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First Click -- Maryland

First Click

Your daily download of Maryland's top political news and analysis

Tuesday, October 20, 2009:


Md dems, enviros gush over Kratovil
The League of Conservation Voters' night belonged to Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (and Keith Campbell, who has donated a whopping $50 million to Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts). But it was Maryland's Eastern Shore freshmen, U.S. Rep. Frank M. Kratovil, Jr., who may have been lauded the most Monday night at the LCV's annual awards dinner.
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Mikulski, in good spirits but still wheelchair bound while she continues to recover from major foot surgery, used some of the time during her acceptance speech for the John V. Kabler award to remind the state's leading environmentalists of Kratovil's "big vote" in June for a House bill designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
"Thank you for sending me, sending us, Frank Kratovil," Mikulski told the crowd. Mikulski noted Kratovil took heat, and more heat in his district for the vote.
Kratovil and his wife, Kim, were given a seat of (relative) honor at a head table with Gov. Martin O'Malley, former Gov. Harry Hughes and others. It seemed all was forgiven with the state's dems for Kratovil's initial vote against President Barack Obama's stimulus plan.
Kratovil, the former Queen Anne's County state's attorney who also took flak over the summer during town hall meetings on health-care reform on the right-leaning Eastern Shore (and was even hung in effigy by a rogue protestor), worked the room extensively following the dinner, saying more than once that he's ready for whatever re-election challenge Republicans mount.

Audit: Maryland retirement plan did not disclose losses
The General Assembly's Office of Legislative Audits says it investigated a tip placed to its fraud, waste and abuse hotline and found the Maryland Investment Contract Pool (ICP), one of several investment options of the Maryland Supplemental Retirement Plan (MSRP),
did not adequately disclose unrealized ICP investment losses
, or include them in audited financial statements. The $729 million portfolio had unrealized losses of about $48 million, the audit found.
Another one: The audit office dings University of Maryland over IT security.

Judge quashes would-be state's attorneys circus in death penalty case
A potential spectacle today in the capital was averted Monday when Circuit Court Judge Paul D. Hackner ruled all 24 of Maryland's state's attorneys would not have to testify in an Anne Arundel capital murder case, writes Caryn Tamber who's tracked the case for The Maryland Daily Record.
"Lawyers for Lee Stephens, accused of killing a prison guard in 2006, subpoenaed the top prosecutors to testify about how they decide whether to seek the death penalty. The lawyers said they wanted to demonstrate that Maryland's death penalty statute is applied differently in different counties.
But Circuit Court Judge Paul D. Hackner quashed the subpoenas Monday morning, ruling that the testimony sought by the defense is irrelevant, said a spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel County State's Attorney."
Prince George's State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey and others had been subpoenaed to testify today.

More O'Malley on HBO
First Click spoke too soon, yesterday on Gov. O'Malley not making waves on the Bill Maher show. HBO posted a follow-up "overtime" interview online in which O'Malley offers a spirited defense of President Obama and his programs, particularly the stimulus package passed by Congress.
"We were this close to the second Great Depression," O'Malley says, holding his fingers close. "Every state would have been under water."
And in a curious moment, writes The Post's John Wagner, the show closes with Maher suggesting O'Malley is starting to sound like conservative commentator Glenn Beck.

And:

Maryland Politics Watch looks at the machinations in the continuing E-ZPass saga.

Marta Mossburg blasts the collective bargaining agreement O'Malley signed last week.

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin gets high marks by enviros for Chesapeake efforts.

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By Aaron C. Davis  |  October 20, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis , First Click  
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