July 9, 2014

State Roundup, July 9, 2014

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JOURNALISTS ASK OBAMA TO STOP NEWS SUPPRESSION: Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com reports that the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Newspaper Association and 36 other journalism and open government groups sent a letter to President Obama Tuesday asking him to stop “politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies.”

“Over the past two decades, public agencies have increasingly prohibited staff from communicating with journalists unless they go through public affairs offices or through political appointees,” the letter said. “This trend has been especially pronounced in the federal government. We consider these restrictions a form of censorship — an attempt to control what the public is allowed to see and hear.”

SOMERSET WIND PROJECT: Months after Gov. Martin O’Malley vetoed a bill that would have all but killed it, sponsors of the stalled proposed industrial wind turbine project are re-energized to win formal approval from Somerset County Commissioners, reports Deborah Gates for the Salisbury Daily Times.

MARYLAND KEEPS AAA RATING: Maryland kept its coveted AAA bond rating this week, an accomplishment that allows it to continue borrowing cash more cheaply than most states, Erin Cox reports in the Sun. Gov. Martin O’Malley heralded the rating from New York bond agencies Tuesday as proof of his sound fiscal stewardship of Maryland. He pointed out that only seven states kept a credit rating that high throughout the recession.

MVA’S LAST-MINUTE RENEWAL NOTICES: When Jim Maguire returned to his Pikesville home recently after a week out of town, he found a reminder from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration to renew the registration on his car waiting in the pile of mail. “I was just going to set it aside and look at it in another month,” the longtime Marylander said. “I just assumed it didn’t apply to me immediately.” Luckily he didn’t, because it did apply to him immediately and to thousands of other Marylanders who received renewal notices just days before their registrations were set to expire, writes Kevin Rector in the Sun.

HOPKINS TO HIKE SOME WAGES: Agreeing to increase the wages of its lowest-paid workers, Johns Hopkins Hospital has reached a tentative agreement with 1199SEIU, the Brew has learned. Mark Reutter reports that after months of tense negotiations and under the threat of a second strike, the hospital agreed to a $14.50-an-hour minimum wage for workers with 15 years of experience next year, according to union spokesman Jim McNeill.

REMEMBERING CURRY: Don Mohler, chief of staff for Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, writes a very personal and moving remembrance of his longtime college friend, the late Wayne Curry. He recalls several events that added to his own education and made Curry a much-admired role model. The piece appears in Center Maryland.

BLIND VOTER SUES: A blind voter who had a “horrific” experience voting during the primary election has filed a new complaint against the state election board, adding to the list of grievances in a lawsuit initiated by the National Federation of the Blind in May, writes Glynis Kazanjian for MarylandReporter.com.

A blind voter who had a “horrific” experience voting during the primary election has filed a new complaint against the state election board, adding to the list of grievances in a lawsuit initiated by the National Federation of the Blind in May. – See more at: http://marylandreporter.com/2014/07/08/blind-voters-suing-elections-board-in-hope-of-online-ballot/#sthash.xU1tAqwy.dpuf

RADICAL ELECTION REFORM: Opinionmaker Blair Lee, writing in the Gazette, is urging radical election reform. “Let’s scrap Maryland’s primary election system, which is undemocratic and helps contribute to political polarization. Thanks to closed primaries, the people who govern us are more politically extreme than those they govern,” he writes.

SHORE BALLOTS COUNTED: After two rounds of absentee and provisional ballot counting, the winners announced after the June 24 primary remain on top, reports Daniel Divilio of the Kent County News. The final batch of absentee ballots was counted Monday, July 7. The first absentee canvass was held June 26 and all 22 provisional ballots — 13 Democratic and nine Republican — were counted July 2.

WRITE SOMEONE IN: Annapolis Capital columnist Rick Hutzell is looking for some Democrats to step up to be write-in candidates against Republican who are running unopposed for Arundel council and a state Senate seat. He’s even throwing out some invitations — one to Bob Woodward. Yes, the “newspaper guy.”

AFTER TIE, ELDER CHOSEN: Every vote counts. That’s the message Worcester County Commission candidate Ted Elder is pushing following an unprecedented tie between he and another Republican candidate following the primary election. The Whaleyville resident was selected to move on to the fall’s general election by the Worcester County Republican Central Committee on Monday, writes Charlene Sharp in the Salisbury Daily Times.

  • higgy01

    During the recent primary I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of questions I was asked to verify my eligibility to vote. The only thing missing was a photo ID, which is still needed. I still balk at early voting which I think is a disservice not only to the population but also un-Constitutional. If you are unable to vote on the assigned date we still have absentee ballots. As far as I am concerned early voting encourages voter fraud as has happened in this state in the past.