August 27, 2012

State Roundup, August 27, 2012

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GOP CONVENTION: As if crowning a nominee and whooping it up for a week weren’t enough, Republican delegates from deep-blue Maryland will get something extra out of their trip to Tampa: therapy, Laura Vozzella writes for the Post. “Coming from Montgomery County, Maryland, it’s almost like going to a support group: ‘Hi, I’m Lee and I’m a Republican,’ and I’m welcomed,” said Lee Cowen, 48, a Montgomery County lobbyist attending his fourth national convention.

Louis Pope, co-chairman of the Romney campaign in Maryland, called the assumption that Obama would win the state insulting to voters and said Republicans are “giving nothing away” in November, writes Matthew Hay Brown in the Sun.

Caitlin Johnston of the Capital News Service writes in MarylandReporter.com that Maryland delegates continued to arrive in Tampa Sunday afternoon as Tropical Storm Isaac brewed overhead and Republican National Convention officials scrambled to trim the four-day program down to three.

DNC CON: Gov. Martin O’Malley just added a new gig to his busy Democratic convention schedule: He’ll perform with Jeff Bridges and The Abiders, writes Annie Linskey in the Sun.

GAY MARRIAGE INITIATIVE: Rebecca Berg of the New York Times writes about Maryland’s fight over the same-sex marriage initiative.

Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon and former first daughter Barbara Bush are among an extremely long list of celebrities set to appear at a fundraiser for Maryland’s same-sex marriage law, reports Annie Linskey in the Sun.

The Sun editorialists write that opponents of Maryland’s marriage equality law are resorting to the same playbook of false attacks they have used to great effect in other states.

GAMBLING CAMPAIGN: Proponents of expanded gambling in Maryland have wasted little time in kicking off their campaign for voter approval in November, John Wagner blogs in the Post.

SLOTS AT VETERANS’ HALLS: Many veterans organizations in Maryland are thrilled to finally be allowed to operate slotlike machines at their posts, but some lawmakers are concerned that gambling could overrun local neighborhoods, writes Ben Giles of the Washington Examiner.

CONSTITUTIONAL SESSION? Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin and fellow Cecil County Republican, Del. Michael Smigel, are raising questions about the constitutionality of this month’s special legislative session, where lawmakers approved expanded gambling legislation that is now on the November ballot, reports Robert Lang for WBAL-AM. They have sent two letters to Assistant Attorney General Daniel Friedman asking for an opinion. You can listen to the audio report by scrolling down his story. It’s on the right.

SCOOTER LAWS: Cara Anthony of the Frederick News Post writes about the new state motor scooter law that goes into effect Oct. 1. It will require scooter and mo-ped riders to have insurance and a title for their motorized bikes. A related law will require riders to wear helmets and protective eyewear if the scooter isn’t equipped with a windscreen.

DWYER RUN AGROUND: Annie Linskey reports in the Sun that political observers are saying that Republican Del. Don Dwyer’s political future is in question after he drunkenly piloted a speedboat that collided with another vessel and sent six people — including four children — to the hospital. House Republican leaders in Annapolis issued a statement saying they are “troubled” by Dwyer’s behavior.

Del. Nic Kipke — who, like Dwyer, is a District 31 Republican and is generally one of Dwyer’s closest conservative allies on social issues — said he was outraged at Dwyer’s conduct and is urging him to resign, reports Earl Kelly in the Capital-Gazette.

The Post’s Aaron Davis is reporting that police are saying that Dwyer did not have a recommended boater safety certificate.

WBAL-TV interviews an attorney who specializes in DWI cases and says that Dwyer was too quick to get out in front of his problems and may have only made things worse.

Meanwhile, the opinionators at the Sun say that while a defense attorney would have advised Dwyer against making his public admission, we have to offer a grudging respect to a politician willing to take the heat for potentially criminal behavior.

NEW DISTRICT JUDGES: Dana Moylan Wright may be the first woman to serve CORRECTION: as a Circuit Court Judge (and a District Court judge) in Washington County, but she has a family history of judicial service to bring to the bench, Don Aines writes for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

Michael Laris of the Post writes about Karla Smith, a prosecutor of child abuse cases who is the first black woman to become a District Court judge in Montgomery County.

ROSEN ENDORSED: First Congressional District candidate Wendy Rosen was officially endorsed Saturday by the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO during the Dorchester Democratic Club’s annual crab feast, Gail Dean writes for the Easton Star-Democrat.

FORECLOSURE HELP: Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports about congressional staffers, like Jessica Gatton Facini of Dutch Ruppersberger’s office, who intervene for people who are about to lose their homes to foreclosure.

O’M VS McD: What’s the fiercest rivalry in American politics today? There’s Obama-Romney, of course, but try O’Malley-McDonnell — neighboring governors battling across the Potomac River over how best to resuscitate a moribund economy, opines Stephen Moore in the Wall Street Journal article.

If you don’t subscribe to the WSJ, you can watch this video opinion piece.

O’MALLEY ATTACKS GOP: On the eve of the Republican National Convention, Gov. O’Malley accused the GOP and its presumed presidential nominee of being hostile to the rights of women and immigrants, and called them the party of exclusion on Candy Crowley’s CNN program, blogs John Wagner of the Post.

CITY SCHOOL SPENDING: Erica Green of the Sun reports that despite tightening school budgets and a perpetual rallying cry for more funding, Baltimore City school administrators spent roughly $500,000 during the past year and a half on expenses such as a $7,300 office retreat at a downtown hotel, $300-per-night stays at hotels, and a $1,000 dinner at an exclusive members-only club, credit card statements show.

DRY DAMASCUS: Victor Zapana of the Post writes that in the small town of Damascus, where grape juice substitutes for wine in the Communion chalice, an aversion to alcohol has created an anomaly many residents are proud of: It’s one of the last dry areas in Maryland. But two residents are hoping to change that.

ALESHIRE ON ROBOCALL: Kristin Aleshire is pressing for answers about an 11th-hour robocall that attacked him before the Washington County commissioners election nearly two years ago and says he wants the state to enforce election laws that still haven’t been followed from that campaign season, reports Andrew Schotz for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.