October 18, 2013

State Roundup, Friday, October 18, 2013

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$90 MILLION DEFICIT: Alex Jackson of the Capital-Gazette reports that Maryland lawmakers on Wednesday were told to expect a general fund deficit of nearly $90 million at the end of fiscal 2014. The state originally projected a $290 million budget surplus for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. (This expands on Thursday’s MarylandReporter.com blog about the same hearing.)

$6 MILLION MOVE: The Department of Legislative Services says the state will likely spend $6 million to move the Department of Housing and Community Development from Anne Arundel to Prince George’s County, writes Alex Jackson in the Capital-Gazette.

SAYLOR DEATH SUIT: The parents of a developmentally disabled man who died after being handcuffed at a Frederick County movie theater have sued Regal Cinemas and the county in federal court, report Alison Knezevich and Carrie Wells for the Sun. Gov. Martin O’Malley met with the parents in September and said he would seek better training for law enforcement in how to respond when they encounter people with disabilities.

The parents of Robert Ethan Saylor, 26, who died in January as he was being forcibly removed from the theater by off-duty sheriff’s deputies moonlighting as mall security guards, filed a wrongful-death suit in the U.S. District Court of Maryland, alleging violations of their son’s civil rights and of the Americans with Disabilities Act, writes Danielle Gaines in the Frederick News Post.

INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING: Bryan Sears, in his inaugural Eye on Annapolis column for the Daily Record, reports that a poll released by the Greater Baltimore Committee has found that a majority of Marylanders say they want a more independent process when it comes to the decennial redrawing of state legislative and congressional districts.

Len Lazarick’s blog in MarylandReporter.com has a chart from the same poll. Statewide, 73% of those surveyed said they prefer redistricting to be done by an independent commission.

SHOOTING RANGES: Maryland might require applicants for a new handgun license to shoot a gun first, but it does not require the many private ranges in the state to open their doors to those applicants, Kate Alexander reports in the Gazette.

LONGSHOREMEN STRIKE: Kevin Rector of the Sun reports that a strike launched Wednesday by hundreds of longshoremen who work the Port of Baltimore’s docks idled one of the region’s big economic engines.

But striking longshoremen at the Port of Baltimore worked at least one cruise ship Thursday as their stoppage closed the port’s cargo terminals for a second day, reports Kevin Rector of the Sun. Despite the strike by International Longshoremen’s Association Local 333, union dockworkers handled luggage and performed other tasks Thursday for the big cruise ship, tied up at the Cruise Maryland terminal in Locust Point.

FOUR FOR CECIL JUDGESHIP: Four lawyers have reached the next level as they vie for a recently added fourth Cecil County Circuit Court judgeship, the Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts announced Thursday. Carl Hamilton of the Cecil Whig reports that Clara Campbell, Thomas Klenk, Brenda Sexton and Dwight Thomey will be interviewed for the job by Gov. Martin O’Malley because the Trial Courts Nominating Commission for District 2 selected them as the top candidates from a field of six applicants.

FICKERS FOR 15: Former Del. Robin Ficker, 70, and his son Flynn, 31, have formed a slate, Fickers for 15, and are running as Republicans for the General Assembly in 2014, Kate Alexander writes in the Gazette. Robin is seeking to be a state senator, Flynn, a delegate.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook has items about Del. Ron George as a poet; and Juice’s David Moon, as blogger and candidate for delegate.

NO BALTIMORE CANDIDATE: Barring a highly unlikely, last-minute Baltimorean’s entry into the governor’s race, this is the first time in more than a century that no one from Baltimore will appear on the gubernatorial ballot, writes Gazette columnist Blair Lee.

IVEY SLAMS BROWN: Del. Jolene Ivey, the brand-new running mate of Maryland Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Doug Gansler, took a swing Thursday at her ticket’s chief rival, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, over the state’s bumpy rollout of its health exchange, reports John Wagner for the Post.

MIZEUR WIDENS PRE-K PLAN: Del. Heather Mizeur turned her attention Thursday to a popular topic for Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls — expanding access to pre-kindergarten education — and put forward a more ambitious plan than her rivals, writes John Wagner in the Post.

Her plan would expand pre-kindergarten to 3-year-olds and overhaul the state’s income eligibility requirements for child care subsidies, Erica Green reports in the Sun.

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FOREHAND UNDECIDED: District 17 Sen. Jennie Forehand, who has served in the state General Assembly for more than one-third of a century, is uncertain about whether she will seek another term, Louis Peck reports in Bethesda magazine. “I haven’t made my mind up for sure,” Forehand, 77, said late last week. Del. Luis Simmons is running for the seat regardless.

 HARRIS’ NAY CRITICIZED: Democrats who will potentially be facing U.S. Rep. Andy Harris in next year’s election weighed in on this week’s events in the nation’s capital and the congressman’s “nay” vote to H.R. 2775, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution that ended the shutdown and raised the debt ceiling, reports Chris Polk for the Easton Star Democrat. Harris’ was the only opposing vote out of eight from Maryland’s congressional representatives. He is also the only Republican in the delegation.

GILCHREST ON CONGRESS: Sun columnist Dan Rodricks speaks with former U.S. Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, a moderate Republican who continues to watch Washington from his Eastern Shore home. What he sees is a political system dominated by sociopaths.

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