State Roundup, November 9, 2010

ROBOCALL JAIL: Mike Hellgren of WJZ-TV reports that the probe into the Election Day “relax” robocalls could end in jail time for those responsible.

GUTTER POLITICS: Baltimore Sun opinionators call the “relax” robocalls gutter politics, say that someone should go to jail and urge former Gov. Bob Ehrlich to ultimately accept responsibility and apologize. Meanwhile, editorial writers at The Washington Post say that the probe into the robocalls needs find out who in the Ehrlich camp knew what.

STOP THEM: In her Watchdog column, Elisha Sauers of the Annapolis Capital looks into reader complaints about the onslaught of political robocalls — not of the “relax” kind — and if anything can be done to block them.

RED MARYLAND: Marta Mossburg in a Sun op-ed writes that Maryland Republicans can find a way back into the ring — by becoming advocates of accountability and whistleblowers.

BLUE MARYLAND: While some are calling for Gov. Martin O’Malley to move to the center, Rion Dennis and Matthew Weinstein of Progressive Maryland in a Sun op-ed write that’s not what the citizens want.

GUBER WRITE-INS: O’Malley, Ehrlich and several third party candidates weren’t the only ones to receive votes for governor. There were quite a number of write-in votes as well. Run through this WBAL-TV slideshow to see who.

CAMPAIGN SIGNS: So when do all those campaign signs start coming down? Dave Collins of WBAL-TV reports. Baltimore County officials are requesting that residents recycle campaign signs made from paper, cardboard or corrugated plastic, the Arbutus Times reports.

FINANCE RULES: With the next statewide election four years away, Attorney General Doug Gansler believes now is the best time to examine the state’s campaign finance rules, the Gazette’s Alan Brody reports.

TAX REFORM: After spending two years listening to experts share ideas and proposed policies, the Maryland Business Tax Reform Commission tonight will listen to what the public has to say, Megan Poinski reports for

ECON 101: Towson University will hold a discussion on Wednesday on the economic future of Maryland featuring former Attorney General Joe Curran and his son-in-law, Gov. Martin O’Malley, Tyler Waldman writes in

DIVIDED WE STAND: Tom Harbold of the Carroll County Times views divided government as a good thing.

VAN HOLLEN ON LOSS: Outgoing Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen blamed his party’s historic electoral losses on the slow pace of the economic recovery and the large amount of money spent by special interest groups in support of Republican candidates, writes Alan Brody of the Gazette.

HOYER WHIP?: Paul West blogs for the Sun that U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer has the votes to secure the Minority Whip post from Nancy Pelosi.

WRITE-IN PROBE SOUGHT: Write-in candidate Jennifer Lowery-Bell has asked Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler to investigate Prince George’s County’s handling of write-in votes in the Nov. 2 contest for state senator for the 25th District, the seat held and won handily by Ulysses Currie, Miranda Spivack blogs for the Post.

CAMPAIGN STARTS: Just hours after the team of Republicans delegates in District 31 learned they had all won re-election, the group’s most outspoken member announced he’s already looking to a state Senate seat, Alison Bourg writes for the Annapolis Capital.

ARUNDEL TRACK REVENUE: Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold has asked the state comptroller to ensure that the county continues to receive about $1.5 million in annual funding from Laurel Park race course if the facility’s owners stop holding live races, reports Nicole Fuller of the Sun. And Dan Rodricks of the Sun tells the owner of Laurel Park and Pimlico to “man up” and save racing in Maryland.

WIND FARMING: The federal government on Monday invited bids from wind power developers to place turbines off Maryland’s coast, taking the first step toward what could be the nation’s largest offshore commercial wind project to date, Timothy Wheeler of the Sun reports. O’Malley called the federal move “another step forward for Maryland’s new economy.”

Scott Dance of the Baltimore Business Journal reports that the windmills could go up anywhere between 10 nautical miles and 27 nautical miles from the Ocean City coast Maryland is the second state to move this far toward in placing a wind farm off its shore under this process, writes Margie Hyslop of the Gazette.

BBH INVESTIGATION: Maryland’s top health official said his agency would do all it can to ensure that scarce mental health resources are spent properly after a Baltimore Sun investigation into Baltimore Behavioral Health Inc. uncovered the nonprofit clinic’s large Medicaid billings and other concerns, Scott Calvert of the Sun reports.

Here’s Calvert’s original investigative article. Be sure to check out the four video interviews at the top of the story. And here’s a map showing where the BBH homes in West Baltimore are located.

NO BBH SUPERVISION: Andy Green, in his Second Opinion column for the Sun, said Calvert’s reporting reveals an utter lack of effective supervision from the state, even as BBH Inc. sucked up more and more taxpayer dollars. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has been investigating BBH since this spring.

RACE TO TOP FUNDS: A state legislative review panel voted against a proposed regulation that would require 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation in Maryland to be based on student achievement, Liz Bowie of the Sun reports. The state school board, which proposed the regulation, must now decide whether to proceed without legislative support.

Michael Birnbaum of the Post writes that the vote could endanger the future of a $250 million federal Race to the Top grant.

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