May 6, 2014

State Roundup, May 6, 2014

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MINIMUM WAGE BILL SIGNED: Vowing to strengthen Maryland’s middle class, Gov. Martin O’Malley signed legislation Monday that will gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour — his No. 1 legislative priority for the last of his eight years in office, reports Michael Dresser for the Sun.

Prior to the signing of the minimum wage bill, the new Working Families coalition announced its formation, a progressive group that backs other labor friendly legislation and candidates.

Prior to the signing of the minimum wage bill, the new Working Families coalition announced its formation, a progressive group that backs other labor friendly legislation such as mandatory paid sick leave.

BOOZE BAN: Adam Bednar of the Daily Record reports that fans of grain alcohol should start stocking up. Gov. Martin O’Malley signed into law on Monday a bill banning the sale of alcoholic beverages with an alcohol content of 95% or more (190 proof).

E-CIGS & HEALTH: Alissa Gulin of the Daily Record reports that state Attorney General Doug Gansler sent letters Monday to 10 companies that manufacture electronic smoking devices to air his concerns about the products’ potential health risks, particularly to children.

SMALL MONEY POLITICS: U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes talks with Dan Rodricks of WYPR-FM about his idea to get more Americans and so-called “small money” involved in political campaigns, a way to counter recent Supreme Court decisions that favor big money and corporations.
HENSON CARAVAN: Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland takes a ride on the Julius Henson campaign caravan as it goes from place to place making voters aware of Henson’s run against state Sen. Nathaniel McFadden.

DISTRICT 18 VERBAL FISTICUFFS: Louis Peck of Bethesda Magazine writes that the contenders in Montgomery County’s marquee state legislative race – Del. Luiz Simmons and former Del. Cheryl Kagan – have been circling each other for months, each suggesting the other is preparing to run a bare-knuckled campaign. Their first face-to-face encounter put on public view the acrimony that has surrounded the contest for the Democratic nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Jennie Forehand in Rockville/Gaithersburg-based District 17.

GAZETTE ENDORSEMENTS

BAKER ENDORSES IN DISTRICTS 22, 23, 47: Arelis Hernández of the Post reports that Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker on Monday endorsed a series of candidates in the June 24 Democratic primary, including his son, who is making his first run for public office, and a businesswoman and minister who is challenging longtime state Judiciary Committee chairman Joseph Vallario.

MISSING IN ACTION: In a scathing column for the Gazette, Blair Lee gives Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown a working over for missing a candidates forum that was scheduled long in advance and to which the other Democratic candidates – Doug Gansler and Heather Mizeur – attended. Says Lee: He promotes himself as a military medal-winner and courageous leader but he’s afraid to debate Doug Gansler and Heather Mizeur?

ON COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY: Democrats running for governor in Maryland are chiming in on a national issue that is especially popular with young voters: What can they do to make college more affordable? Jenna Johnson of the Post writes that, as with their stances on many issues, the candidates are in agreement that elected leaders should do more to keep the cost of getting a college degree within the grasp of all Maryland students but especially those from low- and middle-income families. But they vary in their plans of actions.

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BROWN’S JOBS PLAN: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown today will unveil a $112 million, four-year plan aimed at creating jobs and improving Maryland’s business climate, reports Jeff Barker in the Sun. The lieutenant governor’s plan would be funded by state tax revenues it anticipates will be derived from two large, long-planned transportation projects – Baltimore’s Red Line and the Purple Line in the Washington suburbs.

GANSLER TOUTS BAY EFFORTS, EDUCATION: Attorney General Doug Gansler highlights Maryland’s role in Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts in a new ad that will begin airing tomorrow in his campaign for governor, writes Jeff Barker in the Sun. In a second ad, Gansler pledges “to lift up all of our kids” if elected governor by placing new emphasis on teachers’ skill over seniority.

GUBERNATORIAL DEBATES:The second debate among the four GOP candidates for governor has been scheduled for May 31 on the Salisbury University campus, Jeff Barker writes in the Sun. The 60-minute debate will be broadcast and streamed live, beginning at 7 p.m., by WMDT 47, an ABC affiliate, and moderated by Ernie Colburn of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce.

O’MALLEY ON REDDIT: Gov. Martin O’Malley participated in an Ask Me Anything thread on reddit yesterday. The potential 2016 presidential candidate faced some tough questions. You can read the long conversation here.

NEUMAN-SCHUH DEBATE: In a column for the Annapolis Capital, longtime Annapolis resident and Steve Schuh backer Mike Collins anticipates the upcoming debate between Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman and challenger Del. Schuh by proposing 10 questions to ask the candidates.

‘ARUNDEL PROUD’ CAMPAIGN: Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman launched an “Anne Arundel County Proud” campaign Monday as part of her second State of the County address to business groups, reports Pamela Wood in the Sun. During a 50-minute speech, Neuman highlighted people in the county who have made a difference for others, including a firefighter who rescued a child from a well and a police officer who nabbed a man who had allegedly used Craigslist to line up victims. She called them up to the stage and then removed her jacket to reveal an “Anne Arundel County Proud” T-shirt.

NEUMAN DIVORCE RECORD: An order has been temporarily overturned to seal the divorce record of Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman after the Capital and other news media requested the case be opened to the public, reports Tim Prudente for the Annapolis Capital.

JESUS PRAYERS BACK IN CARROLL: Christian Alexandersen of the Carroll County Times reports that Jesus Christ has been allowed back into the Carroll County Board of Commissioners’ meeting room. On Monday, U.S. District Court of Maryland Judge William Quarles lifted the temporary injunction he placed on the commissioners in late March to stop their practice of opening meetings with sectarian prayers.