December 19, 2012

State Roundup, December 19, 2012

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GUN CONTROL: Gov. Martin O’Malley said Tuesday he will likely introduce a gun control package in the coming legislative session and reiterated his opposition to assault weapons like the one used in the Newtown, CT, massacre, Annie Linskey and Erin Cox report in the Sun. A video of O’Malley speaking to reporters on the subject is above the story.

Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell took a completely different view from Gov. O’Malley, saying Tuesday that the commonwealth should consider arming teachers, principals and other school staff members, Laura Vozzella, John Wagner and Ben Pershing report for the Post.

An AP story in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail quotes O’Malley as saying, “You look at some of these guns and it’s just hard to conclude that these guns should be in the hands of anyone who isn’t a soldier on a battlefield or a law enforcement officer sent in to a tactical situation.”

Rachel Baye of the Washington Examiner writes that O’Malley said that among the measures legislators probably will consider are bans on the sale of assault weapons and accompanying large magazines, ways to make sure that people suffering from mental illnesses do not have access to firearms and improvements to safety policies at schools.

State Del. Susan Krebs does not want her colleagues to rush to judgment on the issue, reports John Rydell for WBFF-TV. “Everybody will be jumping on the bandwagon, but I don’t think that’s going to solve the problem. I think everybody needs to take a step back and take a deep breath and look at many, many variables that contributed to this horrific incident,” she said.

Jayne Miller of WBAL-TV speaks with state police and looks at the assault type weapons that are legal in Maryland.

GIFT CARDS FOR GUNS: Even before last Friday’s horrific school shootings in Connecticut, officials were organizing efforts to get guns off the streets. Col. Edward Martin, of the Prince George’s County Police Department, said this was the third time this year that the department has sponsored what they call “gift cards for guns.” This weekend, they saw the most guns turned in, Mary Rose Madden reports for WYPR-FM.

TWO VIEWS IN CONGRESS: U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards is calling for a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, as well as the enforcement of background checks for all gun sales and transfers. Her views offer a stark contrast from the politics of U.S. Rep. Andy Harris. Harris is one of Maryland’s strongest opponents of gun control. Edwards is one of the strongest supporters.

O’MALLEY GOALS MET: Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com writes that Gov. O’Malley said that his administration has shown progress on most of 15 broad goals that are tracked by the governor’s “delivery unit,” including declines in childhood hunger, violent crimes and violence against women and children, among others. “Two areas where we need to do better,” O’Malley said, are energy and transportation.

FINANCING TRANSPORTATION: Under current forecasts, the state has no money for any highway construction after fiscal 2017. Ditto for construction of the Red and Purple lines, or the proposed Corridor Cities Transitway along the I-270 corridor in Montgomery County, writes John Wagner in the Post.

NO JOINT TAX RETURNS: Maryland’s same-sex couples will soon be allowed to marry, but they won’t be allowed to file joint income-tax returns as long as federal law requires separate federal returns, reports David Hill for the Washington Times. All other states recognizing same-sex marriage that collect income tax allow the couples to file jointly.

GENDER INDENTITY PROTECTION: A transgender student at the University of Maryland College Park believes the time may be on the horizon when state law offers protection from gender identity discrimination — as long as state and local advocates can maintain their momentum from upholding same-sex marriage in the state, writes Jenny Hottle for the Diamondback.

SEPTIC LAW IN WICOMICO: Wicomico County Council members are switching up their strategy as they continue working to establish a four-tiered map aimed at organizing future development and use of septic systems throughout the county to meet state law, Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times reports.

MIKULSKI GETS CHAIRMANSHIP: Behind-the-scenes jostling for committee chairmanships in the U.S. Senate has left Sen. Barbara Mikulski poised to take over the Senate Intelligence Committee — a move experts say could bolster the role cybersecurity plays in the state’s economy, writes John Fritze for the Sun.

SPEED CAMERA FIASCO: Columnist Marta Mossburg writes in the Sun that the faulty speed camera fiasco in Baltimore City shakes one’s faith in government.

And the editorial board for the Sun opines that now is the time for Baltimore City to suspend the speed camera program.

ARCHITECTURAL GUIDELINES: Even though Worcester County adopted strong guidelines in 2009 for the way new commercial buildings should look, only now are the physical manifestation of those guidelines being constructed, Elaine Bean reports for the Salisbury Daily Times. They avoid the “strip mall” and “cookie-cutter chain store” looks deemed unacceptable by the county’s guidelines and incorporate traditional seaside colors, porches and roof lines.

  • Andrew Friedson

    Comptroller Franchot issued a statement clarifying significant
    misinformation contained in the Washington Times Story. Maryland must
    decouple from the IRS on this particular issue in order to allow
    same-sex married couples to file jointly, but a federal law change is
    not necessary. A state legislative or regulatory change is needed, and
    he’s committed to working with legislative leaders to ensure that
    same-sex married couples will be able to file jointly for tax year 2013. See Patch article: http://towson.patch.com/articles/same-sex-couples-eligible-for-joint-tax-returns#comments_list