February 20, 2012

State Roundup, February 20, 2012

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GAY MARRIAGE FOLLOW-UP: A Maryland Senate committee could vote on same-sex marriage as early as Tuesday, setting the stage for the legislation to get to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s desk by the end of the week, according to an interview with Senate Judicial Proceedings Chairman Brian Frosh by John Wagner in the Post.

The Sun’s Annie Linskey reports on the six delegates who had not supported same-sex marriage, but eventually did in the end.

 Sen. Brian Frosh, chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, said that Senate votes on the bill are unlikely to change from last year’s 25-21 tally, reports David Hill of The Washington Times.

Eastern Shore delegates opposed the legislation, reports the Easton Star-Democrat’s Kelley Allen.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE APPROVED: With two dozen reporters on the floor and at least nine TV cameras, there was oodles of coverage of the debate and vote to approve same-sex marriage in the House of Delegates Friday.

Here are some of the versions by multiple reporters, quoting different aspects of the debate, and reactions to it from: MarylandReporter.com, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun , the Associated Press and Patch.com.

Here’s the roll call of the vote from the Post.

Earl Kelly’s story in the Capital has some angry quotes about the switched votes from Del. Don Dwyer

There are audio reports from MarylandReporter.com and WBAL AM and video from Fox 45, WBAL TV, and WJZ.

RETRIBUTION: The Maryland Juice blog, a staunch gay marriage proponent, describes the kind of retribution the gay community is planning against Del. Sam Arora, the only Montgomery County delegate to vote against the bill. The posting includes retweets from other MoCo delegates already supporting someone to run against Arora in 2014.

CURRIE CENSURED: In a unanimous vote, the Senate on Friday censured Sen. Ulysses Currie for multiple violations of ethics laws and rules. Here is coverage by Maryland Reporter.com and the Associated Press in the Capital. WBAL TV has video.

REFERENDUM MOVES FORWARD: Circuit Court Judge Ronald Silkworth ruled on Friday that the November referendum on in-state college tuition for some illegal immigrants can go forward, reports Dan Menefee of MarylandReporter.com. Del. Neil Parrott, leader of the petition drive, said that appealing the decision would be “frivolous.”

COMBINING FUNCTIONS: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who has not protested Gov. Martin O’Malley’s plans to shift teacher pension costs to the counties, plans to see if school district and county government functions can be combined in order to save money, reports The Sun’s Liz Bowie.

AGAINST PENSION SHIFT: The Calvert County Board of Commissioners is asking all of its local entities that receive state funding to lobby against the pension shift, reports Meghan Russell of the Calvert County Recorder.

A staff editorial in the Salisbury Daily Times decries O’Malley’s pension shift plan as a way to make counties have to pay for something they do not control, and something that could force localities to raise taxes.

TUBMAN STATUE, TAKE TWO: The Women’s Caucus is once again trying to get a statue of Maryland native Harriet Tubman in the U.S. Capitol, reports Kelsey Miller of Capital News Service in the St. Mary’s Enterprise. However, this year, instead of replacing revolutionary figure John Hanson’s statue in Statuary Hall, the caucus is trying to get a Tubman statue in a prominent location elsewhere in the complex.

CARDIN ON THE BAY: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin talked to members of the Eastern Shore delegation about the need for citizen cooperation and open government to keep the Chesapeake Bay clean and the farming community strong, reports Daniel Divilio of the Easton Star-Democrat.

GAMBLING SUCCESS: Maryland’s slot-only casinos came close to the end of a wave of newly approved gambling, and the state cannot be as successful with revenues as it wants to without allowing table games, according to an AP story in The Capital.

THE WEEK AHEAD: WBAL’s Robert Lang gives a preview of the week ahead in Annapolis, as the General Assembly hits this year’s session midpoint.

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNCIL: If the Anne Arundel County Council chooses Mike Wagner to fill the seat of Daryl Jones, it will be all white and all male for the first time in four decades, Allison Bourg reports in the Capital.

TRACKING DEVICES: Two Maryland legislators are using a recent Supreme Court decision to pressure the Department of Natural Resources into releasing warrants used to install GPS tracking devices on several boats last year, Ellen Stodola of Capital News Service Reports in the Gazette.

TEXTBOOK SALES TAX: Several legislators are supporting bills to remove the sales tax from college textbooks, Alisha George reports in the Carroll County Times.

STATE HIGHWAY PERMITS: Two Washington County lawmakers have crafted a bill aimed at the Maryland State Highway Administration, alleging that the agency’s bureaucracy has held up some local development projects, Andy Schotz reports in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. The bill would force SHA to act within 90 days after getting a request for a permit to access a state road. Otherwise, the permit would have to be granted.

TRAVEL PLAZAS: The dispute over the state contract to rebuild and manage two travel plazas on Interstate 95 intensified Friday, with the company most likely to win the bid denouncing accusations made by competitors, and one of those competitors filing suit, reports Shane Doyle in the Daily Record.

SPEED CAMERAS: Maryland drivers have received more than a million speeding tickets from work zone speed cameras over the past three years, and many of those tickets were issued even though no one was working in those zones at the time, Liz Essley reports in Washington Examiner. The controversial cameras raked in $19 million in 2011.

OFF-SHORE WIND ENERGY: A wide variety of diverse groups supports off shore wind farms, Aaron Davis and Greg Masters report in the Washington Post.