January 31, 2013

State Roundup, January 31, 2013

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STATE OF THE STATE: Gov. Martin O’Malley urged the General Assembly yesterday to approve an unabashedly liberal agenda that includes repeal of the state’s death penalty, new curbs on guns and spending for construction projects that create jobs, the Sun’s Michael Dresser reports about the State of the State address.

State Sen. E.J. Pipkin, the Republican minority leader of the state Senate, called O’Malley’s 2013 State of the State address a “national agenda speech,” noting that O’Malley has aspirations for higher office after his service as Maryland’s governor is over, writes Alex Jackson for the Capital-Gazette.

O’Malley comes to the State of the State address with something old, something new and something disappointing, Len Lazarick writes in an analysis for MarylandReporter.com.

High praise and tough jabs are thrown after the speech, writes the Post’s Kate Havard and John Wagner.

Shore Republicans find much to be skeptical about in O’Malley’s speech, reports Josh Bollinger in the Easton Star-Democrat.

Larry Hogan of Change Maryland criticizes the speech, saying, “The governor is good at making up numbers, spinning magical tales, with no basis in reality.” Andy Brownfield writes the story for the Washington Examiner. There’s also a video posted at the top of the page.

Here’s the prepared text of O’Malley’s speech, as published in the Post.

DEATH PENALTY REPEAL BLASTED: Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith is sharply criticizing O’Malley’s proposal to repeal the state’s death penalty, saying “It’s reserved for the worst of the worst, but also the worst first-degree murders with the best evidence you could have,” writes Tripp Laino for the Gazette.

Gun control appears to be an early issue priority for Maryland’s 2014 gubernatorial candidates. Two candidates, Attorney General Doug Gansler and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, are both hosting events to highlight the issue. David Moon of Maryland Juice provides some information and discussion about their dueling gun control efforts.

PIT BULL BILLS: Pamela Wood of the Capital-Gazette writes about the effects of a judge’s ruling that pit bulls are inherently dangerous dogs and what changes lawmakers and pit bull enthusiasts hope to bring about with a new law.

TAX CUTS FOR BUSINESSES: State senators from Frederick County yesterday defended a collection of tax-slashing proposals intended to give Maryland a boost in the struggle to attract businesses and prevent retirees from moving away, Bethany Rodgers reports in the Frederick News Post.

CARDIN PULLS MTA BILL: The Sun is reporting that Del. Jon Cardin has reached an agreement with the Maryland Transportation Authority that will pre-empt a bill he filed requiring the agency to report how much money it failed to collect because of toll violations in E-ZPass lanes.

GARRETT HOSPITAL EXPANSION: If bills introduced by Garrett County legislators become law, financing for expansion of Garrett County Memorial Hospital will be available at a lower interest rate than that obtainable by the hospital going it alone, writes Matthew Bieniek for the Cumberland Times-News.

BLAINE YOUNG, TEEN REF TUSSLE: Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young, who is hoping to win the GOP nomination for governor, finds himself embroiled in a continuing dispute with a 17-year-old referee and his mother over an after-game confrontation in which Young, a coach for his son’s grade school team, was handed a one-game suspension, Pete McCarthy reports in the Frederick News-Post.

ATTORNEY CAUTIONS ON LEOPOLD REMOVAL: The Anne Arundel County attorney said yesterday afternoon that a resolution to remove John Leopold, who has been suspended as Anne Arundel’s county executive following his criminal misconduct conviction, may be illegal, Allison Bourg reports for the Capital-Gazette.

REACTION MIXED: Reaction to the conviction of Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold on misconduct charges and his suspension is mixed throughout the county. He may likely lose his seat permanently, as well as his name over a menu item at a well-known deli. And he seems to have lost the trust of a lot of the populace – but not all, writes Matthew Hay Brown and Andrea Siegel in the Sun.

Andrea Siegel and Allison Bourg discuss the Leopold case with Dan Rodricks on his show on WYPR-FM.

ERVIN PAYS LIEN: Court records show that last month Montgomery County Council member Valerie Ervin, who is gearing up to run for county executive in 2014, paid off a $4,746 lien against her Silver Spring home and other personal property for unpaid state income taxes dating back to 2007, reports the Post’s Bill Turgue.