October 28, 2013

State Roundup, October 28, 2013

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DWYER SENTENCED: Del. Don Dwyer will serve 20 weekends in jail, beginning Nov. 9 as part of his sentence related to two DUI-related cases over the past year, according to WMAR-TV. Dwyer was sentenced Friday in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to 30 days in jail for each case – 60 days total – but will only have to serve 40 of those days in jail. He also was placed on three years of probation and is not allowed to drink or be around alcohol.

Dwyer pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol in August during a hearing before retired Circuit Court Judge Emory Plitt in Annapolis, reports Kate Yoon for the Capital-Gazette. He was scheduled to be sentenced for his conviction for operating a boat while intoxicated in August 2012, but Plitt agreed to sentence him for both incidents. “He was drunk both times. Let’s face the facts,” Plitt said.

AVOIDING HEALTH INSURANCE: As the federal health reform known as Obamacare takes hold, many community colleges in Maryland and across the country are capping the hours of adjunct faculty — who make up the bulk of their teaching force — to avoid paying for the instructors’ health insurance. The limits put the adjunct teachers on the leading edge of fallout from the Affordable Care Act, whose critics predict that a range of employers will increasingly rely on part-timers to sidestep insurance requirements that go into effect in 2015, writes Tricia Bishop for the Sun.

DELAY IN BIZ HEALTH INSURANCE: An abrupt cancellation of a series of small business exchange workshops by Maryland health officials has fueled speculation that for the second time this year the launch of the small business health insurance exchange, known as SHOP, will be delayed, reports Glynis Kazanjian for MarylandReporter.com.

FISCAL BLACK HOLE: When legislators finished the 2013 General Assembly session in April, they patted themselves on the back for putting the state on a glide path to wipe out Maryland’s long-running structural deficit in the next budget. Think again, writes columnist Barry Rascovar for MarylandReporter.com. That deep, dark fiscal hole has returned big-time. And thanks to the Republican shutdown of the federal government, it will only get worse.

HBCUs IGNORED: Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, in an op-ed for the Afro, writes that, with so many of the civil rights battles behind us, and the satisfaction that comes from the success of African-Americans in business, politics, sports and entertainment, it is no surprise that the assault upon the integrity and historic purpose of our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities has been little noticed by mainstream media and, more sadly, the black community itself.

PHOSPHORUS REGS: State Sen. Steve Hershey has written to Sen. Paul Pinsky and Del. Sandy Rosenberg, co-chairmen of the Joint Committee for Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review, to request a formal hearing on the proposed implementation of the Phosphorus Management Tool regulations, according to an article in the Cecil Whig.

CITY CASINO: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Luke Broadwater discuss the parent company of Baltimore City’s casino and the federal investigation of one if its subsidiaries as well as other troubles. How does this bode for Baltimore’s budding Horseshoe Casino?

JOURNO RAIDED: Alex Pappas of the Daily Caller reports that freelance journalist Audrey Hudson, who used to worked for the Washington Times, says that the Department of Homeland Security and Maryland State Police were involved in a predawn raid of her Shady Side, Md. home on Aug. 6 to search for firearms. Without Hudson’s knowledge, the agents also confiscated a batch of documents that contained information about sources inside Homeland Security and the TSA and documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Guy Taylor of the Washington Times reports that the warrant offered no specific permission to seize reporting notes or files. The Times said it is preparing legal action to fight what it called an unwarranted intrusion on the First Amendment.

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TEA PARTY & RACE: Lauren Loricchio of CNS, in a story that ran in the Chestertown Spy, writes about racism and the tea party in Maryland and across the nation. Some experts say their racism is subtle and lashes out at cultural changes that are happening in the United States.

LARRY HOGAN: Daniel Divilio of the Kent County New profiles Larry Hogan of Change Maryland. He’s an outspoken critic of the state’s Democratically controlled administration. But it is not the party he has a problem with; it is the growing tax burden he sees causing residents and businesses to move elsewhere.

GANSLER & THE PARTY: John Wagner of the Post writes that Attorney General Doug Gansler said in a radio interview Saturday that he was willing to endure a bad week that included “character assassination” to become governor and help people “who have bad days every day.”

Here’s video footage of the party, thanks to Fox News via Maryland Juice. Also Maryland Juice posts a video report from WJLA in which two women are quoted disputing Gansler’s contention that he was at the party for only a short time and that you couldn’t tell if drinking was going on.

Del. Jolene Ivey acknowledged Friday that her running mate, Doug Gansler, should have handled an appearance at a teenage beach house party differently but accused the ticket’s political opponents of “trying to throw dirt every time we’re making progress,” writes John Wagner in the Post.

POLITICAL SETBACK? Jean Marbella of the Sun writes that a gaffe about his opponent’s race, allegations that he is the backseat driver from hell and, most recently, an indelible photograph of him in the middle of a wild party of teenagers — is Attorney General Doug Gansler having the worst run a candidate for higher office can possibly have? In a word, no. The world of politics is as rife with setbacks — from lapses in judgment to serious crimes — as it is with examples of candidates and officeholders who have survived them.

Chris Cillizza of the Post says that last week was Gansler’s worst.

TEEN DRINKING: For Derrick Farmer, a red plastic cup means more than someone serving refreshments on a hot summer day. It’s the universal sign for underage drinking, writes Sara Blumberg for the Capital Gazette. The Meade High School student advocate said the issue came up during a project to prevent teen drinking. “If you’re going to do a video on underage drinking, I told my students two things — don’t actually get drunk and don’t use a red Solo cup.”

Katherine Shaver and Susan Svrluga of the Post report that high schools counsel parents on how to keep their children safe. Police departments along the coast beef up their ranks and issue underage-drinking citations by the hundreds. And Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, under fire for his appearance at a teenagers’ beach-house party, said last week that he should have assumed what has been obvious to so many: Teenagers drink during Beach Week.

BROWN’S BUSINESS COMPACT: John Wagner and Bill Turque of the Post report that gubernatorial hopeful Anthony Brown has proposed a nine-point “compact” with the private sector to boost the state’s business climate and sought to steer clear of questions about his rival’s controversial June appearance at a raucous beach-house party for recent high school graduates.

AFL-CIO ENDORSEMENT: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s gubernatorial campaign picked up another labor endorsement Saturday, after the Maryland and Washington branch of the AFL-CIO voted to back him, reports Ian Duncan of the Sun. Fred Mason, president of the union, pointed to Brown’s defense of collecting bargaining rights, work to boost the minimum wage and support for public schools as reasons for the endorsement.

The group serves as the umbrella organization for labor in the state, claiming close to 300,000 members, and it has traditionally provided substantial on-the-ground resources for candidates it supports, reports John Wagner in the Post.

DISTRICT 9A: If you ask Kyle Lorton, politics shouldn’t be a career ambition. The 55-year-old Republican from Highland  works as a sales director for W.R. Grace & Co. in Columbia, and says he has no plans of retiring anytime soon, writes Amanda Yeager in the Sun. But he recently announced his intention to run for a delegate seat in District 9A, which represents western Howard County and parts of southern Carroll County.

DISTRICT 8: Jeff Quinton of the Quinton Report writes that Rob Santoni’s claim that Baltimore City’s bottle tax caused his Santoni’s Market to go out of business have raised doubts among the mayor and others. Since the closing was announced, there have been reports of unpaid bills to vendors resulting in lawsuits. Additionally, it was reported that the closing was because of unpaid rent. Santoni told the Baltimore Business Journal that, now that he’s closing his store, he is considering running for the State House in District 8 or becoming a lobbyist.

SERVING POLITICIANS, NOT POLITICS: Annapolis restaurants are happy to serve politicians both privately and publicly, but you’ll rarely find a restaurant that also serves up politics publicly, writes Shantee Woodwards of the Capital-Gazette.