May 1, 2014

State Roundup, May 1, 2014

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POOR PERCEPTION OF BIZ CLIMATE: Maryland’s business and economic development climate suffers from poor perception rather than actual underperformance, according to state officials. Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports that Dominick Murray, secretary of the Department of Business and Economic Development, told the Maryland Economic Development and Business Climate Commission that the perception that Virginia is outperforming Maryland is incorrect.

MODERATES IN ANNAPOLIS: “If it weren’t for the more moderate leadership in the Senate, things would be a lot worse than what they are” in the Maryland General Assembly, Sen. Ed Kasemeyer told Howard County business leaders Wednesday. Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com writes that Kasemeyer, Democratic chairman of the Senate Budget and Taxation, said on business issues like combined reporting and the minimum wage that leaders like himself are keeping progressive forces at bay.

HIGH AND MIGHTY: In an op-ed in the Sun, Thomas Schaller writes, that had somebody told him seven years ago when he started writing for The Sun that one day he would pen a column jointly praising Republican state Sen. Allan Kittleman and former Supreme Court associate justice John Paul Stevens, he would have told her she was high. But that’s the funny thing about weed, isn’t it? Both men helped advance the long-overdue cause of marijuana legalization.

TUBMAN CONTRACTOR:A Dorchester County tourist attraction dedicated to preserving the legacy of Harriet Tubman on the Eastern Shore has drawn ire from a minority group contractor whose bid for the project was turned down, writes Jeremy Bauer-Wolf for MarylandReporter.com. Gov. Martin O’Malley described this as “an irony on top of irony,” at the Wednesday Board of Public Works meeting.

PARKING ETHICS: A representative from University of Maryland Baltimore was lambasted during Wednesday’s Board of Public Works meeting, with board members calling into question how ethical the school’s process was in securing a new contractor. Jeremy Bauer-Wolf of MarylandReporter.com reports that two of the five members of a selection committee to find an operator for the university’s parking facilities were former employees of the winning bidder, which was selected despite the fact another bid came in lower.

MOCO SCHOOLS BOOST: It appears that Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett will have something to show for his labors in Annapolis this year. He told the County Council this week that the state’s Interagency Committee on School Construction is recommending that Montgomery receive $5 million above its anticipated annual payment of $35 million, Bill Turque reports in the Post.

MICA UNION: Part-time college faculty members at the historic Maryland Institute College of Art scored an impressive win on Tuesday when they voted overwhelmingly to bring a labor union on campus for the first time since MICA’s opening in 1826, writes Bruce Vail for In These Times.

CRIMINAL COURT: CNS’s Tamieka Briscoe, writes in the Cecil Whig that in 2013, there were more than 41,000 cases where criminal defendants failed to show up to court in the state, missing scheduled court dates for initial charges that included petty crimes to more serious offenses. In criminal cases, if a defendant does not keep his court date it delays due process and compromises the case.

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CAMPAIGN SLOGANS: Former chair of the Democratic Central Committee Nick Berry, in an op-ed for the Annapolis Capital, writes about campaign slogans – the good, the bad and the ugly.

LESS MEDIA, MORE UNDECIDEDS: Fraser Smith, writing at WYPR-FM, says that number of undecided voters could be traced back to the media’s less-than-vigorous coverage of the races. Newspapers have fewer reporting resources – and there are fewer of them (fewer newspapers, that is). For those diligent voters who wait for the debates, the prospects are no better.

LOW INTEREST, TURNOUT: Laslo Boyd of Center Maryland writes that the race for governor has not stirred the interest of the voters. Start with the fact that the three candidates for Democratic nomination for governor are all coming from offices that have no track record of producing winners. Lieutenant governor may well be the worst position ever created.

ANTI-BROCHINS: Alison Knezevich of the Sun writes that Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced he will formally support Connie DeJuliis in her bid for state Senate. DeJuliis is challenging Sen. Jim Brochin of Towson in the Democratic primary for District 42.

DEM DEBATE DUSTUPS: The three major Democratic candidates for governor of Maryland publicly feuded Wednesday over how often they would debate, with two rivals threatening to hold a televised encounter in Baltimore without the front-runner, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, writes John Wagner in the Post.

PRINCE GEORGE’S ENDORSEMENTS: The Gazette announces its Primary Election endorsements for contested General Assembly races in Prince George’s County.

DISTRICT 17 ENDORSEMENTS: The Gazette also announces its endorsements for District 17 in Montgomery County, for the both House and Senate, saying that in the Senate race, Del. Luiz Simmons and former Del. Cheryl Kagan offer similar views on many issues.