January 24, 2014

State Roundup, January 24, 2014

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Gov. Martin O'Malley delivers the State of the State address Thursday.

Gov. Martin O’Malley delivers the State of the State address Thursday. (mdGovPics)

O’MALLEY’S LAST STATE OF STATE: Gov. Martin O’Malley delivered his final State of the State address Thursday in a speech that promoted his seven years as governor and argued for policies to help the middle class, write Erin Cox and Tim Wheeler in the Sun.

CONCLUSION: Was it a Ron Burgundy moment or was it intentional? Jenna Johnson answers the question in the Post. Johnson and Post colleague John Wagner also offer up a breakdown of the speech by the numbers such as the length of the speech: 31 minutes; times the speech was interrupted by applause: 26

REACTION: Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News Post gathers legislators’ reactions to the speech including Sen. David Brinkley, who said that O’Malley’s policies have had a harmful effect on rural parts of the state. In particular, tax and fee increases have a greater impact on poorer and less populated areas of Maryland.

 WHAT HE DIDN’T SAY: WYPR’s Fraser Smith and Karen Hosler talk about what the governor did not talk about during his speech: the effort to legalize marijuana and what powerful people in Annapolis think about it.

 COMPTROLLER CONTROL: Senate President Mike Miller has been trying to get Comptroller Peter Franchot in line for the better part of the last six years and Gov. O’Malley’s final State of the State address was no different, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.

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STORMWATER JINGLE: A coalition of conservationists fighting to keep Maryland legislators from gutting the 2012 stormwater pollution law hopes a radio jingle will help their cause, writes Pat Furguson for the Annapolis Capital. Scroll down in the article and on the left is a link to the jingle. “Keep the weed killer out of my crabcakes” is the refrain in the 60-second spot airing in the Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, D.C., markets.

70 MPH: State Sen. George Edwards is sponsoring a bill that aims to raise the maximum allowed speed on highways in the state from 65 mph to 70 mph, according to an article in the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

DRUG TESTING: Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times reports that advocacy groups spoke against a proposal to require drug tests for people applying to the family investment program on Thursday. Sen. Richard Colburn, the sole sponsor of the bill, was also at the Senate Finance Committee hearing along with the friend who suggested the change.

SPEED CAMERA AUDITS: Driver advocacy group AAA Mid-Atlantic and some lawmakers urged local governments to conduct audits of their speed camera programs Thursday after learning that a secret audit last year of Baltimore City’s program documented far higher error rates than previously disclosed, writes Luke Broadwater in the Sun.

GANSLER FILES: Attorney General Doug Gansler formally filed paperwork to run for governor Thursday, using the occasion to lament low voter turnout and push a new proposal to expand early voting to include the Saturday before elections, reports Erin Cox for the Sun.

HOGAN’S CHANCES: WYPR’s Fraser Smith opines about Larry Hogan’s race for governor and whether he is just too late in entering the race to win and whether his “non-politician” persona will serve him well in running.

FUND-RAISING RULING QUESTIONED: State Board of Elections members on Thursday raised questions about the staff’s issuance of a controversial ruling that allows the gubernatorial ticket of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown to raise campaign funds while sidelining his opponent, Attorney General Doug Gansler, during the annual legislative session, writes Frederick Kunkle for the Post.

  • Elections board members held the state elections director and her staff accountable at the first public board meeting since she ruled on a controversial fundraising law without the board’s knowledge or consent, reports Glynis Kazanjian for MarylandReporter.com. The ruling benefits Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown but not his chief rival, Attorney General Doug Gansler, because Brown is running with Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, while Gansler’s running mate, Del. Jolene Ivey, serves in the Maryland General Assembly.

HOUGH RUNNING AGAINST BRINKLEY? State Sen. David Brinkley says he has gotten wind of some recent polling activity among his constituents that compares him with Del. Michael Hough, who will be sharing a district with Brinkley thanks to redistricting, Bethany Rodgers reports in the Fredrick News Post. One of the people who contacted him about the surveying was Michael Hillman, a north county resident and editor of the Emmitsburg News-Journal. After getting off the phone with the pollster on Jan. 15, Hillman shot Brinkley an email, letting him know the survey cast the senator “as a tax and spend liberal” Republican In Name Only.