State Roundup, May 2, 2011

Members of Maryland’s congressional delegation praised the U.S. raid in Pakistan that led to the death of Osama bin Laden yesterday, reports the Sun’s John Fritze, but many also tempered their optimism by cautioning that the war on terror will continue.

U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, was called by CIA chief Leon Panetta last night, according to WBAL-TV.

Here’s WMAR-TV’s report of congressional reaction to bin Laden’s killing.

GAS TAX HIKE: Gov. Martin O’Malley tried Friday to spark a larger discussion about Maryland’s growing transportation challenges, with an eye toward possible increases in the gas tax and other levies in the coming year, writes John Wagner for the Post.

Larry Carson of the Sun writes that an increase in Maryland’s gas tax could be a quick fix for the state’s depleted transportation fund, key members of a blue-ribbon financing commission said, while cautioning that the move — a tough sell on its own — would not solve long-term woes.

O’Malley asked the commission to work on proposals that “get us where we need to go in the fairest possible way,” writes Brian Witte of the Associated Press. His article appears at

TRANSGENDER DISCRIMINATION: Parents of transgendered teens who’ve been unable to persuade Maryland lawmakers to enact a law designed to protect transgender people, believe a recent attack at a McDonald’s and the attention it’s drawn to the state will finally spur action, Jill Rosen writes for the Sun.

Maryland Politics Watch posts Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk’s response to the attack on a transgender women in Baltimore County last week in an attempt to demonstrate why the anti-discrimination legislation she has championed is needed.

IN-STATE TUITION FOR ILLEGALS: Opinionators for the Frederick News Post say the issue of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants has become politicized. For that reason and others, it would be best to let voters decide if this law should become permanent.

Columnist Don Kornreich of the Frederick News Post says that the way the federal government has handled the issues of in-state tuition for illegals and illegal aliens nationwide has created a crazy-quilt of laws.

PENSION PROMISES: The gap between the promises states have made for public employees’ retirement benefits and the money set aside to pay for them grew to at least $1.26 trillion in fiscal year 2009—a 26% increase in one year—according to a new report from the Pew Center for the States, blogs Len Lazarick for

ONE FRACTURED MARYLAND: Throughout his tenure, Gov.  O’Malley has spoken of “One Maryland,” in which lawmakers and residents work across party and jurisdictional lines to accomplish common goals. Yet rural legislators frequently accuse the governor and legislators from larger districts of imposing their will on the entire state, writes David Hill of the Washington Times.

GRASMICK INTERVIEW: Dan Rodricks of WYPR-FM interviewed outgoing state Schools Superintendent Nancy Grasmick in this segment of Midday. They talked about her career, Maryland schools and her memories of William Donald Schaefer.

STEELE TO SPEAK: Former Md. Lt. Gov. Michael Steele is scheduled to speak at a Washington County Republican Club gala on May 26, according to the Hagerstown Herald Mail. Steele also is a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

A SENATOR & A HIGHWAY: Gerald Neily of the Baltimore Brew takes a closer look back at a part of Baltimore city history that U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski touts as a defining moment in her career, the history of the city and her relationship with William Donald Schaefer – a proposed highway through Fell’s Point.

VAN HOLLEN FIGHTS: As ranking member on the House Budget Committee, U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Montgomery County is engaged in the spending and deficit fray, reports John Fritze of the Sun.

PREDATORY TOWING: Ben Giles of the Washington Examiner writes that Montgomery County officials are targeting predatory towing practices.

GAMES LAWYERS PLAY: Annapolis Capital columnist Eric Hartley writes that attorneys for Anne Arundel County are ready to waste taxpayer dollars by not answering his lawsuit directly and instead playing games and dragging out the process.

BRANCH CITY: The announcement that Chicago-based Exelon Corp. has struck a deal to take over Constellation came as something of a psychic blow to the city. If the $7.9 billion deal passes regulatory hurdles, and the parent of local utility BGE is absorbed by its out-of-town suitor, then Baltimore will lose its sole remaining Fortune 500 company headquarters, report Jean Marbella and Jamie Smith Hopkins

Hanah Cho of the Sun reports that executives of Constellation and Exelon went to great lengths – including using code names and holding secret meetings – to keep the deal secret.

Here’s video in the Sun of the companies’ press conference.

BALTIMORE’S FUTURE: In an op-ed for the Sun, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake writes as we celebrated the life and legacy of William Donald Schaefer, we must always think about the bold possibilities of Baltimore’s future and what the people of this city — Mayor Schaefer’s true passion — can accomplish by working together to achieve greatness.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE ENDORSEMENT: Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will pick up another high profile nod today – U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski is slated to endorse her in Canton, according to the Rawlings-Blake campaign, Julie Scharper blogs in the Sun.

CHARLES BUDGET GAP: Erica Mitrano of reports that a $7 million budget gap remains to be closed before the Charles County commissioners can approve a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

PG CORRUPTION: An independent inspector general’s office is urgently needed to restore the tarnished image of Prince George’s County, writes opinionators at the Sun.

LESLIE JOHNSON CASE: Alex Pappas of the Washington Examiner reports that the five bizarre months that Leslie Johnson has served on the Prince George’s County Council may be coming to an end. A plea hearing has been scheduled for her on Wednesday in U.S. District Court for federal evidence-tampering charges, and the documents filed signal that she’s expected to reach a plea agreement with prosecutors.

COMBATING CORRUPTION: The Diamondback editorial board urges Prince George’s County to separate the council from development interests after developers and business owners have alleged that a former county councilman used his political office to force donations for community improvement projects.

AVIATION TECH SCHOOL: Gov. Martin O’Malley attended the opening of an aviation maintenance technology school Saturday at Hagerstown Regional Airport, touting the facility as a building block that will give people the skills to compete in today’s job market, reports Dan Dearth for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

TEACHER OF YEAR: The Frederick News Post writes that Gov. O’Malley praised National Teacher of the Year Michelle Shearer, a chemistry teacher from Frederick County: “We are so proud that one of Maryland’s own has been named National Teacher of the Year. I’d like to congratulate Michelle on this distinguished honor and commend her for her dedication and hard work.”

Tim Tooten of WBAL-TV reports that Shearer will be honored by the White House. Click above the story to view a video report.

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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