State Roundup, March 4, 2014

MINIMUM WAGE MOVEMENT: A key House panel on Monday night voted 13 to 8 to advance Gov. Martin O’Malley’s bill to raise Maryland’s minimum wage after striking a provision to tie future increases to inflation and delaying the date it would take effect, reports John Wagner in the Post.

REDISTRICTING REFORM: Maryland’s controversial legislative redistricting is again the target of bills designed to overhaul the process and make it less partisan, writes Margaret Sessa-Hawkins for Though very different in their scope and design, the bills have one thing in common: They are trying to introduce transparency and civic participation into the redistricting procedure, which now leaves the governor in control and the process wide open to political gerrymandering.

BAD WEATHER, BAD BUDGET NEWS: Another dose of bad state budget news could be looming as the Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates prepares to meet later this week, blogs Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. Warren Deschenaux, director of policy analysis for the Department of Legislative Services, said revenue projections “were optimistic” and now appear to be “retarded by adverse weather conditions” including the polar vortex and snow storms that have made Maryland and many other parts of the United States colder than normal.

GOOD SAMARITAN BILLS MERGED: A bill to provide some legal protection to teens and children who report drug or alcohol overdoses to 911 had been left in committee, but another Good Samaritan bill to help people of all ages has passed a floor vote in the House. Del. Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio said her bill to protect minors in some situations was merged with another bill sponsored by Del. Jon Cardin, reports Jennifer Shutt for the Salisbury Daily Times.

DWYER PULLS BILL: Del. Don Dwyer has withdrawn a bill he proposed in the General Assembly to automatically suspend any lawmaker serving jail time, reports Alex Jackson in the Annapolis Capital. Dwyer’s House Bill 734 was scheduled to be heard Monday by the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee. But at the beginning of the hearing, it was announced Dwyer withdrew the bill.

GOP STORMWATER MAP OMITS VA: House Republicans last Wednesday held a press conference to showcase their support of a drive to repeal the mandate that Maryland’s 10 largest jurisdictions assess stormwater fees. A map, titled “Taxing the Rain on Only 13 Percent of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed,” was prominently displayed at the front of the podium where delegates stood as they savaged the mandate. But the map — which highlights the Chesapeake Bay watershed in blue and some Maryland jurisdictions required to assess stormwater fees in red — leaves out major cities in Virginia that also assess stormwater fees, reports Alex Jackson for the Annapolis Capital.

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DOG BITE BILL: Tamieka Briscoe of CNS, in an article in the Annapolis Capital, writes that, in a unanimous vote Friday, the Maryland Senate passed legislation that would hold owners of all dog breeds liable for bites, but allow owners to challenge that liability in court and let a jury decide.

IN NEED OF SALT? A relentless winter has left local governments scrambling to replenish their supplies of road salt and some consumers finding empty shelves when they turn to hardware stores for ice-melting materials. State officials say they have enough salt to meet immediate needs, but at least one county was rationing its use Monday to stretch existing supplies, and local government spending for salt has climbed drastically from recent years, Alison Knezevich writes in the Sun.

DEM FILES IN DISTRICT 37: Christopher Robinson, an aide to former Congressman Roy Dyson and a Cambridge attorney, has filed as a Democrat in the mid-Shore Senate race for District 37. As the only Democrat to file, his name will be on the general election ballot against the winner of the GOP primary: incumbent Richard Colburn or his challenger, state Del. Addie Eckardt, both Republicans from Dorchester, writes Jennifer Shutt for the Salisbury Daily Times.

DELANEY & THE GOVERNOR’S RACE: Josh Kurtz of Center Maryland writes that U.S. Rep. John Delaney came far closer to throwing his hat in the ring for governor than most people know.

DEM GUBERNATORIAL DEBATES: The three major Democratic campaigns for governor of Maryland have reached agreement on the framework for a series of debates in advance of the June 24 primary, writes John Wagner in the Post.

BROWN PLEDGES HELP FOR CECIL: Jacob Owens of the Cecil Whig writes that Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said that, if elected governor, he would “absolutely” continue the governor’s pledge to work with Cecil County to solve its drug overdose issues.

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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