May 9, 2014

State Roundup, May 9, 2014

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OPINIONATORS ON THE DEBATE: Sun TV critic David Zurawik assesses the gubernatorial debate from the gubernatorial debate and finds that both Doug Gansler and Anthony Brown failed to measure up to their aspirations for the governorship while Heather Mizeur seemed to be the most ready and responsible of the three. Zurawik even gives moderator David Gregory decent marks for his handling of the debate.

THE FACTS: As is inevitable in an election debate, the Democratic candidates for Maryland governor stated as facts some things that, to put it kindly, could use a bit more context. The editorial board for the Sun parses three – one from each candidate.

BROWN BRINGS MAKEUP ARTIST: Before the three Democrat candidates went on stage for the first televised debate hosted by NBC, the network offered to lend their makeup artists to the candidates. Both Doug Gansler and Heather Mizeur accepted but according to a copy of the pre-debate schedule obtained by the Sun, Anthony Brown “will do his own make-up,” using a makeup artist that his campaign manager said he is “kind of chatty” with.

GANSLER UNSCRIPTED: Even when he has a script to follow, Maryland gubernatorial hopeful Doug Gansler is an unscripted sort of guy — a reporter’s dream and a campaign manager’s challenge, writes Jenna Johnson of the Post, who takes a close look at the gem of a phrase Gansler dropped on the audience: “We parent on the fly,” and what the rest of his statements actually add up to.

HOME INVASION PENALTIES: On Wednesday, some of the victims of home invasions joined Del. Susan Lee, Sen. Jennie Forehand and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy to celebrate the passage and signing of a bill that treats home invasion with harsher punishments than burglary. Some of the victims spoke about the harrowing situations they were put through, and Tiffany Arnold writes the story for the Gazette.

NEW POT LAW: The Capital News Service, in an article in the Chestertown Spy, writes an explainer on the state’s new marijuana law. Offenders caught with less than 10 grams of marijuana will not be arrested, face jail time or receive a criminal record.

DISTRACTED DRIVING CITATIONS: State troopers are increasingly writing tickets for distracted driving offenses, according to Maryland State Police data. Kelsi Loos of the Frederick News-Post reports that, moreover, toughening Maryland’s ban on cellphone use while driving appears to have increased such citations.

RAPISTS’ PARENTAL RIGHTS: Sen. Jamie Raskin said he will try again next General Assembly session to pass legislation to make it easier for judges to strip parental rights from men who allegedly fathered children through rape, reports Steve Lash for the Daily Record. The 2014 bill, dubbed the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act, passed the Senate on a 46-0 vote but died in the House Judiciary Committee without ever coming up for a vote.

OYSTERMEN PROTEST: Gail Dean of the Dorchester Star, in a story that appeared in the Cecil Whig, reports that oystermen and lawmakers have banded together to ask the state Department of the Environment to stop placing an fossilshell-clay substance from a Florida company in area waterways. The intent is to restore oyster reefs, but watermen say it causes other problems.

SAVING THE CRABS: In an op-ed for the Sun, former state Sen. Gerald Winegrad offers some ideas about how to save the state’s dying crab population, including cutting back on crabbing, managing nutrient runoff and protecting underwater bay grasses.

LEAKING WEALTH: Donald Fry, in a column for Center Maryland, writes that no matter what the reasons – and there are many – it appears to be the case that Maryland is leaking its tax base to other states.

VETS GROUP FOR BROWN: Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, an Army reservist who was deployed to Iraq nearly a decade ago, on Thursday announced the launch of a new group to bolster his campaign for governor made up of veterans and military families, writes John Wagner in the Post.

CANDIDATE ROUNDUP: MarylandReporter.com’s ninth monthly roundup of candidates for General Assembly shows the various groups that have endorsed in these races, 10 groups so far. It also adds any campaign finance information that has changed in the past month.

CARDIN DEFENDS SELF: Del. Jon Cardin, who is running for attorney general, expressed remorse Thursday for missing nearly 75% of his committee votes this year but said the votes he missed generally weren’t close, and he needed to spend time with his pregnant wife and young daughter.

HOUSE DISTRICT 30A: Maria Triandos is running for House of Delegates from District 30A. The Annapolis Capital continues its series giving space to the candidates to introduce themselves in a guest column.

CARROLL PRAYS: Carroll County commissioners said Thursday they will resume giving each commissioner a turn opening meetings with a prayer of his or her choice — including those that name Jesus Christ — after a ruling this week from the Supreme Court, Nayana Davis reports in the Sun.