June 25, 2013

State Roundup, June 25, 2013

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R&R FOR O’MALLEY: The state of Maryland’s trade mission to Ireland has ended, but Gov. Martin O’Malley is lingering this week for a little “personal time … hanging out with friends and family” in Ireland, according to his office. He is lodging with extended family at no expense to the state, writes the Post’s John Wagner.

TALKING O’MALLEY: In a very long article, Jill Lawrence of the National Journal profiles Gov. O’Malley in light of his possible run for president and asks the question “Is it time to take” him seriously?

VAN HOLLEN MEETS TEA PARTY: The founder of Carroll County tea party group We the People sent out an email urging members to give Rep. Chris Van Hollen a “WTP welcome” when he visited Carroll Community College Monday night. The six-term democratic congressman from District 8 was met with insults, jeers and yelling during half of his two-hour meet-and-greet, reports Christian Alexandersen for the Carroll County Times.

Here’s a WBFF-TV report on the evening’s event.

CANDIDATES DOWN THE OCEAN: With hundreds of local officials from across Maryland gathered in Ocean City this week for the Maryland Municipal League conference, several of the state’s 2014 gubernatorial hopefuls are doing their best to make a lasting impression. John Wagner of the Post is reporting.

MILLER TO RUN AGAIN: Maryland Senate President Mike Miller said he expects a lot of turnover in his chamber in 2014, but he’s staying put, if re-elected, reports Daniel Leaderman of the Gazette. Miller, 70 — who has served in the Senate since 1975 and as president since 1987 — told The Gazette Monday that he’ll run again in 2014.

LOLLAR NOT RUNNING, YET: Charles Lollar invited bloggers in for pizza to tell them why he wasn’t actually running for governor, but very well might be in a month. The reason: the Pentagon made him do it, blogs MarylandReporter.com.

WHITE MALE SYNDROME: Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland writes it’s tough to be a white male in Democratic politics these days. Just ask Brian Feldman, the state delegate from Montgomery County who instantly became the odds-on favorite to succeed state Sen. Rob Garagiola.

BURNS TO RETIRE: Bryan Sears of Patch.com writes that there will be no sixth term for Del. Emmett Burns. Burns, 72, said “The legislature has become too liberal for me. I don’t need the headache anymore.” In particular, Burns was a leading opponent of legalizing same sex marriage.

RUNNING IN DISTRICT 12: Eric Ebersole, 55, who has taught in Howard County for 33 years — 22 at Wilde Lake High School — is running to fill one of three open seats in the House of Delegates in what will be District 12, which includes part of Catonsville, Arbutus and part of Howard County, writes Julie Baughman for the Sun.

RUNNING IN DISTRICT 5: Haven Shoemaker, a Republican serving his first term on the Carroll County Board of County Commissioners, announced his candidacy for state delegate from District 5 in 2014 Monday in front of about 25 people, writes Blair Ames in the Sun. Shoemaker stressed his experience as a commissioner, Hampstead town councilman and Hampstead mayor in a 10-minute address.

RAIN TAX DOESN’T DO ENOUGH: Tom Horton, in an op-ed for the Sun, writes that the worst thing about Maryland’s “rain tax,” the state-mandated fee, is that it doesn’t do enough to help the Chesapeake Bay and its feeder streams. The science makes it clearer every year that past a fairly low level of development, water quality in a given watershed begins to decline, regardless of stormwater control programs.

WHICH MEETINGS ARE OPEN: In an opinion piece for the Kent County News, Craig O’Donnell explains why some task force meetings are open and others are not. He writes that, in Maryland, a government-sponsored group can be formed to consider any issue, but guaranteed access by the public is there only if it’s created in certain ways. To be open to the public a task force has to be “formally” created. That means a law, a resolution, action by a chief executive (the governor or one of his agents, or a mayor or county executive); bylaws or charters count; so does the state constitution.

EARLY VOTING IN MO CO: A new law expanding early voting throughout Maryland calls for three new voting centers in Montgomery County and leaves the door open for a fourth new one, reports Daniel Leaderman of the Gazette. The county had five early voting centers in the last election.

CHALLENGE TO BERNSTEIN: Marilyn Mosby, a former assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore City and the wife of City Councilman Nick Mosby, announced Monday she plans to challenge State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein by running to become the city’s top prosecutor, reports Luke Broadwater of the Sun.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE ELECTED: Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is bringing home a new honor following her five-day trip to Las Vegas – election as second vice president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, according to Baltimore Brew. Under the group’s rules, Rawlings-Blake is in line to become president of the organization in 2015.

PROSECUTOR OUT: Newly sworn-in Anne Arundel State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess has handpicked longtime prosecutor Kathleen Rogers to be her second-in-command, ousting Thomas Fleckenstein from the position and ultimately causing his termination or resignation from the office Monday morning – depending on whom you ask. There’s some interesting behind-the-scenes back and forth in the story, written by Heather Rawlyk for the Capital-Gazette.