April 22, 2014

State Roundup, April 22, 2014

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COMMON CORE PART I, HOW IT CAME ABOUT: The Common Core education standards remain a confusing topic for many people, despite the drum beat of media attention. In a three-part series MarylandReporter.com answers some basic questions about Common Core. This first part, written by Margaret Sessa-Hawkins, will focus on the Common Core itself and how it was developed.

‘VEEP’ TO RETURN, ‘CARDS’ A MAYBE: The news that HBO announced that it is renewing “Veep” for a fourth season and will return to Baltimore to produce it is good news given the uncertainty with “House of Cards,” which damaged its image and relationship with Maryland’s legislature through strongarm tactics on film incentives, writes Sun television columnist David Zurawik. The tactics failed, and the legislature authorized $3.5 million less that the producers wanted. But even on this front there was optimism Monday with Deadline Hollywood reporting that Netflix chief content officer told Wall Street analysts that he thinks the differences between the State of Maryland and the producers “over-comeable.”

BIG MONEY, LOCAL POLITICS: The Montgomery County Council is breaking new ground in Maryland as it moves to establish public financing for its local campaigns. And all nine member of the council are backing this local bill, along with a number of organizations, writes the editorial board for the Frederick News Post, which then opines that it would like to see Frederick County adopt a similar model to protect candidates and the voters from the influence of big money.

CARROLL ETHICS ORDINANCE: Christian Alexandersen of the Carroll County Times reports that the Carroll County Board of Commissioners will consider adopting a new county ethics ordinance that would require people running for office, elected officials and certain county employees to disclose more information than previously required. In 2010, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation that mandated local governments adopt ethics laws that are as or more stringent than the state’s laws.

WA CO LEGISLATORS FORUM: Three Washington County legislators on Monday faced questions from their constituents and explained their efforts during the recently concluded session of the Maryland General Assembly at a forum held at Hagerstown Community College, writes Kaustuv Basu for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

SEN. JONES-RODWELL TO RETIRE: Sen. Verna Jones-Rodwell, chairwoman of Baltimore City’s Senate delegation, announced her retirement Monday, effectively ceding her seat to Baltimore County Del. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam after the state merged their districts, reports Luke Broadwater in the Sun. The development marks the latest step of legislative influence leaving the city’s limits — the result of a state redistricting process that will leave Baltimore City with three less lawmakers.

PRIMARY’S KNOWN UNKNOWNS: As we close in on the June 24 primary, Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland writes a rather entertaining column about the “Known Unknowns” of the upcoming races, addressing such questions as can David Craig overcome Larry Hogan’s financial lead in the gubernatorial race for the Republican nomination and will Anne Arundel voters toss out one of the few rising stars in the GOP (Laura Neuman), who has appeal on both sides of the aisle?

GUB CANDIDATES ON BUSINESS: Democrats and Republicans seeking to be governor vied to convince a gathering of technology industry leaders Monday that they had the prescription to supercharge the state’s business climate, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.

GANSLER ON BROWN’S IRAQ SERVICE: Attorney General Doug Gansler disparaged Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s military service, drawing outrage from a veterans group Monday as the two top Democrats condending for the governor’s mansion clashed over Brown’s work history, reports Erin Cox in the Sun.

LABOR ORG. BACKS BROWN: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown picked up an endorsement of his gubernatorial bid Monday from a labor organization representing roofers, plumbers, bricklayers and other building trades workers in the region, writes John Wagner for the Post.

BROWN FIXES BIO: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown changed his state biography in recent days to reflect a previously unlisted five-month stint with the giant wealth-management firm Merrill Lynch about 15 years ago.

CARROLL GUB FORUM: Alisha George of the Carroll County Times reports that Carroll residents will get two chances to hear from Maryland gubernatorial candidates Wednesday without traveling outside the county. The Winters Mill Young Conservatives Club is hosting a bipartisan Gubernatorial Forum 6 p.m. Wednesday in the school’s auditorium. And McDaniel College’s political science department is hosting Republican candidate Larry Hogan at 4:30 p.m. as part of a gubernatorial “What I’ve Learned” lecture series.

COURT UPHOLDS MO CO COUNCIL: Bill Turque of the Post reports that Maryland’s highest court has ruled that the Montgomery County Council acted within its authority in 2011 when it decided not to pay for retirement and health benefits included in a collective bargaining agreement with police.