July 6, 2012

State Roundup, July 6, 2012

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PILING ON PEPCO: Gregg Easterbrook of the Atlantic writes that, in Montgomery County, the nation’s worst electric-power utility – Pepco — is once again performing dismally in the wake of a storm. In six years in office, Gov. Martin O’Malley, constantly mentioned as the Democratic Party’s hope for the White House in 2016, has done nothing to address his state’s power-utility woes, Easterbrook said, producing a torrent of comments.

Politico’s Charles Mahtesian piles on Pepco in referencing the Atlantic piece.

These critics are attacking Gov. Martin O’Malley over lack of action on the power outages, but others say he may have little power to do much about it, writes the Gazette’s Daniel Leaderman.

RESTORING POWER: Maryland Public Service Commission Chairman Doug Nazarian held a news conference on summer storms and the efforts to restore power and Lloyd Fox of the Sun recorded the presser.

An AP story in the Frederick News-Post reports that PSC’s Nazarian says that all of Maryland’s major electrical utilities will have to file reports on how they managed power restoration in the aftermath of the strong storm that tore through Maryland late last week, knocking out power to more than 1 million Maryland customers.

UNDERGROUND LINES: After last weekend’s storm cut power to tens of thousands of Marylanders in the middle of a heat wave, state Sen. Jim Rosapepe has called on the Maryland Public Service Commission to study which power lines should go underground, writes Allison Bourg in her Political Notes for the Capital-Gazette.

POWER OUT: Legislators will be looking at changes in utility regulation and the power grid to cope with the increasing number of violent storms, Margie Hyslop writes in the Gazette.

O’MALLEY ON GAMBLING: Gov. O’Malley has decided against calling a special legislative session on expanded gambling for next week but is expected to announce today that he will continue to seek consensus on a plan that could be enacted this summer, blogs John Wagner of the Post.

SUPPORT FOR MORE GAMBLING: Poll data released yesterday suggests solid support for expanding gambling among Baltimore and Prince George’s County residents, two groups that have been targeted by casino advocates in a series of radio and television ads, blogs Alexander Pyles for the Daily Record.

LOBBYISTS HIT JACKPOT: The editorial board for the Daily Record writes in case you were wondering who won the Great Gambling Debate of the 2012 regular session of the Maryland General Assembly, the results are in, and there is a clear winner – lobbyists.

PINTERESTED POLITICOS: Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News-Post writes that Pinterest, a social networking site that allows users to feature lots of photos, has attracted Maryland politicians including the governor and Del. Kathy Afzali.

AA COUNCIL VACANCIES: The Anne Arundel County Council will vote this month on an amendment to the county charter that would spell out what would happen if it needs to fill a vacancy on the council and is deadlocked. The amendment, if approved, will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, writes Allison Bourg of the Capital-Gazette.

BOTTLING WATER: Anne Arundel County’s water has won awards in tasting competitions for years, and now it’s being viewed for its potential to boost county revenues, Andrea Siegel writes in the Sun.

BROCHURE BROUHAHA: Christian Alexandersen of the Carroll County Times reports that information in brochures and booklets produced by Carroll County government may change after one county commissioner expressed concern over not being included in an economic development report.

DREAM ACT: Supporters of the DREAM Act granting in-state college tuition to children of illegal immigrants are taking their message directly to the people, Daniel Leaderman writes in the Gazette.

TRANSPORTATION FUNDING: Congress finally passed funding for highway projects, but only for two years, and Maryland will receive the same amount it did last year, Benjamin Ford reports in the Gazette.

FREE SPEECH: Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar examines the attempts by government to control speech, and the federal court actions to overturn them.