October 15, 2012

State Roundup, October 15, 2012

Print More

PROFILES IN GAY MARRIAGE DEBATE: Jonathan Pitts of the Sun profiles two longtime Marylanders who began their spiritual journeys in a similar place, as black Christians who felt strong same-sex attractions. Both faced rejection from family and community, and particularly forceful disapproval from fellow African-Americans, a group whose values have long been shaped by conservative religious thinking. But on a key question of the day, they could not be more different.

Aaron Davis of the Post profiles one same-sex couple and the hurdles they have had to overcome to make both legal parents of one woman’s three sons.

During a rally of church supporters for gay marriage, Ed Waters of the Frederick News-Post speaks with one couple who were married in Massachusetts but live in Montgomery County and what life is like without the legal protection of marriage.

And David Crary of the Washington Times uses the example of two women who hope to get married in Maryland to explore the gay marriage issue in other states.

BLOOMBERG DONATES BIG: The Big Apple’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who went to college at Johns Hopkins University, has donated $250,000 to the campaign to uphold Maryland’s same-sex marriage law.

FACT CHECK: Elisha Bauers of the Capital-Gazette fact-checks a marriage equality ad that claims that churches and other religious organizations won’t be penalized for refusing to perform gay marriages.

GAMING-GAY MARRIAGE SUPPORT: Ballot committee reports due last Friday will show that the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force received “support” from Penn National Gaming to send out a mailing over the summer opposing the special session, Annie Linskey reports in the Sun.

ANTI CAMPAIGN ‘HASN’T STARTED:’ By most measures, Frank Schubert, the strategist running campaigns in four states against same-sex marriage, ought to be nervous about Maryland. But Schubert, a longtime crusader in the country’s marriage wars, says they haven’t even started, the Sun’s Annie Linskey reports.

HENSON DONATIONS: David Moon of Maryland Juice is relating several tidbits in the marriage equality fight. One is that Julius Henson, convicted of voter suppression while helping the Ehrlich for Governor campaign, has been donating to the anti-gay marriage initiative and that Derek McCoy, who is behind the Maryland Marriage Alliance, had unpaid taxes.

VOTE NO: Washington Examiner editorialists are urging voters to vote against three of the referendums on Maryland’s Nov. 6. Gambling expansion is not one of them.

LITTLE HELP FOR PROBLEM GAMBLERS: Millions go back and forth weekly to persuade voters to vote yes or no on legislation that would expand gambling in Maryland, reports Alex Jackson in the Capital-Gazette, and the state collects hundreds of dollars per second from all of the above. But between the late 1980s and 2011, not a dollar was set aside specifically for the treatment of problem gamblers in Maryland, said Joanna Franklin, who in June was tapped to run the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center of Excellence for Problem Gambling.

$47 MILLION SPENT: Companies with a stake in Maryland’s expanded gambling measure have now contributed more than $47 million to the two campaign committees slugging it out in television ads, blogs John Wagner for the Post. The latest contribution — another $3.5 million from Penn National Gaming — was disclosed on Friday, a day after another $3 million outlay was reported by MGM Resorts.

CURRY JOINS FRAY: A new player entered the fight in favor of expanded gambling as Wayne Curry, a former Prince George’s County executive, registered a pro-Question 7 ballot committee last week, reports Michael Dresser for the Sun.

REDSKINS GAMING SUPPORT: A committee lobbying to expand gambling in Maryland pledged to give the Washington Redskins $450,000 on Oct. 1, writes Tim Prudente for the Captial-Gazette. The next day, the president of business operations for the NFL team praised plans for a casino to open in Prince George’s County.

CITY CAESARS PLANS: Caesars Entertainment Corp. executives will meet with members of the Baltimore City Council today to discuss plans for the proposed Harrah’s Baltimore casino on Russell Street, blogs Alexander Pyles in the Daily Record.

OUT-OF-STATE FINANCING: Rachel Baye of the Washington Examiner writes that the battles over ballot measures in Maryland that would legalize same-sex marriage and expand gambling in the state have been inundated with funds from out of state, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday.

PIT BULL DEBATE: Maryland lawmakers tasked with reviewing a court ruling on the danger of pit bulls are scheduled to meet next week to continue the complicated debate on the rights of dog owners, the safety of residents and the protection of the breed, Meredith Somers writes in the Washington Times.

VOTERS’ CONCERNS: Sara Blumberg of the Capital-Gazette interviews several Anne Arundel voters of all age groups about their concerns as the election draws near.

A NEW MBRG? Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland writes about Maryland Business for Responsive Government and its attempts to remake itself and lead the charge in Annapolis lobbying for business interests.

ALSTON MUST GO: The Sun editorial board writes that another Maryland politician has broken the law and is, nonetheless, trying to hold on to elected office. Del. Tiffany Alston must go, the board opines.

VAN HOLLEN-TIMMERMAN CLASH: A newsletter distributed by his Republican opponent Ken Timmerman stated that U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen is anti-Israel, voted against U.S. funding for Israel’s Iron Dome short-range missile defense system and voted against economic sanctions to Iran. All are hot-button issues for the Jewish constituents in attendance at the forum, writes Sam Smith for MarylandReporter.com, and Van Hollen calls them “garbage.”

BARTLETT MIA: With three weeks to go before the Nov. 6 election, Democratic House candidate John Delaney has been zipping through a packed schedule of public and private events. By contrast, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s campaign declined to identify a single public event the congressman planned to attend last week except for a debate in Hagerstown in which both candidates participated, reports John Fritze for the Sun.

SANTA FOR PRESIDENT: Earl Kelly of the Capital Gazette writes that if you write in “Santa Claus” on your Nov. 6 ballot, you will be voting for a living, breathing person for president of the United States. Unlike that little fake “Mickey Mouse,” Santa Claus is one of the 25 or so people who have filed with the State Board of Elections as write-in candidates for the nation’s top job.

MD FIRMS BACK DEMS: Wall Street might have turned its back on Democrats this election, but that’s not the case among Maryland investment firms, reports Eileen Ambrose in the Sun. The vast majority of contributions to candidates by T. Rowe Price employees went to Democrats.

TAX CUT: Many Maryland employers will see the tax they pay for unemployment insurance drop by more than half next year, reports Jamie Smith Hopkins in the Sun. The tax cut, which will be announced today by the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, reflects the improving employment situation in the state and should give businesses a boost as they use that money for other purposes.

CARROLL’S OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: The Carroll County Board of Commissioners will have a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Oct. 30 on the proposed ordinance designating English the official language of the county, Christian Alexandersen reports in the Carroll County Times.

PRATT SUES OVER CITY PHONE SYSTEM: Baltimore Comptroller Joan Pratt filed a lawsuit Friday seeking to stop Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s technology office from installing a new phone system, alleging the administration used an “underhanded, illegal technique” to bypass the competitive bidding process, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports.

WOMEN IN CECIL CO EXEC RACE: Subtle differences, not stark disagreements, separated Pam Howard and Tari Moore as the county executive candidates faced off this week in their first formal debate of the general election season. Voters will go to the polls Nov. 6 to decide which of the two women will become Cecil County’s first county executive, as the county changes to a charter form of government in December.

REDISTRICTING CONFUSION: Pete McCarthy of the Frederick News Post attempts to help clear up the confusion that has been caused by congressional redistricting.

FREDERICK HOME RULE: Frederick News-Post columnist Bill Pritchard writes that charter government, which will be on the Nob. 6 ballot, could be called home rule. “That’s home, as in making more of our own decisions rather than having our proposals run through the Annapolis strainer of out-of-county legislators, committees and governor approval.”