State Roundup, April 16, 2012

MIKE VS MICHAEL: The messy end to Maryland’s 90-day legislative session exposed a long-festering rift between the two veteran leaders of the General Assembly — and highlighted Gov. Martin O’Malley’s inability to reprise his peacemaker role, John Wagner of the Post writes.

AND NOW WHAT? Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch offered very different thoughts about whether a gaming bill should be part of a possible special session to finish their work, blogs the Post’s John Wagner.

State lawmakers from Washington County suspect they’ll be called back to Annapolis for a special session on budget matters. But they say three months should have been enough for the legislature to finish its work. It should never have come to this, Andrew Schotz reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

The state doomsday budget could spell disaster for education, writes Mike Bock of Capital News Service in the Talbot Spy.

The editorial board for the Annapolis Capital opines that gambling in Maryland lives down to its opponents’ dire predictions.

WHO’S SULLIED NOW? Annie Linskey of the Sun takes a close look at the last days of the last General Assembly session and whose reputation is ends up the most sullied because of the mess.

We rarely link to political cartoons because, well, most just never address Maryland politics. But now that KAL’s back in the Sun, he’s telling the story like only he can.

BALANCING ACT: Gov. O’Malley’s budget secretary recommended Friday that the governor hold off signing any bills that will cost the state money next year until Maryland’s budget is brought into balance, blogs John Wagner for the Post.

BAY RESTORATION: Liz Holland of the Salisbury Daily Times reports that the public will be able to ask questions and give feedback on a plan to restore the Chesapeake Bay’s oyster population during an Eastern Shore open house this week hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

And the editorial board for the Sun writes that, even as the Maryland General Assembly was heading toward a budgetary train wreck last week, there was one unlikely group that had trouble believing its good fortune coming out of the 90-day session — the state’s environmental community.

Margie Hyslop of the Gazette writes that while some of the governor’s environmental initiatives fared well in Annapolis, others, like wind energy, foundered.

BUSINESS HAPPY: Maryland’s business leaders had a generally positive view of what happened during the 90-day session, Kevin James Shay reports in the Gazette.

GAY MARRIAGE OPPONENTS: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich, in an op-ed for the Sun, writes that it is an unfortunate aspect of our country’s marriage debate that one’s record on gay issues gets deconstructed whenever opposing views are aired. Bulletin to those who engage in such tactics: Most who oppose gay marriage are neither homophobic nor religious zealots.

BUY AMERICA BILL: Ike Wilson of the Frederick News-Post reports that, according to state Sen. Ron Young, the Buy American Act will ensure that Maryland puts several thousand more people back to work, with minimal increases in costs.

NEW VETERANS LAWS: Bills that passed by the April 9 close of the legislative session include those that extend sales tax exemptions to veterans groups, revamp how some fraternal groups reap their slots revenue and offer veterans an opportunity to detail their service time on their drivers licenses, Brian Shane reports in the Salisbury Daily Times.

ETHICS COMPLAINT AGAINST McCONKEY: Earl Kelly of the Annapolis Capital reports that last Monday, the last day of the session, state Sen. Ed Reilly had state police escort a belligerent state Del. Tony McConkey out of his office, the senator said. McConkey was there to ask Reilly to support an amended bill that would benefit McConkey, a former real estate agent and third-term delegate from Severna Park. Reilly refused. Last Tuesday, Reilly filed an ethics complaint against McConkey, accusing him of trying to use his public office for private gain.

YOUTH DETENTION VIOLENCE: Scott Dance of the Sun reports that youth violence and staff uses of force spiked in 2011 at Maryland’s most troubled juvenile detention centers, according to an annual report by the state’s Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit, part of the attorney general’s office.

Gov. O’Malley pushed back against the story in his official blog, saying the story “omitted one central fact: the number of juvenile victims of violent crime – both homicides and non-fatal shootings – has been driven down significantly since 2007.”

SUPER PAC INFLUENCE: Three Maryland lawmakers are leading vastly different approaches in Congress to address the growing influence of so-called super PACs and other political nonprofits that have poured money into campaigns, raising concerns about the outsized influence of special interests, John Fritze reports in the Sun.

ANTI-ABORTION ARRESTS SETTLEMENT: U.S. Rep. Andy Harris is expected to attend a gathering of anti-abortion advocates this morning outside the Maryland State Police Headquarters in Pikesville to publicly discuss a $385,000 settlement involving both parties, Yvonne Wenger writes in the Sun.

UNCLAIMED CASH: The state of Maryland is holding hundreds of thousands of dollars and some of it could be yours, Tim Williams reports for WJZ-TV. He has more on how you can claim property or cash that may have been forgotten.

KAMENETZ TARGETS LIQUOR LAWS: County Executive Kevin Kamenetz took aim at Baltimore County’s liquor laws, seeking a clean sweep that would remove the perverse incentives of the convoluted system and encourage economic development. He didn’t succeed, but he got much closer than anyone has before, opines the editorial board of the Sun.

CARROLL BUDGETING: Residents within each of the five commissioner districts of Carroll County should be weighing in with their thoughts on how the county should prioritize spending and cuts in the coming fiscal year’s budget, opines the editorial board for the Carroll County Times.

WICOMICO BUDGETING: The editorial board for the Salisbury Daily Times opines that Wicomico County’s budgeting is never painless, but its planning for fiscal year 2013 is unusually difficult. The General Assembly ended its session with the fearsome “doomsday budget” — balanced with more than $500 million in cuts without offsetting revenue increases. Although the sense of it seems to be that a special session will be called, Maryland’s counties must forge ahead with their own budget work despite the uncertainty.

FIRE & RESCUE DONATION TRANSPARENCY: In light of a series of investigative stories, Washington County Board of County Commissioners is pledging to increase accountability standards so it’s clear not only why public money is being given to volunteer fire and rescue companies, but how they’re spending it, writes Arnold Platou for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail.

MO CO OVERTIME DRAWS IRE: Some Montgomery County taxpayers are upset at the amount of overtime payments hundreds of county firefighters, police and correctional officers, and transportation employees received last year, saying that the numbers “sound like something out of ‘The Daily Show,’ ” reports Aubrey Whelan for the Washington Examiner.

LEOPOLD GOES AFTER CRITICS: In the Annapolis Capital, columnist Eric Hartley writes that less than six weeks after his indictment on charges of misusing his office and defrauding taxpayers, the Anne Arundel county executive has returned to his time-tested strategy: responding to criticism by attacking the critics’ motives.

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:

1 Comment

  1. Terry Lucas

    Slots, lotteries and any Gambling regulated by the government is nothing more than a ‘sneaky’ form of TAXATION!!!!

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