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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

Your Daily Download of Maryland's Top Political News and Analysis

Wednesday, October 7, 2009:

Happy Birthday, Mr. Perez
   All 55 Democrats present in the U.S. Senate voted yesterday to support the nomination of Thomas E. Perez of Montgomery County as the next head of the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
   Republicans, meanwhile, split almost down the middle -- 22 against, 17 for, notes The Caucus, the government and politics blog of The New York Times.
   The nomination of Perez, a former Montgomery County Council member and O'Malley administration Cabinet star, was voted out of the Judiciary Committee in June but had been held up by Republican opposition.
   The Baltimore Sun's Paul West gives the result big treatment, explaining that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have signaled their intention to reinvigorate the Civil Rights Division, whose 300 lawyers enforce laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability, religion and national origin. The division also oversees voting rights cases, which are likely to increase after next year's census and the resulting redistricting, West writes.
   The Baltimore Business Journal notes the not-so-unexpected kind words that Maryland's two senators had for Perez.
   Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) said in a statement that Perez "will get the Civil Rights Division back on track and enforce this country's civil rights laws to combat discrimination, protect minorities and hold violators accountable."
   Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) called Perez "an aggressive champion for justice and the public good."
   The Gazette details why the vote was particularly sweet for Perez: He turns 48 today.
   Alex Sanchez, Perez's replacement as secretary of the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, is already on board.

Foreclosures Back on O'Malley's Agenda
   The dire fiscal outlook in Maryland will reign in Gov. Martin O'Malley's legislative agenda in the coming session, but look for several initiatives with little cost to the state.
   The Gazette reports today on one of those possibilities: requiring lenders to submit to arbitration to help borrowers avoid having their homes enter foreclosure.
   The issue continues to hit Prince George's County and Baltimore particularly hard, Secretary Raymond Skinner of Maryland's Department of Housing and Community Development told the Legislative Black Caucus last week.
   Prince George's County and Baltimore city are home to 26 percent of the state's population, Skinner told the caucus, but the two jurisdictions account for 42 percent of the state's foreclosures, the Gazette reported.
   Speaking of the dire fiscal outlook, hundreds turned out Monday night in Rockville for a rally to protect services for the developmentally disabled, which are being threatened by state budget cuts, as the Gazette also reports.

Live From Prince George's ... It's Tuesday Afternoon
   Maryland Politics experimented yesterday with live posts from the Prince George's Council meeting, as the body discussed selling surplus property and a resolution was introduced to form a task force to look into the county's taxicab system after cabdrivers recently threatened to strike over work conditions.
   You can judge the results by scrolling down, or clicking here, here, here, here and here.

Briefly:

  • The new head of the WSSC gives the Montgomery County Council a sobering report on a leak last fall in a massive water main in College Park, reports Katherine Shaver in the pages of The Post.

  • The University System of Maryland has been hard at work on its pornography policy, following last year's action by the Maryland General Assembly, The Sun reports.

  • Gov. Martin O'Malley and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) celebrated passage of a cell-phone jamming bill in the U.S. Senate that they say will make prisons safer, reports WBAL.

  • Montgomery County is preparing to hire a federal lobbyist, the Gazette reports.

  • BIll Clinton is scheduled to appear at a fundraiser for Gov. Martin O'Malley tonight in New York, according to reports below and on The Sun's political blog.
  • By John Wagner  |  October 7, 2009; 6:25 AM ET
    Categories:  First Click , John Wagner  
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