State Roundup, February 22, 2011

ICC OPENING DELAYED: Maryland officials cut the ribbon on the first section of the Intercounty Connector yesterday, but delayed opening the road to the public because of snow. The BBJ’s Scott Dance reports.

Delays are woven through the history of the highway that will provide a northern link between the two Maryland counties that are wrapped around Washington, reports the Post’s Ashley Halsey.

While officials celebrated, residents and environmentalists continued their long-held protest of the $2.6 billion road, the Gazette’s Mimi Liu reports.

Meanwhile, writes Nick Sohr for the Daily Record, officials hailed the highway project as a catalyst for economic development in the area and a decongestant for its roads.

At the invitation of Gov. Martin O’Malley, former rival former Gov. Bob Ehrlich, who helped push the ICC through, showed up at the ribbon cutting, blogs the Post’s John Wagner.

Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland takes a look back at the people who helped make the ICC a reality.

RENAMING MOUNTAINS: The AP is reporting in the Salisbury Daily Times that the Maryland Senate Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing today on the resolution calling for the renaming of two Western Maryland mountains – Negro and Polish.

GAY MARRIAGE: Del. Kathy Szeliga, in a press release in the Dagger, says she is against gay marriage.

Brian Griffiths, a Republican who is for gay marriage, writes in Red Maryland that he believes in the filibuster, but taxes should be the target of any GOP filibuster, not gay marriage.

DRINK TAX BILLS: A bill filed in the House of Delegates late Friday would raise the state’s tax on beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages without restricting how the state could use the proceeds, Gary Haber of the Baltimore Business Journal writes. This differs from a bill, introduced in both House and Senate, that would direct the tax money to expanded health care for Maryland residents.

In an op-ed piece for the Sun, Pietro Di Pilato, who works for a premium drinks supplier in Relay, calls the dime-a drink proposal “a direct attack on the hospitality industry.”

MAIF’ED: Peter Jensen, in his Second Opinion column for the Sun, writes that the General Assembly should allow Maryland’s “car insurer of last resort” to collect payments in installments, thereby saving citizens $2.5 million annually in interest and added fees.

ANTI-SEPTIC LIMITS: Matthew Bieniek of the Cumberland Times-News reports that Sen. George Edwards says that O’Malley’s bills to limit new septic systems will force the expansion of public water and sewer and slash the value of farm and multilot rural properties.

Two Eastern Shore legislators contend this is O’Malley’s “war on rural Maryland,” writes Tim Wheeler of the Sun.

AMBULANCE PAYMENTS: Greg Latshaw of the Salisbury Daily Times writes that lawmakers have introduced legislation in the House of Delegates and Senate that would require health insurers to directly reimburse ambulance providers instead of sending the check to the patient in the hopes that they pass it along to the EMS.

SCHOOL SPENDING: Despite the state’s continuing problems balancing its budget, education advocates – from State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick to community leaders – pleaded with members of a Senate budget subcommittee not to cut funds from schools, reports Megan Poinski for

FAST TRACKING: Del. Mary-Dulany James pushes legislation that would fast-track the development process throughout the state, according to a press release in the Dagger.

BAYS COMMISSION: The Annapolis Capital reports that former Del. Virginia Clagett has been nominated for a position on the Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays by Gov. O’Malley.

TRAWLING FOR POACHERS: The Post’s Daniel Darryl Fears writes a nice piece about the grueling work put in by Natural Resources police who try to catch poachers in the Chesapeake Bay.

GUILTY ENVIRONMENTALIST: Writer Tom Horton, in an op-ed piece for the Sun, admits to being a taxpaying, meat-eating, gun-owning, Army veteran, radical environmentalist who would like to see human growth limited on the planet.

JOHNSON’S WORDS: Maria Glod and Ovetta Wiggins of the Post write that the FBI used ex-Prince George’s Exec Jack Johnson’s own words to snag him.

SNOWDEN BLASTED: An Anne Arundel County councilman has launched a lobbying effort to take his name off a citation given to Carl Snowden because of Snowden’s two drunken driving charges over the past decade. Snowden leads the Office of Civil Rights for Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler, reports Erin Cox for the Annapolis Capital.

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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