: UM College Park President Wallace Loh, in an op-ed for the Sun, writes that about three times each week, an enterprising researcher at UMCP takes a step toward patenting an invention. Each year, that results in the creation of about five new high-tech firms, the kinds of businesses often credited with creating good jobs. But, the school’s goal is to double that rate in the next few years.
TANNING BILL BURNS: Everything isn’t so sunny in the tanning business, writes Sarah Breitenbach for the AP. Over the past few years, Michelle Kilbourne said it seems like the industry’s attacked from every angle. And the latest salvo – a bill to ban anyone under 18 from tanning – could spell disaster for her Arnold-based Tropical Island Tanning.
HONEY BILL: Maryland beekeepers are rallying around a bill that would set a standard for honey sold in the state, Mali Krantz of Capital News Service reports in the Easton Star Democrat.
POACHING IS DOWN: Natural Resources Police are crediting a series of new regulations and penalties, as well as an oddly warm winter, for the lack of illegal fishing activity on the bay, which plagued the waters last year as tons of rockfish were illegally taken, Pamela Wood reports for the Annapolis Capital.
GAY MARRIAGE RALLY: The battle over Maryland’s same-sex marriage bill heats up as supporters of the proposal plan to rally in Annapolis today, Gigi Barnett reports for WJZ-TV.
SEEKING GOP SUPPORT: In search of fresh support for legislation that fell short last year, Gov. O’Malley and his allies have reached out in recent weeks to about a quarter of the GOP members of the House of Delegates, the chamber expected to once again decide the fate of the measure, John Wagner reports for the Post.
TRANSGENDER BIAS: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks addresses Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government, which he said sounds like a group to join. But, he adds, “my perusal of the organization’s website reveals little more than obsessive concern with transgender people being in society.”
PROOF OF SERVICE: Lower Shore lawmakers are crafting legislation that would allow military veterans to simply point to a line on their driver’s licenses to prove their service rather than have to cart around official discharge papers all their lives, writes Brian Shane for the Salisbury Daily Times. The idea has the backing of Maryland’s lieutenant governor, a veteran of the war in Iraq.
INFORMATION ACCESS: Maryland lags behind other states in making government information easy for citizens to access online, open government advocates said, despite Gov. Martin O’Malley’s push to make Maryland more digitally transparent, Brooke Auxier of the Capital News Service writes for MarylandReporter.com.
TAX BREAK FOR EXELON: Among the many advantages Constellation Energy’s headquarters gives Baltimore — Fortune 500 cachet, hundreds of well-paid workers, millions in charity — is this: The building pays sticker price on property taxes — $745,000 a year. But, writes Jay Hancock of the Sun, you probably won’t be able to say that about its replacement, which Exelon Corp. and developer John Paterakis propose to build at Harbor Point.
BEREANO’S CONNECTIONS: When lobbyist Bruce Bereano was sentenced to a federal half-way house on mail fraud charges in 1999, he did what came naturally – he brought in a carpet, added some comfortable furniture and a good desk, and kept on working. So begins a profile of the state’s most notorious and notable lobbyist by Earl Kelly in the Annapolis Capital.
WHAT’S IN A NAME? The Board of Public Works last Wednesday renamed the Jeffrey Building a half-block down from the State House for Fred Wineland, the longest serving secretary of state in Maryland history. But, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com, where did the Jeffrey Building get its name?
HOUSING DEPT. MAKEOVER: The troubled Prince George’s County housing department, which was the center of former County Executive Jack Johnson’s bribery and development schemes, is about to get a makeover thanks to the federal government, writes Miranda Spivack for the Post.
NO TO FINANCIAL LITERACY: The Prince George’s County School Board voted unanimously to oppose a mandatory financial literacy class for high schoolers — the pet project of state Comptroller Peter Franchot — and legislation that would require two and a half hours of weekly physical activity for elementary students, calling both unfunded mandates, writes Abby Brownback for the Gazette.
POORAN IN 6th: Brian Englar of the Frederick News-Post writes a short bio of Democrat Milad Pooran, who is running for the Democratic nomination to the 6th congressional district seat held by U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett.
DRIVING ILLEGALS: Brian Hughes of the Washington Examiner reports that nearly half of suspected illegal immigrants picked up for deportation under Frederick County’s enforcement program last year were arrested for a traffic violation or driving without a license.
SISTER CITY ON HOLD: Montgomery County has put on hold plans to create a sister city agreement with one Israeli town following news reports of its ultra-Orthodox population skirmishing with Israeli police and assaulting some Israeli women, Victor Zapana reports for the Post.