First Click -- Maryland
Your Daily Download of Maryland's Top Political News and Analysis
Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009:
Maryland Pols React to Health-Care Speech
Sen. Ben Cardin (D) predicts a bill on the Senate floor by October. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R), says his party should take the president up on his offer to discuss differences. The Post's Michael Laris tracks reactions to President Barack Obama's health-care speech by Maryland lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
"I was proud the President called it like it was and I'm sure there were some people who were uncomfortable about what he said," Cardin said. The president's tough tone undercut his cause, counters Bartlett: "He might have been a bit more effective if he was a bit less strident and critical."
More Budget Cuts Coming Soon?
Two weeks after he won approval for more than $700 million in cuts to close a widening budget gap, Gov. Martin O'Malley told reporters yesterday that "it wouldn't surprise me if we had another one hundred, two hundred million to cut." O'Malley said the estimate's based on discussion with his budget staff and reading of the economy. He's set to get an update on state revenue projections next week. The Post's John Wagner writes that the governor said he had no advance knowledge of what the panel will report.
Power Line Project in Jeopardy
The Maryland Public Service Commission on Wednesday threw into question the path of a controversial high-voltage power line proposed to snake from West Virginia to Maryland. The board ruled an application to build the Maryland portion of the line had been filed improperly and said it couldn't consider the construction because of the structure of the joint venture sponsoring the project - a combination of Pennsylvania-based Allegheny Energy and Ohio-based American Electric Power.
Allen Staggers, a spokesman for Allegheny Energy and the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, or PATH project, as it's commonly known, said it was too soon to determine the effect of the ruling.
"Our legal staff is reviewing the decision so we can determine how to proceed with next steps," he said.
Energy Re-Regulation Under Review
In another energy development on Wednesday, the House of Delegates' Economic Matters Committee took up O'Malley's failed effort from the spring to re-regulate the state's energy markets. Officials from the PSC testified that re-regulation would not soon lower residents' rising energy rates, but they questioned if the state should leave its future up to the market. Industry leaders testified that the state's 10-year-old deregulated market is still maturing and reduced regulations could best promote competition and reduce rates.
The Daily Record's Danielle Ulman tracks the debate here.
Low Turnout in Laurel Election Following Racial Bias Suit
In a slate of ballot measures aimed to increase the city's historically low voter turnout, residents in Laurel chose: to institute early voting in city elections; to move election day to November in odd-numbered years; and to extend the terms of the mayor and city council to accommodate the change of election date. Residents voted against pay raises for the mayor and city council and against changing the city council members' terms from two to four years. One measure -- whether to institute voting for city officials by ward -- remains too close to call.
Ironically, just 6 percent, or 827 voters, turned out for the election. A lawsuit had been filed charging the location of the city's sole polling station was racially biased and screwed against the city's African American population.
And from the Daily File in Annapolis:
Hearings today by the board of the Maryland Health Insurance Plan; the legislature's joint committee on Children, Youth and Families, and the state's Business Tax Reform Commission.
Aaron C. Davis
September 10, 2009; 9:26 AM ET
Categories: Aaron C. Davis , First Click
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