State Roundup, December 4, 2009

The U.S Senate passed a measure to boost insurance coverage of mammograms, its first vote associated with the health care legislation that it will be working on in coming months, Paul West reports in The Baltimore Sun. The measure was proposed by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, in part as a response to a government recommendation that women don’t need the breast cancer screenings before age 50.

Officials are weighing whether to enact policy changes to the unemployment insurance program that would make the state eligible for $126 million in federal aid, but some say it has strings attached that could hurt businesses, Doug Tallman reports in The Gazette.

The Anne Arundel County Council might push back its vote on slots zoning, which was scheduled for next week and could make or break a proposal to put a casino at Arundel Mills Mall. Nicole Fuller and Laura Smitherman report in The Sun that the move comes in response to one council member’s decision to recuse himself from the decision.

The folks at Inside Charm City have a look at the expense reports filed by Maryland’s congressional delegation. This includes more than $1,500 spent on bottled water in a quarter by U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

Gov. Martin O’Malley plans to limit the state’s oyster harvest by expanding the Chesapeake Bay’s existing sanctuaries for the shellfish, Tim Wheeler reports in The Sun, but the plan is not so popular with watermen. The Washington Post reports that the move will ban harvests in 24 percent of the state’s best grounds. Here’s The Gazette’s take.

The University System of Maryland is joining 23 school systems in pledging to increase its minority graduation rate within five years, Julekha Dash reports in the Baltimore Business Journal.

Blair Lee reminisces about Gov. Marvin Mandel’s trial and its parallels to Mayor Sheila Dixon’s case.

Higher hospital bills and assessments against hospital operating budgets might be used to make up a series of cuts that the state’s Board of Public Works reduced from the state’s Medicaid payments to hospitals, Benjamin Ford reports in The Gazette.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge of the Maryland law that limits corporate funeral home ownership to a few licenses, Heather Keels reports in The (Hagerstown) Herald-Mail.  All other funeral home owners must be certified as funeral directors.

The Daily Record runs an editorial on the risks and benefits of the state’s 50-year deal to give up control of Seagirt Marine Terminal. A private company will take it over the public port facility and make improvements the state says it can’t afford.

Hunting and fishing violations are up while the number of Natural Resources police are down, according to Margie Hyslop in The Gazette.

The Reporter’s Notebook in The Gazette ruminates about a possible return to politics of ex-Sen. John Gianetti via the Anne Arundel County Council and energy talk from Sen. Catherine Pugh.

In The Gazette, Barry Rascovar presents a game-changing strategy for Bob Ehrlich to retake the governor’s mansion.

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.

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