August 29, 2012

State Roundup, August 29, 2012

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POLS AT GOP-CON: Former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich rushed through a convention hall that holds more than 15,000 journalists to get to an interview about why Republican nominee Mitt Romney should be elected president. Across town, writes John Fritze for the Sun, Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley was telling a room packed with cameras and national political reporters why that same nominee would be a disaster for the nation’s economy. Other Maryland politicians also descended on Tampa.

Matt McNab of Capital News Service writes that Gov. O’Malley said “The lessons he (Romney) learned as a corporate buyout specialist were not lessons that should be applied to a national economy.”

The remarks were met with derision from Maryland delegates to the convention, including several state lawmakers.

“Tonight you’re going to see Chris Christie, a governor who has the fourth-worst unemployment rate of any state in the nation, deliver his angry, Don Rickles keynote, extolling the virtues of their candidate, Gov. Romney, who had one of the worst rates of job creation,” O’Malley said, reports John Fritze in Sun.

GREAT SEATS: Maryland’s delegation gets great seats at the convention, reports Scott Wykoff of WBAL-AM. “I think because we have Gov. Martin O’Malley they felt sorry for us and they moved us to the front row seating in the VIP section,” said one delegate.

TEA PARTY SHIFT: Maryland tea party supporters will try to use the Republican National Convention to shift the focus away from more divisive social issues to their message of fiscal responsibility, reports CNS’s Carl Straumsheim for the Capital-Gazette.

MCDONNELL SPEAKS: Matt McNab of CNS writes for MarylandReporter.com about Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s speech in Tampa, which followed the day’s theme of “we built it.”

MASTER VENDOR: CNS’s Carl Straumsheim profiles in MarylandReporter.com one Maryland delegate who is also the convention’s master vendor, selling all sorts of GOP and Romney-Ryan goods to eager Republicans.

EXPENSE ACCOUNTS: Twenty of Montgomery County’s 32 state legislators accepted the maximum lodging reimbursement of $9,191 during this year’s regular General Assembly session, and several more accepted nearly as much. But they weren’t alone, reports Daniel Leaderman for the Gazette. One-hundred and thirty-nine state legislators spent at least $9,000 on lodging expenses during this year’s three-month session.

LATINOS & GAYS TEAM UP: Gay and lesbian advocates teamed up with Maryland’s largest Latino and immigrant rights group on Tuesday, hoping to build support for two November ballot questions: one to allow same-sex marriage and another offering in-state tuition for illegal immigrants who have attended a Maryland high school and whose parents have paid taxes, according to an AP report in the Frederick News-Post.

NO PURE BRED PITS: Maryland’s high court might have revised its ruling on pit bulls to apply only to pure-breds, but experts and advocates say such a dog doesn’t exist, reports Kate Alexander for the Gazette.

AT FULL THROTTLE: Erin Cox and Andrea Siegel of the Sun reports that a witness told 911 operators the boat piloted by an admittedly drunk Del. Don Dwyer was “flying [at] what seemed like full throttle” before colliding with another vessel, seriously injuring seven people, including four children.

Ben Weathers of the Capital-Gazette reports that one caller said, “There was one boat that was flying what seemed like full throttle and the other boat was towing some kids. I saw two people go flying…they might be OK, they might not be. I don’t know.” You can also listen to the 911 tape.

Dwyer has not been charged and an investigation is ongoing, reports WBFF-TV.

UNEQUAL TREATMENT: J. Doug Gill, writing in Red Maryland, opines that when it comes to drinking and driving Republicans and Democrats in the State House of Maryland are not treated equally.

PEPCO RESPONSE DISPUTE: Pepco has boasted it was the first in the area to fully restore power after the June 29 derecho, but reports from neighboring utilities debunk that claim, reports Kate Alexander for the Gazette.