April 23, 2012

State Roundup, April 23, 2012

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TRIUMVERATE TO MEET: Robert Lang and David Collins of WBAL-AM and TV report that Gov. O’Malley indeed has invited House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Mike Miller to meet tomorrow to discuss a budget compromise, and Miller has responded by letter saying that he’ll consider expanding taxes but not gambling. Here’s Miller’s letter. O’Malley replies with a thanks.

Former Ehrlich administration cabinet secretary Larry Hogan, who heads ChangeMaryland.com, speaks with WBAL’s Jimmy Mathis about the stalemate in Annapolis. Listen to the discussion here.

And Comptroller Peter Franchot talks about the possibility of a special session, but hopes for no tax increases.

At a forum sponsored by Maryland Business for Responsive Government last week, four journalists wrap up the legislative session and look ahead to the prospects for a special session to resolve the budget mess in this video on MarylandReporter.com. The panel included Andy Green of the Baltimore Sun, Kenneth Burns of WBAL and WNAV, Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com and John Rydell of Fox 45.

UNIONS URGE GAMBLING GROWTH: Trade union leaders sent a letter to Gov. O’Malley and the presiding officers of the General Assembly on Friday urging the trio to include an expansion of gambling in any revenue package considered in a special legislative session, Alexander Pyles blogs in the Daily Record.

BUT BAKER GIRDS FOR NO CASINO: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker is girding for the possibility that any agreements to end the stalemate in Annapolis may exclude a proposed referendum this fall to allow a full-fledged casino in Prince George’s, writes Miranda Spivack for the Post.

CALL THE SESSION: The editorial board for the Salisbury Daily Times is weighing in on the doomsday budget and a possible special session, opining that a special session is called for to repair the budget damage among other things.

O’MALLEY FIELDS QUESTIONS: Gov. O’Malley fielded questions about the Annapolis budget meltdown, the newly drawn 6th congressional district, the Wisconsin recall election and his own 2016 presidential ambitions at an on the record briefing with national press Friday morning, Annie Linskey blogs in the Sun. Here’s a longer story, from the Capital News Service’s Mark Miller, in the Chestertown Spy.

THEN ATTACKS THE GOP: David Moon of Maryland Juice creates a series of photo memes addressing O’Malley’s attack of the GOP on their jobs stand, where he said that, “Nothing says jobs like transvaginal probes.”

NEW MD SCHOOLS SUPER: Lillian Lowery, Delaware’s secretary of education, will become the state’s schools chief starting July 1, Tina Reed writes for the Annapolis Capital.

Liz Bowie of the Sun quotes school board President James DeGraffenreidt, who says, “We think we have gotten the best person that could have taken this job. She has a long track record of success on all the important education issues.”

Myranda Stephens of WBFF-TV reports that Lowery’s hiring has to be approved by the Maryland State Board of Education.

The state board will take official action on Lowery’s appointment at its meeting tomorrow, writes Marge Neal for Patch.com.

CASINO FEES FOR EDUCATION: Maryland Live! Casino impact fees – all $15 million of it – could go to education and public safety in Anne Arundel, Tim Pratt reports for the Capital-Gazette, which tomorrow is changing its name from the Annapolis Capital. Tom Marquardt explains the change.

RAISING THE SIGN: The Hollywood Casino’s 175-foot sign is raised in Perryville, and the Cheryl Mattix of the Cecil Whig recorded the event.

WAGE GAP FOR MARYLAND WOMEN: Women make considerably less money than men in Maryland: 83 cents to the dollar, according to a study released last week, writes Lorraine Mirabella and Yvonne Wenger of the Sun.

SHORE DEMS COURTED: Gov. O’Malley appeared at The Milestone in Easton Saturday for a breakfast kicking off the 2012 Eastern Shore Democratic Summit, a two-day strategy session of grassroots Eastern Shore Democrats, Chris Polk reports on the event for the Easton Star-Democrat.

CRAB POPULATION UP: The Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population is at a 19-year high, a significant improvement from several years ago when conservation efforts were put in place, Ellen Stodola of the Capital News Service reports for the Cecil Whig.

CURBING EPA OVER POLLUTION DIET: Meanwhile, Karl Blankenship, in a story first published by the Bay Journal News Service, then reprinted in The Urbanite, reports that a bipartisan team of U.S. House members has revived legislation that would sharply curb the EPA’s implementation of its “pollution diet”to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

FRANCHOT FINDS FORTUNE! Comptroller Peter Franchot seems to have a bit of an Indiana Jones fantasy, writes Jill Rosen in the Sun, one that he lived out in a weighty special section delivered with The Baltimore Sun yesterday morning. The 184-page publication lists $50 million in unclaimed bank accounts that Franchot is hoping to find the rightful owners of. You can also go here to search for unclaimed property.

BAKER FUNERAL: The Cecil Whig videotapes the homily at former state Sen. Walter Baker’s funeral, held yesterday. You can watch it here.

VALLARIO HURT IN CRASH: Del. Joe Vallario of Upper Marlboro was released from Prince George’s Hospital Center Saturday morning after suffering minor injuries in a three-car crash in Brandywine Friday evening, Erich Wagner writes in the Gazette.

BARTLETT’S BURDEN: Maryland’s 6th District has long been a friendly home field for U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. But, writes David Hill of the Washington Times, with a redrawn district that added more of Montgomery County – home to his Democratic rival John Delaney as well as a bunch more – he’s going to have to work harder than ever to become known.

POT CHARGE FOR SNOWDEN: Carl Snowden, civil rights chief for the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, was arrested for alleged marijuana possession Friday while he was on probation for a drunken-driving conviction, according to online court records, Tricia Bishop and Steve Kilar write for the Sun. “We are confident that Mr. Snowden will not be found guilty,” said Snowden’s lawyer in an emailed statement, Bishop reports.

SABBATICAL FOR SNOWDEN: But an AP report on WBAL-TV is reporting that Snowden will take a sabbatical from his position to pursue a lawsuit against Anne Arundel County and County Executive John Leopold.

MORE ON LEOPOLD: Dan Rodricks of WYPR-FM speaks with Anne Arundel County Councilman Jamie Benoit about the state of affairs in that county’s governments, including the council’s no confidence in Police Chief James Teare, the latest pressure on the chief to resign in the aftermath of the indictment of County Executive John Leopold, under indictment for misconduct.

GPS A MUST FOR WICOMICO BUSES: Already equipped with video recording equipment, all Wicomico County school buses are required to have Global Positioning Systems installed by next school year, Calum McKinney reports for the Salisbury Daily Times.