December 3, 2013

State Roundup, Tuesday, December 3, 2013

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BROWN LEADERSHIP: Attorney Dan Clements writes a Sun op-ed critical of the leadership of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown on the implementation of Obamacare. (Clements is a supporter of Attorney General Doug Gansler.)

OBAMACARE AND MD: Maryland has become a national test bed for every liberal public-policy experiment coming out of Washington, D.C. Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, a possible presidential candidate in 2016, and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who would like to succeed him, have concluded that their left flank must be protected in order to win their future primary elections, writes Richard Douglas in the National Review Online. Maryland thus rushes headlong into the Common Core education standards, punitive taxes to comply with EPA mandates, and proposals to raise the minimum wage. Nowhere is this liberal zeal more apparent than when it comes to Obamacare. (Douglas is a former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate and is exploring a race for attorney general.)

MINIMUM WAGE: The minimum wage debate should be about finding the proverbial sweet spot, the point at which workers will be helped but employers not hurt, writes the editorial board of The Sun.

For three-and-a-half hours last week, the Montgomery County Council worked its way through the complexities of a ground-breaking bill to raise the local minimum wage, Bill Turque writes in the Washington Post. But as the proceedings approached the four-hour mark, the council dais began to look and sound like a Thanksgiving dinner where long-simmering family tensions bubbled to the surface.

MD. DEBT CEILING: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com talk about the state’s fiscal deficit and the O’Malley administration efforts to raise the state’s authorized debt.

ANNE ARUNDEL DEVELOPMENT: Under proposed Anne Arundel County legislation proposed by the county executive, residential units could be built in vacant commercial areas and townhouses could be built where shopping centers and offices are zoned, Rema Rahman reports in the Capital. The bill targets a two-mile radius in and around commercially-zoned complexes of at least one million square feet. That applies to Westfield Annapolis, Waugh Chapel Towne Centre, Arundel Mills in Hanover and Marley Station mall in Glen Burnie.

ANNAPOLIS MAYOR: Minutes after being sworn in as the new mayor of Annapolis on Monday, Mike Pantelides vowed to be a watchdog on city finances, and also to work on issues facing the state capital from crime to a sluggish business climate, Pam Wood reports in the Sun.

GRASSO ARUNDEL CHAIR: Councilman John Grasso was elected chairman of the Anne Arundel County Council, the Sun’s Pam Wood reports.

KAMENETZ NOT ENDORSING: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is in no rush to endorse a candidate for governor in the 2014 Democratic primary, blogs Bryan Sears. The first-term Democrat executive was coy about his endorsement when asked in a wide-ranging interview with The Daily Record (behind its paywall.)

TERM LIMITS: Maryland Delegate Michael Hough says he wants his fellow state lawmakers to limit their own terms so part-time legislators don’t turn into career politicians, Bethany Rodgers reports in the Frederick News-Post.

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ASSEMBLY UPDATE: MarylandReporter.com updates its complete list of filings and announcements of candidates for the Maryland General Assembly.

SENIORITY RIGHTS: AFSCME, Maryland’s largest state workers union, will ask the General Assembly to undo a Court of Appeals ruling that would erode traditional seniority protections for thousands of public employees, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun. The state’s highest court held last week that when jobs reopen after layoffs, agencies are not required to offer the positions to previous employees in order of seniority.

SENATE CHESS GAME: State Sen. Bryan Simonaire will join two other lawmakers Wednesday in the first of three chess matches against high school students, the Capital reports. State Sens. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, and Ulysses Currie, D-Prince George’s, will join the Pasadena Republican at Northeast High School for their first High School Chess Challenge game.

BAIL BONDS: Maryland is right to reconsider the practice of bail bonds for those accused of crimes, opines the Post editorial page.

MoCo BUS PLAN: Montgomery’s bus rapid transit looks like a feel-good plan rather than a realistic blueprint, writes Post columnist Robert McCartney.

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***MarylandReporter.com editor Len Lazarick will be on a panel at the annual luncheon of the Maryland Government Relations Association next Tuesday, Dec. 3 along with Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland and Dan Furmansky of Maryland Juice to discuss “Electronic Media and Free State Politics.” Click for details.***