April 12, 2012

State Roundup, April 12, 2012

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FRANCHOT CALLS FOR MILLER TO GO: Comptroller Peter Franchot appears on WBAL-AM and, echoing Gov. Martin O’Malley and House Speaker Mike Busch’s sentiments, takes the view one step further and says, that in the light of the hold up of budget passage, it’s time for Senate President Mike Miller to go. Hear the discussion here. Franchot says Miller is “a fanatic for gambling” to the detriment of Maryland families.

Here’s Miller’s response, also on WBAL-AM, in which he highlights just how long he has been leading the Senate and tries to shrug off Monday’s events.

WHO IS TO BLAME: The editorial board for the Annapolis Capital spreads the blame for gumming up the session, but hands the biggest dose to Miller.

The Washington Post’s editorial board calls casino gambling “the cart driving the horse” at the end of the legislative session, and places most of the responsibility for the untidy adjournment on Miller’s shoulders.

TENSIONS HIGH AT BILL SIGNING: Earl Kelly of the Annapolis Capital details the tension-filled bill signing, calling Sen. Pres Miller’s attitude at times “less than genuine” and pinpointing House Speaker Busch’s eye-rolling.

SPECIAL SESSION CONDITIONAL: Gov. O’Malley says he won’t call a special session of the General Assembly to fix what he and many other Democrats see as a devastating hole in the state budget until legislative leaders agree on a plan to fix it, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.

Daniel Menefee of the Chestertown Spy writes about the situation leading up to Monday night’s Doomsday budget and the aftermath.

Alexander Pyles of the Daily Record blogs that the halls of the State House are largely silent now. Scroll down to the next item, where he writes that Speaker Busch seems content with the doomsday budget.

LOCALS WRESTLE WITH BUDGETS: Local government and university leaders are struggling to craft spending plans amid uncertainty over the state budget — and how a package of threatened cuts might affect schools, roads, public safety and other basic services, writes Arthur Hirsch of the Sun.

WHAT KASEMEYER DID: Lindsey McPherson and Pete Pichaske of the Howard County Times profile state Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, the low-key chairman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee who worked to reach a compromise on the budget.

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: Campaign finances will become a bit more transparent because of several bipartisan bills enacted by the legislature this session, writes Megan Poinski of MarylandReporter.com.

NO RECOGNITION FOR YOU: Lizzy McLellan of Capital News Services runs down the list of bills that would have given official recognition to people and diseases that failed to pass the General Assembly: German-Americans and Irish-Americans will go another year without official recognition from Maryland, and May was not named Lyme Disease Awareness Month, she writes in the Easton Star Democrat.

POOR STORMWATER BILL: Many pieces of legislation failed to pass during the session, opines the editorial board for the Frederick News Post, and the stormwater legislation should have been one of them. Pollution from stormwater is an issue for the bay, but this legislation is a poor way to address it. Simply mandating that property owners in certain jurisdictions will pay for this huge project is neither fair nor realistic.

GAY MARRIAGE FIGHT RAMPS UP: Here’s more evidence that the battle over Maryland’s expected referendum on same-sex marriage is ramping up, blogs John Wagner in the Post: The lead group lobbying for the legalization of gay nuptials has hired a campaign manager.

NEW WAY TO FUND TRANSPORTATION: In an op-ed in the Sun, state Sen. Jim Rosapepe writes that Maryland needs a new, more transparent strategy for transportation investment. Many states fund major transportation projects from bonds authorized in voter referendums, a system that Maryland should adopt.

STATE NO. 1 IN STUDENT DEBT: Hayley Peterson of the Washington Examiner writes that Maryland residents’ student loan debt is topping the charts as student debt soars past $1 trillion for the first time nationally, according to the most recent quarterly report from Credit Karma, a consumer credit management company.

TOUTING COAL INDUSTRY: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot said he hopes a Coal Summit planned for June 7 in Allegany County will have the same positive impact that a similar summit had for the poultry industry, Michael Sawyers reports in the Cumberland Times-News.

TOUTS HAGERSTOWN STADIUM: Franchot also told local government and business leaders that a new multi-use stadium in downtown Hagerstown is a “must-do” for the town, Washington County and the state, reports the Hagerstown Herald-Mail’s Julie Greene.

ROCKY GAP SLOTS: Awarding of a slots license at the Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort drew a step closer Tuesday when the prospective license holder and Allegany County announced a consensus had been reached between the two sides for a payment in lieu of taxes agreement, writes Jeffrey Alderton for the Cumberland Times-News.

ARUNDEL COPS BACK LT. COL. Steve Kilar of the Sun reports that the union that represents Anne Arundel County’s upper police ranks plans to run a radio ad beginning tomorrow in support of the department’s second-in-command, who has called for a federal probe of the department and said the force is “dysfunctional.” The ad trumpets Deputy Police Chief Lt. Col. Emerson Davis as having taken a “brave stand” by testifying in front of the County Council about alleged improprieties by his superiors.

CHARLES PANEL STRIPS POWER: The Charles County commissioners stripped their president of much of her power Tuesday afternoon in a 3-2 vote, Erica Mitrano reports in SoMdNews.com.