May 23, 2013

State Roundup, May 23, 2013

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FEDERAL EDUCATION FUNDS MISSPENT: The State Department of Education may have to pay back up to $540,000 in federal money intended to help the state’s poorest schools after a scathing audit found that Baltimore City was one of two school districts that misspent the funds, using the money for dinner cruises, makeovers and meals, report Erin Cox and Erica Green in the Sun. It found similar misspending in Prince George’s County schools.

GANSLER MULLS APPEAL: Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler is weighing an appeal of a decision by the state’s highest court that would cost the state’s counties and Baltimore City $128 million in taxes, writes Andy Brownfield for the Washington Examiner.

CONCUSSION TRAINING: The Maryland state school board adopted regulations Tuesday that require more concussion training for those responsible for student-athletes and beef up protocols for addressing head injuries, the Sun’s Erica Green reports. In addition, the board will convene an advisory board to recommend limits on exposure to contact in sports in which concussions can occur.

The editorial board for the Frederick News-Post calls the school board action “an important first step” in reducing the number of concussions in student athletes.

DHCD MOVE: Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development and the 300-plus jobs that come with it could soon leave Crownsville for new digs in Prince George’s County, writes Alex Jackson for the Capital-Gazette. The state Board of Public Works at a meeting next week is scheduled to consider a lease agreement with an affiliate of Rockville-based Berman Enterprises for a new site at 7800 Harkins Road in New Carrollton.

SMITH AS TRANSIT SECTY? Former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith is one of the final candidates in talks to become Gov. Martin O’Malley’s new transportation secretary, blogs Michael Dresser and Erin Cox in the Sun. The job has been vacant for a year, but an appointment to the post will likely be made soon.

DELANEY’S FIRST BILL: John Fritze of the Sun writes that Maryland’s newest member of the House of Representatives introduced his first bill on Wednesday, a new infrastructure funding proposal that has won bipartisan support in an otherwise divided Congress. Rep. John Delaney is proposing to allow U.S. companies to repatriate a portion of their overseas cash, tax free, if those companies invest in a new bond program that would be used to pay for highways, energy projects, school buildings and other infrastructure.

CARROLL GUN RIGHTS RESOLUTION: The 4-0 vote by the Carroll County Board of Commissioners in favor of a resolution supporting Second Amendment rights was met with thunderous applause and a standing ovation by the crowd that attended Wednesday night’s forum at Carroll Community College in Westminster, reports Christian Alexandersen for the Carroll County Times.

SALARY ADJUSTMENT: With a yearly salary of $88,121, Anne Arundel County’s only African-American department chief makes at least $20,000 less than the county’s other department heads, writes Allison Bourg for the Capital-Gazette. County Executive Laura Neuman doesn’t know why that is, but she said she wants to rectify it.

LEOPOLD PAYS FINE TO ARUNDEL: Former Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold has paid his court-ordered fine, choosing to give the money to the county he once led, reports Allison Bourg in the Capital-Gazette. By doing so, he gets a $25,000 discount off the $100,000 fine he was ordered to pay.

PG ALERT SYSTEM: Prince George’s County officials are encouraging residents to sign up for its NotifyMe alert system that provides real-time information about everything from weather emergencies to traffic jams, the Post’s Miranda Spivack reports.

READERS SURVEY: We’d like to hear from our readers on whether we should be including more content from the Daily Record. Baltimore’s legal and business newspaper has lots of good coverage of state issues, but almost all its original coverage is behind a paywall that doesn’t even allow a minimum number of page views first, as do the Sun and the Capital. If you’re not a subscriber, you can view only one sentence of a story. Would you like MarylandReporter.com to include more Daily Record stories in its State Roundup even though nonsubscribers won’t be able to read the story? If the answer is YES, just send an email to Len@MarylandReporter.com and put the word YES in the subject line. So far we’ve gotten about 25 YES emails — not exactly overwhelming.