January 24, 2013

State Roundup, January 24, 2013

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GUN CONTROL & SCHOOLS: An annual state budget ritual in Annapolis turned to the hot topic of gun control yesterday as school officials from Washington’s Maryland suburbs offered starkly different views on shoring up campus security after last month’s massacre in Newtown, Conn., writes Kate Havard for the Post.

POLL: O’MALLEY SHOULDN’T RUN: Andy Brownfield of the Washington Examiner writes that, according to the Gonzales poll, a majority of voters in heavily Democratic Maryland think Gov. Martin O’Malley should not run for president in 2016.

NOT SO ROSY A PICTURE: Columnist Marta Mossburg, writing in the Frederick News-Post, says she put on Gov. O’Malley’s rose-colored glasses to look more closely at all the great things he was saying he has accomplished for the state and found the lenses dirty and cracked.

RECORDING COMMITTEE SESSIONS: The Senate Rules Committee was expected to vote yesterday on a proposal that would shed some light on one of the darker corners of Annapolis: the committee voting session. Sen. Allan Kittleman made a pitch to the panel Tuesday for a proposal to record audio of the session where standing Senate committees vote on whether to kill legislation or send it to the floor, Michael Dresser reports in the Sun.

FOR CELL-PHONE BILL: The editorial board of the Frederick News-Post writes that Del. Jimmy Malone is intent on persuading the heretofore unresponsive Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to support classifying hand-held cellphone use by drivers as a primary offense. It stands behind him 100%.

STOPPING MEDICARE FUND LOSS: Maryland health agencies are continuing to negotiate with federal Medicare to avoid losing up to $2 billion in federal health care dollars, reports Ilana Kowarski for MarylandReporter.com. And, after months of tense dialogue, Maryland officials believe that they are making progress.

ARORA FLIP-FLOP: David Moon of Maryland Juice continues to go after Del. Sam Arora on his flip-flop over the marriage equality legislation citing a recent article in the Washington Blade.

ULMAN ON GOV’S RACE: Howard County Executive Ken Ulman sits down with Damian O’Doherty and Lisa Harris for another session of Center Maryland’s Inside Out to discuss recently released fundraising numbers for the Maryland gubernatorial race. He also shares his thoughts on the budget, education and technology.

YOUNG GETS DEVELOPER BUCKS: As he gears up a race for governor, Frederick County Board of Commissioners’ President Blaine Young raised $446,951 between May and January, a sizeable chunk of which has come from many well-known developers and land-use attorneys mostly in Frederick County, reports Sherry Greenfield for the Gazette.

CONOWINGO DAM SEDIMENT: State Sen. E.J. Pipkin and other members of the Eastern Shore delegation want action to improve the Conowingo Dam sediment problem, writes Josh Bollinger in the Cecil Whig.

FREDERICK SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION: Frederick County education officials hauled $20 million worth of appeals to Maryland’s capital yesterday as they led a procession of local officials angling for a share of state school construction funds, the Frederick News-Post’s Bethany Rodgers writes.

HELP FROM STADIUM AUTHORITY: Sun reporter Michael Dresser writes that some Baltimore legislators, determined to win state approval for the city’s ambitious plan to launch a $2.4 billion, 10-year overhaul of its aging school facilities, are considering bringing in the Maryland Stadium Authority to provide construction expertise and financial oversight.

CARROLL SEEKS MOE ADJUSTMENT: A Carroll County bill to adjust the county’s Maintenance of Effort requirement, which requires counties to provide schools with funding per pupil no less than the prior year, may soon be introduced in the Maryland General Assembly, Alisha George reports in the Carroll County Times.

HO CO ACTION: The Howard County Delegation moved forward yesterday a bill establishing tax credit for commercial redevelopment along Route 1, and delayed action on a bill allowing library employees the right to unionize, Blair Ames writes in the Howard County Times.

WATERKEEPERS WON’T APPEAL: Elaine Bean of the Salisbury Daily Times reports that the Waterkeeper Alliance, plaintiffs in an environmental lawsuit against Salisbury-based Perdue Farms and Berlin farmer Alan Hudson, will not appeal the federal court’s ruling against their case. The deadline for filing the appeal was midnight Jan. 22, and that deadline passed with no appeal filed.

GAMBLING VOTE UPHELD: There was never much doubt about it, but now it’s official: Maryland voters in November lawfully decided to expand casino gambling, writes Aaron Davis in the Post. An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit seeking to set aside the results of the state’s costliest-ever ballot campaign – one that is expected to give rise to a Las Vegas-style casino in Prince George’s County.

PG SLOTS BIDDING: Maryland has awarded five slots licenses, but the bidding process for the sixth gambling establishment, in Prince George’s County, could be more protracted and competitive when it gets under way next week, writes Lindsey Robbins in the Gazette.

GREENBELT SEEKS FBI HQ: Greenbelt wants the FBI headquarters, and the city is hoping that House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker can help deliver it, Matt Connolly reports in the Washington Examiner.

LEOPOLD TRIAL CONTINUES: Annys Shin of the Washington Post writes that Joanna Conti faced John Leopold again yesterday, only this time it was in a courtroom, not at the ballot box. Conti, a Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Leopold for Anne Arundel county executive in 2010, testified briefly at his misconduct trial in Annapolis.

A former member of Arundel County Executive Leopold’s executive protection detail also testified yesterday that his boss ordered him and another officer to run interference between his mistress and live-in girlfriend, plus carry out a litany of other personal deeds, Allison Bourg reports in the Capital-Gazette.