State Roundup, May 9, 2012

May 09, 2012 at 8:08 am

NEW DISTRICTING SUIT: A civil rights group has joined a number of others in asking Maryland’s highest court to overturn the state legislative redistricting plan, claiming it “packs and stacks” suburban and rural white voters to give them more power in the General Assembly than faster-growing minority communities, Earl Kelly reports for the Capital-Gazette.

SESSION PREVIEWS: State lawmakers are looking forward to the special session scheduled for May 14, hoping they can go to Annapolis and quickly complete the work left unfinished before the legislature’s regular 90-day session ended, writes Lindsey McPherson for the Howard County Times. She interviews a number of lawmakers about the session.

Gov. Martin O’Malley, Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch will offer a preview of the session at a news conference today, according to an AP report in the Daily Record.

And State House aides said that leadership from the legislature’s standing committees that deal with the budget would also be in town today, blogs Alexander Pyles in the Daily Record.

The main topic of conversation during Sunday’s 8th annual crab-feast fundraiser for the campaigns of state Sen. Richard Colburn and Dels. Addie Eckardt and Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio was the likelihood of the General Assembly approving an increase in the state’s income tax rate during the special session, Gail Dean reports in the Easton Star-Democrat.

CITY SCHOOLS SEE FURLOUGHS: Erica Green reports in the Sun that city schools CEO Andrés Alonso is saying that Baltimore school employees would be forced to take furlough days if the district has to absorb millions of dollars in education cuts outlined in the state’s “doomsday” budget.

DIGITAL DISCLOSURE: Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News-Post writes about the recently passed financial disclosure law for state lawmakers, which still needs the governor’s signature. The law will mean financial disclosure forms will be posted online so that constituents can easily see the holdings of their representatives. She also interviews Frederick lawmakers on their views.

DREAM ACTION: Editorial writer Barbara Hollingsworth of the Washington Examiner says that O’Malley’s campaign has asked his top supporters for donations to Casa de Maryland‘s $10 million effort to defeat a statewide referendum on the 2011 Dream Act in November, in case ongoing attempts to block the referendum fail in court.

JUICY STUFF: David Moon of Maryland Juice throws a lot of stuff at the wall, including a tidbit about a dead body floating in the ocean near a political event held for U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer and some reports about the prospects of Maryland allowing gay marriage.

PERDUE-O’MALLEY LINK: Tim Wheeler of the Sun reports that a series of emails between Gov. O’Malley and Perdue’s corporate lawyer shows what an environmental group calls a “cozy relationship” between the two law school classmates as Maryland’s chief executive weighs farm pollution regulations of concern to the Salisbury-based poultry producer.

PAIRING FOOD & WINE SALES: In an op-ed for the Sun, Adam Borden of Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws writes that most consumers want the convenience of purchasing groceries and a bottle of wine or craft beer in the same location — a right enjoyed by millions of Americans in most other states.

MORE & MORE GAMBLING: Capital-Gazette columnist Eric Hartley writes that, a month before Arundel Mills’ slot machine casino even opens, the state is already considering the next steps in gambling’s march. Another casino, perhaps in Prince George’s County. Table games everywhere. A bigger cut for the gambling companies, meaning a smaller cut for the state.

PIT BULL RULING: With the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling that pit bulls are an inherently dangerous breed of dogs, Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM hosts a panel to discuss the ruling: Pauline Houliaras of B-More Dog; Carolyn Kilborn of Maryland Votes for Animals; and Dr. Johnny Slaughter, a Baltimore veterinarian, who also wrote this op-ed on the pit bull ruling for the Sun.

ROCK ON: Blogging in the Post, John Wagner writes that what has been billed as a chance to forget about his day job, Gov.O’Malley is scheduled to perform again with his Celtic rock band on May 28 at the Rams Head, a venue in Annapolis just around the corner from the State House.

ROBOCALL TRIAL: During his robocall trial yesterday, political operative Julius Henson admitted that he wrote the message contained in that robocall. He says he was simply following orders of former Gov. Bob Ehrlich. John Rydell of WBFF-TV has the story.

EHRLICH AT VATZ’ CLASS: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich was in professor mode yesterday afternoon as he made his annual visit to a political persuasion class at Towson University taught by his friend, Professor Rick Vatz, blogs Justin Snow of MarylandReporter.com.

PLOT INSIGHT: U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, offers Denise Koch of WJZ-TV some insight into the foiled Al-Qaeda plot.

OPEN MEETINGS COMPLAINT: Debate over the meaning of gold-colored sheets of paper passed among members of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners has pitted the elected officials against residents who allege they are thumbing their noses at state open meetings rules, Nicole Fuller writes in the Sun.

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