October 24, 2013

State Roundup, October 24, 2013

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***MarylandReporter.com editor Len Lazarick will be questioning the three Republican candidates for governor on WCBM, 680 AM, from 10 a.m. till noon TODAY (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 station. The program can be listened to live online.***   

GANSLER AT TEEN PARTY: In just the latest dustup over gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler’s judgment, when the Maryland attorney general arrived at a house party of teenagers in June, he pushed through the crowd, past youngsters dancing on a table and a smattering of red plastic cups. Gansler said this week he stopped by the beach house to talk briefly with his teenage son. He said he does not remember whether he saw anyone drinking. But even if he had, Gansler said, it was not his responsibility as a parent or a high-ranking law enforcement official to intervene. Erin Cox and Michael Dresser report the story.

But Robert McCartney, apparently unaware of the latest controversy when he wrote this column for the Post, says that it would be a shame if Gansler’s reckless back-seat driving and cocksure style killed his bid for governor so quickly that he missed a chance to rattle the complacency of the state’s Democratic establishment.

GANSLER TICKET: In a video from Tuesday, WBAL TV I-team is claiming credit for breaking the story about Gansler’s speed-camera ticket in D.C. Jayne Miller has the report. We linked to the Post story yesterday.

CASINO UPS ANTE: Greenwood Racing Inc. showed its hand Wednesday in its bid to build a casino in Prince George’s County, reports Kevin Rector of the Sun. The owner of Pennsylvania’s largest casino said it would plow $100 million into local road improvements and generate $30 million a year in tax revenue for the state, in part by accepting a higher state tax rate than required by law, if it wins the gambling license.

AMAZON WAREHOUSE: The location of a million-square-foot Amazon warehouse on Broening Highway where a GM assembly plant once stood means 1,000 jobs for Baltimore, but it also means that Maryland will now be able to collect sales tax on all Amazon purchases, since the Internet company will have a physical presence in the state, Carrie Wells and Luke Broadwater of the Sun report.

But, writes Luke Broadwater for the Sun, state and city officials said Wednesday that Amazon.com’s new warehouse in Southeast Baltimore will receive more than $43 million in tax credits — incentives they say helped lure the large company to Maryland.

The editorial board for the Sun says that while it welcomes the new distribution center, it also has reasons to be wary of it.

GUN SALES FALL: Jim Moore says that handgun sales at his Moore’s Gun Shop in Cresaptown before Oct. 1 were the best ever and after that date, the worst ever. “We were selling three handguns a day before Oct. 1,” Moore said. “We’ve sold three total since then, but then that’s what the governor wanted.” On Oct. 1, a new law kicked requiring handgun buyers to buy a license, get fingerprinted and fire one round in the presence of a certified instructor, reports Michael Sawyers for the Cumberland Times-News.

MOVE OVER: Maryland State Police made more than 1,400 traffic stops in one day during a crackdown on drivers who fail to move over or slow down for emergency vehicles, according to an AP report in the Hagerstown Herald Mail. Police say about 1,411 traffic stops on Monday led to 335 citations and 484 warnings for violations of the move over law.

TEXTING’S DANGERS: Rachel Karas of the Frederick News Post writes about the Arrive Alive Tour that is traveling around the country warning drivers against texting while driving. One AAT member said that 80% of motor vehicle crashes are caused by distracted driving and that texting drivers are six times more likely to crash than if they’ve been drinking. Maryland has a new law that makes texting while driving illegal.

DISABILITIES AUDIT: Charlie Hayward of MarylandReporter.com reports that the latest of a series of critical audit reports of the Developmental Disabilities Administration going back 10 years describes extensive failures to collect millions of revenues from the federal government and local jurisdictions and systematic problems that led to chronic underbilling for federal government funds.

UM GOLF COURSE SPARED: A developer says he has no “present plans” to pursue a large, mixed-use development on land now occupied by the University of Maryland golf course, reports Jeff Barker in the Sun. Brian Gibbons had presented Maryland President Wallace Loh with a preliminary plan “to improve transportation connections to the campus and to repurpose some of the university’s golf course,” a plan that drew criticism.

WASTE TO ENERGY: Energy3 LLC of Annapolis is trying to interest Maryland municipalities in a procedure to gasify curbside garbage — and chicken manure — and then turn it into electricity, reports Shantee Woods for the Capital-Gazette. The power generated can be sold back to the grid and create another revenue stream for communities.

BARD ON THE BENCH: Emilie Eastman of CNS profiles Maryland Court of Appeals Judge Robert McDonald for the Cecil Whig, whose colorful words from the bench have attracted attention because they are also clear.

DISTRICT 26: As the end of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s tenure in Annapolis approaches, one of his aides, David Sloan, a special adviser in O’Malley’s office of intergovernmental affairs, planned to announce he is running next year for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates representing from District 26, writes John Wagner for the Post.

ROBEY MAJORITY LEADER: Democratic Senate President Mike Miller announced Wednesday night that Howard County Sen. Jim Robey will become majority leader of the Senate for Robey’s final year. He replaces Sen. Rob Garagiola who resigned in August, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.