First Click -- Maryland
Your daily download of Maryland's top political news and analysis
Friday, November 5, 2009:
Report: Head of energy committee won't support re-regulation
Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George's), chairman of a key House committee that handles energy matters, will not support proposals to re-regulate Maryland's electricity industry "and vowed to prevent the issue from consuming his panel's work in the 2010 General Assembly," write Alan Brody and Sean Sedam in The Gazette. The two report that Davis made the declaration Wednesday morning at a legislative breakfast at the College of Southern Maryland. The chairman said competition was increasing and he's not convinced re-regulation would return energy rates to the levels customers enjoyed before caps came off under deregulation in 2006.
MoCo may sue state over school funding law
"Top Montgomery County officials threatened Thursday to sue the state and "aggressively pursue" legislation that would change state law after Maryland's attorney general found that the county had failed to meet the state's minimum level of funding for education. The opinion renders it potentially liable for millions of dollars in penalties," reports The Post's Nelson Hernandez.
O'Malley says he'll work to stabilize businesses' unemployment costs
Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) on Thursday said he would work with business leaders to find a "more sustainable solution" to a state employment insurance system under which tax rates are tripling next year for many Maryland companies. The currrent predicament is largely the result of a 2005 law that calls for an annual review of whether the state's unemployment insurance fund is solvent, writes The Post's John Wagner. The economic downturn has taken a heavy toll on such funds in Maryland and other states around the country.
Plan for I-270 light rail gains steam
"Routing a transit line closer to the Kentlands and through two developments planned for west Gaithersburg would draw as many as 42,000 daily boardings, enough to make either a light rail line or busway in the Interstate 270 corridor eligible for federal money, according to a state study released Thursday," reports The Post's Katherine Shaver.
Concerns growing about possible EPA restrictions on Eastern Shore poultry farms
"Cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay is a priority most everyone can agree on. Now the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is getting involved ... The good news is that the EPA is the place where the buck stops ..." writes the editorial board at the Bethany Beach Wave. The bad news: "The EPA is contemplating stricter control over the amount of pollution produced by large-scale poultry farms in Maryland ... The question is whether Maryland's poultry growers will able to meet the new restrictions and remain competitive with farms across the country."
Hundreds show for Currie's $250-a-plate fundraiser
Nearly 18 months after FBI agents raided his home in a federal corruption probe, almost 200 Maryland lawmakers, fundraisers, lobbyists, labor organizers and business owners turned out Wednesday for a $250-a-plate fundraiser for Prince George's Sen. Ulysses Currie (D). "The showing seemed to signal the powerful chairman of Senate's Budget and Taxation Committee no longer fears drawing attention to himself and that both political hopefuls and established members of the state's Democratic party feel comfortable publicly pledging support," writes The Post's Aaron Davis.
Latest tax amnesty nets a quarter of revenue from 2001 effort
"The comptroller's office says Maryland's tax amnesty program has netted an estimated $9.6 million," the AP reports. "A tax amnesty program in 2001 brought in $39.5 million in revenue for the state."
Mikuski intervenes for Baltimore firefighter
"Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski asked Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday to assist the family of a Baltimore fire cadet killed in a training exercise whose death benefit claim was rejected by the Department of Justice," report The Baltimore Sun's Julie Scharper and Annie Linskey. Mkulski's letter came "a day after The Sun reported that a nearly $300,000 claim on behalf of the two children of Racheal M. Wilson was denied because of missing information."
Red Maryland: Greg Kline writes that there's "irony in putting the name 'Scott' and 'party unity' in the same sentence." "Audrey Scott is a longtime Republican leader in this state and has served honorably in a variety of elected and appointed posts. I do not question her qualification or ability for the job as chairman.... but her son Lawrence Scott is recognized as one of the most divisive forces within Maryland Republican politics."
Maryland Politics Watch: Blogger Adam Pagnucco suggests there's room for a compromise between Maryland schools and state education officials over proposed fines and other problems.
O'Malley Watch: Blasts the governor for just about everything in the last two weeks.
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Aaron C. Davis
November 6, 2009; 8:47 AM ET
Categories: Aaron C. Davis , First Click
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