Archive: January 2009

Budget Cuts Will Delay Tax Refunds

Add quick tax refunds to the casualties of Maryland's budget shortfall. The state comptroller's office says cuts to the workforce of temporary employees the agency hires during tax filing season to process paper returns will force delays in refunds, to...

By Lisa Rein | January 30, 2009; 4:18 PM ET | Comments (1)

Senate Finance Tops List of Most Courted Committees

The Senate Finance Committee is the most popular dinner date in Annapolis. That's according to a new report by the State Ethics Commission, which details how often various committees and delegations were invited to dinners, receptions and other "special events"...

By John Wagner | January 30, 2009; 3:29 PM ET | Comments (0)

Montgomery Council Member Praisner Dies at 76

BY WILLIAM WAN WASHINGTON POST STAFF WRITER Donald Praisner. (Carl Iseli) Montgomery Councilmember Donald Praisner, 76, died this afternoon after undergoing surgery for colon cancer. Praisner, a Democrat, won his Eastern County seat in a special election last spring after...

By Anne Bartlett | January 30, 2009; 2:51 PM ET | Comments (4)

Utilities, Business Groups Spent Most on Lobbying

Utility companies and associations representing retailers, real-estate brokers, bankers and health interests were among the big spenders on lobbyists last year in Annapolis. Pepco Holdings tops a list just released by the State Ethics Commission, having spent $723,330 on lobbying...

By John Wagner | January 30, 2009; 2:08 PM ET | Comments (1)

Busch Urges Financial Restraint in House

House Speaker Michael E. Busch has announced that any bill proposed in the House of Delegates requiring new spending will get a special review by the body's leadership before it comes to a vote. The group of 10 delegates, which...

By Rosalind Helderman | January 30, 2009; 1:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Prince George's to Gov: We're Less Wealthy Than You Think

And now for a full-on wonk topic that has the possibility of bursting into raw politics in Annapolis in the next few weeks: how the state calculates the net taxable income of each county. The topic consumed a good two-hour...

By Rosalind Helderman | January 30, 2009; 12:09 PM ET | Comments (2)

Lt. Gov. Brown to Focus on Domestic Violence, Military Issues

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) announced today that his legislative priorities this session will be bills to help victims of domestic violence and military families. With the announcement, Brown, whose cousin was fatally shot last year by an ex-boyfriend...

By John Wagner | January 30, 2009; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Miller Urges Caution On Bills That Cost Money

Given the state's tough budget times, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) is urging restraint when considering legislation this session that costs the state money. In a letter today to Senate committee chairmen and vice-chairmen, Miller noted that...

By John Wagner | January 29, 2009; 5:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

MoCo's IG Presses For Disability Retirement Fix

Montgomery County's independent inspector general this afternoon issued the third in a series of reports on the police disability retirement system that has been criticized for lax oversight. The inspector general's latest memo backs key provisions of legislation pending before...

By Ann Marimow | January 29, 2009; 3:51 PM ET | Comments (2)

O'Malley Strikes Resolute Tone in Annual Address

Governor Martin O'Malley this afternoon delivered his State of the State address, in which he praised the election of Barack Obama and Maryland's achievements in education and public safety, and urging the state to fight through its current economic trials....

By Christopher Dean Hopkins | January 29, 2009; 2:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Simmons Bill on Reckless Driving

Rosalind S. Helderman reports this morning on a new push for a long-stymied legislative proposal that would make it easier to prosecute reckless drivers. Here's the summary of to Montgomery Democratic Rep Luiz R.S. Simmons's bill: FOR the purpose of...

By Anne Bartlett | January 29, 2009; 10:04 AM ET | Comments (1)

Franchot Questions Fee Payments for Land Purchases

The Board of Public Works added 4,400 acres in Southern Maryland and Cecil County to Maryland's vault of land preserved for open space today with a $57 million purchase from the Jesuit order. The land, which includes 19 miles of...

By Lisa Rein | January 28, 2009; 1:38 PM ET | Comments (2)

A Failed Push to Delay Purple Line Vote?

The Montgomery County Council unanimously agreed to a 16-mile rail line connecting the county with Prince George's today, but some delegates in Annapolis are buzzing about possible last minute efforts to convince the council to hold back their support. Del....

By Rosalind Helderman | January 27, 2009; 4:46 PM ET | Comments (3)

Lawmakers Urge O'Malley To Hold Off On "Real ID"

A dozen Democratic lawmakers representing the "New Americans" caucus in Annapolis met with Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) yesterday to urge him not to move ahead with legislation to require immigrants to prove they are legal residents before they can drive....

By Lisa Rein | January 27, 2009; 2:39 PM ET | Comments (1)

O'Malley Delays $56 Million in Cuts to Local Aid

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said this afternoon that he is delaying a proposal to reduce aid to local governments by $56 million until the fate of federal stimulus package becomes clearer. The largest of the contemplated mid-year reductions, $38 million,...

By John Wagner | January 27, 2009; 2:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley Talks Leadership With Midshipmen

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, football coach Dick Vermeil and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had done it before. Last night was Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's chance. O'Malley (D) was the featured speaker at the U.S. Naval Academy Forrestal...

By John Wagner | January 27, 2009; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Andrews Criticizes MoCo Firefighter Deal

Montgomery County Council president Phil Andrews today criticized a proposal to delay a pay hike for county firefighters, saying it did not go far enough to address the county's fiscal problems. "It doesn't provide the structural savings we need," said...

By Anne Bartlett | January 26, 2009; 4:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Praisner to Undergo Surgery

Montgomery County Council member Don Praisner (D-Eastern County) will undergo surgery for colon cancer, the council office has announced in a statement. Praisner was admitted to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda last week for tests involving "recurring stomach discomfort." Council president...

By Anne Bartlett | January 26, 2009; 11:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Currie's Fundraising Slows To a Trickle; Gansler, Smith Step Up

Among other things, the federal investigation of Sen. Ulysses Currie (D-Prince George's) appears to have taken a significant toll on his campaign fundraising. Currie, chairman of the powerful Budget and Taxation Committee and one of the Senate's most prolific fundraisers,...

By John Wagner | January 26, 2009; 8:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

Delegate: Don't "Fiddle" At Time of Crisis

Del. Frank M. Conaway Jr. (D-Baltimore) has written an unusual letter to his colleagues in the General Assembly, urging them to establish a list called "The Daily Coin" of ideas to be presented to Gov. Martin O'Malley suggesting ways to...

By Rosalind Helderman | January 23, 2009; 4:02 PM ET | Comments (2)

Police Listed Gay Rights Group Among Terrorists

Equality Maryland, the state's largest gay rights group, was among the peaceful protest groups to be classified as terrorists in a Maryland State Police database. The group was designated a "security threat" by the Homeland Security and Intelligence Division, which...

By Lisa Rein | January 23, 2009; 3:44 PM ET | Comments (0)

O'Malley: Not a Fan Of His Layoff Plan

Gov. Martin O'Malley bristled this morning at characterizations that he is pushing a plan to lay off hundeds of state workers. The budget proposal O'Malley (D) put forward Wednesday includes about $30 million in savings that he said would be...

By John Wagner | January 23, 2009; 11:03 AM ET | Comments (3)

Gay Rights Group Made the "Terrorist" List

Equality Maryland, the state's largest gay rights group, was among the peaceful protest groups to be classified as terrorists in a Maryland State Police database. The group was designated a "security threat" by the Homeland Security and Intelligence Division, which...

By Phyllis Jordan | January 23, 2009; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

MoCo Administrator: Slow Down Disability Overhaul Bill

Legislation to overhaul Montgomery County's police disability retirement system should be put on hold until county officials have a chance to negotiate the issues with the police union, a top personnel executive told a legislative committee this morning. "We are...

By Anne Bartlett | January 22, 2009; 6:17 PM ET | Comments (7)

Medevac Overhaul Plan Has First Hearing

Top Maryland State Police officials told a senate committee today that the state's Medevac helicopter system does not need comprehensive reform and formally opposed separating police fleet's medical mission from its police and homeland security functions. Dividing the missions is...

By Rosalind Helderman | January 22, 2009; 5:32 PM ET | Comments (1)

O'Malley Bill Would Mandate 25 Percent Cut in Carbon Emissions

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) tomorrow will call for legislation to mandate a set of controls on carbon dioxide emissions in Maryland that are believed to contribute to global warming, sources in his administration said this afternoon. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction...

By Lisa Rein | January 22, 2009; 3:42 PM ET | Comments (4)

Lawmakers Look into Budget Error

The Senate's Budget and Taxation Committee held a hearing this afternoon on a data error by state workers that resulted in Montgomery County schools being shorted $24 million in state aide, while 17 other counties were overpaid by $31 million....

By Rosalind Helderman | January 21, 2009; 4:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Miller: Tuition Increase Better Than Layoffs

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) this morning criticized a plan by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to lay off 700 state workers, suggesting university tuition increases could offset a portion of the cost savings. O'Malley is scheduled to...

By John Wagner | January 21, 2009; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (3)

Moco's Praisner Admitted to Hospital

Montgomery County Council member Don Praisner (D-Eastern County) has been admitted to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda for tests involving "recurring stomach discomfort," and was transferred to the internal care unit for further evaluation, a council spokeswman said today in a...

By Anne Bartlett | January 20, 2009; 5:59 PM ET | Comments (3)

A First and More Reasonable Bill Signing

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) this morning signed into law the first bill emerging from the 2009 session of the General Assembly: a measure to keep the bars in Anne Arundel County open an hour later on Inauguration night. The ceremony...

By John Wagner | January 19, 2009; 10:55 AM ET | Comments (0)

Busch Makes Shifts in Md. Committee Assignments

Speaker Michael E. Busch has shuffled committee membership in the House of Delegates, ruffling some feathers along the way. In all, Busch shifted nine members, an unusually high number of transfers for a session that has not followed an election....

By Rosalind Helderman | January 16, 2009; 2:29 PM ET | Comments (2)

MoCo Police Officers Pack Hearing on Disability Retirement

Montgomery County police officers in uniform packed the council chamber tonight to oppose legislation that would overhaul the county disability retirement system under scrutiny by the inspector general's office and federal law enforcement officials. Police and other union leaders criticized...

By Ann Marimow | January 15, 2009; 8:56 PM ET | Comments (12)

Leggett Releases Budget For "Critical Capital Needs"

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) today sent the County Council his recommended revisions to the six-year budget for bricks-and-mortar projects. The budget slows down funding in some cases, reflecting the tough economic times for the county and the state....

By Ann Marimow | January 15, 2009; 5:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Advocates: Spare Health Care Program From Cuts

The Maryland Hospital Association joined health care advocates today in urging the General Assembly and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to spare a new expansion of Medicaid to poor adults and families from the budget axe. The expansion, approved by the...

By Lisa Rein | January 15, 2009; 4:23 PM ET | Comments (0)

Miller: Counties Have Been "Fat, Dumb and Happy"

Sen. President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) said in a television interview yesterday that before Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) lays off employees to close a budget gap, he should look for savings by cutting state aid to local governments....

By Rosalind Helderman | January 15, 2009; 4:12 PM ET | Comments (3)

MoCo Retains Seat on Appropriations

House Speaker Michael E. Busch has added Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery) to the all-important Appropriations Committee, ensuring Montgomery retains four votes on the panel, which will be the center of action in this year's budget-dominated session. The move was...

By Rosalind Helderman | January 15, 2009; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

MoCo's Police Union Takes Disability Debate to YouTube

Montgomery County's powerful police union is gearing up to play hardball in the debate over the county's troubled disability retirement system. Even before the County Council takes up legislation to overhaul the system tonight, the union has prepared an online...

By Ann Marimow | January 14, 2009; 4:45 PM ET | Comments (0)

Barkley Off Appropriations

Montgomery Del. Charles E. Barkley (D) has been removed from the powerful House Appropriations committee by House Speaker Michael E. Busch. Barkley told the Gazette newspapers that the change came as punishment because of his resistance last year to a...

By Rosalind Helderman | January 14, 2009; 4:22 PM ET | Comments (3)

O'Malley Warns Layoffs On The Way

Gov. Martin O'Malley told reporters this morning that an unspecified number of state employee layoffs will be included in the budget for next fiscal year that he submits next week to the General Assembly. O'Malley (D) is grappling with how...

By John Wagner | January 14, 2009; 10:29 AM ET | Comments (15)

MoCo Delays Decisions on Parking Ban and Building Permits

In their first day back since the holiday recess today, Montgomery County Council members put off decisions on two hot topics: a parking ban on oversized vehicles and a notification requirement on major home construction projects. Council member Roger Berliner...

By Ann Marimow | January 13, 2009; 4:35 PM ET | Comments (1)

ACLU Will Push For Police Surveillance Limits

Not surprisingly, the centerpiece of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland's legislative agenda in Annapolis is a ban on the kind of police surveillance of peaceful activists that led to last year's controversy over the Maryland State Police. The...

By Lisa Rein | January 13, 2009; 3:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

Md. Lawmakers Get Taste of Tough Budget Choices

The Democratic Caucus of the House of Delegates met this morning for a 90-minute briefing on the state of the state budget, in preparation for the start of the legislative session tomorrow. It was apparently not a rosy picture presented...

By Rosalind Helderman | January 13, 2009; 12:42 PM ET | Comments (4)

The Rallies Begin

Activist groups are starting to announce plans to rally in Annapolis, as the legislative session convenes Wednesday. Maryland IAF, a grassroots group that advocates for affordable housing, living wages and other issues, has announced an evening rally at St. Ann's...

By Rosalind Helderman | January 12, 2009; 2:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Baltimore Official Considered for FDA Post

Our Washington Post colleague Al Kamen reports today that Baltimore health commissioner Joshua Sharfstein, formerly an aide to Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), is said to be the leading contender to run the Food and Drug Administration. He has advocated...

By Anne Bartlett | January 12, 2009; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Edwards: Present on Gaza Resolution

U.S. Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) voted "present" last week on a House resolution expressing support for Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas rocket attacks, calling the vote in a statement "the wrong resolution at the wrong time." She...

By Rosalind Helderman | January 9, 2009; 5:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

Kratovil Gets Armed Services Membership

Freshman Maryland congressman Frank Kratovil has achieved one of his early goals. The First District Democrat has been named to the House Armed Services Committee. In a recent interview with the Washington Post's William Wan, Kratovil said his committee choices...

By Anne Bartlett | January 9, 2009; 10:06 AM ET | Comments (1)

Cryor Stepping Down At End of Month

Mike Cryor, a confidant of Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) who has led the Maryland Democratic Party since 2007, announced today that he is stepping down at the end of the month. Cryor's departure is hardly unexpected. He took the job...

By John Wagner | January 8, 2009; 5:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Md. GOP Forms "Tax Relief" Commission

Maryland Republicans are fighting back at what they call the free-spending, tax-raising ways of Annapolis Democrats, with a new commission tasked with recommending how to balance the budget in the economic downturn "with fair cuts across the board." That's the...

By Lisa Rein | January 8, 2009; 3:13 PM ET | Comments (3)

Currie Investigation Rolls On

On the eve of a legislative session likely to be dominated by budget issues considered by his committee, word comes that the feds haven't exactly backed off their investigation of Senate Budget and Tax Chairman Ulysses Currie. Some of Currie's...

By Rosalind Helderman | January 8, 2009; 11:24 AM ET | Comments (1)

Marylanders to Celebrate Inauguration at Two Parties

Maryland Democrats will get at least two chances to celebrate President-elect Obama's inauguration: A gala for the state party on Jan. 18 at the swank, historic Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington and an unusually-situated gathering at the Corcoran Gallery of...

By Lisa Rein | January 8, 2009; 7:02 AM ET | Comments (0)

Md. Governments, Nonprofits Can Compete for Energy Grants

Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration today announced an $8 million program to help local governments and nonprofit groups lower their energy bills with low-interest loans and grants for efficiency projects. The state is encouraging governments and community groups to compete for...

By Anne Bartlett | January 7, 2009; 4:38 PM ET | Comments (1)

O'Malley and Franchot Break Bread

Could relations between Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) be starting to thaw? The pair, who have sparred over slots and several other issues, shared lunch today at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis -- a restaurant...

By John Wagner | January 7, 2009; 4:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

Miller: Slots Changes May Be Needed, But Later

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) acknowledged in an interview today that the state might need to overhaul its slot-machine gambling law to entice more bidders into Maryland -- but that it probably doesn't make sense to do...

By John Wagner | January 7, 2009; 11:50 AM ET | Comments (5)

Busch, Others Rush To Raise Money Before Session

In what aides say is a clear indication that he is seeking re-election, House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) is holding a major fundraiser this morning with Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) as his special guest. The event at Oriole...

By John Wagner | January 6, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Top Brown Staffers Flip Positions

The top two aides to Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) have swapped jobs. Earl Adams Jr., who was Brown's deputy chief of staff, is now his chief of staff. Gerard Boden, who was chief of staff, is now deputy...

By John Wagner | January 5, 2009; 1:20 PM ET | Comments (0)

MoCo Looks To Stimulus Package For Job Training Funds

As president-elect Barack Obama and Congressional leaders were talking economic stimulus on Capitol Hill today, Montgomery County's elected leaders were trying to get into the game from Rockville. County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and Council member Michael Knapp (D-Upcounty) urged...

By Ann Marimow | January 5, 2009; 12:16 PM ET | Comments (2)

 

© 2009 The Washington Post Company