February 21, 2012

State Roundup, February 21, 2012

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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE TO SENATE: The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will vote today on the House version of the same-sex marriage bill, preparing it for passage before the General Assembly deals with the complex and controversial budget, reports The Sun’s Annie Linskey.

WBAL Radio’s Robert Lang interviewed Sen. Jim Brochin, who sat on the fence about the bill last year before voting yes. Brochin said he does not see Republicans dragging out the process.

Del. Keiffer Mitchell appeared on the Marc Steiner Show on WEAA Monday to talk about same-sex marriage and other issues percolating in Annapolis.

CATHOLIC LOBBY DAY: Meanwhile, hundreds of Catholics came to Annapolis on Monday for their annual lobbying day – just as one of the bills they oppose most is preparing for passage, reports The Post’s John Wagner.

MINISTERS FOR CARDIN: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin received the endorsement of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance on Monday, reports The Sun’s John Fritze.

HARRIS FOR JACOBS: U.S. Rep. Andy Harris endorses his former colleague, state Sen. Nancy Jacobs in her congressional bid, reports Bryan Sears of Patch.com.

DELANEY CRIES FOUL: State Sen. Rob Garagiola has received several campaign contributions from people connected with lobbyists, causing primary opponent John Delaney to wonder if Garagiola has violated ethics rules, reports Glynis Kazanjian for MarylandReporter.com.

PAYING MORE FOR GAS: Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed gasoline tax would cost two-car families roughly $400 a year once fully implemented, if drivers are filling an 18-gallon tank five times a month and the cost of gas never rises, write Hayley Peterson of the Washington Examiner.

TAX CREDITS FOR COAL PRODUCERS: O’Malley is forging ahead with his green-energy initiative while trying to end tax incentives for the state’s coal industry, but he is facing stiff opposition from lawmakers who say eliminating the credits could drive up energy prices and cost some Marylanders their jobs, writes David Hill of the Washington Times.

GAMING: Prince George’s officials and business leaders envision a high-rolling success with a casino at National Harbor, but Anne Arundel legislators are crying foul, saying it would unfairly compete with a $500 million slots facility set to open in their county this summer, writes Lindsey Robbins of The Gazette.

PENSION COMPROMISE: Lower Shore lawmakers say they expect the governor’s plans to split the teacher pension costs with counties likely will end in a compromise that includes a phased-in approach, writes Brian Shane of the Salisbury Daily Times.

SCHOOL BREAKFAST: After Legislative Services analysts recommended cutting down a proposed increase to funds for school breakfasts, advocates – including celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio – came to Annapolis to speak for the program’s importance, reports Justin Snow of MarylandReporter.com.

Dave Collins of WBAL-TV spoke to Voltaggio, who owns Volt restaurant in Frederick.

BWI UPGRADES: About $216 million in capital projects at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport will probably be paid for using Federal Aviation Administration fees, reports Daniel Menefee of MarylandReporter.com.

BUSINESS TAX CREDITS: Will Burns of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce blogs on the Chamber Action Network blog about bills opposed by the Chamber in the House and Senate that would make tax credits automatically expire after five years.

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS: Legislation creating new rules for public-private partnerships could fast-track projects and keep them from full scrutiny through the procurement process, reports WBFF’s Melinda Roeder.

DEATH AND TAXES: A staff editorial in The Diamondback takes a look at online taxes, both the “download tax” proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley and potential action by Congress for a national online sales tax.

TUITION REFERENDUM: The Diamondback’s Jim Bach brings the news of the likelihood of a statewide vote on whether some illegal immigrants can get in-state tuition to University of Maryland students.

PROTESTING THE TRANSGENDERED:  Patuxent Publishing’s Brian Conlin reports on a Monday protest against a bill that would protect transgendered people from discrimination outside the Catonsville office of Baltimore County Councilmember Tom Quirk, who proposed the bill.

JUVENILE SERVICES: Sam Abed, secretary of Juvenile Services, spoke to the Eastern Shore delegation about the latest plans to reform and improve his department, reports Daniel Divilio of the Easton Star Democrat.