State Roundup, February 3, 2011

STATE OF THE STATE: Don’t expect big themes in Gov. Martin O’Malley’s State of the State address today, writes Aaron Davis for the Post. Nearly everything that can be promised has been, and an election cycle filled with nebulous, feel-good lines about moving Maryland forward must now be fleshed out in policy and practice.

O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown will be using the Internet to connect with Marylanders about today’s speech, writes Megan Poinski of The noon address will be streamed live at O’Malley’s website. And, O’Malley’s and Brown’s staffs will be answering questions and interacting through Twitter.

Before the speech, O’Malley sat down with Vic Carter of WJZ-TV to discuss the state’s future.

The address will give O’Malley another chance at outlining his plans for this second term in office, writes Liam Farrell for the Annapolis Capital.

O’Malley will speak to Maryland’s 188 lawmakers and an audience of state dignitaries and citizens at noon today, delivering his fifth State of the State address, blogs Julie Bykowicz of the Sun.

TEAS BAG DEM: The first meeting of the Tea Party Caucus of the House of Delegates was just wrapping up in the House lounge when they snagged their first Democrat, Baltimore city Del. Curt Anderson, blogs Len Lazarick for Anderson also chairs his delegation.

AGE TO RUN: State Del. Mary Washington, who replaced retiring Ann Marie Doory, plans to introduce only one bill this legislative session, to make 21 the minimum age for running for both houses of the General Assembly. It’s now 21 for House candidates and 25 for the Senate, writes Larry Perl of the Messenger.

VOTER IDS: Voters would be required to present identification at the polls under a bill introduced by Frederick County Del. Kathy Afzali, Meg Tully reports for the Frederick News Post.

ANONYMOUS TIPS: Abby Rogers of writes that Crime Stoppers groups in the state are fighting for legislation that would help them guarantee anonymity to tipsters who call to report crimes or details about crimes.

WORK ZONE CAMERAS: A bill sponsored by state Sen. Jim Brochin that would prohibit state highway work zone speed cameras from issuing citations when no workers are on duty was greeted with mixed reviews at a hearing of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in Annapolis, Steve Schuster writes for the Towson Times.

WINE SHIPMENTS: Three Laurel delegates have joined the long list of lawmakers who believe that Maryland residents should have the option of receiving out-of-state wine shipments, writes Lindsey McPherson of the Laurel Leader. And another Laurel delegate introduced legislation to provide tax relief for military retirees.

NO TO GAY UNIONS: In arguing against same-sex unions, Peter Sprigg writes for the Sun Op-ed page that marriage is a public institution that brings together men and women to reproduce the human race and keeps them together to raise their biological children.

AFSCME PACT: The largest state employees union have ratified a three-year contract, state and union officials said yesterday, agreeing to a plan that includes small raises if state revenues begin to climb, blogs the Sun’s Julie Bykowicz.

The contract – between the American Federation of County, State and Municipal Employees and the state – was approved with 89% of votes cast, Megan Poinski reports for

FREDERICK BYLAW: The Frederick County GOP Central Committee will not vote tonight on a bylaw change that would prohibit members from serving on the committee if they have filed as a candidate for public office or are serving in elected office, Meg Tully reports for the Frederick News Post.

TAP A BROTHER: The Sun’s Annie Linskey reports that several top Democrats are saying that O’Malley will nominate his younger brother and long-time political advisor Peter O’Malley to lead Maryland’s Democratic Party.

ANGRY EDUCATORS: Barely a week after O’Malley unveiled his 2012 budget, Baltimore education groups have begun rallying against proposed decreases in school aid — planning bus trips and calling on legislators to overturn the cuts, blogs the Sun’s Julie Bykowicz.

REAGAN TRIBUTE: O’Malley is issuing a “Tribute to Ronald Reagan” proclamation that urges “all Marylanders to join in this observance,” instead of declaring Sunday “Ronald Reagan Day,” writes Andrew Schotz of the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

PRAYER PROTOCOL: Citing a breach of protocol, House Speaker Michael Busch quashed a moment of prayer Del. Mike McDermott began on the House floor to recognize a fallen firefighter, writes Brian Shane for the Salisbury Daily Times.

TOLL HIKE: The cost of traveling on Maryland’s toll roads could soon go up an average of 75 cents as the Maryland Transportation Authority looks to raise more money to fund its operations, the BBJ’s Daniel Sernovitz reports.

ANTI-SLOTS LAWYER: The attorney representing opponents of a slots parlor at Arundel Mills mall in a new legal challenge is a registered lobbyist for the Maryland Jockey Club — the project’s most vocal opponent — according to Anne Arundel County records. Nicole Fuller writes the story for the Sun.

PEPCO COULD CHARGE: Pepco customers who struggled through up to five days without power last week could soon pay for the privilege, under a decision by Maryland regulators that was meant to encourage energy conservation, Joe Stephens reports for the Post.

2nd ROCKFISH SEIZURE: A second rockfish seizure occurred last night, writes Pamela Wood of the Annapolis Capital, that could possibly be larger than the one discovered earlier this week.

Karen Parks has a video report on the 2nd seizure.

JUVIE NUMBERS: Maggie Clark of the Capital News Service reports for the Capital that Maryland had nearly five times the acceptable number of juveniles locked up in adult detention centers for extended periods in 2008, putting the state out of compliance with federal law and in jeopardy of losing tens of thousands of dollars in federal grant money this year.

PG ETHICS: An effort by Prince George’s County Exec Rushern Baker and some delegates to prohibit County Council members from making the final decision on developer site plans that they call up for review is being strongly criticized as “offensive” by the new council member from Laurel, Gwendolyn Glenn reports for the Laurel Leader.

Daniel Valentine of the Gazette reports that members of the task force studying ethics reform in Prince George’s say they hope to come up with a way to investigate complaints of government ”shenanigans” by late spring.

BACO SPENDING CAP: Baltimore County’s spending affordability committee recommended a $1.6 billion spending limit for the county in fiscal 2012, up about $1.8 million from last year’s recommendation, writes Steve Schuster for the Towson Times.

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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