State Roundup, February 4, 2011

STATE OF THE STATE: In his fifth State of the State address, Gov. Martin O’Malley said Maryland has grown stronger, reports Julie Bykowicz of The Sun. He highlighted education and innovation, Bykowicz reported in a blog post. The state of the state is “better… but not good enough,” reports WBAL’s Robert Lang.

Capital News Service’s David Saleh Rauf said in a report appearing in The Capital that O’Malley seemed to take a page out of President Barack Obama’s playbook with his speech. The Examiner’s Hayley Petersen took a similar tack, noting that O’Malley’s ways to “win the future” included investing in education, renewable energy and biotech startups.

The Post’s John Wagner, Ann Marimow and Aaron Davis highlight three of O’Malley’s initiatives from the speech: urging lawmakers to approve a $100 million venture capital initiative, investment in offshore wind farms, and banning the installation of septic systems at major home projects.

O’Malley stuck with familiar themes in the State of the State address, writes Sarah Breitenbach in the Gazette.

The state is facing tough choices, which O’Malley attributed to a budget gap of more than $1 billion, reports the Herald-Mail’s Andrew Schotz.

Building the state’s economy is of utmost importance, O’Malley said. Scott Dance of the Baltimore Business Journal focuses on O’Malley’s words on job creation. The Washington Times’ Josh Brown wrote that O’Malley said the state’s future was, at the end of the day, all about jobs. And, writes The Post’s Aaron Davis, “jobs” was the most used word in O’Malley’s speech.

The Carroll County Times runs AP stories about education funding challenges, prolonged utility outages, and the proposed septic ban.

TV news coverage of the event was done by WBAL, WBFF

SEPTIC SURPRISE:’s Len Lazarick identifies one thing new in O’Malley’s address: the sewage regulations. The idea to start outlawing septic systems for protection of the Bay has been talked about by the O’Malley administration, but not acted on, Timothy Wheeler reports for The Sun.

Many rural lawmakers were shocked, and wondered what impact this proposal may have on developers, reports the Herald-Mail’s Andy Schotz.

REPUBLICAN RESPONSE: House Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio criticized the state’s desire to issue more bonds to get funds to do projects, and urged the state to put some off in the name of fiscal responsibility. However, she proposed legislation for one of these projects herself two weeks ago, blogs The Sun’s Annie Linskey, proposing to spend $250,000 for a bulkhead replacement at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

The Carroll County Times published a brief rundown of Haddaway-Riccio’s speech from the AP.

CYNTHIA FROM PG: In his speech, O’Malley mentioned a Prince George’s County job seeker named Cynthia Logan, who got a job through a One Stop Center after 13 months of looking. The Post’s Ann Marimow interviews her.

WATCH IT: The Baltimore Sun has the full speech, courtesy of MPT. The Sun also has House Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio’s Republican response, also courtesy of MPT. Those videos, plus The Sun’s reactions from Democratic and Republican lawmakers, are also here.

CHRISTIE ON PENSIONS: N.J. Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, called Gov. Martin O’Malley out for his approach to pension reform on a Fox News interview, blogs The Sun’s Annie Linskey. Christie said his more hard-line approach was not “that pabulum Governor O’Malley was spewing down in Maryland.” The Post’s John Wagner reports Christie’s attack on O’Malley is in response to comments O’Malley made on WTOP radio, saying that Christie “delights in being abusive towards public employees.”

SLOTS: Some legislators want to take the slots amendment out of the constitution, Alan Brody writes in the Gazette.

TOLL INCREASE: Since there has been a modest increase in commercial truck traffic on the state’s roads, the Maryland Transit Authority has scaled back its average proposed increase in tolls from $1.35 to about 75 cents, reports The Sun’s Michael Dresser. ABC2 has a video report, as does WBFF.

BROWN ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown speaks out on why he supports same-sex marriage, reports Lou Chibarro Jr. of The Washington Blade.

COUNTIES PUSH BACK: In his Gazette column, Barry Rascovar writes about how county officials and school leaders are fighting O’Malley’s budget actions.

MAINTENANCE OF EFFORT: State lawmakers offered no public resistance to county officials pushing for changes in Maryland law that could significantly impact county and state education funding, Andrew Ujifusa writes in the Gazette.

WINE SHIPPING: Sen. Joan Carter Conaway told lobbyists and lawmakers that a bill allowing direct shipping of wine to Maryland will be passed, and details are currently being negotiated, writes the AP’s Tom Lobianco in a story picked up by the Salisbury Daily Times.

DRUGS TO KIDS: Del. Michael Hough is proposing legislation that would make it a felony to sell drugs to a minor that result in the minor’s death, reports the Frederick News-Post’s Meg Tully. The crime would be punishable by 20 years in prison.

1099 REPEAL: While the U.S. Senate did not repeal the federal health care reform law, they were successful in passing a repeal of a provision requiring all businesses that spend more than $6,000 on a vendor to file a 1099 tax form at the end of the year, reports the Baltimore Business Journal’s Emily Mullin.

SURROGATE PARENTS: With no current regulations, surrogate parenting in Maryland is like the wild, wild West, says Sen. Dolores Kelley, who has proposed legislation to form a task force to begin regulating it. Abby Rogers reports about it for

FREDERICK NOTEBOOK: Meg Tully of the News-Post writes that lawmakers will question utilities about their poor performance during recent storms next week.

RISING REPUBLICANS: Earlier this week, Josh Kurtz for Center Maryland opined about rising stars in the state Republican Party.

GLADDEN REVEALS SECRET: Sen. Lisa Gladden reveals a secret she’s kept from most people in an interview with WJZ’s Lisa Bubala: she has multiple sclerosis.

NO LOW MBEs: Incorrect data supplied to the Department of Legislative Services resulted in an analysis that erroneously showed that the Board of Public Works was awarding fewer contracts to minority business enterprises, Megan Poinski blogs for

MOCO ROADWAY SOLICIATION: Montgomery County panhandlers would have to apply for permits to ask drivers for spare change, under legislation Executive Isiah Leggett is requesting of state lawmakers. Erin Cunningham reports in the Gazette. He also wants to make it illegal for people panhandling, reports The Post’s Michael Laris.

HOCO HOTEL TAX: A proposal to increase the Howard County hotel tax from 5% to 7% was approved by the county delegation to Annapolis after being amended, reports The Sun’s Larry Carson. Now, two-thirds of the new revenue will go to tourism, and one-third will go to the EDA. It now needs to be approved by the General Assembly.

BACO SCHOOLS: The two chairs of the Baltimore County delegation to Annapolis introduced legislation creating a task force that would decide how the county’s school board members are selected, reports Steve Schuster of Patuxent Publishing.

REDISTRICTING: Maryland will get the census data it can use to begin the redistricting process next week, according to an AP story in The Daily Record.

NOTICES OF SALE: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz wants the General Assembly to change the law requiring that legal notices are posted at homes sold in tax sales, reports’s Bryan Sears.

DISTRICT 21: Lindsey McPherson of the Laurel Leader runs down bills supported by District 21 lawmakers. Among them are direct wine shipping and tax relief for military retirees.

ARBITRATION FIGHT: A coalition of Anne Arundel County public safety unions plans to fight County Executive John Leopold’s plans to curb binding arbitration. The unions say that Leopold’s move is revenge for not endorsing his re-election bid last year, reports The Sun’s Andrea Siegel.

MoCo CHARTER SCHOOL: Andrew Ujifusa in the Gaztte follows up on the state Board of Education’s reprimand of the Montgomery County school system for its rejection of a charter school application.

BACO FUNDS: Baltimore County revenues are projected to be nearly $40 million less than anticipated, reports’s Bryan Sears.

CASINO APPEALS COMBINED: Two separate appeals of the plans for the Arundel Mills casino – both charging that the road structure is inadequate to handle increased traffic  — have been combined, reports The Capital.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook has items on the Superbowl, Del. Kevin Kelly, Del. Jim Hubbard, and Allegany County’s version of Groundhog Day.

DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: Peter O’Malley, the governor’s brother, confirms he will nominated to chair the state party, Alan Brody reports in the Gazette.

STATE OF HARFORD: County Executive John Craig gave his State of the County address, where he lauded the county’s policymakers for being able to work together, the staff of The Aegis reported.

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.

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