July 23, 2014

State Roundup, July 23, 2014

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BERETTA MOVES GUN MAKING FACILITY TO TENN: Beretta U.S.A. Corp. will no longer manufacture firearms in Maryland, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. The company will move all of its firearms manufacturing to a new facility being built in Gallatin, about 30 miles northeast of Nashville, Tenn.

STATE DEFENDS LAW: Danny Jacobs of the Daily Record reports that a state ban on certain assault-style weapons and magazines advances Maryland’s interest in public safety, a lawyer for the state argued Tuesday in seeking to throw out a challenge to the law.

IMMIGRANT CHILDREN: Sen. Barbara Mikulski will introduce an emergency spending bill today to deal with the flow of minors crossing the border that slashes $1 billion from President Barack Obama’s original request but that does not include provisions to speed deportations of the children, reports John Fritze for the Sun.

SHERIFFS AT THE BORDER: Sheriffs from all over the nation, including Sheriff Chuck Jenkins of Frederick County, spent two days in McAllen, Texas, last week on a fact-finding mission, and after their firsthand look at the border crisis, some of them are calling for a greater focus on securing the borders.

TRANSGENDER COVERAGE: In a reversal of state health care policy, transgender state employees in Maryland can now access gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy and other transition-related care under their state-provided health insurance plans. The change quietly went into effect at the start of this month as the result of legal negotiations in a discrimination case brought against the state, writes Kevin Rector in the Sun.

FRANCHOT ON WIND: Center Maryland continues its conversation with Comptroller Peter Franchot, who discusses the economic and environmental impact of the governor’s decision to veto a bill that would have disrupted wind energy projects on the Eastern Shore. Franchot also discusses the importance of the General Assembly’s decision to re-couple Maryland’s estate tax with the federal exemption.

VOTER TURNOUT

D.C. CONTINUES TO NEEDLE HARRIS: U.S. Rep. Andy Harris’s Eastern Shore district appeared not to be suffering too greatly from a D.C. boycott prompted by Harris’s marijuana stand. So advocates are now taking their next step in needling the Cockeysville anesthesiologist. Mike DeBonis of the Post writes that the nonprofit D.C. Vote is encouraging residents to share their workaday requests for city services with Harris, a campaign inspired by Harris’s comments on WAMU-FM that for those living “in the federal enclave, then Congress is their local legislature.”

THUMBTACK BIZ GIVE MD C-: Maryland has earned a grade of C- for its small business friendliness from  Thumbtack-Kaufman, which ranked it 27th in the U.S. based on a sample of 359 Maryland businesses from a national survey of more than 12,000 firms that use Thumbtack to connect with customers. Other rankings are often based on government or private data, reports Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.

CSX CONTRACTOR FINED IN FISH KILL: Maryland fined a CSX contractor after a construction project to expand a railroad bridge contributed to the deaths of hundreds of fish along the Northeast Branch of the Anacostia River in Prince George’s County, Arelis Hernández reports in the Post.

JUDGE BARS HERSHEY: A federal judge issued a temporary ban last week on Eastern Shore Sen. Stephen Hershey’s campaign materials that chocolate-maker Hershey says infringe on its copyright — and ordered the design be stripped from the Internet and roadsides by yesterday.

BOAT PASSENGER SUIT: A passenger hurt in Del. Don Dwyer’s 2012 drunken boating collision is backing off charges against the other boater in the accident, but still wants more than $75,000 in damages from the Pasadena Republican, Alex Jackson reports in the Annapolis Capital.

O’MALLEY RETURNS TO IOWA: Gov. Martin O’Malley plans to return to Iowa this weekend, just a month after he was the keynote speaker at the state’s Democratic party convention, writes John Wagner for the Post. O’Malley, who is preparing for a possible 2016 White House bid, had previously announced travel this weekend to neighboring Nebraska, where he is scheduled to address the annual Morrison Exon Dinner in Omaha on Saturday night.

ACELA SUMMIT: Bryan Sears of the Daily Record gives a longer view of the Acela trip that brought “The Wire’s” David Simon together with Gov. Martin O’Malley.

GRASSO RE-UPS ON PLEDGE: Brandi Bottalico of the Annapolis Capital writes that Anne Arundel County Council chair John Grasso intends to continue donating his council salary to charities and efforts that he deems worthy if he is re-elected.