May 31, 2013

State Roundup, May 31, 2013

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DEATH PENALTY PETITION FAILING: One of the supporters of a petition drive to overturn Maryland’s death penalty repeal acknowledged Thursday that the effort has run into trouble, reports John Wagner in the Post. State Sen. Jim Brochin’s comments came the day before the deadline for repeal opponents to turn in an initial batch of signatures that would allow the drive to continue.

The Sun’s Erin Cox reports that in the past few weeks,  the group pushing the petition was far behind its goals to meet tonight’s midnight deadline to turn in 18,579 signatures to election officials, according to the Frederick County state’s attorney.

GUN CONTROL REPEAL: WBFF’s John Rydell reports that those who oppose the gun control bill and repeal of the death penalty are in jeopardy of falling short of their goal to have enough signatures on petitions to bring both issues to the voters. Gun rights supporters are trying to overturn Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Firearm Safety Law.

GANG’S REACH: The scope of the reach of the Black Guerrilla Family gang is one reason — along with assassination-style murders and ruthless drug-dealing methods — that it has become one of Maryland’s most feared gangs, reports Kevin Rector for the Sun. BGF is the gang at the center of the Baltimore City Detention Center scandal.

PENNY STORMWATER FEE: Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News-Post reports that Frederick County commissioners have decided to start charging eligible properties an annual fee of one penny, enough to net the county a grand total of $487.81 each year, according to staff estimates. For some county leaders, the goal is not to drum up funds but to do the bare minimum to comply with a state mandate. But one county commissioner compared the action to that of a child who “throws a tantrum on the floor in the middle of a department store.”

FORT DETRICK LAYOFFS: As many as 1,350 civilian employees at Fort Detrick will receive furlough notices as the Pentagon seeks to trim its fiscal 2013 budget under sequestration, reports Courtney Mabeus for the Frederick News-Post.

BROWN-ULMAN TICKET: Howard County Democrats played it coy Thursday night at their bash honoring Howard County Executive Ken Ulman but were openly proud that their favorite son is poised to join Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown as No. 2 on the 2014 gubernatorial ticket, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.

The Brown-Ulman ticket drew praise from the union leaders who were among the major financial supporters of the party fundraiser, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

Howard County leaders consider the Brown-Ulman ticket a winner, writes Blair Ames for the Howard County Times.

The editorial board of the Sun writes that Brown’s choice of Ulman is a textbook pick: Ulman brings racial and religious balance (he is white and Jewish and Brown is African-American), some geographic balance (Brown is from Prince George’s County, Ulman is from Howard County) and a lot of money.

CORRECTION: CRAIG TO ANNOUNCE RUNNING MATE: Pat Warren of WJZ reports that Harford County Executive David Craig will also announce his running mate candidacy on Monday as he seeks the Republican nomination for governor. (WJZ headline on this story was incorrect, leading to our incorrect summary. Craig has no plans to name his running mate.)

GOVERNOR’S RACE: WYPR’s Fraser Smith speaks with the Sun’s Michael Dresser about Craig’s Republican candidacy for governor and what Attorney General Doug Gansler has to do now that Ulman has joined Brown’s Democratic ticket.

GANSLER BIDES TIME: Alexander Pyles of the Daily Record writes that political observers are saying that if Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler wants to be governor, he needs to officially join the race.

O’MALLEY TOUTS MARYLAND: Gov. Martin O’Malley used an address at the Center for American Progress on Thursday to argue that Maryland has become a national model for growing the middle class and suggested that most states led by Republican governors “only made things worse” by trying to “cut their way to prosperity,” writes the Sun’s John Fritze.

The two-term governor, who is considering a run for the White House in 2014, touted accolades his state has received for its education system, its nation-leading median income, its investments in science and research and its number of women-owned businesses, reports John Wagner in the Post.