September 24, 2013

State Roundup, September 24, 2013

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COMMON CORE TROUBLES: One month into the new school year with rigorous new standards known as Common Core, and a number of glitches have arisen within Maryland’s public school districts. Baltimore County officials are still writing local versions of the lessons. Anne Arundel teachers had trouble getting lesson plans because of a limited number of computers. And Carroll County officials are debating whether the curriculum should have been implemented, reports Liz Bowie for the Sun.

CHARGES DROPPED: Liz Bowie of the Sun reports that the Howard County father whose arrest became a viral web video and a cause celebre of conservative talk radio won’t be prosecuted for disrupting a meeting on state education standards. The Baltimore County state’s attorney’s office dropped assault charges Monday against Robert Small, who had been led out of the Thursday night meeting in Towson by an off-duty police officer.

In writing that Robert Small deserves an apology, opinion-makers at the Sun write that had Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance overlooked Small’s breach of protocol — questions were supposed to be submitted in writing rather than called out by members of the audience — he and the others on the panel might have been able to dispel some myths about what the Common Core entails. Instead, Small’s arrest, which was captured on video, is serving only to fan a misinformed but growing backlash to the new standards.

NEW GUN REG: Those looking to buy a regulated firearm in Maryland after Oct. 1 will be required to shoot one first. Regulations approved Monday will require applicants for a handgun license to shoot one live round first, as part of mandated training, reports Kate Alexander for the Gazette.

About 100 gun-rights advocates protested in Annapolis on Monday afternoon. The Sun has a small story and a photo gallery. John Rydell of WBFF-TV reports on the protest.

RUSH TO BUY GUNS: Marylanders have been rushing to buy guns at a rate of 1,000 a day over the past two weeks, hastening the pace of an unprecedented surge in gun sales, reports Erin Cox in the Sun. More than 102,000 gun purchase applications have been submitted so far this year — twice the number for all of 2011, state police said Monday.

MD LAW WOULDN’T HAVE HELPED: Maryland’s gun laws are widely considered tougher than those of neighboring Virginia, but they would not have stopped the Navy Yard shooter from buying a shotgun and walking out of a store with it the same day, the Sun’s Erin Cox reports.

BAY SUMMIT: A Republican state senator and his daughter, who is exploring a bid to join her father in the General Assembly, will host a summit Thursday on the Chesapeake Bay in Pasadena, according to the Capital-Gazette.

OBAMACARE TRAINING: MarylandReporter.com’s story about broker training for Obamacare has been updated to announce an additional training session next Thursday, Oct. 3.

BRINKLEY MINORITY LEADER: State Sen. David Brinkley of Frederick is back as Senate Republican leader, unanimously elected Monday by the 12-member GOP caucus, which also chose Sen. Joseph Getty of Carroll County as minority whip, reports Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com. Brinkley replaces Sen. E.J. Pipkin of Cecil County, who abruptly quit in August to move to Texas.

Brinkley previously served as minority leader in 2007 and 2008. He has been a member of the Senate since 2003 and served for eight years in the House of Delegates before that, writes John Wagner of the Post.

Getty replaces Sen. Edward Reilly of Anne Arundel County as minority whip. Reilly said he voluntarily stepped aside after Brinkley expressed an interest in running for the top spot in the caucus, reports Michael Dresser for the Sun. Reilly said Getty was Brinkley’s choice to serve as whip.

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GANSLER TO ANNOUNCE: Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler will jump into the 2014 race for governor today, setting the stage for what is likely to be a fiercely competitive contest for the Democratic nomination, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.

Political activist Adam Meister writes about Attorney General Doug Gansler’s ice cream social/announcement for governor in Baltimore, saying that, in 2014 when you go to the polls, remember that most people are not picking the smartest or best leader, they are picking the person who gave them the best ice cream or the person who looks most like them.

MIKULSKI BACKING: Maryland Juice dropped by a campaign rally Monday for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in downtown Silver Spring, where Senator Barbara Mikulski announced her endorsement of Brown for governor. U.S. House Reps. Donna Edwards and Elijah Cummings also spoke at the event. There are full videos of the speeches.

BROWN POLL & SARBANES ENDORSEMENT: Maryland Juice also writes that on Monday, one day before Gansler was set to officially announce his campaign for governor, rival Brown released a double-whammy of press releases, including internal polling results showing Brown with a 22-point lead over his closest rival. It’s still early; the race could easily change in a few months. The other release was an endorsement from U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes.

In a statement referring to the military’s base realignment and closure process, Sarbanes said, “I have had the pleasure of working with Lieutenant Governor Brown on a variety of initiatives, including the effort to implement health care reform in our state and to ensure that the Baltimore region is maximizing the opportunities presented by BRAC.” John Wagner writes the story for the Post.

WOOING LABOR: Three Maryland Democrats running for governor next year sought to convince a labor union of their bona fides on Monday by backing priorities including greater use of collective bargaining agreements on state construction projects, reports John Wagner for the Post.

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney General Doug Gansler and Del. Heather Mizeur of Montgomery County each stressed their records of support for organized labor as they addressed a candidate forum put on by the Maryland-D.C. Building Trades Council at the Turf Valley Resort in Howard County, reports Michael Dresser in the Sun.

Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland has his run down of the race based on Monday’s event.

WBFF-TV reports on the candidates’ forum.

PRINCE G’S TOUTS ITSELF: Prince George’s County, which is trying to position itself as the next big thing in the Washington region, took its road show to the 43rd annual Congressional Black Caucus this weekend, holding a meet-and-greet reception that drew about 300 guests from around the country, reports Miranda Spivack for the Post.

WAGES IN MONTGOMERY: Montgomery County Councilman Marc Elrich of Takoma Park said he still plans to introduce a bill that would raise the county’s minimum wage to $12 an hour, although he won’t be doing it today, as originally planned, reports Ryan Marshall for the Gazette. Instead, the bill could be introduced as early as next week, Elrich said.