May 7, 2013

State Roundup, May 7, 2013

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DICK HUG DIES: Dick Hug, a tireless fundraiser for the Maryland Republican Party, died on May 4, reports Jack Lambert in the Baltimore Business Journal. He was 78 years old.

Lambert also writes that Hug will be remembered for loyalty to the Maryland GOP and his hard work on behalf of its candidates.

Hug was the finance chairman for three Maryland gubernatorial campaigns — Ellen Sauerbrey in 1998 and Bob Ehrlich in 2002 and 2006 — becoming known as the $6 million man after he raised that amount for Sauerbrey’s unsuccessful attempt to unseat Gov. Parris Glendening, the Sun’s Carrie Wells and Jessica Anderson report.

ONLINE SALES TAX PASSES SENATE: The U.S. Senate voted Monday to allow states to assess a sales tax on purchases from Amazon.com, eBay and other online retailers in a bipartisan measure that would also reduce the increase planned for Maryland’s gas tax, John Fritze reports in the Sun.

GUN LAW PETITION: Daniel Leaderman of the Gazette writes about Sue Payne, the Montgomery County woman who is going it alone, without the help of MDPetitions.com to seek to bring to referendum the state’s new gun control law.

OPPOSED TO DEATH PENALTY REPEAL: Caleb Calhoun of the Hagerstown Herald-Mail speaks with residents about the state’s repeal of the death penalty and whether they would support Del. Neil Parrott’s attempts to overturn it through a petition drive to bring it to referendum.

CELLPHONE SMUGGLING: Blame is circulating over the failure of state legislation designed to crack down on cellphone smuggling for the past four years, legislation that possibly could have had an effect on the Baltimore City jail corruption uncovered by a federal indictment. Votes by the Baltimore City delegation could have advanced this legislation, but four of the six city delegates who sit on the House Judiciary Committee voted to kill the measure, according to a story at WBAL-TV.

PENN TO BID TO BUILD PG CASINO: Penn National Gaming, which spent more than $40 million trying to defeat Maryland’s referendum to expand gambling last fall, plans to bid this week to build a casino in Prince George’s County, report Freedom du Lac and John Wagner of the Post.

RECORD CASINO TAKE: Maryland’s three casinos generated a record $59 million in April, reflecting a 1.6% increase from the month before, reports Ryan Sharrow for the Baltimore Business Journal.

O’MALLEY’S GIFTS: John Wagner of the Post reports that Gov. Martin O’Malley got flowers last year from U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Former president Bill Clinton sent a holiday ornament and a pen set. There was a box of avocados from the Mexican ambassador and a book about the Chesapeake Bay from a Las Vegas casino operator looking to move into the Free State.

POLL NO GIFT TO O’MALLEY: Bryan Sears reports for Patch.com that Gov. O’Malley received no gift at all from the latest Quinnipiac University poll, which showed he’d get 1% of Democratic support in a presidential primary if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were to run – she’d get 65%. And O’Malley would only get 3% if Clinton didn’t run but Vice President Joe Biden did.

GOVERNOR’S RACE: Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland is puzzled by some of the recent moves by gubernatorial frontrunner Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. So he takes some time, and not a few words, to assess Brown and his opposition – Del. Heather Mizeur and Attorney General Doug Gansler.

RIGHT TO BEAR TASERS: Anne Arundel County residents will have the right to bear Tasers, writes Allison Bourg of the Capital-Gazette. In a 4-3 vote Monday night that broke down on party lines, the Anne Arundel County Council’s Republicans gave citizens 18 and older the right to carry Tasers, stun guns and other electronic control devices.

MARYLAND REPORTER GRANT: The Leidy Foundation of Baltimore has given a $10,000 grant to MarylandReporter.com to support its coverage of state government and politics.