State Roundup, February 15, 2011

GAY MARRIAGE: Student activists from the University of Maryland, hoping to see the legalization of gay marriage, have set their sights on Sen. Jim Rosapepe of Prince George’s, one of four lawmakers who has yet to announce his stance on the bill, writes Alissa Gulin of the Diamondback.

Based on interviews this session as well as surveys lawmakers answered during last fall’s election, the 31 delegates and senators for Prince George’s are split with 14 in favor and 13 against. Four have said they are undecided, reports Daniel Valentine for the Gazette. Statewide, four senators are undecided – two from Prince George’s

Elbridge James, director of the Maryland Black Family Alliance, state Sen. Jamie Raskin, also a professor of Constitutional Law at American University, and Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council in Washington, discuss gay marriage on the Marc Steiner Show on WEAA-FM.

Former math teacher Laura Laing, on the op-ed page of the Sun, discusses Peter Sprigg’s contentions – in a Feb. 1 Sun piece — that research shows that children should be raised by heterosexual couples. She also says that the Family Research Council website is full of “misinformation about gays and lesbians based on misrepresented research or studies that are more than 20 years old.”

The Post’s John Wagner reports that a majority of Maryland state senators have said publicly that they will vote to legalize same-sex marriages, greatly increasing the odds that the highest-profile social legislation being considered by the General Assembly will pass in coming weeks.

Two state senators from Baltimore County – Ed Kasemeyer and Kathy Klausmeier – now say they will vote for a same sex marriage bill when it reaches the floor of the Senate next week, WBAL-AM’s Robert Lang and Jenny Glick report.

Klausmeier tells Annie Linskey of the Sun, “It’s about fairness.” Scroll down to take a look at the Senate tote board.

The Post’s Toni Sandys has a photo gallery of yesterday’s Valentine’s Day rally in Annapolis.

OBAMA’S VISIT: Parkville Middle School and Center of Technology served as an example of Obama’s goal in his new $3.73 trillion national budget for 2012 to recruit 10,000 new science, technology, engineering and math teachers over the next two years, writes

Obama also sent a $3.73 trillion spending plan to Congress yesterday that includes a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years. But Obama’s plan, which he said would cut the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, has already drawn opposition from Republicans who say they want further cuts. Jean Marbella and Liz Bowie report the story for the Sun.

Gov. Martin O’Malley praises Obama’s spending and education plans in an op-ed piece in the Sun.

Here’s Sherrie Johnson’s video report for WMAR-TV.

SEPTIC FIGHT: Staking out one of his legislative priorities in this year’s General Assembly, Gov. Martin O’Malley argued yesterday that rural development using septic systems needs to be curtailed to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay and to preserve the state’s remaining farmland from suburban sprawl.

But as far as some rural lawmakers are concerned, the proposed new limits on septic systems for homebuilding backed by O’Malley and environmentalists are part of a “war on rural Maryland,” as a new website describes it. Len Lazarick reports the story for

TEXTING: Tougher regulations against text messaging could soon be on the books in Maryland, Steve Fermier of WBAL-AM reports.

LEGAL POT: Del. Mike McDermott said he will vote for a bill to allow medicinal marijuana use if an amendment he has filed is incorporated into it. Jennifer Shutt of the Salisbury Daily Times reports that his amendment would require anyone with a prescription for marijuana to consume it through a vaporizer, ingestion or injection — not by smoking.

ROAD FUNDS: A state panel to boost state revenue says Maryland needs to raise an extra $800 million a year for road and bridge repairs, John Rydell of WBFF-TV reports. Hiking driver’s licensing fees, car repair labor taxes or the gas tax are being considered.

And to ensure those funds are used for transportation, the state needs to lock down the transportation trust fund, preferably by constitutional amendment, Megan Poinski writes for

JOHNSON INDICTED: Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson was indicted yesterday in federal court in Maryland on eight charges, including bribery, witness and evidence tampering and aiding and abetting. Maria Glod and Olvetta Wiggins write the story for the Post. Scroll to the story’s end to read the full indictment.

Although Johnson has maintained his innocence, writes Gwendolyn Glen of the Laurel Leader, court documents allege that he accepted another check for $100,000 from a developer, who federal investigators said received funds and assistance for development projects in the county.

Alex Pappas of the Washington Examiner reports that the indictment also says Johnson conspired with 51-year-old Amrik Singh Melhi, who owned a number of liquor stores in Maryland, and others, in accepting bribes.

The Gazette’s Daniel Valentine reports that several more related indictments are pending against Johnson.

For virtually his entire eight years as Prince George’s County executive, federal authorities say, Jack Johnson sat atop an expansive and lucrative pay-for-play fiefdom, writes Ben Conery of the Washington Times.

Johnson is scheduled to appear in federal court tomorrow for a preliminary hearing after being arrested in an FBI corruption probe in November, reports Alexander Pyles, of Maryland Newsline, in the Prince George’s Sentinel.

Here’s a video report from Jayne Miller of WBAL-TV.

ULMAN COMPLAINT: The commission dismissing a complaint against Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and County Council Chairman Calvin Ball said that “the conduct complained of is not directly related to public business within the meaning of the Public Ethics Law. Morever, the facts alleged, even if assumed to be true, do not state a violation of the Public Ethics Law.” Len Lazarick of has the story.

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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