June 21, 2013

State Roundup, Friday, June 21

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TEACHER EVALUATIONS: Teachers in most Maryland school districts may get a one-year reprieve from being judged on student test scores, as U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has indicated he would consider delaying the requirement, report Liz Bowie and Erica Green in the Sun.

RYAN AT GOP: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s nominee for vice president last year, challenged the Maryland GOP on Thursday night to follow the example of the party in his home state of Wisconsin and take back the State House, writes the Sun’s Michael Dresser.

The juicy red meat of the steaks on the dinner plates was matched by the red meat politics Rep. Paul Ryan dished out to 400 Republican Party faithful at the Maryland GOP’s annual Red, White & Blue dinner Thursday night at Baltimore’s Renaissance Hotel, Len Lazarick blogs at MarylandReporter.com.

ANNE ARUNDEL EXEC: Capital columnist Paul Foer dissects the campaign announcement of Joanna Conti for Anne Arundel county executive and wonders why more Democrats aren’t supporting the only one running.

NO SWIMMING: The start of summer lures many Marylanders to the Chesapeake Bay and area rivers for a dip along the shoreline, reports Pamela Wood in the Sun. It also brings increased monitoring of beach and water quality, and sometimes dire warnings about bacteria levels.

COPPIN STATE PLAN: An action plan to revitalize Coppin State University, a historically black institution with the lowest graduation rate in Maryland, is before the state university system’s Board of Regents, which is expected to vote on the proposal Friday, Tricia Bishop reports in the Sun.

SENATE TURNOVER: Daniel Leaderman in the Gazette writes about turnover in the state Senate with the retirement of Sen. Nancy Jacobs.

CRIB BUMPER BAN: Maryland’s statewide ban on the sale of crib bumper pads takes effect Friday, reports WBALTV. The Maryland Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics supports the ban, reports Ashley Michelle Williams and the Associated Press for WBAL.

DELAWARE LOSES GAMBLING REVENUE TO MARYLAND: One third of all the gaming revenue flowing into Delaware casinos used to come from the state of Maryland. But now revenues from Delaware casinos are down $45 million in casino revenue year-over-year, reports WBFF Fox Baltimore.

GAS TAKE HIKE: In just ten days, Maryland gets its first gas tax increase in 20 years, Kai Jackson reports for WJZ.

RAIN TAX COLLECTION DELAY: Howard County Executive Ken Ulman says the county won’t begin collecting the so called “rain tax” next month as scheduled, Rob Lang reports for WBAL.

BALTIMORE LIQUOR BOARD ISSUES REMAIN AFTER AUDIT: The Baltimore City Liquor Board is still approving licenses without all the documentation, despite a scathing state audit that asked for an end to the practice, blogs Christina Schoppert Devereux for CommunityLaw.org, as reported by Baltimore Brew.

POLITICS DISCUSSED ON RED MARYLAND: Eugene Craig talks about his run for the House of Delegates and bloggers discuss the 2014 gubernatorial election on Red Maryland.

BAKER REELCTION BID: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III kicked off his 2014 reelection campaign Thursday evening, telling about 500 supporters at a private fundraiser that his record of reform has begun to lift the county out of bureaucratic stagnation and political corruption, the Post’s Miranda Spivack writes. But he said he needed a second term to complete ambitious plans to streamline government, revamp the school system and transform the county into an economic engine.

INVESTIGATION INTO JAIL CORRUPTION: A roundtable of guests discusses a statewide investigation into the corruption at the Baltimore City Detention Center, along with other local news and politics on the Marc Steiner Show for WEAA Radio (Morgan State University).

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CEOS WEIGH IN ON COMPETITIVENESS POLICY: CEOs from the  region gathered at the Hilton Baltimore on June 12 for a day-long series of workshops to begin drafting a private sector-driven strategy to strengthen competitiveness, reports Donald Fry on Center Maryland.

POT POSSESSION: A recent ACLU study that found disparate enforcement of marijuana laws in Maryland and throughout the nation raises important and difficult questions about how we use our resources to combat crime, generally, and the possession and sale of marijuana, specifically, writes Baltimore State’s Attorney Greg Bernstein in a Sun op-ed. The report also highlight the disproportionate impact that criminal enforcement of marijuana laws can, and does, have on minorities.

GOVERNOR’S RACE: The two leading Democrats in Maryland’s gubernatorial race are sparring over the significance of a poll being circulated by Lt. Gov. Anthony  Brown’s campaign that shows him with an early lead over Attorney General Douglas Gansler, John Wagner reports in the Post. According to an email sent to Brown supporters Thursday, the poll showed Brown ahead of Gansler, 37 percent to 20 percent, among likely Democratic primary voters in the 2014 race. Forty-three percent were undecided, and the poll question did not include Del. Heather Mizeur or any other potential candidates.

Professor John Willis, Gov. Glendenings’s political strategist, gives his take on the governor’s race and Martin O’Malley’s future in a vide for Center Maryland with Damian O’Doherty.

ANNAPOLIS MAYOR: Just when it was starting to look as if the Annapolis mayoral race would be uncontested, Republican Robert O’Shea says he wants to unseat incumbent Democrat Josh Cohen, Elisha Sauers reports in the Capital.

JUICE SCOOP: David Moon, who runs the blog Maryland Juice, is eyeing a bid for the Maryland House of Delegates in 2014, writes Kate Alexander in the Gazette, getting a scoop on a blogger who is usually the top grinder of the Democratic rumor mill. Moon, 34, of Silver Spring said Thursday in a phone interview that a run for District 20 is “a likely outcome,” for him, adding that he plans to make a formal decision around Labor Day.

BLACK CAUCUS CAVALRY: For years, landowners along a decades-old gravel road in Sandy Spring known as “Farm Road” have fought for fair recognition of their land. Now, Maryland’s Legislative Black Caucus is stepping in to help with a hearing on the problem, the Gazette’s Kate Alexander reports.

CRUISE SHIP POLLUTION: Gazette columnist Blair Lee is wondering why Maryland’s environment-friendly governor is going to bat for cruise ship lines which burn dirty fuel, emitting the same pollution as 12,000 cars.