SESSION ROUNDTABLE: Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com, Kenny Burns of WNAV radio, John Wagner of The Washington Post and Lou Davis of Maryland Public Television discuss the 2011 General Assembly session, including the issues that dominated – among them, gay marriage, pension overhaul and the budget.
ENVIRONMENTAL LETDOWN: Environmental advocates are pleased the General Assembly approved $23.5 million for a fund to fight pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, but still note plenty of disappointments including failure to require a two-year study on natural gas drilling – fracking – in western Maryland’s Marcellus Shale and shelving plans to develop wind energy and reduce septic tank pollution. The Associated Press story appears in the Carroll County Times.
WINDBREAK: Being sent to “summer study” can mean death for a legislative proposal, opines the editorial board of the Frederick News Post. But it also could be a good way to get a handle on a difficult project such as O’Malley’s offshore wind farm proposal.
CHILD NEGLECT: With Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown leading the way, Del. Galen Clagett was finally successful this year in his effort to have Maryland recognize child neglect as a crime, reports Meg Tully of the Frederick News Post.
O’MALLEY MUST ACT: Columnist Dan Rodricks of the Sun writes that Gov. Martin O’Malley can no longer ignore recommendations from the Maryland Parole Commission: Under a measure passed by the General Assembly, the governor must act within 180 days of a parole recommendation for an inmate serving life; if the governor doesn’t act, the recommendation takes effect.
TUITION LAWSUIT: Del. Pat McDonough, the Republican from Baltimore and Harford Counties, is working on plans for a lawsuit against the bill giving in-state tuition to some illegal immigrants, the so-called “Dream Act,” Keith Daniels reports for WBFF-TV.
Here’s a press release from McDonough‘s office concerning the lawsuit, published by the Dagger.
FOOTING THE BILL: Laura Vozzella of the Sun blogs that Sen. David Brinkley’s filibuster of the in-state tuition for illegal immigrants bill may have turned some who heard him into barefoot runners – or at least into readers of a book on barefoot running.
VIEW FROM THE SOUTH: Southern Maryland lawmakers give their assessments of the 2011 General Assembly session in this article, written by Jeff Newman of SOMDnews.com.
CARROLL SUCCESS: Carroll County’s delegates and senators were able to get most of their local bills through the legislature this term, according to the editorial board for the Carroll County Times. But the biggest disappointment was the failure again to get a gaming bill passed that would have allowed non-profits a new opportunity to raise money.
HOWARD SCHOOLS BUCKS: Lindsey McPherson reports for the Columbia Flier that Howard County public schools are poised to receive more education funding from the state this year, despite earlier worries from local officials that aid would be decreased.
BAG FEE FAILS: A bill sought by the Prince George’s County Council to charge shoppers who use plastic bags failed to clear the General Assembly, the Gazette’s Daniel Valentine writes.
FREDERICK BILLS: Four of 16 Frederick County bills succeeded in the latest session of the General Assembly, including one to allow county firefighters to take to the streets on Labor Day weekend to collect money for muscular dystrophy research, Sherry Greenfield reports for the Gazette.
DEL. KAISER’S VIEW: Del. Anne Kaiser of Montgomery County writes a lengthy end of session letter, published in Maryland Politics Watch, outlining her disappointments – such as the failure of the same sex marriage bill – as well as successes in the last General Assembly session – such as the budget.
MADALENO PULLS BILL: A bill that would have stripped Montgomery County’s municipalities of their zoning authority when applied to school projects was withdrawn on Saturday by its sponsor, Sen. Richard Madaleno. He introduced the bill in the state General Assembly in October, writes Sean Patrick Norris for the Gazette.
WA CO ROADS: Out of a $13.2 million, one-time infusion of state road funds to Maryland jurisdictions, Washington County will get about $160,000, while its municipalities will share about $557,000, Heather Keels reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.
STATE GROWTH: Gov. O’Malley will release his five-year strategy for the state’s economic development and job growth today in Baltimore, according to John Patti of WBAL-AM.
HOGAN FORMS GROUP: John Wagner of the Post reports that Larry Hogan, a Republican who explored a 2010 gubernatorial bid, has launched a new organization critical of Democratic Gov. O’Malley and others in what he calls the Annapolis “monopoly.”
LOWE REVAMP: Delegates and their staffs are vacating their Annapolis offices as they prepare for the $9.9 million revamp of the Thomas Hunter Lowe House Office Building, blogs Len Lazarick. Among changes: Asbestos will be removed and a sprinkler system will be added.
FUEL BUDGET BUST: An official in Montgomery County – which guzzles about 420,000 gallons a month — said the county has exceeded its budget for fuel by $50,000 so far this year and could see that number rise drastically, Alex Pappas reports for the Washington Examiner.
BOWIE AS MODEL: Prince George’s County Exec Rushern Baker praised Bowie city leaders for their efforts on economic growth and public safety, saying he hopes to do the same for the rest of the county, Daniel Valentine reports for the Gazette.
EAT MORE BASS: State officials announced yesterday that it’s OK to eat three meals of striped bass a month, up from two. That’s for the general population and for smaller striped bass caught in the Chesapeake Bay, an AP story in the Carroll County Times reports.
And if you are going out to catch your own, the Salisbury Daily Times offers answers to your questions about catching rockfish.
HARRIS STAYS RIGHT: After 100 days in office, U.S. Republican Rep. Andy Harris shows no signs of moving to the center, as his predecessors did, Gannett’s Nicole Gaudiano reports in the Salisbury Daily Times.
ILLEGALS ID PROGRAM: A national program that works to identify illegal immigrants in prisons and jails is expanding to western Maryland, according to an AP story in the Annapolis Capital.
That program, which has led to the deportation of more than 200 people in Prince George’s County since late 2009, concerns County Exec Rushern Baker, report Daniel Valentine and Andrea Noble of the Gazette. But, Baker says, he is powerless to stop it.
POWELL GRAND MARSHAL: The Baltimore Grand Prix named former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell as honorary grand marshal of the Labor Day weekend street race, reports Ryan Sharrow of the Baltimore Business Journal.