State Roundup, January 27, 2011

DEFENSE BUDGET: U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger remains optimistic that Maryland can benefit from the defense industry despite President Barack Obama’s pledge to cut “tens of billions of dollars” in the national defense budget, Steve Schuster reports for the Towson Times.

RETIRING JUDGE’S NEW JOB: Seven months before he will retire from the Maryland Court of Appeals, Judge Joseph Murphy said he will join Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White LLC in August, reports Danielle Ulman for the Daily Record.

SGA IN ANNAPOLIS: Sarah Meehan of the Diamondback reports that the University of Maryland’s Student Government Association plans to fight to keep this university’s education affordable by having a stronger student presence at the state legislature in Annapolis than ever before.

But the Diamondback editorial board believes that while it is smart to recognize a different advocacy approach – advocating on more than just education issues — the path chosen by the SGA is one that will weaken, rather than strengthen, the influence of students.

BOWIE STATE CONSTRUCTION: Seeing that bids from experienced companies were more than $400,000 cheaper, Comptroller Peter Franchot voted against a contract for a Virginia firm to manage construction of a new student center at Bowie State University. The contract passed the Board of Public Works anyway, writes Megan Poinski of

GAY UNIONS SUPPORT: House Majority Leader Kumar Barve has submitted the House plan to legalize same-sex marriage — a proposal backed by 58 delegates who have signed on as co-sponsors, Julie Bykowicz blogs for the Sun.

Laurel’s District 21 delegates are among co-sponsors of the bill, writes Lindsey McPherson for the Laurel Leader.

BAR GIFTS TO DOCS: Maryland lawmakers are again considering legislation to bar gifts from companies to health care providers in the wake of allegations that a Towson cardiologist was “indirectly influenced” to perform unnecessary stent procedures by device maker Abbott Laboratories, the Sun’s Tricia Bishop reports.

ROCKY GAP SLOTS: In another attempt to jumpstart the stalled Rocky Gap slots plan, a Montgomery County lawmaker plans to introduce a bill cutting the state’s share of slots revenue from the proposed slots parlor at the state-owned resort, writes Gary Haber of the Baltimore Business Journal.

ARUNDEL SLOTS APPEAL: As officials prepare to break ground today for the temporary slots facility at Arundel Mills mall, neighbors have filed a new complaint with the Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals, the Sun’s Julie Bykowicz reports.

RACING SUBSIDY QUESTIONED: One of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s top aides said the governor wants to extend state subsidies for Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park beyond 2011 as the struggling track owner and state and industry officials search for a long-term solution for thoroughbred racing in Maryland, writes Nick Sohr for the Daily Record.

GOV’T TEST GONE? An American government exam taken by all high school students in Maryland would be eliminated next year under the proposed state budget, just three years after the test was made a graduation requirement, writes Liz Bowie of the Sun.

SCHOOL FUNDING: Three Montgomery County public employee unions have called on Gov. O’Malley and the General Assembly to change the “maintenance of effort” provision in the way Maryland funds public K-12 education, writes Andrew Ujifusa for the Gazette.

FINANCE REFORM: Campaign finance reform is on the agenda again in Annapolis as one Baltimore County delegate renews his effort to create a system that uses public money to fund state political campaigns, reports Bryan Sears for

OFFENDER ID: John Rydell of WBFF-TV follows up on a story about proposed legislation that would place special identifiers on driver’s licenses belonging to sex offenders.

WIGGLE ROOM: Maryland farmers would get more room for error for exceeding weight limits on farm vehicles under legislation pending in the state House and Senate, writes Greg Latshaw for the Salisbury Daily Times.

QUICK DHR CLAIMS: Officials of Maryland’s Department of Human Resources are boasting about exceeding the court-ordered number of quick turned-around claims for Marylanders on public assistance, Felicia Howard writes for

SENATOR TO MISS SESSION: Sen. J.B. Jennings reports Sunday for Air Force training in Georgia and will miss of the rest of the session, except for any time he has off from the 13-week training at Robins Air Force Base, Len Lazarick reports for

KITTLEMAN ON JACOBS: State Sen. Allan Kittleman, who resigned as Senate minority leader, said of his replacement, Nancy Jacobs, “I think she’s a fine person, and she’ll do a good job. I’m looking forward to working with her,” writes Lindsey McPherson of the Howard County Times.

HOYER A-TWITTER: Someone hacked into an unused Twitter account owned by U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night. The tweets suggested a shocking new level of candor, particularly if they had come from the No. 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives, blogs Matthew Hay Brown of the Sun.

Here’s what the Sun’s Laura Vozzella has to say on the tweet cheats.

BARTLETT AT SOTU: Instead of tweeting about SOTU, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett just issued a press release. Kate Alexander of the Hagerstown Herald Mail writes that he was happy to be seated between fellow Marylander and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, both of whom now represent California.

PG INAUGURAL COSTS: Prince George’s County spent more than $43,000 in government funds on the Dec. 6 inauguration of County Executive Rushern Baker and the County Council, a stark contrast to what other inauguration events throughout the state, writes Daniel Valentine of the Gazette.

PG’S REPUTATION: After spending a week reassuring residents and investors that Prince George’s County is on the right track, County Executive Rushern Baker said it will be “a long time” before its reputation for high crime, poor-performing schools and public corruption is overcome, writes Daniel Valentine for the Gazette.

FREDERICK SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION: Frederick County officials argued before the state Board of Public Works yesterday that Frederick County should get part of the remaining unallocated school construction funds for next year, Meg Tully reports for the Frederick News Post.

K-12 CUTS: Calvert and St. Mary’s County ended up on the losing end of O’Malley’s fiscal 2012 budget proposal, writes Jeff Newman for Most of Calvert’s cuts were in K-12 education funding. Here’s Newman’s story on the education cuts to St. Mary’s County.

BEER SALES: Hoping to avoid a repeat of the maelstrom associated with the selling of beer at the 2010 DelFest, Allegany County commissioners have asked for state legislation that would allow music promoters to use the relatively easy process to sell beer that nonprofit groups use at events such as softball tournaments, Michael Sawyers writes for the Cumberland Times News.

SNOWDEN APPEALS: Carl Snowden, who heads the Maryland attorney general’s civil rights office, is appealing a judge’s decision to cast aside a lenient sentence Snowden received last year in a drunken-driving case, the Sun’s Nick Madigan reports.

JUROR NO. 4: Juror No. 4 in Montgomery Circuit Court this week was also Montgomery County Circuit Judge Joseph Quirk, writes Dan Morse for the Post. It’s rare for a judge to be chosen for jury duty, and Quirk said, “I’m very glad I did it. I really wanted to see what it was like on the other side.”

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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