December 5, 2012

State Roundup, December 5, 2012

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TRANSPORTATION ON AGENDA: With the next legislative session little more than a month away, Gov. Martin O’Malley has summoned the presiding officers to a meeting tomorrow to talk about transportation funding and other possible initiatives, the Post’s John Wagner reports.

MDOT: The state transportation department and its agencies are correcting contract problems auditors found, Sam Smith reports in MarylandReporter.com.

AUDIT AT MPT: The state agency that holds Maryland Public Television’s broadcast licenses didn’t solicit bids for a $2.55 million contract it awarded and mistakenly paid $72,000 more than had been authorized to another contractor, the Sun’s Jamie Smith Hopkins reports on a state audit.

LAWMAKERS TACKLE DRUG SHORTAGE: Maryland lawmakers are jumping at the problem of nationwide drug shortages that have forced some hospitals to cut back on medical procedures. They plan to introduce legislation to tackle the issue at the state level, writes Andrea Walker of the Sun.

STATE TO CONTINUE TO THRIVE: Opinionator Marta Mossburg writes in the Sun that state media keep talking about the fiscal cliff as if it will obliterate Maryland’s wealth if Congress does not reach a compromise on debt talks. The truth is, cuts are far down the road if they happen, and Maryland will continue to thrive as an extension of Washington’s bureaucratic complex.

MILLER RAISES BUCKS: Maryland Senate President Mike Miller raised almost $200,000 at an event Monday night in Bethesda, organizers said, underscoring his continuing potency as a fundraiser heading into the 2014 elections, writes John Wagner in the Post.

FEMA DENIES AID: The Obama administration has denied Maryland’s request for federal aid for hundreds of Eastern Shore residents affected by superstorm Sandy, prompting an outcry from state officials, who vowed to appeal the decision, writes Kevin Rector and John Fritze in the Sun.

Crisfield was already in an economic slump when the storm hit, and now some residents are considering moving away because they can’t afford to fix their homes and businesses, Liz Holland reports in the Salisbury Daily Times.

O’MALLEY AIDE LEAVES: Rick Abbruzzese, one of Gov. O’Malley’s most trusted aides since his days as mayor of Baltimore, is leaving the administration for an Annapolis law firm, reports John Wagner in the Post.

SENATORS TRY TO BLOCK MOVE: U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski have introduced legislation to block the move of a Navy Reserve attack electronic squadron from Joint Base Andrews to the West Coast, writes Matthew Hay Brown of the Sun.

ALSTON REPLACEMENT DELAYED: An AP story in the Daily Record reports that an attorney urged a Prince George’s County judge yesterday to order Gov. O’Malley to appoint a businessman to a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates, formerly held by Tiffany Alston, but a lawyer representing the governor said it was up to O’Malley to make the final call on the appointment — not the county’s Democratic Central Committee.

WA CO LEGISLATIVE AGENDA: The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted yesterday to approve a list of items they want the county’s delegation to pursue in the Maryland General Assembly session early next year, reports Kaustuv Basu for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

SWITCH IN PG COUNCIL CHAIR: Miranda Spivack of the Post is reporting that Eric Olson, a progressive Democrat well known for environmental advocacy, was poised to become chairman of the Prince George’s County Council yesterday after two years of waiting in the wings. But the vote did not go as planned.

BUS NOT FOR GAMBLERS: Officials planning a bus route funded from Anne Arundel County’s share of gaming revenues insist the project is not intended to bring gamblers to the Maryland Live! Casino, reports Tim Prudente for the Capital-Gazette.

WATER RATE HIKES IN FREDERICK: Frederick County water and sewer rates are headed upward for most users, reports Bethany Rodgers in the Frederick News-Post. County commissioners Tuesday night voted unanimously to approve a five-year schedule of rate hikes meant to close water-and-sewer funding gaps.