PRO-GUN PROTESTS: Outside the Annapolis capitol on Saturday afternoon, more than 200 mostly Republican protesters gathered to voice their support for gun rights, accusing Gov. Martin O’Malley and President Obama of tyranny for trying to impose tough new restrictions on gun purchases. Some carried life-sized cardboard cutouts of weapons and wrapped themselves in the tea party’s yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, writes Kate Havard for the Washington Post.
Among the lawmakers who spoke at the rally were Republicans Del. Don Dwyer, Del. Steve Hershey and U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, writes Alex Jackson for the Capital-Gazette. A police officer at the rally estimated a turnout of about 400 protesters, some holding signs reading “Adolf O’Malley” and “It’s not about guns, it’s about control.”
Ian Duncan of the Sun reports that Del. Pat McDonough outlined his plans for tough penalties for gun crimes as about 40 firearms owners gathered at a Bel Air shooting range as part of a national series of events to push back against proposed gun control measures. Above the story is video of folks at “Gun Appreciation Day” at an indoor range.
Thousands attended rallies in Harrisburg and Richmond with the largest, 2,000 at a rally in Albany, N.Y., the first state to pass a ban on assault weapons in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. school shooting, reports Ilana Kowarski of MarylandReporter.com.
Opinionator Bill Kennedy, in the Carroll County Times, writes that the leaders of the National Rifle Association and many of their Republican sycophants just don’t understand the reaction of most Americans when there are mass murders of innocent children and adults using assault weapons with large capacity magazines.
O’MALLEY’S GUN PACKAGE: Bryan Sears of Patch.com outlines O’Malley’s gun control proposals including: reinstate the ban on military-style assault weapons previously banned under a federal law that expired nearly 10 years ago; limit the size of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, down from the current 20 rounds and require all gun owners to be licensed.
O’Malley’s ambitious gun-control package would require citizens who move to the state to register guns purchased elsewhere and make it illegal for residents younger than 21 to purchase or own registered firearms or ammunition, reports Aaron Davis and John Wagner of the Post.
O’Malley said his proposal will improve the safety of schools, make mental health reforms and enact common-sense gun safety measures, reports Josh Bollinger for the Easton Star Democrat.
CNS’s Lucas High writes in the Cecil Whig that the new legislation will expand upon the Maryland State Police’s list of weapons that are considered assault rifles.
PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERS: The O’Malley administration is expected to unveil legislation this week that would offer a channel for tapping into a reservoir of corporate money and expertise to build state public works projects, Candy Thomson reports in the Sun.
MORE O’MALLEY PLANS: John Wagner of the Post outlines other proposals from the governor including one that would make changes needed in Maryland law to implement the federal Affordable Care Act, including the expansion of Medicaid, and one that would reauthorize a 2008 law that allows collection of DNA from people arrested for violent crimes before they have been convicted.
LEGAL ADS: After polling the 157 local governments, the Maryland Municipal League received one suggestion to move legal advertising from newspapers to online, which led the proponent of local government to name removing the state mandate one of its priorities for the 2013, reports Jennifer Shutt for the Salisbury Daily Times.
OFFSHORE WIND FARM: O’Malley’s legislative priorities include a bill to grease the wheels for the construction of an offshore wind farm, which would be 10 miles off Ocean City and produce enough energy to power a quarter of the homes in Baltimore, writes Andy Brownfield of the Washington Examiner. It also would increase fees for ratepayers.
BRAVEBOY TO RUN FOR ATTY GEN: Del. Aisha Braveboy, an attorney from Prince George’s County, has announced her intention to run for Attorney General, blogs David Moon of Maryland Juice.
AFZALI UNSPUN: In the Post’s Unspun column, Kate Havard speaks with Del. Kathy Afzali who reveals why she became a Republican, talks of her Broadway dancing career and tells us what her favorite possession is.
INAUGURATION: Gov. O’Malley will attend President Barack Obama’s swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol today, and he and first lady Katie O’Malley will attend a White House reception in the evening, write Earl Kelly and Pamela Wood in the Capital-Gazette’s Reporter’s Notebook.
STUDENT ED BOARD MEMBERS: Five students, three from Anne Arundel County high schools, are vying for a seat on the Maryland State Board of Education, a one-year term during his or her senior year of high school that has limited voting rights, according to the Capital-Gazette.
MO CO SHOULD CHALLENGE ASSESSMENTS: Bill Turque of the Post reports that Montgomery County’s inspector general said in a report issued Friday that the county should be more diligent in challenging commercial property assessments conducted by the state, some of which appear to be unusually low.
CARROLL DELEGATES: Rachel Roubein of the Carroll County Times reports that the four state delegates from Carroll County discussed local and statewide legislation at a public hearing Saturday morning, the day after the Senate delegation did the same. Heavily discussed was a statewide proposal to extend deer hunting season by two weeks to help curb the deer population.
SALISBURY WELL CONTAMINATION: Timothy Wheeler of the Sun is reporting that state environmental officials are drilling monitoring wells on the outskirts of Salisbury to get a better handle on ground-water contamination there that has fouled dozens of household wells with a potentially cancer-causing chemical
LEOPOLD’S CATHETER BAG: Patty Medlin’s eyes welled with tears while describing Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold ordering her to empty his catheter bag after his back surgery, writes Allison Bourq of the Capital-Gazette. “It was my experience … that you don’t tell him no,” Medlin testified during Leopold’s criminal misconduct trial. “Because … people lost their jobs. I need my job.”
Emptying the urine bag was one of many personal tasks that Leopold, 69, allegedly had Medlin and members of his security detail perform throughout 2010 reports the Post’s Annys Shin.
WICOMICO ENTERPRISE ZONE: The Salisbury-Wicomico County Enterprise Zone has more than 400 new acres waiting for capital investment and jobs, after Gov. O’Malley approved its expansion, reports Jennifer Shutt for the Salisbury Daily Times. The enterprise zone, which gives businesses property and income tax credits for investment and job growth, received the additional land as part of a review and expansion process.