May 19, 2014

State Roundup, May 19, 2014

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WIND BAN BILL VETO: Gov. Martin O’Malley vetoed a bill Friday that would have halted a huge wind energy project on the Eastern Shore, prioritizing renewable energy over the concerns of a major military installation in Southern Maryland, Erin Cox and Tim Wheeler report in the Post.

TRANSGENDER FEAR FACTOR: The editorial board for the Frederick News Post writes that first comes the disgust, then comes the rationalization. Failing that, make up a scary scenario out of whole cloth. A catchy slogan or nifty graphic? So much the better. Cheapen or dehumanize the other side? Bonus points. Pay attention. You’ll see all of this at play in the debate over Maryland’s new law to prevent discrimination against transgendered individuals, and the efforts of Mdpetitions.com and Del. Neil Parrott, a Washington County Republican, to petition the law to referendum.

CYBERSECURITY: Lizzy McLellan of the Daily Record reports that Politico on Friday said that state politicians across the nation are battling to own cybersecurity. And Maryland made it to the top of the narrative with Gov. O’Malley’s courting of companies that specialize in it.

SERIAL DRUNK DRIVERS: Brian Shane of the Salisbury Daily Times writes a long piece on drunken driving laws in Maryland and how some serial offenders can keep offending and stay on behind the wheel.

MOONEY FINDS ACCEPTANCE IN W.VA.: Former Maryland state legislator Alex Mooney won a crowded Republican primary race in West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District last Tuesday night, instantly becoming the favorite to replace GOP Rep. Shelley Moore Capito in the House and handing the outside groups that supported him a big win in an open House seat, report Jack Fitzpatrick for the National Journal.

KURT’S IN; BRIT’S OUT: Political solon Barry Rascovar writes in MarylandReporter.com, writes that in 24 hours last week, Maryland higher education underwent a rapid shakeup. First came the long-expected retirement announcement from William E. “Brit” Kirwan as top dog at the University System of Maryland. Then came the surprise announcement that former Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke is returning to his hometown as president of the University of Baltimore.

HOUSE DISTRICT 30B: The Annapolis Capital op-ed page runs another in its series of candidate introductions, this one by Jim Fredericks, who is running for House of Delegates for District 30B. He writes, “I love our state, its heritage, tradition and wonderfully diverse regions of oceanfront shoreline, mountains, farmland and city life. I cherish the richness of Anne Arundel County, which is why I am a lifelong county resident and have devoted my adult life to service in our communities. My desire is to take that commitment to the State House to fight for issues important to us and long-ignored by many of our elected officials.”

BROCHIN-DEJULIIS RACE: Luke Broadwater of the Sun writes a long piece about the state Senate race between incumbent Jim Brochin, who bills himself as an independent, and Connie DeJuliis, who says he’s not independent, he’s ineffective. The two have been waging campaigns around the district.

ATTY GEN DEBATE: Maryland’s three Democratic candidates for attorney general are likely to debate how to enforce environmental laws, fight high-tech crime and crack down on home foreclosures at their first debate tonight in a race that will likely determine who will be the state’s top lawyer, writes Michael Dresser in the Sun.

JEWISH VOTE: The 2014 primary has a noteworthy number of high profile Jewish candidates running for statewide offices. Some are competing against each other, which could set off a secondary battle for candidates vying for the Jewish vote.

FAUX FUNDING FACTS:The editorial board for the Sun opines that the gubernatorial candidates are employing plenty of faux-specificity about how they will pay for the tax cuts and new spending they’re proposing.

GEORGE FOCUSES ON ECONOMIC GROWTH: In an AP story at WJZ.com, Del. Ron George is highlighting his experience as a longtime small business owner, two terms in Maryland’s House of Delegates and a focus on sparking greater economic development in Baltimore to set him apart from other candidates seeking the GOP nomination for governor of Maryland.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR AA COUNTY: What’s in it for Anne Arundel County? That’s what the Annapolis Capital wanted to know of all the gubernatorial candidates. Alex Jackson writes that as they push on toward the state primary election, now less than 40 days off, gubernatorial candidates in both parties have noticed that there are plenty of votes up for grabs in Anne Arundel County.

PLACING BLAME: In the race to become Maryland’s next governor, Del. Heather Mizeur has in recent weeks studiously avoided directly placing blame for the state’s defective health-insurance marketplace on Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who is in charge of implementing health-care reform. But Mizeur’s running mate, the Rev. Delman Coates, had no problem doing so during a forum in Greenbelt on Friday evening.

BROWN’S MILITARY SERVICE: On a map tucked away in Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s office, there are 68 red dots — indelible reminders of his time in Iraq, writes John Wagner in the Post. The document shows Baghdad’s Green Zone, where Brown was stationed nearly a decade ago as a lawyer with the Army Reserve. Each dot marks a place where a bomb or other explosive detonated during the 10 months he was there, sometimes with deadly consequences.

GANSLER & THE ENVIRONMENT: A 30-second TV spot by Attorney General Doug Gansler touts his record enforcing environmental laws, vowing that if he’s elected governor he’ll continue to fight for clean air and a clean Chesapeake Bay. Tim Wheeler of the Sun fact-checks the ad for accuracy.

GANSLER’S ‘BADGE OF HONOR:’ Jenna Johnson of the Post fact-checks a quote from Anthony Brown concerning Doug Gansler: Was what happened to Gansler a reprimand or a badge of honor?

CARROLL STATE’S ATTY. CANDIDATES: On April 14, Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a bill that decriminalizes marijuana possession effective Oct. 1. Candidates for Carroll County State’s attorney candidates discuss policy and the practicalities of decriminalizing marijuana. Heather Cobun of the Carroll County Times reports on their views.

OPEN MEETINGS COMPLAINT: A Cascade woman is charging Frederick County commissioners with violating state open meetings law by signing agreements with the buyers of two county facilities without voting on the documents, reports Bethany Rodgers for the Frederick News Post.

OPEN MEETINGS VIOLATION: The Carroll County Board of Commissioners has been found in violation of the Maryland Open Meetings Act after Commissioners Richard Rothschild and Robin Bartlett Frazier showed up unannounced to an “Around the County” meeting held by Commissioners Doug Howard and Haven Shoemaker in January, reports Christian Alexandersen for the Carroll County Times. The Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board said the board violated the act because a quorum of more than three commissioners was discussing public business without properly informing the public that there would be a meeting of commissioners.