June 8, 2012

State Roundup, June 8, 2012

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FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: A review of financial disclosure statements shows that Gov. Martin O’Malley is signed up with the Screen Actors Guild, that Sen. President Mike Miller owns a lot of properties and that House Speaker Michael Busch and his wife own mutual funds and stock and a home tin Annapolis, which they bought in 1997 for $150,000 to $199,999, report Yvonne Wenger and Ellie Kahn for the Su

Margie Hyslop of the Gazette examined the recent financial disclosure filings of other elected officials. She found many are landlords and have vacation homes; several work other government jobs or have interests in businesses that occasionally sell to the state; and only a few received significant gifts.

ONLINE DISCLOSURE: A new ethics law will require state lawmakers next year to post certain disclosure forms online, but it won’t do nearly as much as the law’s sponsors originally intended, David Hill reports in the Washington Times.

MARRIAGE PETITION SIGNATURES: John Wagner blogs in the Post that the referendum on same-sex marriage in Maryland appeared a certainty yesterday, as an unofficial count of validated 70,039 signatures submitted by opponents, exceeding the 55,736 required to put the measure on the ballot.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance has led the petition effort against the law, which was passed in February by the General Assembly. The group says it submitted more than 122,000 signatures last week to the state, writes David Hill in the Washington Times.

EQUALITY GROUP OPENS OFFICES: Marylanders for Marriage Equality has announced the campaign has opened two offices – one in Baltimore City and one in Silver Spring – and hired staff as it works to keep Maryland’s same-sex marriage law on the books, an AP story reports on WJZ-TV.

FORMER TREASURE DIXON DIES: Richard Dixon, a conservative Democrat who served as Maryland’s state treasurer for six years beginning in 1996 and was a state delegate for the 14 years prior, died yesterday after suffering a stroke Tuesday, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp announced. He was 74, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.

Gov. Parris Glendening recalls that Dixon was a great physical fitness advocate, and would often do pushups prior to the Board of Public Works meetings, Daniel Leaderman reports in the Gazette.

MD JOBS GOING TO VA: The editorial board for the Culpeper Exponent in Virginia is noting the fact that Marylanders are leaving the state for other environs, including Virginia. And it quoted Larry Hogan, of Change Maryland, who penned a piece for Reason magazine in which he said that Maryland and Virginia have “similar economies, demographics and a shared dependence on federal government employment and procurement” — but “sharply divergent job growth.”

CROWDS, POLS AT CASINO OPENING: Maryland Live Casino’s opening night drew such a crowd that thousands didn’t make it inside before the doors closed early yesterday morning, and traffic slowed to a crawl for miles on nearby highways, reports Jamie Smith Hopkins for the Sun.

The opening also proved a big draw Wednesday night for politicians who will have a big say in whether the state allows another in Prince George’s County, writes John Wagner for the Post.

Tim Pratt of the Capital-Gazette writes that the first phase of the casino drew a crowd of several thousand people from around the region. Patrons began lining up outside of the casino at 1 p.m. Many were from Anne Arundel County, but others came from elsewhere to try out the $500 million facility.

Janice Park of WBFF-TV was among the crowds on opening night.

BALTIMORE CITY CASINO? Baltimore City state Del. Keith Haynes said Maryland Live! — about 11 miles south of a facility that could be built on Russell Street near M&T Bank Stadium — should serve as encouragement for a future licensee to build a casino in Baltimore of the highest quality, Alexander Pyles blogs in the Daily Record.

PROTECTING SOCIAL MEDIA: Caleb Calhoun of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail reports that Hagerstown residents by and large support a new state law that will go into effect in October banning employers from asking current and prospective employees for access to their social media accounts. There’s a video report as well.

MOTION DENIED IN ALSTON CASE: An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge has denied a motion to acquit Del. Tiffany Alston on charges of theft and misconduct in office in advance of the case going to the jury, John Wagner blogs in the Post.

ON THE CALENDAR: David Moon of Maryland Juice runs Bruce Bereano’s bi-partisan fund-raising calendar that includes a June 18 event for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, featuring Doug Wilder, Ike Leggett and Rushern Baker.

MIKULSKI STANDS UP: Calling U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski “Maryland’s resident pit bull,” the editorial board for the Sun says she has demonstrated a willingness to stand up for the less powerful in society. She was at it again this week advocating for the Paycheck Fairness Act and the rights of women to secure equal pay for equal work.

DELANEY RAKES IT IN: Even without the $1.7 million Democratic congressional candidate John Delaney loaned himself to defeat party establishment favorite Rob Garagiola, Delaney managed to raise twice as much money during the primary election as Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, now his general election opponent, writes Glynis Kazanjian for MarylandReporter.com.

‘HEARTLESS’ BUDGET PASSES: Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News-Post reports that a Frederick County budget called heartless toward the vulnerable by some but praised by others for compassion for taxpayers gained final approval yesterday.

FELON SIGNATURE GATHERERS: Rachel Baye of the Washington Examiner reports that court documents show that Montgomery County’s police union used felons, including a fugitive and a man convicted of forgery, to collect signatures for a ballot measure that would kill legislation reducing police collective bargaining rights.

MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT CUT: The Carroll County Board of Commissioners voted 3-1 to eliminate mileage reimbursements for commissioners traveling to meetings, events and activities in the county, Christian Alexandersen reports in the Carroll County Times.

COASTLINE ISSUES: With more than 4,000 miles of coastline, Maryland is one of the U.S. states most vulnerable to rising sea levels due to climate change. The Gazette’s Daniel Leaderman reports that the state is taking aim at the problem with its Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Act Plan, a statewide, multi-agency proposal currently under development.

2014 RACE FOR GOVERNOR: Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar examines the Democratic candidates for governor is 2014.