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Published on March 30th, 2012 | by Len Lazarick

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State Roundup, March 30, 2012

O’MALLEY COMMUTES TWO SENTENCES: Gov. Martin O’Malley decided Thursday to commute life sentences of two inmates convicted of murder, writes The Post’s Aaron Davis.

MOVING ON HEALTH CARE REFORM: Despite the case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court that may throw out President Obama’s national health care program, Maryland is moving forward to definitively establish it in the state, reports MarylandReporter.com’s Justin Snow.

Even if the law is thrown out, Greg Masters of The Post reports that O’Malley plans to keep moving forward with health care reforms in Maryland.

CAPITAL BUDGET PASSES SENATE: The $1.1 billion capital budget proposal, approved by senators with a 39-7 vote, was approved by the Senate and now moves to the House of Delegates, according to an Associated Press story in The Daily Record.

GAMBLING PROPOSITION: With a little more than a week left in the session, lobbyists and stakeholders are scrambling in Annapolis to try to make their case for a bill that would start the process to allow table games and a sixth casino at National Harbor, reports The Post’s John Wagner.

ROUNDUP: The Gazette does a roundup of where key issues stand the General Assembly heads into its last 10 days.

GAY MARRIAGE OPPONENTS’ TACTICS: Supporters of Maryland’s same-sex marriage law are highlighting the tactics that were used by the National Organization for Marriage in Maine: driving a wedge between blacks and gays, which are both traditionally Democratic constituencies, reports John Wagner of The Post.

OFFSHORE WIND NEARS VOTE: The House of Delegates amended a bill that would allow offshore wind, preparing it for a final vote, reports Capital News Service’s Ellen Stodola in the Salisbury Daily Times.

Del. Dereck Davis, chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee, expects a floor vote on Friday, according to an AP story in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

The bill adds a $1.50 surcharge for wind power to ratepayers’ electric bills for the next 20 years, raising about $88 million annually, reports The Examiner’s Ben Giles.

Opponents of the bill say the surcharge is just another tax and it’s too much, reports The Washington Times’ David Hill.

MarylandReporter.com’s Daniel Menefee talks to wind power supporters who think that some opponents – who support quick drilling for natural gas in Western Maryland – are being hypocritical.

BUSY LOBBYISTS: Annapolis lobbyist say a number of tax and revenue proposals — coupled with the continuing tough economic climate — are making this one of the busiest General Assembly sessions in memory, Daniel Leaderman writes in the Gazette.

ARSENIC IN CHICKEN FEED: As a bill banning arsenic in chicken feed is moving forward in the House of Delegates, proponents are realizing that a last-minute amendment – allowing materials approved by the FDA, which the arsenic-containing additive still is, to be included – may nullify it, writes The Post’s Greg Masters.

O’MALLEY ENDORSES GARAGIOLA: Though not a resident of the 6th District himself, Gov. Martin O’Malley endorsed state Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola to win the Democratic nomination to represent the 6th District in Congress, reports The Post’s Ben Pershing.

CORRECTED: Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail writes that Garagiola is hopeful that he will prevail over an ethics complaint filed against him earlier this week charging he failed to disclose past work connections.

The Frederick News-Post’s Bethany Rodgers runs down other prominent endorsements for both Garagiola and his chief opponent for the nomination, John Delaney.

Garagiola was once considered a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination in the district which critics say was drawn for him, reports the Washington Times’ David Hill.

DELANEY POLL: An internal poll released Thursday by Delaney’s campaign shows that he has a commanding lead in the 6th District, with 49% of the vote as opposed to 23% for Garagiola, reports The Sun’s John Fritze.

GOP SENATE DEBATE: The Maryland Republican Party and Anne Arundel County Central Republican Committee sponsored a debate for Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate. MarylandReporter.com’s Megan Poinski reports that they sparred over taxes, foreign policy and health care. There is also a podcast and video.

Republican bloggers at Red Maryland also gave the debate full coverage.

O’MALLEY ALSO ENDORSES SPRINGSTEEN: Taking a step away from politics, Gov. Martin O’Malley gives an interview to Politico’s Patrick Gavin on something both he and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie can agree on: Bruce Springsteen. O’Malley says that The Boss was “Born to Run” for governor.

SCHOOL FUNDING: Legislation redefining minimum funding standards for Maryland’s 24 school systems is creating tension between local and state governments, Abby Brownback reports in the Gazette. At the same time, it essentially is neutralizing the relationship between local school boards and county governments, officials and experts say.

ROMNEY LEADS: According to a Rasmussen poll taken this week, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a 17-point lead in Maryland heading into next week’s primary, reports the Baltimore Sun’s John Fritze.

BUSINESS IMPACT: Donald Fry uses his Center Maryland column to highlight some of the legislation in the General Assembly that would have a positive impact on businesses.

NO PASSWORD REQUESTS:  WBAL’S Robert Lang has a radio report on a bill that would prevent employers from asking job applicants for their Facebook, email or social media network passwords.

SENATE Q&A: The Hagerstown Herald-Mail has written questions and answers that the League of Women Voters provided to U.S. Senate candidates. Here are the answers from Republicans and Democrats.

REFERENDUMS: More measures will be on the November ballot than in recent memory, but experts question whether it’s a good strategy, according to Danielle Gaines in the Gazette.

MD OFFICIALS ON TRAYVON MARTIN: In the Baltimore Sun, several state and local officials weigh in with their responses to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager in Florida, killed by a neighbor who thought he looked suspicious.

NO APOLOGIES IN THE 2ND DISTRICT: Candidate Larry Smith wants state Sen. Nancy Jacobs to apologize for going negative in her campaign for the Republican nomination to the Congressional seat, though Smith had a series of robocalls falsely claiming Jacobs voted for Democratic budgets, reports MarylandReporter.com’s Glynis Kazanjian.

HONORING LOVE: The Anne Arundel County delegation used its annual luncheon to honor former delegation chairwoman Del. Mary Ann Love, a Democrat who is credited with getting the deeply divided delegation to work together during her 10 years at its helm, reports The Capital’s Earl Kelly.

FREDERICK BONDS: Frederick County lawmakers are asking for an additional $100 million in bonds to raise money for infrastructure and capital projects, reports Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News-Post.

4TH DISTRICT CHALLENGERS: The Capital’s Tim Pratt profiles several candidates challenging Rep. Donna Edwards in the 4th District, including homeless veteran Charles Shepherd.

BALTIMORE COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD: Senators reacted coolly to a bill that could get Baltimore County a partially elected school board, and the bill could die in the committee, reports Bryan Sears of Patch.com.

WBAL’s Robert Lang has an audio report.

WICOMICO BUDGET: Wicomico County officials are waiting for the General Assembly session to finish before putting together their budget proposal, but anticipate the possibility of increasing property taxes 7 cents, reports Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times.

EARLY VOTING: Lisa Rossi of Patch.com reports that election officials say early voting has been “slow and steady.”

Washington County elections officials say that 500 more people cast their ballots early in than did in 2010, reports Dave McMillion of The Herald-Mail.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook has items on bill title stumpers, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Dr. Seuss and Tiger Davis.

MEDEVAC HELICOPTERS: Maryland State Police had hoped to receive the first two new, multipurpose Medevac helicopters by May 1, but they may have to wait until December, reports the Gazette’s Benjamin Ford. Lawmakers remain uncertain whether they want them piloted by one trooper or two.

HONKING: Gazette columnist Blair Lee writes about double standards for demonstrators after a motorist protesting a tax hike was given a ticket for honking at the State House.

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS: The special provisions for accelerated court proceedings on lawsuits about public-private partnerships could give Gov. Martin O’Malley headaches down the road, columnist Barry Rascovar writes in the Gazette.

PRIMARY ANALYSIS: In his Gazette column, Laslo Boyd analyzes Tuesday’s primary.

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  • ElectionsMatter

    You know who else isn’t a resident of the 6th Congressional District?  John Delaney.  He can’t even vote for himself. 

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