June 28, 2012

State Roundup, June 28, 2012

Print More

STRICT LIABILITY FOR ALL DOG OWNERS: Strict liability for all dog owners regardless of the animal’s breed is how a key task force is leaning, writes Earl Kelly in the Capital-Gazette. The group of state senators and delegates will recommend changes to the law after the Maryland Court of Appeals held last month that owners and landlords are liable for injuries caused by pit bulls.

MARYLAND LIVE! PAYOUTS: The new Maryland Live! casino is paying out big. As of closing time early Monday, the casino had paid out more than $4.7 million in jackpots since opening June 6. A jackpot is considered a win of $1,200 or more. Gamblers have taken home individual jackpots of $50,000, $32,000, $20,000 and $10,000, writes Tim Pratt in the Capital-Gazette.

LOBBYISTS’ JACKPOT: Maryland’s top lobbyists cashed in on the General Assembly’s casino debate this year, as the state’s nine highest-earning lobbyists all worked for companies with interests in a statewide gambling expansion, Ben Giles reports in the Washington Examiner.

FREDERICK CITY SLOTS: Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News-Post writes that state Del. Kathy Afzali is again reaching out to city and county officials to gauge their interest in pushing for a slots casino in the City of Frederick.

FORGET SPECIAL SESSION: The editorial board for the Sun says that Maryland should forget about a special legislative session to expand gambling and instead wait for two years and avoid more mistakes.

STAKE IN OBAMACARE RULING: Virginia and Maryland officials have much at stake in today’s expected Supreme Court ruling on President Obama’s health care reforms after playing pivotal roles for their respective parties in the two-year public fight over the law. Virginia’s Republican Attorney General was the first state to file a legal challenge to the law in 2010; and Maryland’s Gov. O’Malley, a Democrat, remains one of its most vocal proponents.

COSTLY BAY CLEANUP: Frederick County might be on the hook for $1.5 billion for its share in reducing stormwater pollutants as part of the state’s plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. That number is well above the $200 million the state estimated it would cost, but under the $2.3 billion the county initially projected, Katherine Heerbrandt reports for the Gazette.

SMALL GROUP INSURANCE: Maryland’s Chamber Action Network reports that the state’s small employers continued to abandon the small group health insurance market last year according to statistics released last week by the Maryland Health Care Commission. Here’s a link to the report.

HOMESTEAD TAX CREDIT ERRORS: Scott Calvert of the Sun reports that state auditors are examining how well Maryland’s assessments agency has managed the homestead property tax credit, a popular tax break for homeowners that has come under increased scrutiny since the Sun revealed that hundreds of city owners were improperly receiving multiple credits. Here’s Calvert’s story from Sunday in which the deputy director of the state Department of Assessments and Taxation conceded that his agency has made repeated errors in administering some aspects of the program.

TRAVELIN’ GOV: Gov. Martin O’Malley is making no apologies for the time he spends out of state, blogs John Wagner in the Post. In fact, in coming months, he plans to travel more than in the past because of his responsibilities as head of the Democratic Governors Association and to help President Obama in his re-election bid.

ANTI-ABORTION CLINICS: A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that two ordinances requiring Maryland anti-abortion pregnancy counseling centers to post certain disclaimers are unconstitutional, according to an AP story in the Daily Record.

ON HENSON SENTENCING: Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM hosts attorney Ed Smith who speaks about the sentencing of his client Julius Henson, found guilty of sending robocalls without the proper campaign attribution in the last gubernatorial race.

FELDMAN STEPS DOWN: Victor Zapana of the Post reports that Del. Brian Feldman will step down as chair of the Montgomery County delegation of the House of Delegates, a key county leadership post in the state legislature.

KITTLEMAN TO RUN: State Sen. Allan Kittleman announced yesterday that he was organizing a run for Howard County executive, saying that “My message of fiscal conservatism and individual freedom resonates with the voters of Howard County” and encouraged by a poll that shows he could beat the two leading Democrats mentioned for the job, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

Lindsey McPherson of the Howard County Times writes that Kittleman said he was not making a formal announcement, but noted: “We are making preparations, and we are putting an organization together to anticipate we will be moving for county executive in 2014.”

FREDERICK CHARTER: Support of Frederick County’s proposed charter came from the public last night, but with some concerns. About 40 residents came out for what was the last chance for the public to speak for or against what could define the county’s government, Pete McCarthy writes for the Frederick News-Post.

CHARLES BUDGET OK’D: On Tuesday, the Charles County commissioners unanimously adopted a budget 5.7% larger than last year’s, reports Erica Mitrano for SoMDNews.com. But one commissioner abstained on the vote to raise the taxes to pay for it.

DUNMEYER ON DEVELOPMENT: Queen Anne’s County Commissioner David Dunmeyer, a self-described conservative-conservationist, sat down with the Chestertown Spy for a videotaped interview in which he discusses sustainable development, farming and growth. There are two videos to view.