November 5, 2013

State Roundup, Monday, November 4, 2013

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STATE ARCHIVIST RETIRES AT 70: For the first time in almost 40 years, someone other than Ed Papenfuse is the keeper of Maryland’s memories, reports Michael Dresser for the Sun. Papenfuse, 70, retired last week as state archivist after a career spanning seven governors. Over that time he brought Maryland’s public records from the era of the index card to the digital age, making hundreds of millions of state documents as close as the nearest computer. And he had a lot of fun doing it

F. DOUGLASS TOURS STATE HOUSE:House Speaker Michael Busch pointed to the raised podium, ornate curtains and antique silver — Victorian decor from the 19th century, as he gave a tour to Frederick Douglass-reenactor Michael Crutcher of the State House and its old chamber, where lawmakers outlawed slavery in Maryland, effective Nov. 1, 1864. It’s recognized as Emancipation Day. And to commemorate the 149th anniversary on Friday, Crutcher toured the State House and spoke at Maryland Hall. Tim Prudente writes the story for the Capital-Gazette.

MORE WILDLANDS: Tim Wheeler of the Sun reports that more than a decade after the last addition to the state’s network of wildlands, Department of Natural Resources officials have proposed a major expansion of the legally protected wilderness areas. They want to preserve from development, cars and even bicycles those spots that still harbor rare plants and animals, ancient trees and other remnants of what Maryland looked like before European settlers arrived nearly 400 years ago.

TOKEN STORM FEE COULD BE COSTLY: Frederick County’s 1 cent storm water fee could end up costing tens of thousands of dollars in fines, state environmental officials recently warned. The fee of 1 cent per eligible property is estimated to raise $487 annually for county water programs, reports Bethany Rodgers for the Frederick News-Post.

TAX CUT, WAGE HIKE: Speaking to business people and residents of Queen Anne’s County, newly appointed state Sen. Steve Hershey told the crowd that he fought hard to defeat a minimum wage bill that would have increased minimum wage to $10 per hour over three years. Dan Baldwin reports in the Easton Star Democrat that Hershey said a new bill will be before the General Assembly that will combine the bill to reduce income taxes for corporations and increasing minimum wage,.

SLUDGE SPREADING: Cecil County Executive Tari Moore and the County Council met Friday with state delegates and senators to discuss possible legislation in Annapolis this coming session, writes Cheryl Mattix for the Cecil Whig. One item addressed: The county wants to require the Maryland Department of the Environment to provide better notification to neighbors when a property owner has applied for a permit to spread sewage sludge on agricultural land.

CONGRESS & HEALTH INSURANCE: When a key part of the Affordable Care Act takes effect in January, the ones who will be forced to drop their insurance and find coverage through a health exchange will be those who work in Congress. In an already controversial law, the treatment of members of Congress and their staffs is yet another point of contention, drawing fire from supporters and opponents alike, Lorraine Mirabella reports in the Sun.

WEBSITE PROBLEMS: Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports that Al Redmer, former commissioner of the Maryland Insurance Administration, said state and federal websites set up to help users enroll for insurance under the Affordable Care Act are creating problems for individuals and businesses in the state.

Campaign On leaderboard 11-1-2013

CRABS & VA’S NEW GOV: WYPR’s Joel McCord and Karen Hosler talk about tomorrow’s election for a new Virginia governor and how it might affect the crab population in the Chesapeake Bay.

WHY PEOPLE LEAVE: Responding to recent stories about wealthy Marylanders fleeing a highly taxed state, the editorial board for the Capital-Gazette writes that there is no hard-and-fast figure for the departure of many older Marylanders — not necessarily “rich” people, but merely individuals who have a lifetime of savings and, perhaps, the proceeds of selling a big house they no longer need. But we do know that the number of Maryland taxpayers older than 65 reporting a net taxable income of more than $500,000 declined by 29% between 2007 and 2010

O’MALLEY ON FED CLIMATE PANEL: President Obama has named Gov. Martin O’Malley to a newly created task force on climate change issues, the Sun’s Michael Dresser reports. O’Malley will join more than two dozen other state, local and Native American tribal officials on Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, which is charged with advising the federal government on strategies to deal with the effects of climate change on local communities.

BRAVEBOY ON ATTY GEN RUN: In this video interview, Del. Aisha Braveboy, a candidate for Attorney General, joins Center Maryland to talk about raising the minimum wage, domestic violence legislation, racial profiling and her qualifications as a candidate.

CANDIDATE FILINGS UPDATE: MarylandReporter.com updates our monthly roundup of state Senate and House candidate filings. You can read the complete list here.

ARORA WON’T RUN: Del. Sam Arora (D-Montgomery) told supporters Friday that he won’t seek a second term in next year’s elections, reports John Wagner of the Post. “When my term of office concludes in January 2015, I plan to return full time to my work in the private sector,” Arora said in a blog post on his Web page.

Michael Lavers of the Washington Blade writes that Arora campaigned in support of nuptials for gays and lesbians in Maryland during his 2010 campaign to represent District 19 and co-sponsored a same-sex marriage bill. But he subsequently voted against it, enraging supporters.

TURNER TO CHALLENGE MUSE: Maryland Juice is reporting that a source says that Del. Veronica Turner will be challenging state Sen. Anthony Muse in the June 2014 Democratic primary. Brian Woolfolk, an attorney and policy advocate, also will be challenging Muse in the primary. Turner and Muse are colleagues in Maryland’s 26th legislative district in Prince George’s County, and already former Maryland Democratic Party executive director David Sloan has announced a campaign for the forthcoming D26 open seat in the House of Delegates.

GANSLER FOCUSES ON ISSUES: Attorney General Doug Gansler said Friday that his gubernatorial campaign remains focused on issues Marylanders care about, even as he was still dogged by reporters about a beach house party he attended with apparent underage drinking, reports the Post’s John Wagner.

LOLLAR SITE UP: The campaign web site of Charles Lollar, one of three announced Republican candidates for governor in 2014, is back on line after an absence of almost a week, writes Michael Dresser for the Sun.

MARYLANDREPORTER.COM AT 4: MarylandReporter.com, headed by Editor and Publisher Len Lazarick, just turned 4 on Saturday and also has been accepted as a member of the Investigative News Network.

CECIL TRANSPORT PRIORITIES: Cecil County made it clear Friday that it wants the Secretary of Transportation Jim Smith to understand that it believes that the state is not listening to its priorities, reports Cheryl Mattix for the Cecil Whig. The purpose of the meeting was for the state to tell local officials what projects it is planning in Cecil County over the next six years.

VOTING AT 16: On Tuesday, about 350 16- and 17-year-olds will be able to go to the polls to vote in Takoma Park municipal elections. Last May, the Takoma City Council in May granted that right, making the Montgomery County community the nation’s first to lower the voting age from 18 to 16, Annys Shinn reports in the Post.