May 10, 2013

State Roundup, May 10, 2013

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GOP ON PRISON SCANDAL: Del. Nic Kipke, the newly elected leader of Maryland’s House Republicans, on Thursday demanded an outside investigation into alleged corruption among guards and gang members at a state-run detention center in Baltimore, reports Aaron Davis in the Post.

Maryland House Republicans were surprisingly complimentary of Public Safety Secretary Gary Maynard at a Thursday news conference about the pervasive gang activity in state prisons revealed in a federal indictment of 13 correctional officers at the Baltimore City Detention Center, writes Ilana Kowarski for MarylandReporter.com.

Alexander Pyles of the Daily Record reports that Minority Leader Nic Kipke said, “House Republicans are disappointed by inaction on this issue. It took days to hear from the administration and hearings to address this scandal have been pushed off until next month.”

JAIL OFFICIAL TO FIGHT BACK: Christian Schaffer of WMAR-TV reports that the only person who has faced discipline since the Baltimore City Detention Center scandal broke just over three weeks ago plans to fight back. Shavella Miles, a veteran of the Department of Corrections who was moved to the Baltimore City Detention Center just one year ago, was removed from that post and placed on administrative leave.

O’MALLEY SEEKS REFORMS: Ian Duncan of the Sun reports that Gov. Martin O’Malley said Thursday that he would expand the use of technology to block cell phone calls in Maryland corrections facilities, part of a set of reforms designed to “root out corruption” after a federal indictment alleged widespread gang activity at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

CECIL AGAINST GUN LAW: Cecil County has become the first Maryland jurisdiction to reject the state’s new gun law, which is a stand that may strengthen if more counties join its forces. This resolution may not carry much weight, but it certainly has the potential to grow, according to a story at WBFF-TV.

GUN TURN-IN DAY: Three Lower Shore police agencies will be open Saturday for an inaugural statewide gun turn-in day to provide residents an opportunity to voluntarily and safely dispose of their unwanted firearms, according to the Salisbury Daily Times.

SESSION ASSESSMENT: Washington County state lawmakers gathered Thursday night at a public forum to discuss the recently concluded session of the Maryland General Assembly and answer questions from the public, writes Kaustuv Basu for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

MGM’S FLASHY BID: With a splash of Las Vegas showmanship, MGM Resorts submitted to Maryland officials its proposal to build and operate a high-end casino in Prince George’s County, John Wagner of the Post is reporting. Ornate boxes containing multiple copies of the company’s bid documents were on display at a morning news conference at National Harbor, where MGM proposes to build the casino.

Details about MGM’s bid won’t be released until later Friday after the 2 p.m. deadline passes to submit bids for what would be the state’s sixth casino, Eileen Ambrose reports in the Sun. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency will release information about proposals once it has reviewed them to make sure they are complete and accurate.

BROWN TO ANNOUNCE: Seeking to emerge from the long shadow of Gov. O’Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown will make official Friday what everyone in Maryland politics has known for a long time: He’s running for governor, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.

When he announces his candidacy, Brown is expected to lay out several priorities, including a stepped-up focus on fighting racial and other disparities in health care, education and employment, writes John Wagner of the Post.

ACCESSIBLE MARYLAND CODE: The OpenGov Foundation just released MarylandCode.org, a user-friendly, searchable and downloadable publication of the Maryland Code of law, writes Becca Heller of MarylandReporter.com. The project unpacks the dense, inaccessible code on the state website and encourages citizen participation through transparency.

DEM LABOR PROTEST: David Moon of Maryland Juice writes that two Democrats explain why they are going to the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s biggest fundraiser of the year instead of boycotting it in solidarity with a labor protest.

And he publishes what he says is an email from Del. Kathleen Dumais on why she believes boycotting the MCDCC event isn’t a good idea.

The editorial board of the Washington Post writes that Montgomery County’s government unions, which for decades amassed powers unique even in the pro-labor state of Maryland, had their wings clipped when the recession forced local officials to roll back privileges — and blatant abuses — that bilked taxpayers and tied the hands of public agencies. Now, in a fit of petulance, the Post says, the unions are striking back at their paymasters — elected officeholders — by boycotting and picketing the local Democratic Party’s annual fundraiser this weekend.

LEOPOLD CRITICIZES SUCCESSOR: The Sun’s Pamela Wood reports that former Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold has resurfaced with a critique of his successor, saying her statements about his administration are “disingenuous” and “feckless.” Wood also interviews Leopold, who has completed a jail sentence and is now working to complete his community service requirement. Here’s a copy of his letter.

DELEGATE CANDIDATE: The Gazette’s Agnes Blum reports that Hrant Jamgochian announced on May 4 that he will once again run for the Maryland House of Delegates in District 16. In 2010, Jamgochian lost in a crowded Democratic primary after entering the race late. He placed fifth overall, behind the three winning delegates Bill Frick, Ariana Kelly and Susan Lee and contender Kyle Lierman.

ALONSO DEPARTS: Gazette columnist Blair Lee writes glowingly of Baltimore City schools chief Andres Alonso on his departure, and the need for a strong replacement for “the toughest job in Maryland.”