October 18, 2012

State Roundup, October 18, 2012

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EFFECTS OF FEDERAL IMPASSE: General Assembly analysts released estimates yesterday painting a much grimmer picture of the impact of a continued federal budget impasse than the O’Malley administration did less than a month ago, Michael Dresser reports in the Sun.

Maryland is expected to face a structural deficit of more than $630 million in fiscal 2014 and will have projected budget shortfall of $247 million as lawmakers craft a spending plan for the coming year, Daniel Leaderman reports in the Gazette.

ONLINE REGISTRATION: Following up on a New York Times story, Aaron Davis of the Post writes that a voting rights group and some of the nation’s leading researchers on election technology are urging Maryland voters to check the accuracy of their online voter registration files after warning that the data had been left vulnerable to tampering.

REMAP CHAOS: On Election Day, Maryland citizens could vote to throw out their state’s 2011 Congressional redistricting map, a possibility that could lead to legal and political chaos, writes Abby Livingston for Roll Call. For months, Maryland Democrats have dismissed this possibility as relatively uncomplicated.

AD FEATURES GALLAUDET STAFFER: Gallaudet University is asking the group opposing Maryland’s same-sex marriage law to take down a new commercial that features university staff member Angela McCaskill, who was suspended for signing the petition to bring the same-sex marriage law to referendum, according to a Sun report. McCaskill, through her attorney, says she would like the ad pulled as well. You can view the commercial in John Wagner’s blog in the Post.

AD’S SCARE TACTICS: The editorial board of the Sun decries the scare tactics that the anti-gay marriage forces are using in the ad in claiming that if Question 6 passes, those who object to same-sex marriage for religious or other reasons will face discrimination and persecution.

GOP IDEALS & SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: David Lampo of the Cato Institute, writing an op-ed in the Sun, says that the case for same-sex marriage fits well within Republican ideals.

BOXER IN RING FOR GAMBLING: The Post’s John Wagner blogs that former championship boxer Oscar De La Hoya is the latest celebrity to surface in Maryland’s star-studded ballot campaigns, recording a robocall promoting passage of Question 7, which would allow a casino in Prince George’s County, as well as table games, such as black jack and roulette, at Maryland’s five previously authorized slots sites.

PG CASINO EFFORT WINNING: An independent survey has found that supporters of bringing a new casino to Prince George’s County are winning the local gambling fight, writes Matt Connolly of the Washington Examiner.

NAACP ON ISSUES: Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, and Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM discuss marriage equality, the DREAM Act and other issues in the upcoming election.

OPEN MEETINGS PART II: The Joint Committee on Transparency and Open Government held a hearing on the Open Meetings Act Wednesday, and MarylandReporter.com was asked to gather recommendations for changes to improve the law.

LIBERTARIAN IN THE 8th: Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News-Post profiles 8th Congressional District Libertarian candidate Mark Grannis, whose campaign slogan might sound familiar, but the message is a bit different from the one that rallied President Barack Obama’s supporters in 2008. “Less we can.” The 8th District seat is held by Chris Van Hollen.

THREE-WAY 6th DISTRICT DEBATE: John Fritze of the Sun reports that incumbent U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and Democratic challenger John Delaney pitched vastly different approaches to deal with unemployment, federal deficits and immigration, while both hewed closely to their party’s talking points yesterday during the first televised debate of the state’s marquee congressional race.

Libertarian candidate Nickolaus Mueller also took part in the debate, writes Dave McMillion of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. You can also view video a short video report of the debate.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT SALARIES: More than 4,500 local government employees in the Washington region, or roughly 1 of every 12 workers, make $100,000 or more in base salary alone, reports Ben Giles in the Washington Examiner. He looked at government workers in the District, Alexandria and Arlington, Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

LOSING, LEOPOLD WILL PAY: Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold says he will pay for the cost of his defense if he loses a federal discrimination and retaliation lawsuit filed by his former spokeswoman, reports Allison Bourg in the Capital-Gazette.

PROTESTING JUVIE JAIL IN CITY: Opposition was strong at a Senate Budget and Taxation Committee hearing yesterday on the proposed construction of a new youth detention center in Baltimore City to house youths charged as adults with violent crimes, reports Sam Smith for MarylandReporter.com.

MAYOR CHALLENGES FREE LEGAL: Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says that Comptroller Joan Pratt’s use of free legal services from Orioles owner Peter Angelos’ law firm represents a breach of the city ethics code — an accusation vehemently rejected by Pratt, writes Luke Broadwater for the Sun.