July 17, 2013

State Roundup, July 17, 2013

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MIZEUR RUNS FOR GOVERNOR: Del. Heather Mizeur will announce her campaign for governor this morning, writes David Moon at Maryland Juice.

Mizeur, 40, will join a 2014 Democratic primary in which she faces two better-known and better-funded opponents and long odds of prevailing, writes John Wagner of the Post. But she starts with an enthusiastic base of liberal supporters and confidence that she can build a following based on ideas.

The Sun’s Michael Dresser reports that, if elected, Mizeur would become the first woman in Maryland to serve as governor and the first openly gay governor in the nation. Along with Del. Ron George on the Republican side, she also is trying to achieve what no other member of the Maryland General Assembly has done: win a popular election as governor while serving in the legislature.

Harford County Executive David Craig, running for governor, chose Del. Jeannie Haddaway to be his ticket mate for lieutenant governor.

Harford County Executive David Craig chose Del. Jeannie Haddaway to be his ticket mate for lieutenant governor.

HADDAWAY JOINS CRAIG: Republican gubernatorial hopeful Harford County Executive David Craig officially named his running mate Tuesday, announcing Del. Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio to his ticket at an event in Annapolis, Erin Cox writes in the Sun. (Haddaway is dropping her hyphenated married name for the race.)

During a news conference outside the State House, Haddaway promised a more rational approach on taxes and business regulation and better treatment of the state’s rural areas if she and Craig are elected lieutenant governor and governor next year, writes John Wagner of the Post.

Haddaway said being an elected official is about “serving as a voice for those who don’t have one, it’s about being an advocate for those who need one, and, most importantly, it’s about never forgetting the people that elected you in the first place,” writes Josh Bollinger for the Easton Star Democrat.

Haddaway is the first major candidate from the Eastern Shore to run for governor or lieutenant governor in more than 30 years, writes Jennifer Shutt for the Salisbury Daily Times.

FORMER DEL. ALI RUNS FOR …Numerous politicos forwarded to David Moon at Maryland Juice the news that former District 39 Del. Saqib Ali is planning a campaign for the General Assembly in 2014. Saqib Ali’s website does not mention what district he is running in or even whether he is running for House or Senate.

GROUP HOMES IN PERIL: As Maryland works to move a record number of disadvantaged children out of group homes, local advocates say the initiative is going too far, reports Sylvia Carignan for the Gazette. Two of Montgomery County’s four group homes were denied state funding this year. The homes, which provide the children with care and support in a residential setting, are allocated beds through the Maryland Department of Human Resources.

Del, Gail Bates announces for State Senate to succeed Sen. Allan Kittleman in District 9, Howard and Carroll counties. Kittleman, running for Howard County executive, said she would be a better senator than him because of her budget expertise.

Del, Gail Bates announced for State Senate to succeed Sen. Allan Kittleman in District 9, Howard and Carroll counties Tuesday. Kittleman, running for Howard County executive, said she would be a better senator than he because of her budget expertise. There are no other candidates announced or rumored at this time.

PENSION INVESTMENTS: The Maryland state pension system achieved a 10.6% return on its investment portfolio for the fiscal year that ended June 30, bringing the fund assets to a total of $40.2 billion, Chief Investment Officer Melissa Moye told the pension trustees Tuesday, writes Len Lazarick in MarylandReporter.com. The return exceeded the system’s target of 7.75% annual return, and was far better than the dismal results of less than 1% for fiscal 2012.

FRACKING REGS: With Maryland weighing some of the toughest regulations in the nation on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, environmentalists and some property owners are questioning whether the rules go far enough to safeguard drinking water, natural resources and public health, reports Tim Wheeler in the Sun. Meanwhile, an industry representative warned that some proposed rules might be so strict that no company would want to drill in the state.

MODERNIZING SALES TAX: Kate May at Maryland’s Money Matters blog is suggesting a series of steps to modernize Maryland’s sales tax, including taxing specific services and online sales, bookings and downloads.

CELL PHONE TAX RATE: Maryland taxpayers paid higher rates on cell phone taxes than 38 states did in 2012, writes Chris Goins for MarylandReporter.com. Combined state and local taxes on cell phones of 12.77% made Maryland the 12th highest in the nation, according to a study by the D.C.-based Tax Foundation. With federal taxes added into the mix, that rate rises to 18.59% for Marylanders.

BELL & CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE: It was supposed to be a grand finale for Maryland’s top jurist, Robert Bell – a sweeping re-ordering of this state’s ancient negligence standards by wiping out the common law doctrine known as contributory negligence, opines Barry Rascovar in his Political Maryland blog. But a funny thing happened on the way to Bell’s retirement as chief judge of Maryland’s Court of Appeals: He couldn’t get his colleagues to go along with him. Be sure to read the entire column, when Rascovar quotes Judge Glenn Harrell, the only judge to side with Bell.

MIKULSKI AS LEADER: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Jill Lawrence of National Journal talk about U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, her ability to work across the aisle and her role as a leader among the Senate’s 20 female members.

HARRIS ON ZIMMERMAN VERDICT: John Fritze of the Sun writes that U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, Maryland’s sole Republican representative in Congress, is receiving attention for comments he made on WMAL radio Tuesday about last week’s verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman. “We’re hung up on this one case where this one fellow was in fact found not guilty by a jury,” Harris said during the interview. “That’s the way the American law system works. Get over it.”

ARUNDEL COLLECTS PENALTY: Alex Jackson of the Capital-Gazette reports that Anne Arundel County Public Schools will collect a $20,000 contract penalty for Superintendent Kevin Maxwell’s early departure for the Prince George’s County school system.

Three-fourths of the penalty will be picked up by Prince George’s County, and Maxwell will cover the rest through pay for leave time, writes Joe Burris in the Sun.

GANG LEADER TO PLEAD GUILTY: The alleged Black Guerrilla Family leader who is accused of masterminding a sophisticated operation to smuggle drugs and other contraband into the Baltimore City Detention Center will plead guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge, Ian Duncan is reporting in the Sun.