State Roundup Feb. 23, 2010

STATE OF BALTIMORE: Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake gave her first State of the City address. The Daily Record’s Robbie Whelan writes that it focused mainly on the city’s budget problems. Gary Haber has the Baltimore Business Journal’s story. Julie Scharper with The Baltimore Sun described the speech as somber. WBAL TV has a video report, WYPR’s Donna Marie Owens has an audio report and WJZ’s Adam May included the full script of the speech along with his story.

STIMULUS JOBS: Residents of the Eastern Shore don’t object to the 400 jobs a stimulus funded State Department facility could bring. But they are concerned that the proposed counterterrorism center will be too noisy, writes The Washington Post’s Aaron Davis.

DETENTION CENTER: State lawmakers are calling for changes after a 65-year old teacher at a Maryland youth detention center was found dead last week, reports Christian Schaffer of WMAR.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM: Supporters of campaign finance reform in Maryland say a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision means now is the time to create a voluntary public financing system, writes WBAL radio’s John Patti.

BUDGET WOES: State Prosecutor Robert Rohrbaugh, who prosecuted former Baltimore Mayor Shelia Dixon, is upset with his office’s proposed $1.2 million budget and said it prevents him from fully vetting allegations of fraud, writes The Sun’s Annie Linskey.

SEXUAL ASSAULT: The Post’s Aaron Davis writes failures by members of all three branches of government have left holes in the state’s defense of children and victims of sexual assault. Police, prosecutors and state and federal lawmakers want to fix the gaps this year, reports Greg Latshaw with The (Salisbury) Daily Times.

BWI: State transportation officials dispelled speculation that the state might sell BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport at a budget hearing Monday, and the head of the airport promised that staff overspending on overseas travel brought to light by a recent audit would not happen again, writes’s Erich Wagner.

REJECTED CASINO BID: Some companies that were part of a rejected bid to build a casino in downtown Baltimore want payment for the work they did on the proposal, reports The Sun’s Scott Calvert.

ENERGY PROFITS: The Daily Record’s Danielle Ulman writes Constellation Energy saw huge profits in the fourth quarter of 2009 because of the sale of half of its nuclear business.

FUNDRAISING PRACTICES: Adam Pagnucco with Maryland Politics Watch has more details of Prince George’s County Executive candidate Rushern Baker’s fundraising practices.

BAY CONFERENCE CENTER: The state has added the Chesapeake Bay Conference Center in Cambridge, with its Hyatt Regency hotel, to its list of “problem” projects that it has helped finance, as a rough 2009 hurt business and the facility’s ability to pay back its debts. Andy Rosen has the story for

O’MALLEY: O’’s Martin Watcher writes about Gov. O’Malley not making the Politico newspaper list of governors who may have an easy election.

MIKULSKI: The Post’s John Wagner posted a press release announcing Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s campaign team and her bid for re-election.

BPA: Many states, including Maryland, are taking action to regulate and limit bisphenol-A, a chemical used in plastic baby bottles, soup cans and other containers, reports Meredith Cohn with The Sun.

MTA SNOW REMOVAL: Maryland Transit Administration chief Ralign Wells said he is proud of how his employees met the challenge of keeping most of the region’s transit running except at the height of the snowfall. But if it happened again he’d do things differently. Communication is at the top of the list, reports The Sun’s Michael Dresser.

EHLRICH WEB AD: A new Democratic Web ad accuses former Gov. Bob Ehlrich of being a big spender during his term in office. No comment from Ehlich, who is still being coy about an expected rematch with O’Malley, but a spokesman says Democrats are rattled. John Wagner has the scoop at the Post’s Maryland blog.

SNOW RELIEF: President Obama signed a disaster declaration last week for the December snow storm that dropped more than two feet of snow on parts of the state, Nick Sohr writes for his blog at The Daily Record.

O’MALLEY APPOINTMENT: The warden of the Carroll County Detention Center has been appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley to serve on a panel to examine ways to prevent people from returning to jail once they’ve been released, reports Ryan Marshall with Carrol County Times.

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