State Roundup May 11, 2010

CRIME RATE: Gov. Martin O’Malley announced Monday that the state’s violent crime rate has dropped to its lowest level since 1975, according to the Associated Press. He cited better technology and enhanced cooperation between law enforcement agencies were key reasons for the drop.

WJZ reporter Mike Hellgren breaks down the numbers in this video story. Here’s Baltimore Sun reporter Julie Bykowicz’s take on the story.

But former Gov. Bob Ehrlich sought to discredit O’Malley’s claims of a significant decrease in crime, writes John Wagner for Washington Post blog Maryland Politics.

GAY MARRIAGE: A Washington Post poll shows increasing support for same-sex marriage in Maryland.

LOCAL TAXES: Fearing that the state legislature will grant counties new taxing authority next year, Howard County Republicans are going to try to pass a County Charter amendment making it more difficult for the County Council to approve any tax increases, writes Len Lazarick for

The Howard County Republican Club wants to change the county charter to require four out of five council members to vote in favor of an increase, as opposed to the current majority of three, writes Sarah Breitenbach for Patuxent Publishing. Here’s Sun reporter Larry Carson’s piece on the charter amendment.

CHESAPEAKE BAY SUIT: The Chesapeake Bay Foundation will be making a “major announcement” with regards to a suit filed against the Environmental Protection Agency, according to the Associated Press.

METRO SAFETY: Gov. O’Malley says Metro has the “worst safety record in the country,” and that the agency needs to exercise more oversight, according to Colleen Kelleher and Adam Tuss for WTOP.

FOREST ALCOHOL BAN: Representatives from the Department of Natural Resources apologized Monday for “surprising” residents about a new policy that bans alcoholic beverages from state forests. Kevin Spradlin has the story for Cumberland Times-News.

HIGH-TECH RECYCLING: Howard and Frederick counties have purchased high-tech recycling bins to track how many times residents put out their bins for collection, according to the Associated Press.

MINORITY CONTRACTING: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown took Gov. Martin O’Malley’s absence last week at the Board of Public Works as an opportunity to rail against what he sees as a shortcoming in the state’s minority contracting rules on information technology, writes Andy Rosen for

COUNTING INMATES: Maryland lawmakers changed the rules when it comes to prisoner voting. The new law stipulates that inmates be counted from their last known address, rather than their current location — in prison, according to Kathleen Miller at the Associated Press in the Washington Examiner.

HORSE RACING: Gov. Ehrlich wants to construct a horse racing track near Camden Yards, to help the sport in Maryland. Anne Kramer has the story for WBAL Radio.

O’MALLEY: On WTOP’s Ask the Governor show, Gov. O’Malley bashed his Republican rival former Gov. Ehrlich saying he lives in a “fantasy land” if he believes he left the state with millions of dollars in budget surplus. WBAL Radio’s Scott Wykoff has the story, with audio soundbites.

INTRAPARTY RIVALRY: Senate President Mike Miller is backing the four incumbent Montgomery County senators who face Democratic challengers, saying the intraparty rivalry could embolden Republican opponents to enter the race, writes Sean Sedam for The Gazette.

POLL: TV stations follow up on a Washington Post poll released Monday, with WJZ anchor Adam May reporting Gov. O’Malley has an 8-point lead over likely opponent Gov. Ehrlich. Here’s WBAL-TV’s David Collins’s take on the story.

Doug Tallman at the Gazette provides a different take on the numbers, as does Red Maryland blog editor Brian Griffiths, who says voters should ignore recent reports that Gov. O’Malley has an 8-point lead over Ehrlich.

MINORITY BUSINESS: The state is on course to meet its minority inclusion goals by awarding 25 percent of its contracting dollars to minority- or women-owned firms, writes Scott Dance for the Baltimore Business Journal.

KAGAN FOR SENATE: Former Del. Cheryl Kagan filed to run for the Senate yesterday, according to Adam Pagnucco for Maryland Politics Watch.

BRITTO FOR CARETAKER: Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee Chair Karen Britto has been selected to serve as the next delegate in District 16, as a caretaker. Adam Pagnucco explains this tricky law for Maryland Politics Watch.

MAINTENANCE OF EFFORT: Both Frederick and Talbot County have withdrawn their Maintenance of Effort “Letter of Intent” request to the State Board of Education, writes Michele Dinkel for MACo blog Conduit Street.

BURNS BLOG BACK: After taking a brief hiatus Kenny Burns, editor of Maryland Politics Today, returns to share his thoughts on governor’s race.

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