First Click -- Maryland
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Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009:
Health-Care Debate Returns
Congress returns next week to what's expected to be an intense new phase in efforts to reach consensus on health-care legislation. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) is kicking things off tonight. The state's Southern Maryland representative will host his first town-hall meeting since the start of the August recess at 7 p.m. in Waldorf.
At a warm-up event on Friday, Hoyer said he expects some angry and frightened voters and chided some cable news shows, saying they were scaring viewers and giving them misleading information about proposed reforms.
Hoyer stayed up late last week studying the tape of fellow Maryland Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin's boisterous town hall meeting in Towson, writes Alan Brody of the Gazette.
Lawmakers continue to struggle with the best way to accommodate the crowds and large numbers who want to ask questions. Tonight, only 1,000 people will be allowed in the 5,000-capacity North Point gymnasium, and attendees will have to win a lottery to ask a question.
O'Malley to Name His First Asian-American Cabinet Member
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) will announce two midterm Cabinet appointments today, elevating Beverley K. Swaim-Staley to transportation secretary and naming Edward Chow Jr. veterans affairs secretary, writes The Post's John Wagner.
Swaim-Staley has been acting transportation secretary since June, after the departure of John D. Porcari to serve as deputy transportation secretary in the Obama administration.
Chow, a U.S. Army veteran, will be the first Asian American to serve in O'Malley's Cabinet. He most recently worked as director of programs for an organization that advises Congress on issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community. Chow will succeed James A. Adkins, who has held two Cabinet posts since June 2008, also leading Maryland's Military Department, an assignment that Chow also will receive.
Swaim-Staley previously had served as Porcari's deputy in Maryland, both under O'Malley and during Porcari's previous tenure as transportation secretary under the previous Democratic governor, Parris N. Glendening.
Prepping for Obama's Chesapeake Bay Report
Environment Maryland says it will present to Environmental Protection Agency's Chuck Fox, senior advisor for the Chesapeake Bay, more than 15,000 signatures today from citizens urging the agency to make bold commitments in a report ordered in May by President Barack Obama. The draft report is expected to be released next week.
Talk of a New Federal Prison in Maryland
The Federal Bureau of Prisons is considering a new privately owned and operated detention facility on Maryland's Eastern Shore to keep up with demand for bed space for Washington-area prisoners, according to the Associated Press. The 1,380-bed facility could be located in Princess Anne. Winton, N.C. is also a possibility. Federal officials will discuss the proposed Princess Anne site tonight at a meeting of the Somerset County Commission.
From the Blogosphere:
Protesting state budget cuts (and other broad concerns), Hampstead Mayor Haven N. Shoemaker has ordered the Town's municipal flag to be replaced at a ceremony tonight by the historic Gadsden "Don't Tread On Me" flag, the popular symbol of the recent Tea Party movement, writes Joe Albero in his Salisbury News blog.
The flag ceremony is to mark state funding to local governments.
Albero quotes Shoemaker saying: "The $3.8 billion in federal [stimulus] money sent to Maryland was wasted on pork barrel projects and social-program spending rather than on rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. Now the state is dumping their failure of fiscal leadership into our laps."
Buried in a personal attack of T. Eloise Foster, the state's secretary of Budget and Management, the O'Malley Watch blog lists an interesting factoid: As the state prepares to lay off 205 employees, Maryland still has more than 329 positions posted on the State's Web site for new hires.
"What the state should have done, in the past three weeks that they have been sitting on these budget decisions, was to work with the state workers, their supervisors, and the new hiring authorities, to transition these newly pink-slipped workers into these other vacant position," according to the blog.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III confirmed for the first time Monday that it was Del. Jon S. Cardin himself who arranged a mock police raid as part of an elaborate marriage proposal this month, writes Julie Bykowicz in The Baltimore Sun.
Bealefeld said the Baltimore County Democrat made a "very, very low contact" in the department, arranging the raid directly with officers, and not the department's command staff.
We're striving to make First Click your essential daily guide to Maryland politics. Each weekday morning First Click provides a roadmap for the day's upcoming political events, and a roundup of the state's top political news, analysis and provocative thoughts. Have a comment or question? Write it down. Have we missed something? Write a comment and let us know that, too. We'll be reading ...
Aaron C. Davis
September 1, 2009; 7:56 AM ET
Categories: Aaron C. Davis , First Click
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