July 10, 2013

State Roundup, July 10, 2013

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COURT LEAVES IT TO LEGISLATURE: Maryland’s Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld the state’s long-standing all-or-nothing approach to assessing fault in civil lawsuits, leaving the choice to legislators to change state law with major implications for consumers and businesses, reports Ann Marimow of the Post. In a 5 to 2 ruling, the court said it has the power to rewrite the rules, which opponents consider harsh and antiquated. But the majority pointed to the General Assembly’s failure to do so as a reason for restraint.

POROUS OR IMPERVIOUS? Baltimore County business owners are criticizing the way the county has imposed its new stormwater management fee, saying officials miscalculated the amount of hard surface on their properties, reports Alison Knezevich for the Sun. The complaints came as a county official acknowledged that the technology used to measure properties cannot tell the difference between surfaces that are impervious and those that are not.

HELP FOR PRINCE GEORGE’S: Jamie Anfenson-Comeau of the Gazette reports that state Sen. Jim Rosapepe told Prince George’s residents Monday that, with $650 million coming to the county for transportation projects, the county is on the road to improving economic development.

RISING SEAS: With sea levels expected to rise in the state, some counties have created plans to deal with the problem. The editorial board for the Frederick News-Post urges counties to deal with the problem in small steps to chip away at the overall prohibitive cost.

COURT OF APPEALS: Barry Rascovar of Political Maryland writes that while it’s good to have a female at the top of Maryland’s court system for the first time – and a historic female-majority court at that, don’t expect the four female judges to be in lockstep with one another. Indeed, there’s a gulf separating written opinions of the decidedly progressive Howard County jurist Lynn Battaglia and the more cautious Eastern Shore jurist, Sally Adkins.

BELL’S LEGACY: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Steve Lash of the Daily Record talk about the career of former Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert Bell, and what he might do now that he is retired.

PROFILING SETTLEMENT: Despite the initial reservations of Comptroller Peter Franchot, the Board of Public Works approved $55,000 to settle a racial profiling lawsuit involving a Philadelphia man who was stopped by the Maryland State Police, Chris Goins reports for MarylandReporter.com.

DISTRICT 12 RACE: Catonsville resident Rebecca Dongarra has become the fifth candidate in the race for one of three seats in the House of Delegates for the new District 12, which includes parts of Catonsville, Arbutus and Howard County, writes Julie Baughman for the Catonsville Times.

CRAIG ON SCHOOL FUNDING: In Part II of the Dagger’s interview with gubernatorial candidate David Craig, who is also Harford County’s executive, Cindy Mumby focuses on a topic raised by the county executive himself: the controversy over county funding for Harford County Public Schools for the fiscal 2014, which began July 1.

GANSLER INTERVIEW: Charles Duffy of Political Pulse on Montgomery Municipal Cable TV does a half-hour interview with Attorney General Doug Gansler, where he gives his most extended answers about why he’s not announcing for governor until September and why he’ll be running when he actually does. It is probably Gansler’s longest and most revealing interview to date.

BONGINO CHAT: If you can tolerate the grating bump music and pop-up ads, you’ll get a chance to hear 6th District congressional candidate Dan Bongino speak with Jackie Wellfonder for about the first five minutes of her new hourlong Red Maryland Radio show.

MOONEY’S W.VA. RACE: Former state Sen. Alex X. Mooney, who resigned as chairman of the Maryland Republican Party in February, said Tuesday he had raised more than $100,000 for a congressional bid in West Virginia’s 2nd District, blogs Alexander Pyles for the Daily Record.

McAULIFFE HAS MARYLAND FRIENDS: Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe will get a little financial help from his friends across the Potomac River today, as the aspirant for Virginia’s top job will be feted at a fundraiser hosted by Gov. Martin O’Malley and other big-name Maryland Democrats.

WORCESTER REDISTRICTING: Worcester County grew by more than 5,000 year-round residents from 2000-2010, according to the 2010 census. Since the growth was uneven throughout the county and heavy in certain areas, the county is proposing to redraw the lines of the commissioner districts to reflect new population trends, reports Elaine Bean for the Salisbury Daily Times.

ARUNDEL LOBBYIST: The Baltimore Business Journal is reporting that Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman has hired Barbara Wilkins as the county’s new government relations officer. Wilkins has held a similar role with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

REPLACING MAXWELL: Joe Burris of the Sun writes that Anne Arundel County public school officials said Tuesday that they would name an interim superintendent by the end of the month, the system’s first step in replacing outgoing Superintendent Kevin Maxwell, who is heading to Prince George’s County.

School board members aren’t talking about potential candidates — former Arundel County Executive Janet Owens this week confirmed she is interested in the interim superintendent’s job — but did say they are looking for someone who can step in seamlessly, without causing much disruption, writes Tim Pratt for the Capital-Gazette.

Pratt writes that Owens said she got into politics because of education. She received her master’s degree in education from University of Massachusetts-Amherst and was working on her doctorate when she became pregnant, never finishing her dissertation.

REPLACING ALONSO: In an op-ed in the Sun, former Baltimore City school board member James Campell, writes that city school superintendent Andrés Alonso accomplished what few other urban school superintendents have been able to when leaving office. Considered one of the nation’s most successful CEOs and, after six years, one of the longest serving in the city, he left while at the top of his game. The school board, which has said it will conduct a national search, will be hard pressed to find a replacement to match his success.