April 26, 2012

State Roundup, April 26, 2012

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DNA COLLECTION TO CONTINUE: Police around Maryland said yesterday they would continue to collect DNA samples when suspects are arrestedfor violent crimes and burglaries, despite a recent ruling by the state’s top court limiting the practice. Several law enforcement agencies, including the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, were awaiting a decision on whether the state will appeal before they make changes, Yvonne Wenger reports in the Sun.

The editorial board of the Sun is urging Attorney General Doug Gansler to pursue an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying that since Maryland began collecting DNA samples from suspects arrested in violent crimes and burglaries, it has used that evidence to win 58 convictions, including eight in rape cases.

ROCKY SLOTS DECISION EXPECTED: Following a story in the Cumberland Times-News, Ben Giles of the Washington Examiner writes that Maryland lottery officials are scheduled to decide today whether to recommend approval of the state’s fourth slots license. Lakes Entertainment has a bid to invest $148 million in long-term upgrades at the Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort, where a new casino could house up to 1,500 slot machines.

CITY CASINO INTEREST STRONG: Any compromise on a 6th slots casino at National Harbor in Prince George’s County is complicated by strong regional interests of those jurisdictions like Baltimore City that already are supposed to have one of five casinos. Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com attends NAACP meeting where city delegates talk about why the gaming issue is so important to them.

BEATING DRUM FOR PETITION DRIVE: Frederick radio show host Blaine Young, who doubles as the president of the Frederick County Commissioners, and several state delegates partnered yesterday afternoon to stir up support for putting same-sex marriage legislation and a new congressional district map to a statewide vote, Bethany Rodgers reports in the Frederick News Post.

SCHOOL DISCIPLINE CHANGES: A state proposal to eliminate school expulsions and limit suspensions to 10 days is drawing mixed response from Montgomery County parents and the school system, which says it does not take into account the victims of violent or dangerous behavior, the loss of instructional time or the overall safety of the school, writes Jen Bondeson for the Gazette.

A LONGER VACATION: Tina Reed of the Capital Gazette (formerly the Annapolis Capital) writes about Comptroller Peter Franchot’s push to keep students on summer holiday until after Labor Day. Franchot cites benefits to the state’s tourism industry, as well as to students and families, saying that the Labor Day weekend — traditionally a last chance for families to enjoy summer together — should be preserved.

NEW MEMA HEAD: Gov. O’Malley has appointed Kenneth Mallette as new director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. He will replace Richard Muth. Mallette will begin his new job on May 21, according to a brief in the Salisbury Daily Times.

O’MALLEY ON THE MOVE: Gov. Martin O’Malley’s national travels will take him to Charlotte, N.C., for a two-day conference and “preview” of the upcoming Democratic National Convention and to Nebraska City, Neb., to pick up an award from the National Arbor Day Foundation, John Wagner blogs in the Post.

DEMS SIDLE UP TO DELANEY: Ben Pershing blogs in the Post that national Democrats have added John Delaney to their top-tier candidate development program, the latest sign that they consider the financier’s race to unseat U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett one of the party’s top House pickup opportunities in the country.

One of the biggest Dems to help Delaney is former President Bill Clinton. David Moon of Maryland Juice addresses a Huffington Post piece by Howard Fineman that indicates that he may be doing so to help Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is also his wife, should she decide to run for president.

HOYER UPBEAT ON DEM CHANCE: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer says that his party will overcome its 52-seat disadvantage and take control of the chamber after the November elections, writes Sean Lengell in the Washington Times. “The Democrats have run pretty consistently ahead of the Republicans over the last 12 months on [polling for] generic ballots,” he said.

$12M SHORT IN ED FUNDS: Allison Bourg of the Capital-Gazette writes that the state Board of Education has ruled that Anne Arundel County shorted its school system by just under $12 million this year. School officials say the same thing will happen next year, unless the County Council restores those funds to the budget proposed by County Executive John Leopold.

CARROLL ED BOARD WAITS ON BUDGET: Christian Alexandersen of the Carroll County Times reports that the Maryland General Assembly must make up its mind how to fund public education in a special legislative session before the Carroll County Board of Education can finalize its budget.

CEMENTING GROWTH IN FREDERICK: Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young hopes to approve new housing and businesses in the county, while preventing future boards from overturning those decisions — even if conditions change, Sherry Greenfield writes for the Gazette.