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First Click -- Maryland

Your Daily Download of the State's Top Political News and Analysis

Thursday, August 20, 2009:


GOVERNOR TAKES ISSUE WITH JUDGE'S FURLOUGH RULING
Gov. Martin O'Malley Wednesday night took issue with calling furloughs a "politically expedient" remedy to government budget woes, a term U.S. District Court Judge Alexander Williams Jr. used this week when ordering Prince George's County to repay some 6,000 county workers $17 million in wages lost last year.
Prince George's had argued it had no other reasonable alternatives, but the record suggested otherwise, Williams wrote. " ...the County's actions resemble trappings of doing that which was politically expedient."
On his monthly appearance on Maryland Public Television, O'Malley said there's nothing politically expedient about furloughs. "I can assure you, there is no good politics in asking your employees to forgo paychecks."
The Post's Jonathan Mummolo and Maria Glod write that the court decision has buoyed public employees unions.

FRANCHOT DINGED IN AUDIT
It may not be as exciting as auditors this month questioning $25 million in State Highway Administration spending, but Comptroller Peter Franchot's office was dinged in a report released Wednesday. Auditors found that by not double-checking millions in checks cut for capital grants, a lack of control "could result in disbursements being issued improperly."
In a response, the comptroller's office noted it has one employee who cuts the checks, but said it would begin having a supervisor double-check payments.


MIKULSKI RECOVERING

U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski may still be wheelchair bound next month when the Senate reconvenes to debate a healthcare overhaul. The Baltimore Sun checks in on her recovery following extensive surgery last month to repair a broken ankle. The Senator is spending four to five hours a day in physical therapy, according to The Sun.


FIRST BUDGET RALLY DELIVERS CROWD

More than 200 people turned out Wednesday for the first significant rally in months against state budget cuts. The crowd supporting the developmentally disabled chanted "No More Cuts" as several advocates spoke in a square beside the State House. O'Malley's planned round of $470 million in budget cuts will target aid to local governments - a move that could result in local health programs trimming services to county residents.


MARYLAND MAY RECEIVE SWINE FLU VACCINE NEXT MONTH

David Paulson, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says the state's expected to receive shipments by October, writes Julekha Dash in the Baltimore Business Journal. Doctors have been asked to register to have the vaccine shipped to them directly. The University of Maryland is helping conduct clinical trials on the vaccine and Maryland biotech company Medimmune will manufacture the vaccine for state residents - an unexpected windfall, writes Bloomberg, for the British company that purchased Medimmune.


PET WASTE FOULING STATE WATERWAYS?

State environmental officials say a new study suggests household pets and other wildlife account for a larger-than-expected share of bacteria in Glen Burnie-area waterways.
"Waste from dogs and wildlife such as fox and deer accounted for about two-thirds of the bacteria in the watersheds of the Furnace Creek and Marley Creek," writes the AP.


BRIEFLY:

  • Testing out some possible campaign lines, conservative Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Baltimore County), says he thinks that if Gov. Martin O'Malley is re-elected, Marylanders face a 2011 "ambush tax," to cover continued "reckless spending" by the governor and Democratic lawmakers. The lawmaker best known for his hard-line against illegal immigration, is "testing the waters" for a gubernatorial bid, though he says he won't run if former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) seeks a rematch with O'Malley (D).

  • Sen. Brian Frosh has floated a letter asking O'Malley to order a full study of transit alternatives to the $4.6 billion proposal to widen Interstate 270.


  • FOR THE RECORD:

    First Click intended to list them yesterday, but for the record, the members of the state's new Economic Development Commission are:
    Timothy Adams, Founder and CEO SA-Tech, Inc.; Deepak Bansal, Senior Information Technology Consultant; Richard Bernstein, President and CEO, LWRC International, LL; Steve Dubin, CEO, Martek Biosciences Corp.; Susan Ganz, CEO, Lion Brothers, Inc.; Edwin Hale, Sr., Chairman and CEO, 1st Mariner Bancorp; Timothy Hodge, Esq., Principal, Miles and Stockbridge; Kevin Johnson, CEO, Commercial Interiors; William "Britt" Kirwan, Ph.D., Chancellor, University System of Maryland; Aris Mardirossian, CEO, Technology Patents, LLC; Ricardo Martinez, Chairman and CEO, Project Enhancement Corp.; John McLaughlin, President and CEO, DAP Products, Inc.; Karen Myers, President, Wisp Resort Development, Inc., Mountaineer Log and Siding Company; Sagar Patel, President, GE Mechanical Systems; Ronald Peterson, President/Vice President, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System/Johns Hopkins Medicine; Dawn Deiter Rich, President/ Vice President, American Electronics, Inc./Deiter, Burris Associates, Inc.; Robert "Bob" Smelkinson, Chairman, Smelkinson Sysco Food Services Inc.; Edward St. John, President, St. John Properties; Harold Stinger, Chairman, Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies; Walter (Butch) Tilley III, Executive Vice President, Home Paramount, Inc.; Alan Wilson, Chairman, President and CEO, McCormick & Company, Inc.


    We're striving to make First Click - Maryland your essential new daily guide to politics in the Old Line State. Each weekday morning we'll provide you with a look at the day's upcoming political events. We'll also search from the Eastern Shore to the Western Mountainside to bring you the most comprehensive daily roundup of Maryland's top political news, analysis and provocative thoughts. Have a comment or question about the day's news? Write it down. Have we missed something? Write a comment and let us know that, too.

    By Aaron C. Davis  |  August 20, 2009; 8:12 AM ET
    Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click  
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    Comments

    I wonder if Senator Mikulski is going to run for re-election.

    Posted by: robinficker | August 20, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

    The comments to this entry are closed.

     
     
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