May 8, 2012

State Roundup, May 8, 2012

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SLIM CHANCE FOR GAY MARRIAGE: John Wagner of the Post reports that national polls show increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage. Proponents have prevailed in court and recent state legislative battles. Still, when the issue has gone before voters — as it will today in North Carolina and this fall in as many as four other states, including Maryland — gay rights activists have never won.

ARUNDEL PETITION: With two months to go, opponents of Maryland’s new same-sex marriage law are almost halfway to their goal of getting 14,500 Anne Arundel County voters to call for a referendum in November, Sarah Blumberg reports for the Capital-Gazette.

REFERENDUMS AGENDA: David Hill of the Washington Times writes that when Marylanders go to the polls in November, the most interesting races might not involve political candidates, with an unprecedented slate of ballot initiatives that is expected to set the state’s course on social issues, including same-sex marriage and illegal immigration, and potentially on gambling and congressional redistricting.

SPECIAL SESSION: Maryland business leaders have mixed feelings regarding the special session of the General Assembly, which is planned to begin May 14. Kathleen Snyder of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce said she has heard frustration that there has to be a special session and, at the same time, heard the so-called “doomsday” budget that otherwise would be enacted in July is not the way to go about making strategic budget cuts, Kevin James Shay writes in the Gazette.

The editorial board for the Diamondback is urging the state legislature to take on the special session without bickering, since the costs of delaying a solution are too high.

Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland writes that a tax hike enacted in a special session won’t alter the bottom line on state spending or change the political realities that each individual lawmaker will have to face back home. But senators and delegates will be operating now in plain sight, without competing storylines to hide behind.

PIT BULL BILL: A group of animal activists is asking Gov. Martin O’Malley to quickly introduce legislation during the special session that would override a Maryland Court of Appeals decision deeming all pit bulls dangerous, Jessica Anderson reports in the Sun.

Pat Warren of WJZ-TV reports that a spokesperson for the governor says they have received numerous calls and emails and are looking into the matter but the special session will focus on the state budget.

SCHOOL BREAKFAST: Chef Bryan Voltaggio has gone before the state legislature to urge a widening of school breakfast programs to end childhood hunger and improve grades, Sherrie Johnson writes at WMAR-TV.

CASINO COMPETITION: When the Maryland Live! casino opens at Arundel Mills mall on June 6, the state’s biggest gambling facility will be on line. But that facility is likely to take a big chunk out of Hollywood Casino‘s business in Perryville, blogs Alexander Pyles for the Daily Record.

LABOR SECT’Y STEPS DOWN: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has once again looked outside Baltimore government for a chief of staff, tapping Maryland Labor Secretary Alexander Sanchez for the position, Luke Broadwater and Annie Linskey write for the Sun.

LAND CONSERVATION: Carrie Ann Knauer of the Carroll County Times writes that the Maryland Environmental Trust is inviting land trusts and land conservation organizations to this year’s Maryland Land Conservation Conference, “Saving Land — Saving the Chesapeake,” on May 15 in Columbia.

ROBOCALL “COUNTERINTUITIVE:” Julius Henson, a consultant for Republican former Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign, testified yesterday that he wrote an Election Day robocall message telling voters to “relax,” but said it was meant to be a counterintuitive effort to motivate voters in the final hours of the election, Sarah Brumfield of the Associated Press reports in the Salisbury Daily Times.

John Rydell of WBFF-TV reports that Henson has said the calls weren’t meant to suppress the vote and that the authority line was missing because Ehrlich aide Paul Schurick said it wasn’t needed.

BIKESHARE IN MO CO: The state of Maryland will be paying about half the cost of a bicycle sharing program in Montgomery County, Kate Alexander reports in the Gazette. The Maryland Department of Transportation has granted Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation $1.008 million for a proposed Bikeshare program in the downcounty areas of Friendship Heights, Bethesda, Medical Center, Takoma Park and Silver Spring.

  • GOP Member

    An editiorial to UMD “The Diamondback” is cited here?  I found that peculiar – perhaps it had some particularly keen insight, so I read it and find that it cites GOP legistlators and admonishes the legislature to “set aside partisan bickering.”  Wow, what a cliche’d, boilerplate argument.  The GOP in Maryland is a non-entity – the voters have sent them into exile.  The problems in our single party legislature are single party problems, Mr. Busch, Miller and O’Malley have no one to blame but themselves and their pawns.