May 9, 2013

State Roundup, May 9, 2013

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GUN BILL GETS GANSLER OK: Michael Dresser reports in the Sun that, in the face of a threatened lawsuit by the National Rifle Association, Attorney General Doug Gansler has formally advised Gov. Martin O’Malley that he can sign the bill next week without fear of any part of it being overturned in the courts, laying out the reasons he believes all of the provisions of Senate Bill 281 that the NRA might challenge are “constitutionally and legally defensible.”

CECIL OPPOSES GUN BILL: Several citizens spoke in support of Cecil County Councilman Alan McCarthy’s resolution opposing the state’s recently passed gun law Tuesday night, shortly before the council voted 4-0 to adopt it with amendments, reports Cheryl Mattix for the Cecil Whig.

DETENTION PERSONNEL CHANGES: One day after state officials admitted the director of security at the Baltimore Detention Center had been fired, Gov. O’Malley says to expect more firings and more personnel changes at the state run prison, where 25 people including 13 corrections officers were indicted last month in a crackdown on a drug and contraband smuggling ring, Robert Lang of WBAL-AM reports.

INMATE OUTLINED PROBLEMS: Months before a federal indictment detailed allegations of corruption at the Baltimore City Detention Center, the smuggling and sexual improprieties at the core of that case had already been outlined in an inmate’s lawsuit, writes Kevin Rector for the Sun.

COMPOUNDING OVERSIGHT: Scott Dance of the Sun reports that batches of sterile drugs from so-called compounding pharmacies will be subject to state review under the measure Gov. O’Malley signed this month. And pharmacists and doctors who perform compounding, in which drugs are somehow altered from their Food and Drug Administration-approved form, will face an extra layer of permits and inspections for drugs used in Maryland.

STATE DATA RELEASE: Gov. O’Malley has launched an initiative releasing a wide variety of state data to the public online, describing it as the first statewide open data portal that will provide information to researchers, entrepreneurs, public servants and residents, according to an AP story in the Frederick News-Post.

WATER COOPERATION: Post columnist Robert McCarthy writes that, while he is critical of the lack of cooperation among D.C. and its adjacent suburbs – including Montgomery and Prince George’s counties — he celebrates the success of the Blue Plains wastewater treatment plant. It hardly draws much attention, but its a world-beater at cleaning wastewater so it’s fit to pump back into the Potomac.

VOTING RATES: About 67.5% of eligible black Marylanders and 65.6% of eligible white Marylanders voted in 2012, both down from the previous presidential election, writes Matt Connolly for the Washington Examiner.

BUSINESS RANKINGS: With a report Monday by CEO magazine ranking Maryland among the 10 worst states to do business, the Greater Baltimore Committee said it’s going to renew its push to improve the state’s competitiveness, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

RANKLING CEOs: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks, exasperated with what he sees as the CEOs continual whining and taking aim at CEO magazine’s rankings, writes that “Bloomberg, the financial news service, recently compiled data on CEO compensation and found the average package to be 204 times that of the average pay for a worker at an S&P firm.” That’s an increase of 20% since 2009. “And these are the same people who fight minimum wage increases,” he writes.

MGM TO BID: Officials from MGM Resorts on Wednesday confirmed that the company will bid this week for a license to build and operate a new casino in Prince George’s County, the Post’s John Wagner reports. The move came a few days after Penn National Gaming said in a federal regulatory filing that it “intends” to bid to put a casino at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington.

HONORING THE PICKET LINE: David Moon of Maryland Juice provides a round of updates on which Democratic officials and organizations are supporting a planned protest of this Saturday’s MoCo Democratic Party fundraising ball. It appears that statewide officials and a handful of MoCo lawmakers are unwilling to cross the picket line.

Maryland Juice runs a column from Matthew Herrmann, a Democratic Party activist, precinct official, and Democratic club official, in which he condemns the planned protest by labor leaders of the MoCo Democratic Party’s spring ball this weekend.

ACTING CHIEF: An acting police chief is expected to be named by next week following Tuesday’s retirement of Anne Arundel County Police Chief Larry Tolliver, county officials said. Tolliver’s announcement came after a two-week investigation by the county Personnel Office found Tolliver used an anti-gay slur in the workplace, writes Ben Weathers, Allison Bourg and Tim Prudente for the Capital-Gazette.

OPEN MEETINGS COMPLAINT: A Pikesville man has filed an Open Meetings Act violation complaint against the Baltimore County Council, alleging that citizens didn’t get proper notice of a meeting where they could have testified about the county’s new stormwater fee, reports Allison Knezevich for the Sun.

BA CO BUDGET: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz returns to Center Maryland to discuss with Lisa Harris Jones and Damian O’Doherty his tax neutral $2.8 billion operating budget for 2014.