State Roundup, October 12, 2012

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MITCHELL III DIES: Clarence Mitchell III, who helped steer a sweeping desegregation measure through the General Assembly, died Thursday of cancer at Seasons Hospice at the Northwest Hospital Center. He was 72, write Yvonne Wenger and Jacques Kelly of the Sun.

Mitchell served in the House of Delegates from 1963-1967 and was then elected to the state Senate, where he served until 1986, according to an AP story in the Daily Record.

WBAL-AM’s Steve Fermier reports the story. You can click here to hear Mitchell’s son Clarence Mitchell IIII (known as C4) speak about his father and here to hear U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings on the help that Mitchell offered in his early political career.

WBFF-TV offers a long tribute to Mitchell, interviewing several family members.

GALLAUDET SUSPENSION: Gov. Martin O’Malley and other supporters of the law to allow same-sex marriage in Maryland called Thursday for the reinstatement of a Gallaudet University administrator who was placed on leave for signing a petition aimed at overturning the measure, reports Matthew Hay Brown in the Sun.

The Sun’s editorial board agrees, opining that finally, something both sides in Maryland’s gay marriage debate can agree on: Gallaudet University should not have suspended its chief diversity officer for signing the petition that put Question 6 on the ballot this November.

HOYER, DAUGHTER ON GAY MARRIAGE: Sixteen years after U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer voted to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, the No. 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives has disavowed that view and is pushing to uphold Maryland’s new same-sex marriage law, the Sun’s Annie Linskey writes. Hoyer’s journey comes with a twist: Along the way, Hoyer learned that one of his three daughters is gay.

TURNER ON GAMBLING: Frank Turner, the chair of the House of Delegates gaming subcommittee who defended the expansion of gambling that appears on the ballot this fall, is telling constituents he “would have voted against the bill” if he hadn’t been the floor leader, writes Len Lazarick for

GAMING STUDIES: Gaming heavyweights are employing new tactics, such as funding economic studies to support their cause. The latest one casts doubt on the financial benefits of a sixth state casino, claiming that the benefits of a casino in Prince George’s County have been “grossly exaggerated” and that passage of Question 7 could decrease state tax revenue, writes Tim Prudente for the Capital Gazette.

REDSKINS AD: Proponents of expanded gambling in Maryland, who last week announced the support of the Washington Redskins, have now cut an ad featuring one of the team’s former players, blogs John Wagner in the Post. You can view the ad on the page.

DELANEY ‘LOAN SHARK:’ Red Maryland begins a series looking into Democratic congressional candidate John Delaney, who is running to unseat incumbent Roscoe Bartlett, and his company, CapitalSource, first recalling a 2006 piece in Forbes magazine that labeled him a “loan shark.”

BARTLETT-DELANEY DEBATES: Fredrick Kunkle of the Post reports that U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has agreed to go head to head with Democratic challenger John Delaney in six debates.

BARTLETT-DELANEY-MUELLER FORUM: Roscoe Bartlett, the Republican incumbent, and Democratic nominee John Delaney were joined by Libertarian candidate Nickolaus Mueller at a candidate forum sponsored by The Herald-Mail, writes Andrew Schotz for the Hagerstown paper.

SOBHANI’S RUN: The editorial board of the Frederick News-Post opines that Maryland’s U.S. Senate elections are rarely exciting. Fortunately, independent energy mogul, millionaire and candidate Rob Sobhani is dumping buckets of cash into what was a quiet little foregone conclusion. (The column also gives a kudos to for giving insight into Sobhani.)

FROSH CONSIDERS AG BID: State Sen. Brian Frosh has announced an exploratory bid for attorney general in 2014, releasing a list of more than 100 supporters, many of them prominent names in the state’s Democratic establishment, the Post’s John Wagner blogs.

HIGH VOTER TURNOUT: Maryland and Virginia officials said they expect 70% to 80% of registered voters to cast ballots, based on the turnout for the 2008 general election, Rachel Karas reports for the Post.

AA BENEFITS MIXUP: A mix-up over retirement benefits could end with one part-time Anne Arundel County employee having to work about four years without pay, Allison Bourg reports in the Capital Gazette.

ETHICS EXEMPTION: The State Ethics Commission has extended New Market’s exemption from ethics laws created by the General Assembly in 2010, Danielle Gaines reports in the Frederick News-Post. The law requires local governments and school boards to have conflict-of-interest standards and financial disclosure requirements for board members, but exemptions may be granted for small municipalities.

DREAM ACT COST: The true cost of the Dream Act is still murky, writes Daniel Leaderman in the Gazette. So many variables are involved that it’s difficult to pin down the would-be costs and benefits if some children of undocumented immigrants were allowed to pay in-state tuition at Maryland’s institutions of higher learning, as called for in the 2011 law that was petitioned to referendum.

OFF-SHORE WIND: In the next couple of months, Gov. Martin O’Malley and his advisers will decide whether offshore wind is going to be a legislative priority again, Holly Nunn reports in the Gazette.

OUT OF THE CLOSET: Benjamin Ford in the Gazette writes about the challenges of coming out of the closet for gays involved in politics.

POLICE HELICOPTERS: The new Maryland State Police helicopter unveiled Friday by state officials is now back with the manufacturer in Philadelphia awaiting final Federal Aviation Administration approval, the Gazette’s Benjamin Ford reports.

SILENT GOP: Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar writes that the Maryland Republican Party is missing in action on the state ballot questions after vocal opposition to same-sex marriage and in-state tuition for immigrants.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook has items on advertising for ballot questions; coolest towns; a Maryland-Virginia push-up contest; the Nationals; and the poultry litter trial.