June 18, 2013

State Roundup, Tuesday, June 18, 2013

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BONGINO VS. DELANEY: Republican Dan Bongino says that the decision to run for the 6th Congressional District seat held by Rep. John Delaney was an “obvious choice” for him and the campaign. After all, he argues, his 2012 Senate campaign “performed really well up there.” “The folks like us,” Bongino said. “ I like the people.”

FINANCIAL COMPLAINTS: Maryland ranked No. 2 in the nation in mortgage complaints per capita, second only to New Hampshire, for grievances lodged with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Eileen Ambrose reports in the Sun.  The state came in third for grousing about credit cards and placed fifth for gripes about banks and service.

TEACHER PREPARATION: Teacher preparation programs in the nation and Maryland are part of “an industry of mediocrity” that is failing to give young teachers the skills to succeed in the classroom, according to a report by the National Council on Teacher Quality, write Liz Bowie and Erica Green in the Sun. Two of the highest-profile teacher preparation programs in the state — Towson University and the Johns Hopkins University — received low rankings.

CITY BUDGET: Baltimore residents will pay less in property taxes but more in stormwater and taxi fees under a $2.4 billion budget approved by the City Council on Monday, Luke Broadwater reports in the Sun.

BALTIMORE FOAM BAN: Fern Shen at Baltimore Brew reports the proposed Styrofoam cup and container ban is being sent back to committee.

LAWMAKERS REACT TO NAVAL ACADEMY ALLEGATIONS: Annapolis lawmakers are stunned at the sexual assault allegations at the Naval Academy, reports Mike Hellgren for WJZ.

FILMING AT THE STATE HOUSE: The Maryland State House is providing the set for the Netflix show “House of Cards” this week, reports John Wagner in Maryland Politics for the Washington Post.

Kevin Spacey is one of the actors scheduled to be at the filming, reports Ashley Michelle Williams and the Associated Press on WBAL.

VACANT HOMES: Baltimore City officials say there are 16,000 vacant houses in Baltimore while the federal count is at 23,000, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has made eliminating them a priority, P. Kenneth Burns reports in a series about vacant homes on WYPR.

RAIN TAX: An editorial in the Frederick News-Post says “It’s hard not to see the $25,000 the Frederick County Commissioners have allocated to a coalition of rural counties to resist the so-called, state imposed ‘rain tax’ as a waste of money.”

In the Salisbury Daily Times, Jennifer Shutt reports on farmers’ complaints about the new requirements for stormwater runoff.

STORMWATER FEES: Scott Calvert of the Baltimore Sun talks on the air about how the Baltimore City Council is putting together its stormwater fee structure, which is due July 1. Fraser Smith hosts on WYPR’s Inside Maryland Politics.

RECORDINGS ON BUSES: Democratic State Sen. Jim Brochin is taking a dim view on a controversial policy to allow audio and video recordings on public buses, and the Maryland General Assembly’s rejection of a bill he sponsored that would have ended the practice, reports Bryan Sears on Patch.com.

HOSPITAL SEPSIS COMPLAINT: Upper Chesapeake Hospital and Harford Memorial Hospital have high rates of sepsis compared to other hospitals, Patrick Lovett of Bel Air says in a letter to the Maryland Health Care Commission printed at The Dagger.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE VEGAS TRIP: Less than a month after she spent five days at a shopping center convention – and took time out to marry City Hall’s top lobbyists, Lisa Harris Jones and Sean Malone, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel – Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will be back in Las Vegas on Thursday for a weekend-long meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, reports Mark Reutter in Baltimore Brew.

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BROWN-ULMAN FINANCES: Center Maryland columnist Josh Kurtz examines the complexity of  finances for the new ticket of Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman for governor and lieutenant governor.

RUSHERN BAKER: As Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker nears the end of his first term and prepares to announce on Thursday his bid for a second, he can claim several successes on his promises about ethics reform, Miranda Spivack reports in the Post. But he has also abandoned one of his biggest promises, the creation of an independent Office of Inspector General, and recently there were accusations that politics played a role in the awarding of a major county contract.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Cara Hedgepeth in the Gazette writes about a new documentary to be screened Sunday at the American Film Institute that follows the fight for marriage equality in Maryland.

GET YOUR GUNS: The looming Oct. 1 implementation of a new state law restricting sales of certain firearms in Maryland has instigated a run on guns in Carroll County, reports Jon Kelvey in the Advocate, with residents forgoing previous preferences in order to get a hold of any gun still available.

WASHINGTON COUNTY HOME RULE: Del. LeRoy Myers  is hosting a discussion Wednesday on the possibility of moving Washington County to a charter form of government because he believes it would enable the county to make decisions locally and bring government closer to the people, Kaustuv Basu reports in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

DELEGATE RACE: Howard County School Board member Janet Siddiqui will run for delegate in district 13, Sara Toth reports in the Howard County Times.