June 3, 2013

State Roundup, June 3, 2013

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GUN LAW TO STAND: A petition drive that sought to derail Maryland’s new gun-control law has failed, reports John Wagner of the Post. Opponents of the law did not turn in an initial batch of signatures by the deadline at midnight on Friday, meaning the law championed by Gov. Martin O’Malley will stand, said Steve Ackerman, a spokesman for the Maryland Secretary of State’s Office.

The Sun’s Erin Cox reports that a referendum would have delayed the gun law until after the November 2014 election, and the petition drive’s failure was welcomed by gun control groups.

While the National Rifle Association is still expected to battle the law in court, gun control groups celebrated news that the petition drive had failed, reports Alex Jackson in the Capital-Gazette.

The deadline to submit more than 18,000 signatures calling for a referendum on the legislation passed this year by the General Assembly came up short with pro-gun petition organizers needing roughly 1,000 more signatures, writes Meredith Somers of the Washington Times.

PETITIONS ON DEATH PENALTY FALL SHORT: Maryland’s death penalty will be wiped from the books in October now that efforts to reinstate capital punishment have fallen short, reports Erin Cox in the Sun.

PETITION FATIGUE: Experts say a public weary of referendums — last year’s efforts to kill Maryland’s laws permitting same-sex marriage, in-state tuition for some illegal immigrants and redrawing legislative districts all failed — and lack of financial and organizational support made it harder to collect signatures, writes Andy Brownfield for the Washington Examiner.

THERAPIST BOARD: After an unsuccessful bid to criminalize the sexual abuse of patients by their therapists, supporters of Lynette’s Law are demanding the removal of some key members on the Board of Professional Therapists and Counselors, their biggest opponents in last session’s bill hearings, Becca Heller reports in MarylandReporter.com.

MINORITY CONTRACTING PROGRAM: Luke Rosiak of the Washington Times reports that records show that corporations given millions of dollars in contracts under Maryland’s minority-contracting program virtually never grow into thriving businesses that are profitable in the private sector — a primary goal of the program.

TRANSPORTATION JOBS: Kelsi Loos of the Frederick News-Post blogs about a number of state transportation-related jobs that are open, are being filled or are being shuffled, including an opening for an MVA investigator.

BONGINO TO RUN FOR CONGRESS: Severna Park Republican Dan Bongino will not run for governor in 2014. Instead, he’ll pursue the 6th Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. John Delaney, writes Alex Jackson for the Capital-Gazette.

John Wagner of the Post reports that Bongino said he was confident that he could have won the GOP nomination in what is shaping up as a crowded race to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley. But, he said, “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

CRAIG ANNOUNCEMENT: The leading Republican contender for Maryland governor is set to officially announce his bid on Monday, while a leading Democratic hopeful plans to name his running mate, writes the Post’s John Wagner. Republican Harford County Executive David Craig is expected to tout his leadership experience as he makes his 2014 gubernatorial bid official in front of his home in Havre de Grace around 9 a.m.

CUMMINGS BACKS BROWN-ULMAN: U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings will announce today that he is endorsing the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial ticket of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.

THE LONG CAMPAIGN: Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com blogs about the race for governor, the announcements that will be made today and what could become a trend: the never-ending campaign season.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation banner ad top dogGANSLER’S NEXT STEP: Attorney General Doug Gansler removed any lingering doubts about whether he might seek re-election rather than run for governor, releasing a statement Saturday vowing not to seek a third term, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.

As Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and his running mate, Ken Ulman, celebrate their new political partnership today in Columbia, the question is what will Gansler’s next move be, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun. Does the attorney general have an effective counter to Brown’s jack rabbit start and recruitment of a top-tier ticket mate?

Despite calls from some political observers for Gansler to formally announce his candidacy for governor, Gansler’s campaign strategist said there is no rush, blogs Alexander Pyles in the Daily Record.

LT. GOV. IVEY? David Moon at Maryland Juice recounts other punditry on the gubernatorial race, then if you scroll down to Juice #1, you can view a video of Bruce DePuyt interviewing Del. Jolene Ivey on the race and read Moon’s take on the interview: Ivey for lieutenant governor on Gansler’s ticket?

JIM SMITH: Barry Rascovar in PoliticalMaryland.com discusses the political implications of Jim Smith’s appointment as transportation secretary.

CROWNSVILLE: Former Capital editor Tom Marquardt has a long feature on the sorry history of the Crownsville State Hospital, including the medical experimentation on its mostly black patients.

VAN HOLLEN VISITS FARMS: Ike Wilson of the Frederick News-Post writes that U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s five-hour visit with local farmers last week ended on a positive note for the producers. “From a farmer’s perspective, we appreciated that our congressman values what agriculture contributes to the environmental and economic sustainability of farms and beyond,” said New Market farmer Lisa Gaver.

HARRIS’ SEEKS HUMAN CLONING BAN: U.S. Rep. Andy Harris is trying for a second time to ban human cloning, according to the Salisbury Daily Times. The second-term Republican from Maryland’s 1st Congressional District last week introduced a carbon copy of a bill he sponsored during the last session of Congress.

$3 MILLION IN CASINO GRANTS: County Executive Laura Neuman will get $3 million to hand out in grants to community organizations within 3 miles of the Maryland Live! casino under the budget proposal set to be approved Tuesday by the County Council, reports Allison Bourg for the Capital-Gazette.