July 31, 2013

State Roundup, July 31, 2013

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RISING SEAS PART 3: FLOODING MORE COMMON: In Part 3 of CNS’s series on rising sea levels and the effect on Maryland in MarylandReporter.com, Lauren Loricchio and Emilie Eastman write that, in Baltimore’s waterfront neighborhoods, flooding is so common that many residents view it as an inevitable nuisance. Some families who have lived along the water for generations have seen dozens of floods and storm surges and have chosen to stay. But recent changes could test their resolve.

EXPANDING BAY BRIDGE: State Sens. John Astle and E.J. Pipkin have a shared goal every year at the start of the General Assembly session — reduce traffic, accidents and fatalities on the Bay Bridge, reports Sara Blumberg in the Capital-Gazette. Their proposal: a $25 million environmental impact study that would start the process of building a third span for the bridge.

VOTING FOR THE DEAD: Two Maryland women attempted to use their dead mothers’ identities to cast illegal votes in last year’s presidential election, reports Jessica Anderson in the Sun. Officials said a Frederick County woman was indicted for attempting to cast an absentee ballot for her mother, who died two months before Election Day. And a Montgomery County woman allegedly got her deceased mother’s voter registration reactivated and cast a provisional ballot under her name, according to the indictment. In both instances, election officials did not count the fraudulent ballots.

COMMON CORE DEBATE: Marc Steiner of WEAA-FM hosts an education roundtable of guests to discuss whether there should be a moratorium on state standardized testing, and debate the coming Common Core curriculum.

HOME PRICES RISE: Kai Reed of WBAL-TV is reporting that the Maryland Association of Realtors says that, mimicking a national increase, Maryland home prices rose 4.3% overall in June.

CARDIN UNHAPPY WITH PENALTY DELAY: U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, a strong advocate for 2010 Affordable Care Act, said that he was disappointed in the Obama administration for delaying the penalty on large employers who don’t offer insurance, reports Chris Goins in MarylandReporter.com.

CRAIG ON SCHOOLS: In the third and final part of Cindy Mumby’s interview with gubernatorial candidate David Craig for the Dagger, the Harford County executive reflects on his time in office, criticizes the state’s process for funding school construction and dismisses Maryland’s number one ranking in education.

FROSH RUNS FOR AG: State Sen. Brian Frosh, a veteran Montgomery County Democrat known for his work on gun laws and the environment, announced his candidacy for attorney general Tuesday, saying he wants to be “the people’s lawyer,” report Erin Cox and Michael Dresser for the Sun.

LEGGETT APPEALS PEPCO HIKE: Ben Pershing of the Post is reporting that Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett said Tuesday he would appeal a decision by the Maryland Public Service Commission to grant Pepco a $27.9 million rate increase and a new surcharge to bolster the electric grid, calling the proposed hikes “premature and unwise.”

The PSC granted Pepco $27.9 million of a $60.8 million request for higher rates as well as $24 million of a $192 million surcharge the company requested to levy on top of what customers already pay, the Gazette’s Kate Alexander report. For the average customer, that would raise monthly electric bills $2.41 plus an additional 6 cents in the first year.

CITY TAX BILLS: Up to 300 Baltimore City homeowners are seeing a jump in property tax bills because the city says they have received excessive credits for historic renovations, writes Scott Calvert for the Sun. The city has promised not to seek back taxes from homeowners who benefited from miscalculations made by the state. But city officials have made upward adjustments on tax bills starting with the fiscal year that began July 1 — prompting complaints of unfairness from homeowners in the 10-year program.

HOWARD SALARY PANEL MEETS: Howard County’s newly appointed compensation review commission met for the first time on Monday, to begin the process of deciding next term’s salaries for the county executive and council members, writes Amanda Yeager for the Howard County Times.

NEUMAN A VEGETARIAN: There was Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman on Monday, eating her way through a tour of Pasadena businesses hurt by the closure of the Stoney Creek Bridge: Salad at Jimmy T’s, corn on the cob at Pasadena Seafood, a snow cone from Parrot Ice. But nowhere was meat or seafood on the menu. That’s because Neuman is the first vegetarian to hold the office, reports Kate Yoon for the Capital-Gazette.

AA COUNCIL CANDIDATE: Anne Arundel County school board member Andrew Pruski announced he is running for the District 4 seat on the County Council, Tim Pratt reports for the Capital-Gazette.

ALEX MOONEY: National Review writes about former state Sen. Alex Mooney, former state GOP chair, and his quest to be a congressman from West Virginia.

FIRM TAKES OVER FREDERICK FACILITY: The Frederick County-owned nursing and assisted living homes are set to see a change in management this week, as the company interested in buying the facilities gets a jump-start on running them, Bethany Rodgers reports in the Frederick News-Post.