July 3, 2012

State Roundup, July 3, 2012

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HOUSE DISCUSSES GAMBLING: House leaders met behind closed doors in Annapolis yesterday afternoon to discuss gambling and the possibility of a special session, reports Annie Linskey in the Sun. No decisions were made, said House Speaker Michael Busch afterward. He said he called Democratic leaders to Annapolis “to listen to their views and opinions” on expanding a sixth casino, table games and the work group that dissolved last month.

O’Malley is still weighing whether to call a special session on the issue despite the collapse last month of a work group plan that included allowing a Prince George’s casino, reports John Wagner of the Post.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE RULES: The editorial board for the Post opines that Maryland’s anything-goes campaign finance rules, which enable opaque influence-buying on an epic scale, are a long-running scandal. A push for reform is moving at glacial speed. Still, there are signs in Annapolis that the next legislative session could bring a breakthrough. The most hopeful move so far was a new law requiring donors who give more than $500 to a political candidate to disclose their employers and occupations.

PARROTT UPBEAT ON REMAP REPEAL: Del. Neil Parrott, the Western Maryland Republican leading a campaign to repeal the state’s new congressional map, said yesterday that the signatures his group collected will withstand Board of Elections scrutiny, forcing a fall referendum on the issue, Annie Linskey reports in the Sun.

Parrott’s group claims the new congressional map was drawn specifically to dilute the political power of Republicans in western Maryland to help elect certain Democrats.

Parrott and other GOP delegates who appeared at a news conference outside the State House characterized their effort as bipartisan — but it drew harsh criticism from the Maryland Democratic Party, writes John Wagner in the Post.

THE INFLUENCERS: Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland offers up Part II of his column on those Marylanders that politicians and the public listen to, this time leading off with radio-guy Kojo Nnamdi of WAMU-FM.

ON PIT BULLS: In an op-ed in the Sun, Del. Jon Cardin writes that he is confident that the state can come up with a solution to satisfy both pit bull owners and victims of dog bites.

STORM STUFF: Gov. O’Malley says he is pushing utilities to do better than their predictions of restoring power to 90% of homes by this coming Friday.

O’Malley declared liberal leave for state workers yesterday, urging residents not to drive if they don’t have to because of the many traffic signal disabled by Friday’s storms, according to AP report’s in the Capital-Gazette.

THE AUDITOR: When it comes to finding waste, fraud and abuse — or just plain old carelessness — within Maryland government — no agency does more than the Office of Legislative Audits – mainly because it’s their job. And Bruce Myers, who has led the office for the 15 years after serving in it for 35, has certainly seen his share, writes Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com.

O’MALLEY TAKEN TO TASK: Gregg Easterbrook, of Montgomery County, tore into O’Malley in The Atlantic for being too busy running for president to deal with the issues of the power outage back home, writes Brian Griffiths for Red Maryland as he quotes his favorite part.

THE NEXT O’MALLYISM: Bryan Sears of Patch.com blogs about O’Malley and his self-plagiarizing habit, ala Aaron Sorkin who never let the good turn of a phrase go unrepeated. He even links to a mashup of Sorkinisms.

MCDONNELL OUTPACES O’MALLEY: Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell is outpacing O’Malley in the fund-raising battle that will underwrite the Potomac River rivals’ fight this November over nearly a dozen governorships, Steve Contorno of the Washington Examiner writes. McDonnell heads the Republican Governors Association; O’Malley heads the Democratic Governors Association.

COLLEGE BACKS DREAM: The Board of Trustees at Montgomery College endorsed a “Vote For” the Maryland Dream Act this November, releasing a video explaining its support, David Moon of Maryland Juice blogs, complete with the video.

OUSTER RULES DELAYED: With a technical question arising over a word in the proposals, Anne Arundel County Council members delayed consideration late last night on new rules for ousting elected officials from office, Andrea Siegel reports in the Sun.

POOLSIDE DEFIBRILLATORS: WMAR-TV is reporting that Arundel County Executive John Leopold has introduced new legislation that requires defibrillators to be at all public and semi-public pools.