October 23, 2013

State Roundup, October 23, 2013

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CASINO CONCERNS: Luke Broadwater of the Sun reports that Maryland gambling control officials said Tuesday they’re “concerned” about allegations in other states involving the company building Baltimore’s casino, Caesars Entertainment Corp. Caesars said Monday that one of its Las Vegas businesses is the subject of a federal investigation into money laundering and that it was pulling out of a $1 billion casino venture in Massachusetts amid concerns in that state about an investor’s possible ties to organized crime.

GANSLER PAYS SPEEDING TICKET: Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler on Tuesday used personal funds to pay a $400 speed-camera ticket issued to his state-owned vehicle 16 months ago that he had previously denied receiving, reports John Wagner of the Post.

Gansler issued a statement Tuesday saying he had paid the ticket himself even though he says the identity of who was driving his state-issued vehicle at the time of the violation has not been determined, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.

***MarylandReporter.com editor Len Lazarick will be questioning the three Republican candidates for governor on WCBM, 680 AM, from 10 a.m. till noon Thursday morning. Harford County Executive David Craig, Anne Arundel County Del. Ron George and Charles County businessman Charles Lollar will be appearing on the Tom Marr show guest hosted by Pat McDonough, the Baltimore County delegate who is a long-time talk show host on the politically conservative station. The program can be listened to live online.***

REDISTRICTING REFORM: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Andy Green of the Baltimore Sun talk about the business community’s support for redistricting reform and how it might mount a successful campaign to get it.

Common Cause’s Jennifer Bevan-Dangel talks with the folks at Center Maryland about the organization’s successes during last year’s legislative session, concerns about what is happening to the media, and issues surrounding legislative redistricting.

TEXTING’S DANGERS: In an op-ed in the Sun, Susan Yum, whose 5-year-old son was killed in a texting-while-driving car accident that also seriously injured herself and other family members, urges awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. She says she is reminded of the struggles by Mothers Against Drunk Driving in the 1980s. Prior to advocacy work by MADD, drinking and driving was just how people got home, and it was considered normal behavior.

CHICKEN POOP: Starting at 6:30 a.m., five days a week, Ray Ellis sends out a small crew from his local farm in Millsboro, Del., to perform one unique and smelly task: piling up and collecting tons and tons of chicken litter from area farms, to sell. “It’s a pretty good business,” Ellis said. But now, he fears that business could fall apart as Maryland prepares to implement new regulations on phosphorus in the soil, CNS’s Robbie Feinberg reports in the Easton Star-Democrat.

$1 STORMWATER FEE: Allison Bourg of the Capital-Gazette reports that, in his first legislative act since returning to the Anne Arundel County Council last month, Councilman Daryl Jones introduced a bill Monday to lower Anne Arundel’s stormwater fee to $1 a year. If passed, the measure would make Anne Arundel County’s fee one of the lowest in the state.

In July, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation received a nearly $2,000 yearly stormwater bill for its headquarters off Bay Ridge Road in Annapolis, bills of $102 each for its education center on Colbert Road and three smaller properties on Holly Beach Farm Road. While many might cheer the idea of paying less, that’s not the case for an organization that promotes Chesapeake Bay restoration, Allison Bourg reports in the Capital-Gazette.

MARRIED IN MARYLAND: A terminally ill Ohio man who chartered a private medical jet to Maryland to get married, died Tuesday, according to his lawyer. He was 47. Spurred by a recent ruling on same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court, the man and his partner were married on a runway at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on July 11, writes Tim Swift in the Sun.

TECH FIRM FOR CANDIDATES: Herb Sweren and Barry Silverman worked in political campaigns for years as an avocation, while they pursued careers in marketing and advertising. But a couple of years ago, after working together on a Baltimore County campaign, they decided to put their professional skills and political experience into a business using the latest technology that could improve the ground game for state and local candidates. Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com profiles them and their business.

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CROWDED DISTRICT 12: Julie Baughman of the Sun reports that Nick Stewart, a former speech writer for Gov. Martin O’Malley, has joined the crowded field of candidates for the three open delegate seats in District 12. Stewart added his name to a group that includes the daughter of a former state senator, a former state delegate, two former candidates for Baltimore County Council, a former candidate for Howard County Council, two Columbia physicians and a Howard County teacher.

MO CO COUNCIL PAY HIKE: The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday approved a proposed 17.5% pay hike for members taking office after the 2014 elections, but to deflect constituent criticism eight months before the primary elections, the council decided to phase in the raise over four years, Bill Turque of the Post is reporting.

Ryan Marshall of the Gazette writes that the council’s pay would increase from $104,291 — the level as of December 2012 — to $136,258 on Dec. 4, 2017.

SUBDIVISION RECONSIDERED: Jen Bondeson of the Frederick News Post reports that Frederick’s Zoning Board of Appeals is considering whether to reverse the city Planning Commission’s decision to subdivide Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living Facility. Subdividing the land allows the Board of County Commissioners to proceed with selling it and privatize the centers.

***Former Gov. Marvin Mandel is being honored by The Sobeloff Law Society this Thursday evening, 6-9 p.m., at a dinner at Ten Oaks Ballroom in Clarksville. Tickets are still available for the event or contact Brian Barke at (301) 309-8300***