July 3, 2014

State Roundup, July 3, 2014

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WAYNE CURRY DIES AT 63: Wayne Curry, an African American power broker in Prince George’s County whose election as county executive in 1994 symbolized the Washington suburb’s transformation from a predominantly white, blue-collar farming community to an enclave of black prosperity, died July 2 at his home in Upper Marlboro, his brother Daryl Curry said. Ovetta Wiggins writes the story for the Washington Post.

BPW CUTS $77M: A panel in Maryland agreed Wednesday to $77 million in cuts proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley  to a state budget that the legislature approved just three months ago, in an acknowledgment that tax revenues are not likely to be as robust as projected, reports John Wagner in the Post.

MD BEACH BOYCOTT: If you’re a District resident planning to vacation in the Maryland havens of Ocean City or St. Michaels this summer, Mayor Vincent Gray and some D.C. activists would prefer you choose a Delaware or Virginia beach instead. A week after Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) successfully attached an amendment to a House budget bill that would overturn Washington, D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization law, Gray and the District’s largest voting-rights advocacy group said city residents would be better off vacationing somewhere besides Harris’s district, which includes all of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

COLLEGE PROBES: The U.S. Department of Education has opened an investigation into Morgan State University’s handling of a reported sexual assault, as the number of colleges nationwide facing scrutiny for their response to sexual violence allegations grows. The investigation into Morgan State was opened June 26, according to a list made public Wednesday that now includes 66 other colleges nationwide, and also includes Frostburg State, Carrie Wells reports in the Sun.

BGE SEEKS RATE HIKE: Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. is asking for its fourth rate increase in as many years, one that would raise distribution charges to residents getting both gas and electric service by nearly $15 a month on average, Jamie Smith Hopkins reports in the Sun.

GAS PRICES BITE: Between gas prices reaching their highest point in six years and a gas tax increase implemented this week, David Blanchard has to pass on a fuel surcharge to customers, writes Shantee Woodards for the Annapolis Capital. Blanchard, of Blanchard Limousines, does not charge extra when gas is at the $3.50 mark. But that has been surpassed and area prices are hovering around $3.70.

THE LONG, YAWN, CAMPAIGN: Last week about 23% of eligible Maryland voters cast ballots in the cantankerous gubernatorial primary — the lowest rate in at least 24 years, if not longer. Jenna Johnson of the Post reports that the low turnout is being blamed on a number of things, but on the top of that list is the decision of Maryland lawmakers to bump the gubernatorial primary from September to June.

HOGAN MUM ON CONTRACEPTIVE RULING: Maryland Republican gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan remained mum Wednesday on a U.S. Supreme Court decision affecting access to contraception as liberal interest groups sought to press him for a position, writes John Wagner in the Post. In a letter to Hogan, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland said that, “Maryland women have a right to know exactly where you stand” regarding the court’s ruling that family-owned businesses do not have to offer their employees contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the owners’ religious beliefs.

SEN. COLBURN ON LOSS: In January, Richard Colburn will not hold a seat in the state Senate for the first time in nearly two decades, writes Phil Davis for the Salisbury Daily Times. Combined with an eight-year stint in the House of Delegates from 1983 to 1991, Colburn has been a state legislator in Annapolis for almost an entire generation. Wednesday,  Colburn  sat down to talk about a number of issues, ranging from his loss in the June 24 primary election to scandals and allegations surrounding his personal and professional life. The article is topped by a short video interview.

44B & 49 VOTES: Representatives from the campaigns of the two candidates vying for second place in the Democratic primary race for state delegate from District 44B sat anxiously watching as provisional ballots were counted at the Baltimore County Board of Elections office at the Bloomsbury Community Center on Wednesday, July 2, writes Lauren Loricchio for the Sun. After the unofficial election results were reported shortly after election day on June 24, Pat Young, of Catonsville, and Aaron J. Barnett, of Woodlawn, were just 49 votes apart.

HOWARD VENDORS BALK:  Amanda Yeager of the Sun reports that on Friday, vendors running booths a Howard County’s flagship fireworks event will have to comply with new regulations on their food and drink offerings for the first time since Howard County Executive Ken Ulman signed an executive order to ban sugary drinks and restrict other junk food in county buildings and at county-sponsored events. While Ulman and health advocates have touted the regulations — the first and only of their kind in the state — as an important step in the fight against obesity, some vendors have balked at what they consider unnecessarily restrictive rules.

NO HOPKINS AGREEMENT: Johns Hopkins Hospital and the labor union that represents 2,000 service workers ended contract talks without an agreement Tuesday night, despite intervention by the governor, reports Andrea Walker for the Sun. The talks were the first since members of the 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East labor union called off a four-day strike last week after Gov. Martin O’Malley asked the two sides to take a one-week cooling-off period.

AA PUBLIC SAFETY: The editorial board for the Annapolis Capital is suggesting that the two candidates for Anne Arundel County executive commit themselves to keeping Laura Neuman’s appointees for police chief and fire chief since they are doing such an excellent job in public safety, or at least address the issue of public safety during the campaign.