July 22, 2013

State Roundup, July 22, 2013

Print More

AUTO TERMINAL FOR SPARROWS POINT? The Maryland Port Administration wants to build an auto terminal at the former Sparrows Point steel mill in the next few years, speeding plans to bring jobs to an area hungry for them. But some residents object to the dredging that will come with the project — fearing that such work will disturb toxic material left in the water after decades of steelmaking, reports Jamie Smith Hopkins in the Sun.

AEROSPACE INDUSTRY: Gov. Martin O’Malley will be emphasizing Maryland’s aerospace industry as a big part of the state’s innovation economy when he visits ATK Space Systems Division today, according to an AP brief at WMAR-TV.

CALVERT CLIFFS AT RISK: Chris Goins of MarylandReporter.com writes that a new report from the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School lists Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant as one of almost 40 nuclear reactors across the U.S. that is at risk of closing early.

SAFE ENERGY EXPLORATION: In an op-ed for the Sun, Dan Ervin, a professor of finance at Salisbury University, writes that energy exploration and production and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive. And the hydraulic fracturing industry could learn a lot from the experiences of the nuclear energy industry.

OPEN GOP PRIMARY:In urging the Maryland GOP to hold open primaries, the opinionmakers at the Sun write that what the party needs is someone like Maine’s current and former U.S. senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, whose middle-of-the-road positions appeal to a broad spectrum of voters. The GOP won’t get a second shot at the state’s top jobs if it remains satisfied with winning an election once every quarter-century or so.

But Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland disagrees, saying that now is not the right time to open the state’s Republican primary to independents.

CUT CORPORATE TAX RATE: In an op-ed in the Sun, Christopher Summers, of the Maryland Public Policy Institute, writes that as state legislators start talking about cutting taxes, the best place to start just could be the corporate tax rate.

HEALTH EXCHANGE: Maryland took a bold step when it decided to become what the federal government classifies as an “early innovator” in setting up its own health care benefit exchange to offer health insurance to individuals and small companies under the Affordable Care Act, writes Donald Fry for Center Maryland. But will the market – especially the young adult market – be there?

GOP HOUSE LEADERSHIP: Bryan Sears of Patch.com reports that Dels. Susan Aumann and John Cluster, both Baltimore County Republicans, have been chosen to serve as assistant minority whip and deputy minority whip respectively within the House of Delegates’ minority party leadership.

GOVERNOR’S RACE TALK: Red Maryland attends the Tawes Clam and Crab Bake and interviews a number of politicos concerning the governor’s race and how it is shaping up.

Dan Rodricks of WYPR-FM speaks about the latest in gubernatorial politics with political columnist Barry Rascovar of politicalmaryland.com, and Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland. That discussion starts around minute 17.

ON CRAIG’S RUNNING MATE: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times talk about David Craig’s choice of running mate in the 2014 gubernatorial campaign, Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio.

While crowds were eating crabs in Crisfield last Wednesday, a small demonstration took place in Lawyer's Mall at the State House with a cake honoring the July 17 birthday of Elbridge Gerry. The name of the Revolutionary War patriot and Massachusetts governor is the origin of the word "gerrymander," for politically motivated legislative redistricting. Common Cause, the League of Women Voters and other groups are organizing to change Maryland's system of partisan line-drawing that led to the strangely shaped congressional districts seen on the cake.

Piece of cake: While crowds were eating crabs in Crisfield last Wednesday, a small demonstration took place in Lawyer’s Mall at the State House with a cake honoring the July 17 birthday of Elbridge Gerry. The name of the Revolutionary War patriot and Massachusetts governor is the origin of the word “gerrymander,” for politically motivated legislative redistricting. Common Cause, the League of Women Voters and other groups are organizing to change Maryland’s system of partisan line-drawing that led to the strangely shaped congressional districts seen on the cake.

CARDIN ANNOUNCEMENT: Campaign aides to Baltimore County Democratic Del. Jon Cardin say he will make a “major announcement” today in Baltimore on a bid for state attorney general, reports Robert Lang for WBAL-AM. Cardin, the nephew of U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, has been exploring a bid for months.

Here’s the video of Cardin’s official campaign announcement released Monday morning, including comments from his Uncle Ben Cardin.

DISTRICT 1C HOUSE: Saying he believes in smaller government, lower taxes, individual rights and fewer bureaucratic regulations, Republican Ray Givens of Hancock announced on Saturday his candidacy to become state delegate from District 1C representing portions of Allegany and Washington counties, according to a story in the Cumberland Times-News.That seat is currently held by LeRoy Myers, who announced earlier this year that he will not seek re-election.

PG BEATS ARUNDEL IN STATE FUNDS: Jack Lambert of the Capital-Gazette writes about the discrepancy in state funding for projects in Anne Arundel County and those in Prince George’s County.

MORE SLOTS FOR PG: The Post’s John Wagner reports that a planned Prince George’s County casino could have significantly more slot machines than were authorized by the Maryland legislature when it opens in 2016, according to a newly issued opinion by a state lawyer.

DETROIT BANKRUPTCY BACKLASH: As local governments watch the saga in Detroit unfold, they are mulling the ripple effect on their own bond sales. In Prince George’s County, one of a handful of jurisdictions with the coveted Triple A bond rating, the county’s chief administrative officer said he thought the impact would be minimal, writes Miranda Spivack for the Post.

LEGGETT BIRTHDAY FUNDRAISER: There was nothing but warmth for Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett at his birthday fundraiser Saturday at Smokey Glen Farm in Gaithersburg, a stifling 90-plus degrees of it. “This is not a day for long campaign speeches,” said Leggett, who announced last month that he would seek a third term in 2014.

YOUNG VOTING BLOC: Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News Post writes that Commissioners President Blaine Young says there’s no point in denying the existence of a Frederick County voting bloc led by him. The four-commissioner alliance becomes particularly obvious during hot-button decisions. Commissioner David Gray has been a voice of dissent from his seat on the panel’s right flank, but in each of these decisions, he has been alone. Here’s a graphic depicting the situation.